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December 20th, 2006 WW Editorial Staff | Letters to the Editor
 

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

12/13/2006

     
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BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU ASK FOR

[To Arts & Culture Editor Kelly Clarke:] What a shame that your "writers" continue to write crap for theatre reviews (SEE BELOW [review of Plaid Tidings, WW, Nov. 29, 2006]). Basic rule of thumb when you review theatre it's customary to actually see the show...it's apparent that Stacy didn't. You can't review what you don't understand. Please don't tell me the dark day's of Stephen Silvis are back..you the know that wanna be director, pseudo critic, fake English accent etc. I can handle bad review as I've worked on Broadway and major cities/venues but this review set's us all back quite a bit. How do you and your staff explain that PLAID TIDINGS is sold out almost every night and has continued to be one of the biggest hit's in town for ALL ages?! Oh well. Kelly if you and the Willamette Week want to be a considered a legitimate source of news or theatre reviews for that matter your going to have to hire people who actually have a knowledge of theatre and lose the chip on the shoulder attitude otherwise the public and artists will just shut you out. Writing review just to trash for trash sake is pathetic and sad. What gives with you guys?!

[Postscript, in separate email:] One other thing..please do not alter my e-mail in the letter to the editor. If it altered or "edited" in anyway I will pursue the matter with vigor. I'm very serious about this. I own what I say/write not and I don't want my words twisted or altered in anyway.

BRUCE BLANCHARD

Director of PLAID TIDINGS

Editor's Note: Contrary to what Mr. Blanchard believes, Stacy Riger did attend a full performance of Plaid Tidings. Also, the former WW theater critic in question spells his name Steffen Silvis.

THE INSIDE LINE

Thank you for your article showing how the nation's overwhelmingly influential corporate financial rating agency, Standard & Poor's, allowed Portland General Electric to change its allegedly objective report about PGE into a document advocating a rate increase for PGE ["The Producer," Dec. 6, 2006]. But you left out two important points.

First, you did not include PGE's actual edits to the S&P report. These were not mere corrections or factual additions but were statements of advocacy in favor of its proposed Oregon $143 million-per-year rate increase. PGE management suggested to S&P that the supposedly neutral evaluation includes language stating that the "negative outlook" for PGE could be overcome, if the Oregon PUC were to adopt PGE's positions in the ongoing rate case. Here are the changes PGE's proposed to the S&P evaluation (new wording in underline, deleted wording crossed out):

"In contrast, the outlook could be restored to stable in the event of positive developments, such as the adoption of a PCA in addition to the extension of the RVM that allows for improved power cost recovery a modification to the RVM that allows for a hydro tariff adjustment and successful resolution of other medium-term risks...."

S&P incorporated these proposed PGE changes verbatim. In a later round of "comments," PGE inserted the words "sufficiently supportive" in front of "PCA," which stands for a ratemaking technique known as a Power Cost Adjustment clause. S&P included that revision, as well. These changes had nothing to do with the accurate presentation of facts about PGE but comprised pure advocacy for the PGE rate increase.

Second, you did not mention that S&P reports often play a central role in utility rate cases throughout the nation. In my 28 years of involvement in rate cases in many states, the most recent S&P report is often presented as the gold standard of objectivity, showing that the utility does (or does not) need a rate increase to avoid an S&P de-rating.

Your article shows that PGE successfully turned the supposedly neutral S&P evaluation into a document that affirmatively lobbied for the adoption of PGE's positions in the ongoing rate case, as it nears the final decision phase. Rate cases will never be the same, thanks to your article.

Dan Meek


Southwest 4th Avenue

Editor's Note: Meek is a lawyer with the Utility Reform Project, a consumer advocacy group.

...AND JUSTICE FOR ALL

I found the cover article in the Nov. 29 edition ["Two Crimes, Two Punishments"] misleading and misguided. Ian Demsky wanted us to believe that criminal defendants are treated differently because of who they are, not what they did. The examples he chose did little to further his point.

Ballot Measure 11 gives prosecutors the exclusive power to decide who gets charged, and thereby who gets sent to prison for a long, long time. Mr. Demsky apparently was titillated by the stereotype that rich girls like Cory Sause get treated differently than poor boys like Zack Driver. Facts such as where the Sause family lives, how much their house is worth, what her parents do for a living and what interesting items were found in the back of her car do nothing to further the point of the article, only to enforce the stereotype he is trying to portray.

Two stark facts differentiate these cases: First, the practices of the Clackamas County District Attorney's Office are different from those in Multnomah County, thus Measure 11 is enforced differently in each county; and second, the rich girl elected to take a plea bargain and cut her losses while the poor boy rejected a plea deal, rolled the dice and lost. His sentence is NOT the result of disproportionate justice.

You insult the hardworking efforts of the public defenders and every other lawyer who fights for the rights of the poor and underprivileged by suggesting they are responsible for any bad outcomes in their clients' cases. Unfortunately for Mr. Driver, the harsh reality is that a judge has very little discretion when imposing a sentence of one convicted under Measure 11.

Thomas Ifversen


Kahn & Ifversen Attorneys
LLP

Southwest Canyon Road

 
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