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SUPPING - Rant + roar

A "news broadside" labeled SUP hit the streets again recently, touting that it is the fifth issue of the publication, but the "first international edition." It's not the main story that's the interesting part, though.

There's no e-mail address or Web site listed on the double-sided 8.5x11" page, and only one name that appears to give attribution to the author. The name is Lee Bellavance, and the academic credentials listed on the page appear to match those on the staff page of the Cafe Review, a poetry journal of sorts published here in Portland. But the phone number listed for Ms. Bellavance is out of service with the helpful "no further information" available message from the phone company, and none of the links we found included an e-mail address for her either. So we cannot say for sure whether she is, in fact, involved at all. But it does print her name in a way that appears to indicate she is responsible for a partly-coherent rant, so if she's not involved with the publication, she ought to find out who is, and we'll be happy to help.

The main story (which references the Portland Phoenix in a complimentary way before barreling along into its real substance) appears to be a tale of woe the author's efforts starting a newspaper here in Portland, and facing alleged mistreatment and alleged discrimination at the hands of the Portland police and the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, as well as resistance from the public-access television channel here in town, and even the Resource Hub, a business-support organization run with public and private money.

It is mostly a rant, an appeal to "the court of public opinion," but with little evidence to support its claims. (No doubt this commentary will itself be taken as yet another slight against the author.) But the claims themselves are not so outrageous as to be the obvious work of a deranged lunatic. Rather, they seem to be the perceived minor slights against a person who is rather sensitive to these sorts of things, and who adds up a series of unrelated events to become a pattern of mistreatment.

It all appears to stem from the author's complaint that he or she was somehow "chemically trespassed upon and exposed to illegally handled pesticide products" at the Home Depot store on Riverside Street in Portland. It's unclear what exactly that means, but it seems that anyone who has walked through a perfume section of a department store may be allowed to claim they were "chemically trespassed upon."

The author's efforts to bring this alleged problem to the public's attention make up the rest of the story, and those whom he or sheencounters along the way - including a long-ago clerk at the state BMV and a real-estate agent somewhere in the past - bear the brunt of the attack.

But then, after a massive rampage against all of those forces, there is a pair of shorter paragraphs that spark real interest. In one, the author asks, "What do you think should be the punishment for someone who accidentally hits a man with his snowmobile, races away from the scene, leaves the victim to die alone in agony - and lies to investigators about it?" That refers to the 2003 death of Robert Levesque, an incident that spurred a new state law making it illegal not to report a snowmobile crash.

And the second one, "Imagine being a single woman in a 2000 plus square foot condo in Portland - and being sued by your condo association because you had a roommate?" This also purports to be a complaint about a real case.

Some injustices may be more real than others.
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