DEAR MERCURY—In response to the article about the horrible death of Tracey Sparling ["Blind Spot of Justice?" Feature, Jan 17]: I am confident that the district attorney and the police department carried out a complete and thorough investigation regarding all of these unfortunate incidences. While my heart goes out to the pedestrians, bicyclists, and their families, my heart also goes out to the motorists involved in these cases. Let's not forget that these individuals and their families will live with these deaths for a long time.
HAMMERS & EGGS
DEAR MERCURY—I'm writing in regards to the article "Blind Spot of Justice?" [Feature, Jan 17]. I don't think ignorance of physical presence is any way to justify the driver getting off the hook here. A driver has to be reasonably cautious—you're driving and you don't see a speed limit sign, it's not reasonable to assume then that there is no speed limit! He's a trucker by occupation—he should know that there was a possibility of somebody being there. Sounds like Portland wants to go out of their way to protect the hammers from the eggs.
IN THE HOUSE
DEAR MERCURY—I feel obligated to write and clarify the false labels the Julia West House (JWH) has been given by the press and by certain politicians ["Julia Wild West House," News, Nov 29]. It has been said that JWH enables drug users and dealers, and gives them a "safe haven" to do their business. The only thing JWH enables the homeless to do is to get warm, dry, fed, and the ability to contact any other resources they may need, such as doctors, lawyers, shelters, and numerous classes to better themselves.
REAL RACISM RESEARCH?
DEAR MERCURY—[Re: "Blue Numbers," News, Jan 17] As a former police officer, from a very large city that has been leading the country in crime since the '60s, I would have to say that by and large blacks and Latinos (Cubans, in my case) commit a disproportionate amount of crime for their relative population percentage. Blacks not only commit a large number of crimes, but they tend to resist arrest with violence and/or run when stopped. I have very little experience with Mexicans, so I can't say why guns are drawn on them except that maybe meth users and dealers tend toward violence. Profiling is also a necessary tool of law enforcement, although some cops tend to get carried away, resulting in unnecessary traffic stops and arrests. However, fill a car with four young black guys, and at least one of them has a serious arrest record. In the '60s through the '80s if a cop observed a white guy with long hair driving a beat-up car, he could safely assume that there just might be drugs in that vehicle. The next time you decide to write an article like this you might want to do some real research.
DEAR MERCURY STAFF—When I turned to My, What a Busy Week! I was utterly disappointed with your flippant treatment of Martin Luther King Jr. Day [Jan 17]. If the Mercury strives to represent itself as a progressive publication, it needs to do a better job. How are we to be hopeful for the future of our country, let alone city, when the Mercury tells us to "Dream on"? I expected better.
White Liberal Reader
CONGRATULATIONS TO WHITE LIBERAL READER for setting the bar higher for progressives everywhere, and winning the Mercury letter of the week! WLR gets two tickets to the Laurelhurst Theater and lunch at No Fish! Go Fish!, where diversity is always on the menu.
DEPT. OF CLARIFICATIONS
In last week's story on the police bureau's use of force statistics ["Blue Numbers," News, Jan 17], we indicated that Independent Police Review head Leslie Stevens, and City Auditor Gary Blacker declined to comment. To clarify, Stevens responded to the Mercury's question—whether the IPR was sitting on the stats—with a quote from a report that did not answer the question, and neither she nor Blackmer responded to a follow up request for comment.
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