WHINY NIMBYS, RENT CONTROL, AND DONALD FREAKING TRUMP
RE: "Shake Up the City" [Feature, April 27], the Mercury's May 2016 endorsement guide, in which we endorsed Sarah Iannarone (mayor), Amanda Fritz (city commissioner, position 1), Chloe Eudaly (city commissioner, position 4), Sharon Meieran (county commissioner, district 1), Lori Stegmann (county commissioner, district 4), voting yes on Measure 26-173 (the gas tax), and Bernie Sanders (bird czar). "It makes absolutely no difference if you agree with these picks or not," wrote Editor-in-Chief Wm. Steven Humphrey. "We just want you to listen... to the candidates who are starting a conversation Portland desperately needs to hear. And hopefully? Move the needle just a little bit in the right direction."
Thank you for your well-presented recommendations for the May election, a very important one for Portland and America.
You don't serve your candidates well, however, when you negatively refer to "NIMBYs" several times in the article. Who are NIMBYs? Are you referring to your readers—neighborhood renters and homeowners—who are out every day sweeping up hipsters' trash from fancy ice cream stores and to-go boxes from restaurants made famous by the New York Times? Who ride their bikes and support local businesses and try to live within the law and always vote for schools and libraries?
Are you referring to those of us who believe that un-sheltered camping on the streets in Portland has no place in America and that we must build shelters to provide basic dignity and safety for today's homeless? And that maybe if we stopped fighting meaningless wars, there would be money to help the nearly 40 percent of our homeless population who are drug addicted and/or mentally ill?
When you carelessly use the NIMBY brush without looking in the mirror first, you risk a surprisingly large backlash that dilutes your otherwise thoughtful candidate recommendations.
Likening a rent freeze to same-sex marriage [as Iannarone did in her Mercury interview—Eds.] will not make it easier to negotiate a change in the state law blocking local rent control (and it's a questionable comparison). Portland is not a city-state, and pretending that it is won't increase the city's influence within the state. A mayor shouting from the barricades might help move a lot of free newspapers, but also may not end up getting much accomplished... in which case, Mayor Iannarone might well choose to leave office after one term, following her friend Charlie [Hales'] example. As for "Vote for Bernie," by all means, help weaken the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party before her epic battle for the future of the nation with DONALD FREAKING TRUMP. Because what could go wrong? Ah, Merc. Merc Merc Merc. Merrrrrc.
I think voting for Bernie now is more about getting his points more play within the Democratic Party—moving it, and Hillary, more to the left on economic policies. Once it's actually Hillary vs. Trump, the smart/sane move is to vote for Hillary. (The principled move may be to vote for, oh, [Green Party candidate] Jill Stein, but it won't move the needle any.)
For the other candidates, I'm detecting a pro-rent-control stance from the Merc, which seems to run contrary to informed opinion about rent control. Is there a reason the Merc thinks it's a good idea? Yes, we need to get more low-income housing within Portland, but rent control appears to be a bad way to go about that.
Why would we push to change laws on rent freezing but not get to the source of the problem and change the law on required affordable housing? Rent freezes and rent control won't fix the supply problem. If we are going to pick a battle, shouldn't we pick the one that will make the most impact?
Oh, jeez. I thought I was going to get out of having to read your paper ever again. When I saw it was the endorsement issue, I told myself, "If they don't get both Bernie Sanders and Sarah Iannarone right, that's it. I'm not cutting them any slack for getting it half right. Bernie and Sarah, or the Mercury can no longer lay claim to being a force for good." Well, whaddya know... you nailed it. Nice going, Merc. Guess I'll be reading you for at least another four years.
You're not quitting us that easily, Chezz. To commemorate being stuck with us for another four years (sorry!), we're giving you the Mercury's letter of the week—and two tickets to the Laurelhurst Theater, which, in providing movies, pizza, and beer, is a true force for good.