AMY JENNIGES: After reading your article and interview with [Fremont Sunday Market manager] Jon Hegeman in the article "Squash!" ["Local Gym Spars with Popular Fremont Sunday Market," Amy Jenniges, April 4], I feel the need to respond. This unfortunately is not a story about the big bad gym versus the neighborhood and the market. It is a story about BUSINESS, and needs to be treated as such. Don't tell me Hegeman doesn't make money off of the market. Of course he does, just like Sound Mind and Body does off its customers.
If Jon Hegeman gets his way and closes North 34th Street, I will suffer. I pay my gym membership--$72.50 a month--and expect access to my gym. I do not get a rate reduction at my gym for being unable to access the area. Is Mr. Hegeman willing to prorate my membership and pay me off?
All I hear is how Hegeman is going to do things with the market. Frankly, if the market is anything like the Fremont Street Fair, good luck! During the fair, I cannot access my gym on the setup days of the fair, and if I try I'm usually inundated by CHAOS, and gross stupidity in traffic control, or total lack of it, and then insulted by the untrained, uninformed, and incredibly rude people who direct traffic. If Hegeman gets his way, what's to say the Sunday market won't be the same? What reassurance do I have?
Grow up, people. Fremont is no longer Fremont. We the people have allowed it to become something else--big business, with no parking.
Steve Parris, via e-mail
DEAR AMY: I live right in that area. The Fremont Sunday Market did not include and/or invite us to any meeting. The market will block access to our parking lot on Sundays. The increased crowds will also mean that I and my neighbors will spend more time cleaning up after them.
The market in the past used to send us flyers seeking our input. They have not done this recently. I am very disappointed that they are not concerned with the people their decisions directly affect.
Sean O'Connor, via e-mail
EDITOR: It seems that [Sound Mind and Body gym owner] Vicki Aldrich thinks that because she pays "$308,000" in taxes, then she owns public property. Or perhaps she believes that because she pays $308,000 in taxes, then she can buy politicians. However, public streets are public property, and that means everyone (including the vendors and customers of the Fremont Sunday Market) pays for the use of those streets. If Vicki Aldrich thinks there won't be enough parking for her private business, perhaps she could use her own (private) money to pay for [adequate gym parking] instead of trying to put hundreds of artists and vendors out of business to rectify her own lack of foresight.
Anonymous, via e-mail
EDITOR: I think it is deplorable and extremely selfish of Vicki Aldrich, owner of Sound Mind and Body gym, to think that her business can claim ownership of public street parking in Fremont and try to bully the city of Seattle into not granting a street-use permit to the Fremont Sunday Market for the summer months. In my opinion, allowing the market the use of the street for one day a week only enhances her business. As a vendor at the market, I often sell to patrons of the gym. What better place to go work out than in a community where one can satisfy so many needs--home furnishings, produce, crafts, restaurants? Do people going to work out at the gym really need to be able to park right in front? Maybe Vicki is worried that if people have to walk two blocks to get to the gym, they will have gotten their exercise and no longer need the use of her establishment. Maybe she ought to change the name to Selfish Mind and Body Gym.
Matt Pfister, via e-mail
EDITOR: There are side effects to ridding the streets of crack pipes ["Crack Pipe Crackdown," Amy Jenniges, April 11]. One is broken car antennas. They are commonly broken off, packed full of balled-up pipe screens, and used to smoke crack. Back in the early days of crack, these were known on the street as "straight shooters." Though they are inferior to a glass pipe, they are free and available anywhere there is a car. Plus, they free up some pocket change that can be used to buy a good disposable lighter.
Instead of illegalizing crack paraphernalia, perhaps we should mandate that vendors selling this merchandise include a rolled-up document placed inside the shaft of the pipe with a list of resources that may help them get off that heinous shit. Seems to me warnings and advice are often included on cigarettes and booze. Why not crack pipes too?
Tim, via e-mail
EDITOR: Perhaps the Seattle Police Department should also have all soft drinks removed from stores--the popularity of cola cans as a "crack delivery system" has perhaps been overlooked. In fact (so I've heard, anyway), you can also smoke marijuana rolled in cigarette papers, or even by putting it inside cigars! All of the business owners who sell such paraphernalia should immediately be warned, then quickly arrested.