TO THE EDITOR: This is in regards to Jasin Angel Fell's letter of November 13th, and in defense of Kathleen Wilson's tribute to Elliott Smith ["Not Fucked, Not Quite," Oct 30].

Elliott meant a great deal to me, and to a lot of us. When I received news of his death, like Wilson, I was in total shock and just couldn't believe it. When I finally came to grips with the news, I cried like a little girl with a broken arm. I never knew him--but felt like I did; like a close older brother I had idolized. His music was intimate and personal, sweet and loving. It was like he didn't know you, but he still cared--and that made him beautiful, and someone I will always look up to.

Suicide is a mistake, it's never the only way out, but its a mistake I will never, NEVER hold against him. Portland is lucky enough to be the loving home of Elliott. He spent a great deal of time, energy and love here. You can hear it in his music. He was and still is our hero, and a tribute to his memory in a zine should include memories of him walking the streets with us. But you bitterly call this "evidence of the homunculus, mongoloid, scenester losers who find ink to print their redundant drivel on his audial expressions of pain and personal anguish." Elliott's music was personal, why shouldn't his memorial be?

If you wanted nothing more than a list of his accomplishments, just look at the front page of The Oregonian. As for me, I want sweet memories of my hometown hero. In case you didn't notice, Kathleen was never trashing Elliott, just remembering his beauty that he never saw.



TO THE MERCURY: Usually I like your "Employee Picks," but maybe people who think Life is Beautiful is a great movie [Laurelhurst's Dan Pool, Nov 13] should be banned. It's not so much that it sucks (and that Roberto Benigni is fuckin' obnoxious), but it makes being in a concentration camp--aside from the starvation and gas chambers--look like a bit of a lark. Maybe you should ask non-theater related people for their opinions. Like people who write for crappy local papers or work at golf courses or pump gas.

Lukas Sherman


TO THE MERCURY: Where did you find this moron ["Big Chief S.O.B.," John Dooley, Nov 6]. Sounds like the Chief needs to clean up and reevaluate a few things. I'm sorry to put a damper on your story, but most of the contracting companies are front line in safety, and some of the safest firefighters are contractors. I drug test all my employees (465 every year) before I hire them. Then I do a 20 percent random drug and breathalyzer test at every call out. It's too bad the government can't do the same thing. If you truly did some viable research you'd find the numbers of government employees doing drugs and drinking on the job would be about equal to contractors. I really resent this article because it puts a bad light on all contractors.

John Bunker


TO THE MERCURY: This is a letter for the voters of Portland. I want a divorce! I thought you were different, Portland. I am so disappointed that you couldn't be bothered to vote on the PUD issue [People's Utility District]. But soon and very soon you will all get your just reward for your laziness. Instead of a public utility, we will now have a utility owned by a huge conglomerate, run by rich white men--hooray! They won't rip us off--oh, no! And it's not like they're already famous for lay-offs, pay cuts, and price hikesÉ Uhh, oops! That's exactly what they are famous for! Good job!


P.S. I'm taking the dog.


DEAR MERCURY: I was troubled to see that Collard Greens were ranked above Kale in the last issue of the Mercury's CD Reviews star system [Nov 20, in which Collard Greens were given four stars, Kale three stars, Arugula two stars, and Swiss Chard one star]. Was this glaring error simply missed in the editorial proofing process? Or are Mercury staff members completely uneducated in the process of ranking green leafies? This does not mean I will stop reading your fine "paper"--but as always I will continue to scrutinize its contents for more vegetable unjustices.


CONGRATULATIONS TO JESSE for winning the Mercury "Letter of the Week!" Though collards are clearly the superior leafy green, we appreciate Jesse's stalwart defense of kale, and will therefore award her two tickets to the Laurelhurst Theater, and two passes to see Mondo Generator at Berbati's on Dec 5!