I found Aaron Mesh's well-researched article on Multnomah County Library funding to be quite informative, but that's because I'm skilled at untangling miswritten articles ["When Stacks Attack," WW, Aug. 1, 2012].

A few points:

First, I have been using the library computers on a daily basis for about three months. During that time, I have seen various problems there, mostly rising from the fact that the library is now being used as a social-service agency. But I have never seen any signs that anyone was watching porn, and I know that the librarians watch out for that kind of thing. Even if Mesh's lead anecdote is true, his opening for the article is entirely misleading, and you have to ask why he chose it. (His disclaimer—"That's wildly unfair, of course"—just makes him look like a moron. He didn't have to put the porn anecdote in at all.)

Second, the Multnomah County Library is not "costly" or "expensive" or "gourmet." What the article tells us is that residents of Multnomah County are paying more per capita for library services because they are getting more library services per capita. As the article makes clear, Multnomah County residents check out more books, in absolute numbers, than do the residents of much larger cities like Chicago and Los Angeles. That's why we pay more.

To put it in terms that a freelance journalist can understand, if a $6 beer is an expensive beer and a $2 beer is a cheap beer, three $2 beers are still cheap beer—just more of it. Nothing in the article showed that the county library is "gourmet."

Third, the following statement gives too much credit to the anti-tax activists: "These caps have forced government to live within means—which was their intent." The intent of the caps was to keep taxes low and government small by hobbling the taxing power, giving permanent control to the anti-tax constituency while pitting all the other constituencies against one another. And that's what we're seeing now.

We have a great library. Do we want to make it worse? That's the question on the table.

John Emerson
Southwest Portland


Jody Stahancyk and her family lost their investment in a war profiteer company? ["The Scarlet Letter," WW, Aug. 1, 2012.] They won't get any sympathy from me or anyone I can think of.

Jody has stripped many divorce defendants of hope, money and contact with their kids over the years. So what goes around comes around.

—"Don Naptolong"

Wow, what a crock of yellow journalism in the form of a hit piece.... Some poor rich investor lawyer lost money in a biotech startup and gets this reporter to flagellate those she deems responsible. This article says more about Nigel Jaquiss and Stahancyk than it does about the company.


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