What They Really Think of Us

Subjects of The Stranger's News Coverage Regret the Things We've Said About Them

What They Really Think of Us

Kevin Kauer

LISA DANK “Potstar.”

  • comments (21)
  • Print
+ Enlarge this Image
+ Enlarge this Image
JAMES DEAL Fluoridated.
+ Enlarge this Image
Klaus Hiltscher/
KEITH MOON Aka Dominic Holden.

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 On the other hand, your dismissal of fluoridation as a 'batshit' issue shows you did not read the detailed information I provided you. See 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 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!" recommended


Comments (21) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
kitschnsync 1
Wow, Dominic does resemble Keith Moon.
Posted by kitschnsync on January 2, 2013 at 10:40 AM · Report this
Do not use Dominic Holden and Keith Moon in the same sentence. What is wrong with you, Son?
Posted by Beat Masterson on January 2, 2013 at 11:15 AM · Report this
Cato the Younger Younger 3
Maybe The Stranger should regret not unionizing their newspaper?
Posted by Cato the Younger Younger on January 2, 2013 at 1:27 PM · Report this
schmacky 4
Dank, remixed: "Anything I post on Twitter is irrelevant, because I'm a notorious drama queen and thus I should never be taken seriously. And I was totally, completely, pathetically wrong on the pot initiative. So, despite being 1) categorically wrong, 2) self-admittedly prone to unhinged public diatribes, 3) unable to apologize to Dominic properly, and 4) a person that nobody should listen to or pay attention to in any way, I still want you to pay attention to me! Because, Lisa Dank."
Posted by schmacky on January 2, 2013 at 1:32 PM · Report this
Fnarf 5
Also, do not use "Lisa" and "Dank" in the same sentence.

Nick Hanauer's right: they're going to open up at least one charter school that blows away the public schools -- because it's going to cherry-pick the best and brightest students from rich families like his, and leave behind all the problem students and poor kids and special education students and learning-disability kids and all the others who cost a fortune to educate, and turn out kids who can ace the motherfucking shit out of a math or science test. Whoopie. And the underclass will get bigger and bigger until it engulfs the state.
Posted by Fnarf on January 2, 2013 at 1:38 PM · Report this
ScrawnyKayaker 6
Frizzelle is a scion of cinema? Funny he didn't mention that in the old story about his dad's dick.

OTOH, the Rodin bit is pretty funny.
Posted by ScrawnyKayaker on January 2, 2013 at 2:11 PM · Report this
Fluoride still makes sense - even if its opponents don't - regretfully, they keep coming back for more debunking.
Posted by TYactive on January 2, 2013 at 2:54 PM · Report this
Baconcat 8
Hanauer has a deep hate of public schools? Shocker!
Posted by Baconcat on January 2, 2013 at 3:08 PM · Report this
Hanauer ought to read the Stanford national study on charters, showing that most of them do not outperform public schools. In fact, many do worse.

Too bad we don’t adequately fund public schools, which would benefit many more students.
Posted by S parent on January 2, 2013 at 3:51 PM · Report this
It's not just that charters don't do any better than regular public schools, it's that they neglect special ed, the most poor students, and English Language learners, and increase segregation. It is charters that shaft the most vulnerable students, not regular public schools. By their neglect, charters make it harder for regular public schools to serve such students. Nick needs to take his head out of the sand on this one.
Posted by chunga on January 2, 2013 at 4:41 PM · Report this
Wow Nick, I think that you used every tired old phrase in the ed reformers play book.

Speaking of "Innovative", check out Aviation High School, The Nova Project, The Center School, TOPS, our Montessori programs and the new "Innovation Schools" that are developing right under your very nose. Maybe, if you had a child in public school, you would know that there are programs that deserve not only our acknowledgement but our support, financial and otherwise.

The best part is that all of these programs receive public oversight so we know exactly where our money is going...unlike charter schools.

Speaking of money, it would be nice if you spent more of your energy ensuring that our schools were adequately funded than just dissing public schools, education and educators, none of which you know anything about.

Posted by writerinthesky on January 2, 2013 at 5:16 PM · Report this
And one other item, Nick, show me a charter school that has "blown away" "conventional schools" and I'll show you a school that has "counseled out" all of their "low performing" students to raise test scores including, actually, particularly, KIPP, the darling of ed reformers in our state.

Check out: Bay Area KIPP schools lose 60% of their students, study confirms,… and Study Finds High Dropout Rates for Black Males in KIPP Schools,… for starters.
Posted by writerinthesky on January 2, 2013 at 5:24 PM · Report this
And while I'm on the subject, why is it that the NAACP came out with a national resolution on charter schools if they work so well for minority children, the school population that you and others have apparently chosen to target as the population to "save"?

See The NAACP's National Resolution on Charter Schools:….

