Artwork by Patrick Long

SOUR BABY JAMES

RE: Up & Coming [May 28], in which author Ned Lannamann wonders "how much of an asshole" James Taylor might be for apparently having written a lullaby about himself with "Sweet Baby James."

DEAR MERCURY—How much of an asshole do you have to be to insult someone wrongfully? Back in the day, James Taylor's brother and sister-in-law had a baby boy and named it after James. Taylor, moved by the honor, wrote a song for his new nephew, "Sweet Baby James." Back to school, Ned.

Rick D.

WHO HAS THE BALLS?

RE: In Other News [June 11], regarding the fatal shooting at Reynolds High School in Troutdale on Tuesday, June 10.

DEAR EDITOR—It is not acceptable that our children are getting shot at school. Whether it's the NRA, the videogame producers, the psychiatrists, or the media at fault... will somebody please grow a pair of balls and stop this shit?

Brian Allan Cobb

BILLING QUESTIONS

RE: "The Golden Fleece?" [News, June 11], regarding questions raised about bills to the city submitted by a high-priced "vocational consultant."

City employees are subject to dismissal for fudging on their overtime. Why should "consultants" get all snooty because someone asks questions about their bill?

posted by St Johns Flasher

TURNSTILES OF THE FOOLISH

RE: "The Neutral Zone" [News, June 11], regarding the sidewalk under the Burnside Bridge, which has been barricaded with police tape for over three months following a stabbing incident.

Most of these people came to the streets with serious problems, ranging from errant neurobiology to childhood trauma. And, well, it doesn't take too long for a troubled soul in a dismal set of circumstances to take to self-medicating, and then the problems are compounded by addictions and the often-resulting acclimation to criminal necessity. But, you know, they aren't exactly encouraged to join mainstream society and work when every year all the good work goes overseas and our cost of living keeps outpacing the incomes of service and blue-collar workers. I'm not hearing any solution to problems, just politicians playing their games, conservative jerks full of willful ignorance and self-righteous animosity, and liberal fools eagerly erecting turnstiles for their bedraggled poster children to spin through.

posted by wolkenkaiser

FREE FOR ALL

RE: "We Won (Kinda)! Now What?" [Feature, June 11], regarding next steps for LGBTQ equality in Oregon.

The limited same-gender freedom to marry is a great and historic step, but is NOT full marriage equality, because equality "just for some" is not equality. Let's stand up for EVERY ADULT'S right to marry the person(s) they love.

posted by Keith Pullman

FIRE AND SAFETY

RE: "Going It Alone" [News, June 4], regarding homeless camp cleanouts being carried out on the Springwater Corridor and elsewhere, without calling on new "cleanup contractors" charged with creating inventory records, and "Slow Leak" [Feature, June 4], regarding the drive to increase Portland's percentage of bicycle commuters.

DEAR MERCURY—Fuck you for being so PC that you don't see how two articles in one magazine can contradict each other. I am a female bike commuter using the Springwater Corridor. I have seen guys at camps yelling obscenities, making intimidating gestures, and once: pants down/dick in hand. This does not make me feel safe on my bike, especially when there are seven guys camped with dogs two feet away from the bike path. Can you not see that cleaning up the camps would make biking safer? Just because Portland Parks is acting on it instead of waiting for some bureaucratic bullshit, you criticize, then say, "We need to take action to increase the percentage of bike commuters." They are, you idiots!

Alex Nyack

AUTHOR DIRK VANDERHART responds: "I agree, except that our story only questioned why Portland Parks and Recreation isn't cleaning up the Springwater in the way the mayor's office said those cleanups would be carried out. No one wants dangerous behaviors to thrive out there."

AND ANOTHER THING, Alex: You don't always need to be right to win the Mercury's letter of the week, and you have! You get two tickets to the Laurelhurst Theater, where you and a bike date can enjoy bearing witness to a multitude of cinematic wrongs.