MAXED OUT

DEAR MERCURY—It's all good and well that you write about the problems with TriMet, but it occurs to me that you don't even ride it ["Fare Check," Feature, Aug 28]. The problem isn't the buses, it's the MAX. It either doesn't validate, won't accept change, or won't accept dollars bills. Then there are the slimy little piss ants that consider themselves TriMet cops. They force people who are already paying exorbitant taxes to pay for their inadequacies. They say they don't have enough money, but they are getting bogus fines left and right.

—KJL

A TRIAL INDEED

DEAR MERCURY NEWS EDITORS: I'm writing regarding a story published in this week's Portland Mercury, "The Lost List" [News, Sept 11]. In the story, Mr. Davis wrote that Mr. Dwayne Jones was charged in March with felony Possession of Cocaine and that I sentenced Mr. Jones to six months in jail without a trial. In fact, Mr. Jones entered a plea of guilty to the charge on March 20, 2008 and was sentenced to probation with a condition that he enter and complete a drug treatment program. By entering the plea, he chose to give up his right to trial. Mr. Jones did leave the program in June and was charged with violating that condition of his probation. I sentenced Mr. Jones to six months in jail after finding he violated his probation, but did authorize early release to an inpatient treatment program. Thank you for your continuing coverage on the important public safety issues facing our community.  

—Cheryl A. Albrecht, Circuit Court Judge

TEEN SEX POSITIVE

DEAR MERCURY EDITORS—I recognize that the style of writing in the Mercury is often tongue in cheek. However, as someone who cares deeply about sex education and has worked for three years as an HIV test counselor and sex educator, I would like to comment on the Teen Sex Edition [The Mercury's Back to School Issue: Teen Sex Edition! Feature, Sept 11]. Dan Savage ["Camping Out"] and Sarah Mirk ["Pop Quiz!"] both wrote articles that were informative and sex-positive, containing useful information by which people, particularly young ones, could broaden their minds on the topic of sex. Though Alison Hallett in "Boning 101" points readers in the right direction: masturbate, practice using condoms alone, and read the Guide to Getting it On!, she has a restrictive tone, telling people what not to do. We have enough sexual "don't" in our culture, and I wish the article had taken on a more sex-positive tone, i.e., telling the reader that they will increase the satisfaction and safety of their sexual interactions when they take some time to masturbate and acquaint themselves with what turns them on. From the tone of the editors and writers of "Anybody Seen My Virginity?" I can't tell that it's undesirable or desirable that teenage girls might not know themselves sexually ("An Audible Pop") or the male partner would not have any interest in the female partner's pleasure ("Coming Home"). You fall short where you could have used responses to these stories to educate and open people's minds somewhat further. Thank you for your time and I look forward to seeing some great steamy articles in your Valentine's edition.

—Tanuja Goulet

CONGRATULATIONS TO TANUJA for helping to turn some of those "don'ts" into "dos." Tanuja gets two tickets to the Laurelhurst Theater and lunch at No Fish! Go Fish! where sex positivity does not extend to holding up the bathroom line.