EDITOR: Josh Feit didn't get his facts straight before launching his purportedly tough questions at the housing levy [Five to Four, Sept 5]. His premises were so erroneous that what he thought of as tough-minded was instead knuckleheaded.

First, and most seriously, Feit mischaracterized the homeownership program as being race-based and unavailable to white people. There are no barriers to serving white people in the levy. People who complain about nonexistent injustices to whites need serious assistance in the clue department.

Leaving aside Feit's disinformed race-baiting, he didn't do other basic homework. He criticized the homeownership program without bothering to realize that more than 40 percent of the levy's rental programs serve the same income groups as the homeownership program. Furthermore, providing a family with homeownership assistance is a lot cheaper than building them an apartment unit.

Critics of homeownership assistance would rather spend more money to keep a lower-middle-class family stuck in dependency than spend less money to give them a step up. Economically, this makes no sense. It only makes sense if you irrationally adhere to the creed that buying a house in Seattle should be possible only for people who make big bucks or whose parents have the disposable means to act affirmatively on their behalf. If you have a more progressive vision for our town, you should support homeownership assistance.

Despite Feit's insinuations to the contrary, the new levy has a much greater focus on lower-income households than the expiring levy. The new levy earmarks more than twice as much money for the poorest of the poor than the expiring levy. The expiring levy required that a quarter of the rental program go to the lowest income group; the new levy requires 59 percent of its main rental program to go to these households. This increased focus is a good thing.

Indeed, the housing levy is a very good thing. Please vote yes for the housing levy on September 17.

John Shaw, via e-mail

JOSH FEIT RESPONDS: When I pressed housing levy supporters to justify earmarking nearly 10 percent of the levy dollars for homeownership rather than putting all the resources into rental assistance, the responses were consistently couched in racial terms: i.e., the idea is to target minority neighborhoods and help minorities build equity. It's annoying that I cannot respond to a race-based rationale without being accused of race-baiting.

Secondly, I realized that more than 40 percent of the levy's rental programs serve the same income groups as the homeownership program. Here's the flip side: Half of the homeownership dollars can go to people making 80 percent of the median income, and none of the remaining dollars are required to serve the truly poor--people making 30 percent of the median income.

By contrast, the overwhelming majority (77 percent) of the rental units are subject to guidelines ensuring that the majority of people served are truly poor--at or below 30 percent of the median income. The overlap you cite is simply another reason to vote against the housing levy.


DUMB ASSES: Your paper is trash and you people are fucked. Actually, I wouldn't even wipe my ass with your paper because it's already so full of crap.

Ooh, we're so cool, we are so much bigger than the wake-the-fuck-up-America-we're-not-alone-day. Not only should you pieces of shit show planes crashing into buildings and firemen rescuing survivors, you should have those images tattooed on your narcissistic, tongue-pierced shit holes you call your bodies. Your shameless [lack of] attention to 9/11 is what got us all here in the first place. Hey, here's an idea, why don't you put your empty heads back up your asses and pretend the whole fucking thing never happened. A lot of very brave innocent people (Americans) died that day and you should have the decency as human beings (you might want to look that up in the dictionary) to show those people and their families a little respect.

Deal with it shitheads. 9/11 will never go away in as much as you pussies would like it to. It's too bad we can't say the same about The Stranger. Grow the fuck up.

Kevin Nolan, via e-mail


EDITOR: Your poll on the attractiveness of Glen Sebastian Burns, the 27-year-old man who has been incarcerated for over seven years without yet facing trial, was so inane and sick it made this reader think The Stranger signed a deal with the devil ["Hot or Not?" Sept 5].

I wouldn't blame this paper generally for focusing on the Burns/Rafay murder case. It's an interesting case, and the fact that these two men have been incarcerated for over seven years without facing trial is a story in itself. I've followed this case closely and I personally remain completely unconvinced that either Burns or Rafay is guilty.

But I really do find it really bizarre that a newspaper would invite commentary on a mere allegation but wouldn't think to question or investigate that allegation. But I suppose that would ruin the jokes? (HIV in prisons? Is that supposed to be funny?)

Ronda Rhoder, via e-mail

THE STRANGER RESPONDS: The results of our "Sebastian Burns: Hot or Not?" poll are in, and with a vote of 213/0 the verdict is: HOT! Thanks to all who voted!