RE: “The Arts Tax Is Broken” [News, Sept 20], News Editor Dirk VanderHart’s piece about the Portland Arts Tax, which has “underperformed and underspent”—with less revenue and higher administrative costs due to the shocking fact that “it’s difficult to convince more than 360,000 people to pay $35 on top of their yearly filings.”

There is an easy solution to this: Rewrite the tax to collect the same amount of money, but to collect it either from a payroll tax or a property tax. This would eliminate all the wasted money for overhead while still maintaining the tax. That, or just cancel the thing altogether. But spending 12 percent of the money collected administering it is ridiculous.



RE: “Portland’s Almost Certainly Not Getting an MLB Team, But Let’s Speculate Anyway [Blogtown, Sept 21], News Reporter Doug Brown’s story about how Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred noted that “Portland would be on a list” if the league expands from 30 to 32 teams.

Take it from a Washington, DC, native: Portland is just the latest scam that the MLB is trying to run on various cities around the country who are refusing to play along with stadium plans. Every time a municipality would balk at the cost of either refurbishing an existing facility or building a new one from scratch, the DC sports news reporters would be fed stories about “Baseball’s imminent return to our nation’s capital!” Didn’t happen until Montreal gave MLB a hard no—and just like that, the Expos migrated south and became the Nationals.

So don’t hold your breath. Just jump on the Bolt Bus and head up to the Emerald City to watch the Mariners.



RE: “Wildfire Diaries” [Feature, Sept 20], Martha Grover’s reflection on experiencing the Eagle Creek Fire. “I’m not angry at the boys who threw the fireworks into the woods,” wrote Grover. “It was not their fault that my home is now burning as I write this. The fault lies with all of us. We don’t know what normal is. Our history is one environmental catastrophe after another.”

Actually, we are not all at fault for the Eagle Creek Fire. This fire had a very specific cause and perpetrator—an idiot teen and his parents, who transported illegal fireworks to the Gorge from Vancouver with the intention of using them. The devastation caused by this fire will not be repaired in our lifetime, and the teen, his friends who participated, and his parents should be held accountable and receive penalties to the full extent of the law, as would happen with any other crime. The attempt by this author and others to absolve these individuals is absurd. Yes, the dry forest contributed to the spread and damage of this fire, but it was human-caused and entirely preventable.



RE: “Jeff Sessions Delivers a Drawling, Hysterical, Fear-Mongering Message to Portland” [Blogtown, Sept 19], News Editor Dirk VanderHart’s account of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ visit to Portland—and his drawling, hysterical, fear-mongering speech to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.

These old men are worried that they’re going away. It’s not going to change anything, but as they age out, they’ll act out their neuroses on the populace. The good thing is they’re going to die off, and soon, while a large majority of people under 40 disagree with everything they have to say.

So do what you’re doing. Fight back. Rub their noses in their mediocrity and stupidity. Let them know that everything they hold dear will come to nothing in the end. Because that’s what drives them mad: The fact we’re going to win simply by virtue of not being old, sad, angry, and stupid. We’re going to win because decency and ethics win in the long term over anger, hate, graft, and gullibility.

Fuck off, Jeff Sessions. You’re going to die soon.

The Beans

For obvious reasons, The Beans, you win the Mercury’s letter of the week, and two tickets to the Laurelhurst Theater.

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