Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Who Writes this Stuff Anyway?!
Dear WEN,

I had to chuckle when I read the article entitled "New PAC to Promote Taxpayer Bill Of Rights". (West End NEWS, July 21-August 2, 2006). The article seemed interested in a bit of promotion itself, particularly in terms of how it portrayed WEN contributor Steven Scharf. In fact, I had to wonder if Mr. Scharf contributed the article himself, as it seemed a curious bit of shameless self promotion.

"Affordable housing" activist? Hardly. Mr. Scharf recently criticized me online as being only interested in affordable housing for low and middle-income Portlanders - Mr. Scarf insisting that wealthy residents deserve that advocacy as well. A completely inexplicable and illogical assertion by Mr. Scharf - until you realize that he is, in fact, a right-wing Republican activist who disingenuously proffers a public image of being a political moderate.

I must say that I find it ethically specious for WEN to print articles which promote the public relations interests of its contributing writers. It's bad enough that I have to be assailed by ads for a self-loathing, anti-gay bigot and right- wing extremist like David Babin on every other page - I'd thank you to not promote your own right-wing contributing writers in ways that mask their true ideology and intent.

The so-called "Tax Payer Bill Of Rights' is the greatest attempt at fraud ever perpetrated on the people of Maine. I understand that Scharf is a contributing writer, and Babin a paid advertiser. But please don't use articles to promote their anti-poor, anti-middle class agenda. Thank you.

James Melanson

Response to ‘You Could Get Raped and Murdered...’
Dear West End News,

I read with interest the front page piece you ran about the scary fella on Mellen Street that encountered on a recent Sunday morning. (WEN 7-21-06) Your description of this man leads me to believe that he is familiar to me.
While I completely understand that he is frightening, and has the potential to be dangerous, I must take umbrage with the tone of your article. In our well intentioned and politically correct era, it is still amazing to me that so little is understood about alcoholism, and the insanity that accompanies it. The article made for good drama, at the expense of one who is victim to a fatal and progressive illness.

While I do not excuse the irresponsible actions of the inebriated under any circumstance, I believe that it is unfortunate that those who suffer from active alcoholism are still viewed with such fear and misunderstanding, rather than sympathy and compassion.

Bob Bergeron


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