RE: "You're Riding the Bus Wrong" [Feature, Sept 23], a list of all the ways you're riding the bus wrong.

ERIK [HENRIKSEN]—You nailed it writing tips [for] properly riding a bus. I was a "professional pick-up artist" for 31 years (AKA a TriMet bus driver). Now I ride the bus or bicycle. The climbing two steps was perfectly mentioned, as was do not use the bloody phone on the bus. I called them "yell phones." Another would be, let folks on first that have [their] pass or tickets ready, rather than fumble with your change [and] delay the already-tight schedule.

Terrible Tim

DEAR MERCURYWhat an asshole Erik Henriksen turned out to be! I would wonder if he were joking, were it not for a number of legitimate complaints: standees who cluster at the front of the bus, blocking new riders' entry, and those who take up a second seat with their stuff, even when seats are scarce. But news flash, Erik: Lots of people—even people in their teens and 20s—still talk on their phones, and as long as they're not too loud, there's no reason to shut them down. And when I take an aisle seat even though the adjacent window seat is vacant, it doesn't mean, "Don't sit here," but simply that I'm getting off soon and don't want to have to climb over someone when I'm in a hurry to exit. What takes the cake, however is the demand that you exit before or after your regular stop if you're the only one who wants to get off there. As Erik himself might put it, it's a public bus, not your fucking limousine; it makes a lot of stops. GET OVER IT.

Helen Lipson


RE: "Surprise! It's an Emergency!" [Hall Monitor, Oct 1], regarding the mayor's announcement that the city is formally experiencing a housing emergency.

DEAR MERCURYIs Mayor Charlie Hales seriously conflating the housing crisis issue with Portland's homelessness concerns? While I can see how the two issues may appear to be connected, they're truly vastly different. As far as I've observed in my time in Portland, homelessness, or houselessness, is more often than not a symptom of multiple systemic failures: access to mental health treatment and criminalization of the mentally unstable, barring people with criminal records from public housing, lack of public addiction treatment services, failure by the federal government to house and take care of disabled war veterans, etc. The "housing crisis" in Portland is a symptom of gentrification going unchecked by the state legislature [that] bans inclusionary zoning and allows for 30-day no-cause evictions. So unless the mayor is planning on putting evicted renters into homeless shelters, which I hope is not the plan, it'd be nice if he quit conflating the two issues to appease what's left of his nonexistent constituency. I can't help but feel like this is a reactionary stunt to throw cash at homelessness (and likely displace it), to kowtow to businesses and out-of-towners frightened by downtown Portland's longstanding transitory populations, than to help working-class renters or the houseless.

Carlos Covarrubias, Oregon CAT Renters' Rights Hotline Volunteer</p>


RE: "Magic Friends" [Feature, Aug 19], the Mercury's annual Pet Issue.

DEAR MERCURY—It's been about a month since I got your so-called "Pet Issue," and it just hasn't worked out. Having never kept a publication as a pet, I was intrigued by the idea announced on the cover, and looked forward to bonding with my new Issue. But all he does is [lie] lifelessly in his cage, getting shat on and torn into nesting materials by my other captive pets. I went back to the bar where I got him and asked for my money back, but they 86'd me. I'd seriously rather just have my old ferret back. I dunno, maybe I have pet issues.

Roy Smallwood

IT'S BEEN a long time since we heard from you, Roy. We can't believe you've been planning this joke for a whole month—so cool! You win two tickets to the Laurelhurst Theater for this week's Mercury letter of the week (no pets allowed).