RE: "Camp-a-Mole" [News, Aug 7], recounting the mounting protest outside city hall after Mayor Charlie Hales ousted it from the sidewalk.
DEAR EDITOR—My out-of-town customers often ask me why Portland has so many homeless. Resources for the homeless are like freeways: Build it and they will come. Kudos to Mayor Hales for restoring some dignity to the grounds of city hall.
Brian Allan Cobb
RE: "How to Run a Record Label in 2013" [Music, July 24], profiling several small, independent Portland record labels and their current models for success in a changing industry.
DEAR EDITOR—I think that it was really good for you to educate the public about the struggle of small labels. I think it is good that some of these smaller artists have a place to go while they are working to make it to the bigger labels. Support from the community for local artists is one of the things I like most about Portland.
RE: "The Empty Throne" [News, Aug 14], regarding the assignment of Commissioner Dan Saltzman to the city's housing bureau in place of Nick Fish.
I remember visiting the Occupy camp mid-day on Saturday of the final weekend in 2011. Nick Fish was there, trying to arrange temporary housing for those in need. I was very impressed by his thoughtful approach, in the trenches, so to speak, on a weekend. I'm disappointed, but not surprised, that [Mayor Charlie] Hales switched the bureau away from a housing activist commissioner and is taking on more of the leadership role himself. It was clear during the mayor's candidacy—and his response to forum questions about the Occupy movement—that he would take the Portland Business Alliance-favored approach to "cleaning up" the streets.
posted by Nancy Hedrick
RE: "The Good Fight" [Feature, Aug 14], documenting the efforts of the Portland Police Bureau and others to staunch gang violence in the city.
DIRK [VANDERHART]—I thought your article on gang violence was one of the best in many years. I thought you honestly addressed the challenges that police officers and gang-outreach workers face every day on this problem. Thanks again for your efforts to inform the public as well as our elected officials on this continuing public-safety issue.
[Retiring Assistant Police Chief] Eric [Hendricks]
This problem is never going to get better unless there is a better alternative. We could have better employment opportunities. Jobs that allow workers to drive the nice cars, a decent crib, and money left over to buy bling. The cheapest way is to teach the little delinquents not to victimize poor people, and instead to go for where the real money is.
posted by Bea_Foroni
Race issues in this country are still alive and well, even after the first black president, as the Trayvon Martin case illustrates. We may argue about where the line between individual responsibility and societal responsibility should be drawn, but there is definitely a problem. Poor, urban blacks have failed to assimilate into the larger culture and are stuck in a cycle of poverty and violence. Daniel Patrick Moynihan wrote a famous report in 1965, tracing some of the causes back to ghetto culture and the absence of the nuclear family. That's still true today, and is the reason why the cops are now arresting the children of the people they used to arrest in earlier decades. The basic social lessons that everyone should learn are: (1) finish high school, (2) get a job, (3) don't get pregnant until you are married, and (4) don't do anything illegal. Individuals need to follow those basic rules. And society, through its laws and institutions, should help facilitate the following of those rules. Education, employment opportunities, birth control, welfare reform, criminal justice reform, and drug legalization are some of the levers that can be used.
posted by Ed
NUMBER THREE on your list of life lessons seems technically a little outdated, but we get your meaning, Ed. You win two tickets to the Laurelhurst Theater for this letter of the week, where the management would appreciate your not getting pregnant there.