A SLICE OF REALITY
RE: You, and your terrible driving.
DEAR PORTLAND DRIVERS—Here's a slice of reality: The majority of you are a bunch of assholes. The daily Portland commute has become combative, stressful, and deeply unpleasant. There is a complete lack of courtesy on our roads. News flash! It rains here. Sometimes it even snows. Learn how to drive in it! People either drive too slow or much too fast. And put your freakin' cell phone down! Hey, here's an idea: Check occasionally to see if your headlights actually work! Every car is equipped with a turn signal—use it!! And you arrogant bicyclists and oblivious pedestrians don't get away without a scolding, either. You just add to the chaos of the daily commute! Oh, to be able to take public transportation to work and back—but that personally won't work with my end destinations. So, I grit my teeth and gird my loins for the daily stress and battle. Tomorrow, when you get in your car, perhaps give some thought to your actions. Try leaving a few minutes earlier so you don't have to race to your destination, and do your best not to endanger your life and the lives around you!!
PORTLAND, WE HAVE A PROBLEM
RE: "A New Hope for Affordable Housing" [News, Dec 16], regarding the possibility of lifting Oregon's ban on inclusionary zoning in 2016.
DEAR MERCURY—While tenant activists at PSU certainly support efforts in Salem by legislators to abolish the ban on inclusionary zoning (leaving Texas as the last place with such a ban), we question whether that will, by itself, fix the current housing emergency in our state. As someone who has attended the community forum on housing at Community Warehouse and the Oregonian's so-called housing forum, it appears that while the city states there is a "housing emergency," the current state of play seems to be simply "Let's do more research" on why there's a housing shortage. This is standard bureaucratic placating. Is there an "emergency" or not? Many of us absolutely believe that there is a goldmine in real estate speculation in Oregon, and that there are tons of folks who had housing who are now sleeping outside, at R2DToo, or at shelters. Do we need a citywide rent strike now to stop the evictions? While officials from Charlie Hales to his #1 honcho, Josh Alpert, and the only millionaire on the Portland City Council, Housing Commissioner Dan Saltzman, want to do "more research" about housing—tenants, on our own, can organize in a militant way. Think boycotts and strikes, along the lines of César Chávez, Nelson Mandela, Dorothy Day, Dr. King, and Gandhi, to force change now! There is a housing march for justice set for January 15, and that might be a place to organize a citywide rent strike to force the comfortable and the affluent (this would include the current mayor and his cohorts) to take action. Along with inclusionary zoning, we also need to legalize rent control now in Oregon! We've been "conditioned" in Oregon to "be polite" and "be happy with handouts" from those in power. What would folks like Washington and Jefferson do in the midst of a "housing crisis?" Would they call for "more research," or, like we can do here and now, would George and Tom take direct action until every person is housed?
Lew Church, organizer, Tenant Rights Project
HELLO, MERC—Now that developers are turning old properties into new apartment units with rents as low as $800 a month in Northwest Portland, perhaps the housing crunch will be a thing of the past. The kicker is that for the $800 a month what you get is 150 square feet—that's right, ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY SQUARE FEET of living space. But then, when you think of all the money you'll be saving it ain't so bad, right?? God bless capitalism!!!!
JUST THINK of all the money you'll save on tickets to the Laurelhurst Theater if you keep winning Mercury letters to the editor like this, Marco! There's plenty of room to stretch out in one of their theaters, which also feature complimentary heating and tap water.