According to them, they don't need your kind of help.
Posted by writerinthesky on January 2, 2013 at 5:30 PM · Report this
Just one more thing and I'm out of here.

Nick's rant reminded me of a post on, a must read if you are not familiar with this website. The post is: Minneapolis: Land of 10,000 Rephorm Miracles,
Posted by writerinthesky on January 2, 2013 at 5:47 PM · Report this
Nick Hanuaer, what a fucking waste. Are you sure you weren't talking to a cardboard cut-out of Michelle Rhee jacking off Rahm Emanuel? Or vice versa?
Posted by burb on January 2, 2013 at 6:21 PM · Report this
Hanuaer is another Microsoft millionaire who has decided to read one white paper and poof! he's an education expert. He is not. He throws temper tantrums when he doesn't get his way (and if he was in the Legislature, he would do the same thing Rodney Tom is doing).

"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."

No, it isn't. Writer In the Sky gave some great local examples. Seatle Schools has a new Creative Approach schools plan that allows school communities to make change THEY want for their schools. We have had Option (alternative) schools in our district for over 20 years and all were started by parents.

He is blinded by the rhetoric out there (which he has down pat). There is NO status quo or anyone saying schools are great, why change? But that change needs to start with FULLY -FUNDING them as the Supreme Court has directed. (You'll note he said nothing about that. When you have money, you don't worry about money. The rest of us do.)

No, charters are not going to be any different here in Washington State. Maybe another court case will prevent us from going down the road that other states have found less-than-successful and incredibly divisive and costly.
Posted by westello on January 2, 2013 at 6:36 PM · Report this
Nick Hanauer is an arrogant ass. Charter schools are a crock. Utah has plenty. They do a fabulous job cherry picking students despite their "lottery".
Posted by StuckInUtah on January 2, 2013 at 8:15 PM · Report this
John Scott Tynes 18
Forget that charter school stuff. Did no one else notice that Richard Conlin got off the zinger of the motherfucking year?
Posted by John Scott Tynes on January 2, 2013 at 9:51 PM · Report this

Charter schools will take dollars from our underfunded public schools. What do you predict for the kids left behind in our underfunded schools?

The Seattle Times has reported that Bill Gates wealth just increased $7B. Why isn't he funding direct student supports for kids in poverty?

Posted by Public School Parent on January 2, 2013 at 11:30 PM · Report this
Nick Hanauer, despite his well-crafted, misleading image as some sort of "Progressive Democrat", is really the present-day, Seattle incarnation of Mr. Henry F. Potter---accurately characterized as "warped, frustrated" and one of the "richest and meanest men in the county"---portrayed in the 1946 classic, "It's A Wonderful Life."

Like Mr. Potter, we have to ask Nick Hanauer "What makes you such a hard-skulled character? You
have no family-––no children. You can't begin to spend all the money you've got."

Yet, Nick Hanauer---who demonstrates his ignorance by stupidly assuming that Stranger employees don't have children (Duh?)---righteously lectures us about the supposedly "bad" public school system that he has ironically done so much to weaken through his prevarication, slander, financial manipulation and raw intimidation. (Ask the people at FUSE---who were pressured into taking a "neutral" stance on 1240---about Hanauer's no-so-subtle threats to defund their group if they didn't kowtow to his demands that they "not take sides on the charter school initiative.")

Hanauer goes on to gleefully predict that Stranger employees will be "desperate" to get their own "future children" into charters and that he "looks forward to seeing that." As if Hanauer---the childless elitist, looking down on the peasants---wouldn't join his fellow billionaires in sending HIS kids to private, exclusive "academies", if he had any to send...

Like Mr. Potter, Hanauer hates public education because despite his vast, largely unearned wealth, in the words of George Bailey, his steadfast, honest "little man/loser" opponent, our schools are "something you can't get your fingers on, and it's galling you!"---like Potter's absolute obsession with "the Building and Loan" that he can't quite pry loose from Bailey.

And, contrary to what the effete Hanauer and his fellow Ruling Elite Buddies might believe, the war for our public schools is actually just entering the next phase. Parents have gotten wise. We now know what's going on; and we're angry. (Why do you think you could only manage a statewide, statistical tie, Nick, despite outspending your opponents by 17 to 1?)

I wouldn't gloat if I were Nick Hanauer. Once our elected officials and judges realize the horror show hidden within the 1240 Trojan Horse---including the most extremist "Trigger/Private Takeover" process in the country---they'll run from any association with this ALEC-inspired dunghill.
Posted by Pissed in the 36th! on January 3, 2013 at 3:16 AM · Report this
Sounds a little too literate to be Sean "My Excuse for Our Officers, And I Do Have A Good One" Whitcomb.
Posted by cattycat on January 4, 2013 at 6:37 PM · Report this

Add a comment

Most Commented in News