DEAR MERCURY—In response to Lisa Cobb's letter taking Jonathan Maus to task for having the audacity to state the obvious (to those of us who LIVE in North Portland) [Letters, Feb 8]: When I first moved to Portland seven years ago, I lived in the NE area when it was still predominantly black. One of my first social memories soon after I moved here was being at a party in SE and listening to an early-20s post-college white hipster chick say, "The thing that I don't like about Portland is the lack of diversity." I asked, "What part of town do you live in?" And of course she lived in the Southeast. "Well," I asked quite seriously, "if diversity is so important to you, why don't you move to my neighborhood?" Yup, it's great to announce that you want more black people in your city so you can pat yourself on the back for being so progressive, but you better not actually live near them. Ms. Cobbs, if Mr. Maus is guilty of anything, it's not being a politician. Yup, he didn't use all the perfect words to avoid saying what is actually happening. You might condemn him for not doing a better job of parsing his words, but in the meantime, he's meeting with community leaders, organizing, and bringing real people to the table.



TO THE MERCURY—Matt Davis' report on "race bias" makes a misleading statement [News, "Race Bias?", Feb 1]: That the latest review of Portland Police shootings and deaths in custody (the PARC report) "shows that cops are shooting less people." It is true that when Auditor Gary Blackmer's Independent Police Review Division released the report, the auditor and IPR Director Leslie Stevens flashed a graph showing the number of shootings from 1997 to 2006. They claimed that the average number of shootings has decreased as a result of the first PARC report's release in 2003. [But] the graph has nothing to do with the report—PARC did not say that their recommendations were responsible for a drop in police shootings. This claim only appears in the auditor's cover letter. In total, the average number of deadly force incidents in the last 10 years was seven—which is how many there were in 2006. So even if the numbers were lower in 2003-2005, they climbed back up—despite the PARC report. We are concerned that an elected official seems to be diverting attention from substantive issues by manipulating numbers.

Dan Handelman, Portland Copwatch


DEAR MERCURY—Who dares to say such horrible things about our Portland Rose City Roller Girls [I, Anonymous, "Roller Dirty," Feb 8]? My husband (Cupples Skate) is a coach and referee for the Rose City Rollers, and let me tell you firsthand these people work their asses off! A "FAD," huh? This year marks number two for our Rose City Girls, so call it a fad if you like but roller derby is here to stay!

Nellie Cupples


DEAR MERCURY—I am a mother of three, a medical professional, and have been happily married for eight years. I'm also a proud member of the Rose City Rollers. It's unfortunate that the anonymous author of the slanderous roller derby letter missed what is really going on here and how exciting it is [I, Anonymous, "Roller Dirty," Feb 8]. I challenge the author to attend a practice sometime. Just being able to skate isn't enough. Sure, we wear short skirts. My team ordered cheerleading skirts because they are made for sports. It's always fun to see how the ladies personalize their uniforms and how they incorporate their stage personas. Another bit of misinformation is the description of our crowd. There are a few drunk guys, but there are also husbands, children, mothers, girlfriends, best friends, coworkers, grandparents, families, ladies having a girls' night out, young hip Portlanders looking for something different on a Saturday night, an older crowd reminiscing about watching roller derby in the '70s... the list goes on and on. I'm sorry you had a bad time, Anonymous. To each his or her own. Obviously, judging by our ticket sales and league membership, there are people who enjoy it. If you aren't into it, move on and find something that speaks to you, but it's silly to vent so much negativity on a sport that you know nothing about and, apparently, aren't interested in.

Annie Venom, High Rollers

CONGRATULATIONS TO ANNIE VENOM for her letter defending Portland's love of roller derby. For standing up for her beliefs, Annie wins two tickets to the Laurelhurst Theater and lunch for two at No Fish! Go Fish!, where "hate" is never on the menu.