LETTERS TO THE EDITOR 

HANGING ON THE PHONE

RE: "The Right Kind of Help" [News, Aug 30], regarding the city's efforts to reduce the number of suicide-related calls that end up being handled by police.

How many people does this [nonprofit Lines for Life] get on the phones? One-hundred-and-fifty-thousand dollars probably covers two people. We already have Project Respond that is supposed to save lives, but they are so overbooked that it can take hours for their team to show up, even if you can get one of them on the phone. Even if the police are not the FIRST call, how many times are they the second call after the first call is not answered or busy?

-posted by Patrick Nolen

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DENIS IS A BOY, BUT WHATEVER

RE: "Portland's Latest Water War" [News, Aug 23], regarding controversial plans to fluoridate Portland's water.

I applaud Denise Theriault for her article on water fluoridation. However, it should have been stated in the article that the initial startup cost for the poisoning of our water is $5 million, and the annual maintenance is $500,000. That would have gotten more attention and more people to the meeting to help stop this travesty.

-Bobby Lacy

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UN-FARE

RE: "Activists Stage Funeral for TriMet Bus Lines" [Blogtown, Aug 30], in which reporter Sarah Mirk attends a protest against TriMet's increased fares and reductions in service.

The monthly pass fare hike is what's stunning to me. That's a 23 percent hike for reduced service, for reduced expediency, and for a more crowded, stressful trip overall. If you are healthy and you can afford it, get a bike, and get one now. Get some decent rain gear, get some wool socks, and stick it to TriMet all winter long. You will be in much better shape, you'll be less stressed out, and you'll be sending a message to TriMet that they can't solve all their mismanagement problems on the backs of the poor and middle class. You don't just have to meekly hand over your debit card or $100 bill and shake your head as you bear down on another month of depressing TriMet commuting.

-posted by lyle

I can't understand why TriMet doesn't actually have a system for the lightrail and MAX that requires riders to pay before they get on. You don't hop the bus without paying, why don't they have the same standards for the trains? Seems like the money they'd recoup from everybody paying a fare would pay for the cost of implementing turnstiles and/or employees at each station.

-posted by jriley

jriley—I've done the math on their recent increase in enforcement: Based on the 2009 salary numbers for fare inspectors, TriMet spent $654,468 on enforcement. Based on the figures they released in August, they made $327,017 in revenue from tickets. In other words, the entire plan could be revenue negative, unless people are so scared to ride without tickets that they've started buying them. Using a two-hour all-zone fare, 53,387 people who would not have bought a pass at 2010 levels of enforcement have to buy a pass now. Enforcement isn't really the answer here. The problem is that TriMet has an unstable funding source (payroll taxes). If TriMet's funding was based on property taxes, they would have a more accurate way to project future revenues.

-posted by falafelstomper

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BEARDS, BURNSIDE, BOOBS

RE: "'Beards for Breasts' Photoshoot Leads to Standoff on Burnside Bridge" [Blogtown, Aug 29], regarding a bizarre episode in which police shut down the Burnside Bridge after receiving a report of a group of bearded men with an assault rifle. It turned out to be a photoshoot for a calendar raising money for breast cancer research.

See, people think it's all fun and games, but as this episode shows, when amateurs do marketing, things can turn deadly.

-posted by Euphonius

I think the police response was entirely appropriate, however... actually charging them with a bullshit charge in order to justify the SERT unit being deployed? Fuck that.

-posted by Graham

Thirteen guys with beards got into trouble? The last time that happened, Leonardo da Vinci got a painting out of it.

-posted by Todd Mecklem

THANK YOU TODD for giving us the beard joke of the week! Keep 'em coming. We're sending you two tickets to the Laurelhurst Theater, but you have to promise to use them on a film that features one or more characters with beards. Cool?

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