RE: "Out of Control" [News, June 17], arguing the potential benefits of adopting rent control policies in Portland.
HI MERCURY—An old friend/sparring partner of yours here, recently returned to Portland after six harsh years in San Francisco, where I trained as a tenants rights counselor at the SF Tenants Union. I am happy to see you countering Willamette Week's odious "Grow Up, Portland!" pro-development coverage, though [differentiating] certain aspects of rent control [can be confusing]. The rent cap, which restricts annual rent increases to one or two percent of current rent, is a feature of San Francisco's version of rent control, which covers buildings constructed before June 1979. Vacancy decontrol is something entirely different. It is a significant exception to rent control that allows landlords to jack rent up to market rate as soon as a tenant vacates a rent-controlled unit—whether voluntarily, due to death, or one of the insidious loopholes that unscrupulous landlords find, such as the Ellis Act. Vacancy decontrol, therefore, far from being one of the "pluses" of rent control in SF, is actually its most serious flaw and also the reason that tenants get "stuck" in their rent-controlled unit for fear of losing their protections. Good work, and please don't believe the propaganda on the other side: The lesson of SF is that rent control needs to be expanded, not repealed.
RE: "First Taste at Harvest at the Bindery" [Blogtown, June 9], a first impression of the completely plant-based menu of a new restaurant. It doesn't call veganism a "lifestyle choice," though... so who knows.
DEAR MERCURY—Veganism isn't simply a "lifestyle choice"—it is the highest form of enlightenment achievable by human beings. No appeal to nature can excuse the act of disrespecting another living being. There are only two reasons to consume meat and dairy, and that is out of necessity for survival, or out of selfish desire. To live up to our potential we must spread freedom and compassion when and where we can—not to enslave and use other kinds of animals for our pleasure. Consuming corpses is completely unnecessary, and the reality of the matter is that there are more than 100 billion animals and trillions of fish being slaughtered each year for food, which is completely unsustainable and the primary cause of chronic health diseases, which are the most common cause of mortality, and all the while there are people starving, yet the livestock are being fed every single day. Hunting is not an ethical way of keeping populations under control for animals or humans, and natural ecosystems should be allowed to take their course until humanity can ethically intervene.
RE: "Et Tu, LaMarcus?" [Everything as Fuck, June 10], in which columnist Ian Karmel discusses coping mechanisms in the event of LaMarcus Aldridge's departure from the Blazers.
DEAR MERCURY—Ian Karmel is great, but he's being Portland as F*ck by referring to the Trail Blazers as "a contender." The reality of the situation is that the Blazers are a second-tier team who have not been close to winning the title since 2000. Not sure what kinda magic dust they put in the water here to make people think otherwise, but it sure is effective!
RE: "My, What a Busy Week!" [June 17], in which we selected the Cider Summit as one of our weekly event recommendations, accompanied by a stock photo.
DEAR MERC—I appreciate your promotion of the Cider Summit. However! The apples in this photograph are the old familiar Yellow Delicious, Granny Smith, and Red Delicious. Thirty years ago, the average American could have reasonably believed that those were the only apples, and pilsner was the only beer. Times have changed. Next year I would like to see a photograph featuring some traditional cider apples. May I suggest Golden Russet, Kingston Black, and Wickson? Cider! :)
GOOD EYE, ISAAC, good eye. Your attention to apple details has earned you this week's Mercury letter of the week, with two tickets to the Laurelhurst Theater, whose films often benefit from an observant gaze.