DEAR MERCURY—Regarding the article "Fare Warning" [News, July 10]: I wanted to let you know that this is a serious problem among downtown hotels. I used to work the front desk at the Embassy Suites downtown. We had to direct the guests to the bellhops outside to call a cab for them. The bellhops had a deal with local sedan companies to offer lower rates for a more comfortable ride to the airport, and the cabs were getting cut out of the equation. I had no idea until reading your article that there was a citywide regulation for a minimum of $50 for a town car between downtown and the airport. I just wanted to let you know that a former employee can vouch for your story. 



DEAR MERCURY—In response to "Fare Warning" [News, July 10]: First of all, there is no racket going on between bellhops and town-car companies in Portland hotels. If there is any "racket," it is the cab companies using the city government to bully the town-car companies out of business by forcing them to charge an unreasonable price. Second, cabs in this city can be unpredictable: not always prompt, sometimes dirty and smelly, occasionally unfamiliar with the city's streets, and even swindling people by going the slowest route through traffic or going to the wrong location with the meter running. A town car has a lot of advantages over a cab: extremely clean, roomy, and the drivers are well dressed and know where to go. With a cab, you have to call and wait, sometimes it can take a half hour for one to show up. I've worked at a downtown hotel as a bellhop for seven years and have heard countless complaints from guests about cab service.  It is not a matter of receiving kickbacks, rather it is just better guest service to rely on town cars instead of cabs. Someone needs to tell the cabbies that this is supposed to be a free country and independent businesses can charge whatever they want.

—Barry Salsbury


DEAR MERCURY—"Super-sweet" is clearly neither ["Bridge over Trouble," Letters, July 10]. "I'm so tired of this anti-Washingtonian attitude... it's not bad enough you filthy Oregonians steal eight percent of my income for your retarded, crumbling understructure." Make up your mind jackass, you can't complain about anti-Washingtonian attitudes and then dish your own special brand of nasty to the state that actually provides you a living. "Every goddamn day I wish I could stay in my state and enjoy an income tax-free life" (no doubt while enjoying a sales tax-free life here in Oregon). We wish you could stay in your state too, then you wouldn't clog up our roads by mid-afternoon and continue to create our "retarded crumbling understructure."

—Geoff Worden


DEAR MERCURY—So last week Portland's collective passive-aggressive consciousness united around the thoughtless dogma of non-violent wussitude when a cyclist beat up a driver for rushing up on him, honking his horn, and yelling out the window. The obvious assumption was that ALL conflicts must take place within the cradle of safety, but what's not considered is that the driver, Yates, instigated the fight by using the imposing presence of a 3,000-pound piece of metal to intimidate a bicyclist.

Yates, a self-proclaimed bike advocate, who probably sports a shit-eating grin while taking tandem bike rides with his family on Mt. Tabor, clearly doesn't realize that when a driver rolls up on a bicycle, honking and yelling, it puts the cyclist in danger. Even someone with Yates' Good Samaritan complex can understand that a driver who does that is perceived by the bicyclist as aggressive. If Yates is correct that the bicyclist made "other cyclists look bad" by blowing a stoplight, then his use of an automobile to intimidate that bicyclist makes them look worse. Yates' poor execution of a good deed and lack of tact was the first cause of a situation that could have been avoided by both participants. But his provocation of the unfortunate ass kicking he received should not be overlooked. Yates should not be perceived as a passive victim of an unprovoked predator. He just fucked with the wrong dude.

—Matt Laska

MATT, IF YOU WANT to see something funny, you must check out our dramatic re-creation of KATU News' dramatic re-creation of this incident on Blogtown. In the meantime, you've won the letter of the week! You win two tickets to the Laurelhurst Theater and lunch at No Fish! Go Fish!, where the only ass kicking is done by the food.