ONE OF DIPLO'S PROBLEMS
DEAR MERCURY: I am a DJ here in Rio [de Janeiro]. I live in a favela [a Brazilian slum], where the funk music is most popular. I think it's good [Diplo]'s helping make the funk of Brazil popular, but he is taking from favela people the music to make money ["What's Diplo's Problem," Music, Aug 3]. If he gave money back to the community/favela, this is okay, but he sent me a message sometime past about being with drug dealers and holding guns. When Wesley Pentz [Diplo] makes the decision to experience life in the favela, then maybe I can respect what he does.Zezinho
DEAR EGGHEADS: Your general stance on the arts greatly resembles the stance Disjecta has taken ["2020 Vision," Feature, Aug 3]—only we've been pushing for this central, broad, inclusive arts center for years! We agree that Festivus has afflicted our fair city and takes a vast amount of funds and resources for a very compact amount of cultural return. We need the lifeblood year-round to truly ascend from a vibrant arts town to a seminal arts city. And brothers and sisters, say it with me... the Answer is Disjecta!
Executive Director, Disjecta
THE ROAD TO IMPROVEMENT
DEAR MERCURY: After reading your article about the mayor's PDX Vision Snoozfestola, or whatever he's calling it, I'd posit that the most criminal act the federal government ever committed in our fair town was the freeway system ["2020 Vision," Feature, Aug 3]. By moving the freeway system out of town and/or underground/underwater, we could generate a new waterfront district, creating jobs, housing, and development. I don't pretend that this is an easily accomplished feat, but if we want to see increased mixed-use neighborhoods and a true 24-hour-a-day urban metropolis, it's time to start that process now.VC
DEAR MERCURY: How deliciously ironic that the first header in your "2020 Vision" rant was "It's Time to Grow Up" [Feature, Aug 3]. Please seize upon this single instance of mental clarity and live it. Tired of "geezers" running things? Run for office. Your manifesto never once hints that YOU should have to DO anything.
WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY RESPONDS: Dear Geezer. Last year, former Managing Editor Phil Busse ran for mayor. Happy? Good. Now go back to sleep.
TO THE EDITOR: Amy Jenniges aptly articulated the hardheaded truth ["2020 Vision," Feature, Aug 3]: A vague city visioning exercise will lead only to "a muddled mass of platitudes or a laundry-list of hyper-specific wants." Great cities, like 19th century Paris or Renaissance Florence or Curitiba today, are not built by thousands of unaccountable suggestions and random opinions earnestly scrawled on butcher paper at "facilitated public workshops." Great cities are built by inventive, ambitious people making things, building things, and buying and selling things. Great cities are built by decisive leadership and by financial investment—especially public investment in education, transportation, and the natural environment. If government simply creates the right fundamentals, a successful city emerges organically, propelled by a productive citizenry too happily busy to bother attending a single "coffee talk" or "vision potluck."
David L. Bragdon, President, Metro Council
KEEPIN' IT CUMMIN'TO THE MERCURY: ["2020 Vision," Feature, Aug 3] I'm still real new to town, so I may be way off base, but I have a few suggestions as to some possible causes for the lack of "diversity" ["2020 Vision," Feature, Aug 3]. (1) Portland Public School System's low graduation rate for black students. (2) Portland Police Department's longstanding and well-documented attitude toward, and relationship with, the black community. (3) Portland's reputation as "the most racist city in the West." C. RodgersCONGRATULATIONS TO C. RODGERS, and welcome to Portland. You win the letter of the week, which gets you two tickets to the Laurelhurst Theater and $30 to No Fish! Go Fish!, were you can always envision eating and drinking something delicious.