They say that good, fair journalists can have no friends. At least, we think that's why we have no friends. All year long at The Stranger, we build bridges with our sources and then burn them to a cinder. The cops, backers of charter schools, candidates... we've angered them all. For instance, take that time we broke a story about Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna staffer Kathlyn Ehl, who had tweeted "shut up and drive #asians." That embarrassing story went national and she resigned, and now neither McKenna nor Ehl want to be our friends. Or take local anti-gay Catholic archbishop J. Peter Sartain, who we repeatedly called a "bigot"—because he is a bigot. He won't be our friend, either (the asshole bigot).
The least we can do is give something back by offering the subjects of our coverage a chance to take swings at us for a change. And who would have guessed? Many of the people we've written about this year were excited to do so (but not McKenna, Ehl, or Archbishop Sartain—who is and always will be remembered as a hateful bigot).
Self-described local "potstar" Lisa Dank took issue with our support of Initiative 502—which legalized marijuana—and particularly with Dominic Holden's unflagging criticism of the medical marijuana industry, which opposed the initiative. A week before the election, Dank lit into Holden on Twitter with a hail of insults, including the hope that he is "asphyxiated," along with the contention that he is a "clit suckin LIAR" and furthermore "IS A FUCKING PIECE OF SHIT" who likely stood to profit from legalization. Asked what she regrets about The Stranger's resulting blog coverage of her insults, Dank wrote:
"We probably should discuss the fact that you guys take the blindly impassioned Twitter rants from a notoriously insane pop singer and call it news. I mean, let's be real here, it's been multiple occasions: Screenshots of my tweets come up on my Google Image search now as a result. It's pretty funny, totally TMZ. That said, I 100 percent regret not riding for legalization! As soon as I saw hundreds of marijuana possession cases get dropped post-passage, I knew that I-502 was not the devil I was made to believe it was. I still haven't heard of anyone charged with [driving under the influence of weed]. The future is bright. Viva la revolución. Viva gay weed."
Over the years, we've called Seattle City Council member Richard Conlin a freeway lover, a transit hater, a defender of the status quo, and even a "cowardly piece of shit." But he wasn't cowardly about sending us his regrets about The Stranger:
"I regret that the editors chose the wrong Camus book title for their publication, and would have preferred The Plague. Further, since seeing the photo recently of one of the first legalized mini-goats in Seattle on your front page, I regret not giving Dominic a goat for his birthday."
Nick Hanauer—entrepreneur, venture capitalist, idealist, charter schools lover—regrets that we called charter schools "divisive," "ineffective," and worse as we encouraged people (in vain) to vote "No" on Initiative 1240:
"I don't often disagree with the political positions The Stranger takes, but you guys do fuck up occasionally, and choosing not to endorse charter schools was one of those times. I regret the fact that you refused to acknowledge that we have a public school system that is insanely, deeply resistant to change, innovation, and accountability. A system that is designed almost exclusively to serve the interests of adults working in the system, and which has been consistently shafting the most vulnerable kids for decades. I regret that The Stranger, which usually stands for change, innovation, and progress, took the stupid, reflexively conservative position against those things in this case, all to protect the status quo. I regret that you proved that far lefties can be just as narrow and backward as far righties. I predict the following: We will open some charter schools, and they will blow away the conventional schools in our city. I further predict that even you—dear Stranger staff—will eventually breed. And when you do, and your children are of school age, YOU will be desperate to get YOUR kids into the charter schools that YOU have thus far maligned. And then the regret will be yours. I look forward to seeing that."
Christian Sinderman, the fingers-in-all-pots political consultant from Seattle, regrets news writer Goldy and a few other things:
"I regret that Goldy disses younger, progressive Democrats like [46th District State Representative-elect] Jessyn Farrell and [46th District state representative loser] Sylvester Cann just because they aren't as stridently liberal as their older party-activist opponents (and I regret my inability to convince him otherwise). I regret that I am older than most Stranger readers (but not as old as many of Goldy's fave candidates). I already regret the regrets I will have next year at this time. More than anything, however, I regret that I didn't realize years ago that Dominic Holden bears a shocking resemblance to Keith Moon."
James Robert Deal, who ran for lieutenant governor on a platform of banning fluoride and was endorsed by us in the primary (it's a long story involving our hate for incumbent Brad Owen), regrets that even though we endorsed him, we still said his fluoride feelings are nonsense. He sent us this link-laden missive, which you can enjoy more fully online:
"Thank you for endorsing me as candidate for lieutenant governor. I stress progressive values. See JamesRobertDeal.org/why-i-run. On the other hand, your dismissal of fluoridation as a 'batshit' issue shows you did not read the detailed information I provided you. See Fluoride-Class-Action.com/hempfest-2011. This elixir added to our water is not naturally occurring calcium fluoride. It is industrial grade fluorosilicic acid, straight out of the wet scrubbers in the smokestacks of the phosphate fertilizer industry. It contains hydrogen fluoride, lead, and arsenic, and leaches lead out of pipes. It is filth masquerading as medicine for our teeth. It is medication forced on everyone without our informed consent. Fetuses and infants are most sensitive because their cells are still dividing. See the recent Harvard study which shows that fluoridation lowers the IQ of children. Others who are highly sensitive are diabetics, arthritics, and those with kidney and thyroid disease and chemical sensitivities. So-called fluoridation makes a lot of people a little sick and a few people very sick. Fluoride, lead, and arsenic accumulate over a lifetime, and the body has a hard time excreting them. These toxins can shorten lives and make old age a demented experience. Everett wastes $300,000 per year on this vice. See Fluoride-Class-Action.com/sham. Sometimes The Stranger seems to prefer to be clever even though its cleverness makes no sense. The Stranger shows great sensitivity to other minorities. It should show sensitivity to those who are harmed—some of us right away, all of us eventually—by this fraud."
Seattle Police Department spokesman Sergeant Sean Whitcomb had a lot to regret! If you can decode all the references, please let us know:
"My regret is titled 'The lost 45.' Regrettably—to some—it has nothing to do with a handgun missing from the Seattle Police Evidence Section. The unrequited pursuit of entertainment is my regret for 2012. Take for instance the story of Monsieur Christopher Frizzelle. He got up and walked out of The Hunger Games after 45 minutes. I mean, really. No self-respecting scion of High Art American cinema would have even stepped into the theater. Just imagine the possibilities had those moments not been forever lost in the vacuum of time. M. Frizzelle, no doubt, agonizes over this nightly as he sips his evening brandy. I imagine him perched on his ottoman, vaguely illuminated by the dying embers of the hearth, an au courant replica of Rodin's masterpiece."
John Urquhart, who won his race for King County sheriff despite our endorsement of his opponent, Steve Strachan, writes:
"I regret I did not receive the endorsement of The Stranger. Compared to all my other endorsements, The Stranger was conspicuous by their absence!!... But for once, we finally found The Stranger in bed with the Seattle Times! They both endorsed my opponent!"