Letters to the Editor for March 29, 2011

Alcohol advertising is damaging to minors

In recent years, numerous studies have proven that alcohol advertising causes minors to consume alcohol. Alcohol companies still spend billions of dollars in advertising their products that are statistically shown to be seen by minors.

Each year, the U.S. is forced to spend upwards of $60 billion to pay for the consequences of underage drinking, including youth violence and traffic crashes. There are major alcohol companies spending less than two percent of their advertising dollars on messages that promote responsibility.

It’s estimated that for each public service message a kid hears about drinking responsibly, he or she is likely to see 25 to 50 ads promoting beer or wine. The Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth found that youth between the ages of 12 and 20 saw 45 percent more beer ads in magazines than adults over the age of 21(camy.org). Children are attracted to many of the advertising methods used by alcohol companies. This can be seen when advertisers use celebrities, sports stars, sexuality, animated characters, animals and jingles in advertisements. These methods draw the attention of the youth, making them more likely to notice and remember alcohol commercials.

Numerous lawsuits have been filed against alcohol companies for producing and advertising alcoholic beverages that attract children. For example, the recent fiasco with the Four Loko energy drinks being removed from store shelves. The drinks contained obscene amounts of caffeine and energy vitamins, which masked the effects of alcohol and caused people to drink more. On top of that, the drinks were produced in sweet, candy-like flavors, including Fruit Punch, Grape, Kiwi-Strawberry and Blue Raspberry; Obviously a ploy to attract kids and teens to drinking.

Anti-drinking public service announcements are having an adverse effect on minors. Minors who are already feeling guilt or shame resort to something called “defensive processing” when confronted, and tend to disassociate themselves with whatever they are being shown in order to lessen those emotions. Because of this alcohol abuse, there remains a persistent and growing problem linked to the deaths of approximately 79,000 people in the United States each year.

We hope this letter opens your eyes to the effects today’s alcohol ads are having on our youth.

Keith Johnson, James Fahey, Krissy Johnson, Margaret Raines, Clark College students

BPA, don’t go crazy with taxpayers’ credit card

In the stimulus bill,Senator Murray secured an additional $3.5 billion for BPA to use “our” credit card to fund “modernization the regions power grid”

Before Stephen Wright decides he wants to go crazy spending millions more on a new and untested route for his “I-5 Corridor Reinforcement Project” he should think about these things:

• He already has a right of way owned by the federal government in which to put the lines.

• BPA has already safely paired 500kV lines with 230kV lines in the Seattle/Tacoma metro area

• It will cost millions more in new property acquisition, road building, enviromental damage and habitat mitigation.

Our nation’s economy is wrecked. The eastern routes are simply far more expensive and we have a solid, safe and proven alternative in the 70-year-old Ross/Lexington line.

Please, Mr. Wright, don’t go on a spending spree with “our” credit card!

Valerie Gardner, Yacolt