May 19, 2009 Published in the March 2008 issue of Portland Monthly

Money talks
I just wanted to get in touch to let you know how much I enjoyed your recent Money issue (February 2008). I am a Portlander who moved to Los Angeles three years ago, and I miss my hometown very much. I really got a kick out of reading the profiles of Portlanders and the breakdown of their weekly expenses. Driving to work in L.A. amidst a fleet of ostentatious luxury cars makes me long for the pragmatic, yet sophisticated, nature of the Northwest. Why waste your hard-earned money on an overpriced automobile when there are so many wonderful restaurants, stores, and spas to spend it at instead? It’s nice to know that people in Portland continue to put their money where their mouths are, quite literally.
Andrea Sardella
Los Angeles, CA

Terror alert
I must admit to feeling quite apprehensive when I saw “Tracking An Accused Terrorist From Oregon to Riyadh” on the cover of Portland Monthly’s February issue. All the negative press reports about Muslims, Arabs, Middle Easterners, etc. have left me feeling weary. I wonder if we will ever read an article or see a news report that paints us as decent, loving, hard-working, creative and caring human beings.
Here we go again. Another article depicting us as terrorists, I thought, as I started reading the article (“The $150,000 Question,” February 2008). By the time I was done, I wasn’t sure whether Pete Seda is innocent or guilty—that’s for a judge and jury to decide. I did, however, feel encouraged that there is a writer out there willing to portray Seda and al Buthe as human beings, to give Seda the benefit of the doubt, to leave the reader not certain about his guilt and to wonder whether he is wrongly being accused like [Brandon Mayfield] was. I’m sure you’ll be getting a lot of hate mail for that sentence in your article in which you said you like Soliman al Buthe. I wonder if you have already.
Muna Hamzeh

Big picture
If the Pete Seda story (“The 150,000 Question”) was actually “stumbled onto,” keep on stumbling, please. The decision to pursue, develop and publish this story must have been a major decision and effort for your young organization. It is careful, cautious and well-written, and wisely draws no conclusions. I hope there will be follow-ups. The piece is a flash of light in the world of corporate-driven media that do precious little true investigative reporting.
Don Hennig
Forest Grove
Baby blues
David Wolman, in his self-described “rant” against the dog-centric culture of Portland (Soapbox, January 2008), made many of the same arguments I have heard over the years from people who dislike having to deal with dogs in public. In particular, he mentioned his dislike for having to see dogs leashed outside of restaurants. Somehow, the presence of a dog decreased his enjoyment, as he “grimaced through [his] three courses.”

It takes all kinds and I am well aware that not everyone likes being forced to deal with other people’s pets.

But then Wolman finished with the sentiment that dogs, like children, should not be allowed to bother strangers and that a child’s parents would never allow them to “pester strangers.”
It is at that point that I felt I must respond to the sheer delusion of this piece. We are not pestered by children when in public? Are you kidding?

The inconvenience of dogs in public places pales in comparison to that of the unwanted advances of parents and their prodigy [sic]. Are dogs allowed to howl inside movie theaters? When was the last time that a dog drooled on your leg on a bus? Ever been on an airplane next to a dog that barked the entire way? Ever had to stand behind a dog throwing a temper tantrum in a checkout line?

I once had an urchin place his grimy chin on my table at a restuarant and sneeze in my food. His mother gave me a look as if to say, “Isn’t he adorable?”

Parents, in my experience, greatly exaggerate the appeal of their screaming nuisances when in public.
Kevin Marsman
Southwest Portland

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