Thank you for our wedding announcement that appeared in your fun new column "Hitched" June 11. Unfortunately, among the innocent boo-boos in the printed version of our silly little love story, the one that gives us concern is a commonly held misconception about Down Syndrome, with which our unborn baby has been diagnosed. Down's is not a "genetic defect" but a rare chromosomal anomaly that has always existed throughout history and occurs in all races of the world equally. Part of the confusion may arise because Down's is a congenital condition (meaning present at birth); it is not genetically related in our situation and almost never is. Very simply, our child has an extra chromosome. Instead of 46, he has 47. Down's is an uncommon yet natural occurrence and should no longer to be considered a "defect." I'm not trying to be super P.C. I just think it's important to dispel this myth, especially for expecting or potential mothers-to-be.
The Red Light Clothing Exchange
Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard
COPS AND ROGUES
I was a cop for 21 years and was involved in several incidents similar to the one reported in Rogue of the Week [WW, June 18, 2003].
You did the right thing when you "did a little digging"--that's real investigative journalism--and you came to the right conclusion, too: "police critics crying harassment to draw attention away from their own guilt." It seems to me that the reporting of police incidents often skips over a fundamental factor--that the police usually wouldn't even be there if somebody hadn't already messed up badly.
Congratulations on telling the truth.
Thanks to WW's David Walker for sharing his great review of Spellbound, "Letter Rip," in the June 4 Screen section. I hope that a number of Portland middle-school students had a chance to see this documentary, as it's as close as they'll come to finding "renewed hope in the American Dream" via the National Spelling Bee.
Left unsaid in Walker's review is that no student from Portland is able to compete in the National Spelling Bee, much less win the event. That's because metro-area newspapers (Oregonian, Pamplin Communications and/or Willamette Week) have not been willing to provide sponsorship for a local event. Without sponsorship, participation is impossible for our metro students. (Estimated budget for conducting an area event and sending a delegate might run from $15,000 to $25,000.)
Year after year, the only representative from Oregon to the National Spelling Bee is from the Bend/Redmond area because their local newspaper, although its readership is relatively small in size, finds great value in sponsoring this chance of a lifetime for middle-school students.
I suggest it's time for Portland's kids to have an opportunity to participate. That's when I'll really enjoy sharing "in their pride and pain; their victories and losses...and when it's all said and done...feel good."
For more info regarding this opportunity for other of our nation's high-achieving students, go to www.spellingbee.com.
LAY OFF THE NEW GUY
I thought we were past the politics of personal destruction in journalism. Sadly, your article about Rep. Derrick Kitts ["Freshman Lawmaker Off to a Wobbly Start," June 18, 2003] just sent us back 10 years.
Regardless of a person's politics, we need more young people like Rep. Kitts to run for office who have made mistakes, been caught and have paid the price for them. Your article just serves the status quo by scaring off anyone under 40 with a checkered past from running for office. As a result, we're just going to keep getting older people without any interesting life experience deciding what the laws for the rest of us should be.
As a regular reader of WW, I was embarrassed by this article. Writing about the politics of personal destruction is not journalism--it cheapens your profession and ultimately weakens our democracy.