TO THE EDITOR: I thought Harriet Fasenfast's take on corporate business practices was pretty interesting: they create low-wage jobs for their employees and keep all the profits for themselves ["Get Off My Block," News, May 29, regarding Ms. Fasenfast's efforts to keep corporate businesses off of Alberta]. I guess I missed the paragraph explaining how Groundswell was a co-op and profit-shared with its employees. If that's the case, you rock. If not, go dry up and take your empty aphorisms with you--a low-wage job is a low-wage job.



TO THE EDITOR: I support any effort to stop corporate hegemony and hope that Harriet Fasenfest is successful in her efforts to keep Starbucks off Alberta. However, while reading "Get Off My Block!" I was reminded of "The Coffee Shop War" [News, Feb 13]. In that article Phil Busse quotes the sole African American participant in a discussion on the subject, which took place earlier this year at Groundswell. "To that black barbershop that has been in business for years[Groundswell] may have been a Starbucks," the unidentified man said.

In fighting encroachment by corporations, the hero and villain are obvious, but identifying one's own complicity in the dilution of a unique community is something few seem willing to do. At a Q&A session at the Kennedy School last year, one young, white Alberta resident after another stepped up to complain about gentrification and displacement. What was missing from each person's testimonial was any acknowledgement of his or her own culpability--of the Starbucks within him or herself, so to speak.

The continued replacement of black-owned businesses with white-owned ones and the exodus of African American residents from this historically black neighborhood will result in the loss of one of Oregon's few black communities. I urge everyone in the community to take responsibility and develop a strategy to prevent this loss.

Beverly Spzielczuk


TO THE MERCURY: I read your article ["The Perv Patrol," May 29, in which webmasters trap "wannabe pedophiles" who think they're coming on to 14-year-olds], and it piqued my interest enough to investigate their website. What I found was truly appalling, and I'm not talking about the "pedophiles."

The people who run that website are sick and sadistic. They start the "conversations" without saying who contacted who. The guys I read were probably lonely and bored and willing to talk to a girl about sex. The important thing to remember is the "girl" IS TALKING LIKE A SLUT, egging them on, asking for their numbers and pictures. You can tell from the transcripts the guys are often trying to get away. One guy even tried to take the conversation away from sex and the "girl" kept bringing it back. That poor guy posted on the sites "reply forum," begging them not to ruin his life, telling them he's a father, that he would never talk to young girls again. They only made fun of him. Those website people should have been abortions.

Just for the record I'm a 43-year-old professional gay man who dates guys in their late 30s-40s. I am not defending pedophiles. However, a 14-year-old girl who talks like this is consenting despite what the law says.



HOWDY! I just want to give kudos to where it's due and that's to you. I am ho-hum bored with WWeek and the Mercury is fresh and fun. Thank you for existing in my favorite city (Portland). Your writers are hee-larry-us (when they're trying to be) and informative to boot. Anyhoo, I think it's nice for people to get compliments 'steada just complaints. So here ya go y'all are cool!


WHOOPEE! It sure is nice to get a positive response after producing three years of filth, lies, and sadistic behavior. And that's why Meredith wins the Mercury "Letter of the Week!" and two tix to the Laurelhurst Theater! She loves us for who we are. (Sniff!)