Gay Games should pay their own way, not local taxpayers

Opinion

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In response to the OPALGA public policy chair's letter [The Gays are coming! Everybody to get from street! Viewpoints, Jan. 11], gosh, I feel I must respond in print!

I did not intentionally provide any misinformation. Nor am I part of some "misinformation campaign." Nor am I aware of any conspiracy against OPALGA or anyone. Don't sensationalize.

I don't think I said that the school changed all pre-scheduled programs and activities. I relied on the Dec. 21 Wednesday Journal article: "Parks agreed to find an alternate site. The high school also agreed to shift summer programming."

Pertaining to your other comments:

A Boy Scout Jamboree in OPRF High School is not likely.

When I was a Boy Scout, the only Jamboree I attended was at the Maywood Park Racetrack, a private venue. Perhaps they (the scout leadership) felt that it would be unfair to even request that one community's taxpayers should pay for all of the cost associated with hosting a large event. We were full of "scouts pride;" we paid our own way. Shouldn't the gay athletes and their supporters pay for all of these costs like the Boy Scouts did by hiring a private venue?

You have your suspicions about the badminton teams. I, and perhaps the Boy Scouts, would have our suspicions about a gay man with no children, wanting a leadership role and be able to bring our boys camping with him with the credibility of the scouts behind him. You didn't explain your suspicions, so neither will I.

Where is the "Gay Pride?" Foot the bill. Don't make a local high school which has failed to meet Annual Yearly Progress and No Child Left Behind standards for three years in a row, pay for your play. The school needs its resources to barely keep afloat and hopefully reach minimum standards one day soon.

My concern is about funding, misleading referendums, and taxation?#34;not about "gay bars on Lathrop and flags on Harlem" or whatever. I know my "large" lawn will not yellow because an international gay tennis player is using OPRF. But our tax dollars, supposedly earmarked for our children's education, through referendum no less, is now funding the "Gay Games" costs.

Personally, I find it funny that when someone opposes the OPALGA views or agenda, you try to portray them as homophobic. Good luck with that. With that attitude you diminish the gay community at large, in my opinion. I am not opposed to Oak Park hosting the Gay Games in the parks or at private venues.

Many of the athletes will travel thousands of miles to compete here at considerable cost. Perhaps they would even be willing to pitch in to cover the costs so they don't burden the "locals." Did anyone set up a fund, or did they feel that it was not worth the trouble?

In my experiences, most gay people are polite, courteous and even generous. If OPALGA had campaigned with the athletes and their sponsors for "local facility use" funding as vigorously as they have wooed our schools, there may be no problem with this issue at all. But then, perhaps the Gay Games organization would have held the events in some other community, where they could pass the bill off to the local taxpayers.

Eric Peters
River Forest

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