Readers' Letters
by: L.E. BASKOW, TriMet inspectors Sandy Raney, Tim Moore (center) and Dick Sirianni check tickets on a MAX train leaving the Gateway Transit Center. The three have dozens of years of experience and have heard – and seen – all sorts of unusual things on Portland-area trains and buses.

My wife and I went to the B-52s concert in June at the Oregon Zoo and we weren't prepared for the downpour of rain. When we got home I realized my wallet was completely soaked - including my monthly TriMet pass - so I took everything out to dry.

Sure enough, the next day I forgot to put it back in the wallet and was asked to present my fair right after I hopped on the MAX at Fair Complex. I flipped open my wallet, holding it away from me, and the inspector told me, 'That's a nice drivers license, but definitely not a pass.'

Boy, I was so embarrassed, but since I knew what the procedure was I just handed over the drivers license and apologized for forgetting my monthly pass. She asked if this will be the first time and I told her yes, then she stated that I would just get a warning after she verified my info on the radio. Sure enough, just a warning.

The best part was when I told her even though I was going to Beaverton Town Center and would get off at Orenco Station to buy a valid ticket, she told me not to worry about it and that, if another inspector stopped me, to refer them to her and it wouldn't be a problem for the trip.

These fare inspectors have a difficult job most of the time, so the best thing to do is to be honest with them and own up when you make a mistake. I asked her what happens when people don't have any I.D. on them and she told me that they are willing to wait as long as it takes for someone they know to bring their I.D. to them.

She said it's amazing how after about five minutes, it magically shows up.

Chris Arnesen


Keep transit policies consistent

If a fare machine is broken on a bus, you ride for free (Keepin' it fare, Oct. 29). If a fare machine is broken on the streetcar, you ride for free. Why is it that if a fare machine is broken for boarding the MAX, you can't ride for free?

Consistency is key in transit.

Ross Honeyfield

North Portland

No one pays on streetcar

Fare inspection on the streetcar is almost nonexistent (Keepin' it fare, Oct. 29). The few times I've seen someone checking tickets, they're a softie with a clipboard who has no real authority and is conducting 'a survey.' Everyone I know says they feel like a fool if they pay because of the short sections on either end that you must pay $2 to ride in (entire center section is 'fareless.')

It's a recipe for confusion, especially with out-of-town visitors, because you don't have to purchase a ticket or validate it to ride as you would on most other systems.

In addition, I never like to start my transit trip on the streetcar even though it's convenient, because for $2 you only get an hour on your ticket while on a bus, you get two to three hours transfer time during non-rush hours. An hour isn't long enough to take care of even one errand. Why isn't this consistent throughout the streetcar/MAX/Bus?

I hope Tri-Met gets its act together before it extends the unintentionally free light-rail to Milwaukie.

Michael Taylor

Northwest Portland

Hip hop must meet standards

Does the Minnesota model include instructions on how the 'hip-hop curriculum' is supposed to meet Oregon state standards (District gets 'tight' with hip hop charter plan, Nov. 5)?

If I recall correctly, that is a required portion of the application for all charter schools in this state.

Mary Kusaka

Northeast Portland

Children need self-expression

The main point isn't for the children to be hip hop stars, it is for them to be able express themselves through music and creativity other than running wild in the streets (District gets 'tight' with hip hop charter plan, Nov. 5).

A majority of the time, the people who foot the bill don't understand what they are paying for, they just see the profit in it - and hip hop, whether you like it or not, is the music of today and will continue to be as long as we have struggles in our communities.

Most of all, look at our schools and how music and PE are taken out of some of the schools completely. Those are two of the most important things to kids in this day and age. Money is low, kids and families eat the worst foods for them because they are cheap. (This is) bureaucracy at its finest. The (children) don't have to be stars, they just have to have options that appeal to them. Music can be their peace of mind.

Try giving kids less options and see what happens next.

Derrick Warren

Happy Valley

Funding better spent elsewhere

'Hip Hop' High when the poor suffering taxpayer is confronted with mounting PPS deficits every week when we read about teachers having to buy supplies for classes with their own money (District gets 'tight' with hip hop charter plan, Nov. 5)?

Elijah Hasan says 'this is the type of thing Portland does,' and he might be correct. Ensuring declining academic performance has been a Portland tradition for decades.

Using funding sources that we're told will continually shrink at every government level to create a defacto segregated school is madness. When the existing school board admits that as many as 30 percent of high school graduates cannot read their diplomas; when business and industry must increasingly seek out foreign students (because of the substandard quality of our homegrown students); when parents who can afford it send their kids to private schools; and academic standards have been reduced to near zero.

And we are supposed to cheer Hip Hop High?

In the same article, proponents of this travesty acknowledge that the decades-old Jefferson performing arts/dance magnet school remains a complete failure, while 'brilliant' minds from within academia hatch a new, even more ridiculous idea.

Do these teachers have any idea of the competition in the real world? What percentage of the Jefferson dancers find work in their field of expertise? How would a person become tenured at Hip Hop High? Would counselors in 'Hip Hop' speak Ebonics?

This idea is so convoluted it's hardly worth print, but it should serve to remind the citizens how far removed our enlightened educators are from the reality that these young students will soon face.

Pity the kids. Fire the educators and board members. Give the city, county and country something to show for the money that's spent on our students. How can any sane individual think this is helpful?

Jim Speirs

North Portland

Books over Blackberries

Why does Portland Public Schools need Blackberries in the first place if they had cell phones (Critics, grumbling don't slow Smith, Oct. 22)? If they can write a grant for Blackberries, can they write a grant for some novel sets?

Maybe administrators were planning to quickly tell each other where the book sales are so they can all rush right over and pick them up for the K-8s. I think that would be fine use for their new phones.

James Clark

Southeast Portland

No money or space for K-8s

Perhaps in the last two years no grumbles have reached the superintendent's office, but there has certainly been plenty of concern from parents and teachers regarding the K-8s (Critics, grumbling don't slow Smith,Oct. 22).

Three years ago, Portland Public Schools implemented a reorganization of half the district's schools knowing that capacity was a real issue as to whether schools would be successful and meet the needs of their students. It closed a few neighborhood schools to create swing space to use for future remodel/rebuilds. But we're still waiting for that bond measure.

Then, will the inequities of an underfunded, underspaced K-8 system pitted against traditional K-5s and middle schools in the same district be solved? Regarding evening out the curriculum: Counseling, study hall and SSR (sustained silent reading) shouldn't be considered enrichment at the middle school level.

But when you don't have the money or space for art, music, technology or world languages, you have to get creative.

Susan Zimmerman-Panter

Northeast Portland

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