RE: "How to Get Shit Done in Portland" [Feature, Dec 12], and exit interview with Sam Adams regarding what he learned in his tenure as mayor.

I have observed City Council for four decades, and give Sam first place for the way he ran it from the chair in the middle. The mayor and I had a brief discussion in the lobby of council chamber a couple of weeks ago on the subject of "closing-the-loop" ordinances for Portland Streetcar, Inc. I was trying to explain that, as Commissioner of Transportation, he had brought the matter to council, as mayor he presided over its presentation, and as member of council voted "aye." But Sam Adams also is a member of the board of directors of Portland Streetcar, Inc., which makes him party to both sides of the transactions and so in a clear conflict of interest. Sam seemed to think I was accusing him of self-dealing, for he defended his actions by explaining that he had no monetary interest in Portland Streetcar, Inc., which is true, but a separate legal point. Sam Adams is not easy to deal with but I respect, even like, him. Good luck, Sam!

James B. Lee



RE: The weekly column One Day At A Time [Jan 2], in which author Ann Romano declares Chris Brown the Absolute Worst Person in the World for 2012 Ever.

I realize the Merc is likely paying her, but truly, Ann Romano needs to get a life.

 Brian A. Cobb



RE: "The Same Old Song?" [News, Jan 2], reviewing recently released drug-arrest data showing that more than half of the arrestees were African American.

Admittedly, arrest data can be skewed due to the fact that police are the ones that are doing the arresting. However, if you look at treatment data in Oregon, there may be some help in explaining why the numbers are the way that they are. The percentage of African Americans who are receiving substance abuse treatment whose primary substance of abuse is cocaine/crack is 15.9 percent, approximately 20 times the rate of Caucasians in Oregon with the same primary substance of abuse, at about 0.8 percent. While this is not definitive evidence, treatment numbers are likely much more objective, and at least give a starting place for a reasonable discussion. There are, of course, still questions about why the Drug Impact Areas were placed where they were, whether cocaine/crack is more dangerous than other drugs, and WHY do African Americans abuse this drug at such a higher rate, but again, a place to start, without throwing up the immediate race card.

Posted by Jimmy Carter

Let's not beat around the bush: White people like meth. Black people like crack. Mostly white people like heroin, but it's a mixed bag. Old Town and Lloyd Center (Holladay Park) are particularly known for dealing crack in the open. The exclusion zones overlap two known open-air drug markets where crack dealing is prevalent in town. Wow, I just cracked the case. Pun intended. Why must we always insist it's racism? It's like we have to PROVE we're a progressive city by injecting injustice hysteria into every story.

Posted by ws



RE: "Chatum Alert!" [Film, Dec 26], in which Film Editor Erik Henriksen (hereafter referred to as "Erik H."), rounds up his favorite movies of 2012.

TO THE MERC—Your much-lacking movie critic, Erik H., ranks Zero Dark Thirty the No. 1 film of 2012 because "it has the most to say." Trouble is, its message is a mix of war propaganda and torture chic. He has no critical thinking skills. He needs a change. Scientology awaits, of course. Better yet, the military is always eager to sign up conscience-less yes men. Let Erik H. satisfy his sick soul and have craven politicians thank him for his service.


SCIENTOLOGY, EH? Let's make a deal, RABBLE-A: We'll give you this week's Letter of the Week along with two tickets to the Laurelhurst Theater. However, there's one condition. You must use the tickets to attend The Master with Erik H. Otherwise, no deal.