ELI SANDERS [In response to "The War on Jim McDermott," May 18]: Do a story about how Jim McDermott's deep partisan behavior has screwed Seattle out of tax revenue because he is the last guy the GOP wants to deal with. If you want to write a story that moves you to the next level in journalism, this is it.

If McDermott acted like the elected official he is, and not like Michael Moore, our district would be in much better shape, and he would be as well.

He acknowledges releasing an illegally taped conversation, and the only people behind him are certain media groups who think they are above the law. Thankfully, the Seattle Times was not one of them.

Chris Shirling


EDITOR: Tom Francis's otherwise-excellent article on asbestos abatement at the Seattle Housing Authority ["Alienated," May 25] may have left the impression that the Laborers Union objects to the contractor—3 Kings Environmental—because it employs immigrant workers. On the contrary, immigrant workers are the backbone of our union. The Laborers Union is critical of 3 Kings and its clients because 3 Kings' record of workplace injuries, safety violations, and environmental violations puts workers and the public at risk. Asbestos kills immigrants and native-born people alike.

We would have a problem with 3 Kings' owner whether his employees were direct descendants of George Washington or sprouted from meteors. In either case, they would need the protection of a union contract to be able to complain about poor safety practices and keep their jobs. The Seattle Housing Authority should be ashamed of hiring this company for the sake of a bid one-tenth of one percent lower than the next bidder.

Jerry Ball and Steve Marquardt

Northwest Regional Organizing Coalition, Laborers International Union of North America


STRANGER: You recommended the play What Is Sexy? by Washington Ensemble Theatre [Stranger Suggests, May 4]. A friend recommended Christian Rizzo's dance/theater piece at On the Boards. I saw both performances. Rizzo's piece was the highest quality work I've seen in Seattle in a very long time. I went two nights in a row. WET's piece, however, was the worst thing I've seen in Seattle. Ever. It is a very sad situation when a young person like me must look to On the Boards, which is essentially a touring house most of the time, to find meritorious work in this town. Rizzo is from France. The members of WET formed out of the graduate program at our own University of Washington. How is it that I understood, enjoyed, and found implicit relevancy in Rizzo's piece (which was done entirely in French), but was unable to wade through the mucky layers of WET's trite, tacky, and grossly verbose show based on interviews with my community? You can't compare the two, you say? Rizzo is a genius, you say? Yes, that's true. However, does that mean we should lower the already excruciatingly low mark for fringe theater? That logic is what is killing the theater scene in Seattle. And, the fact that this paper recommended What Is Sexy? based merely on the reviewer's past experience with the ensemble's work (in other words, without having seen the piece), is the worst kind of blind criticism. I paid $44.00 for my two Christian Rizzo tickets. I paid $15.00 for my WET ticket and I want my money back.

Mandie O'Connell


EDITOR: Suggesting that Deano's ["Club Chocolate City," Stranger Suggests, May 18], recently renamed Club Chocolate City, is somehow worth the attention of "dive-bar connoisseurs" was a mistake. Reports of drug activity and prostitution dog the club. No one in the neighborhood thinks Deano's is a threatened dive bar to be savored before its ambiance is boarded up and bulldozed away. We want it bulldozed away, then fumigated, then filled.

The establishment's name change to Club Chocolate City, "chocolate" being a veiled reference to the predominantly black customer base, is only an attempt to make complaints about the club seem tainted with racism. Who wants to sound as if he doesn't want an all-black nightclub in the neighborhood? Just look in the door, however, and you'll see nothing has changed but the name. Incidentally, in the current hipster lexicon the term "dive bar" usually means a dumpy place acceptable for the hip crowd to frequent when members of this crowd are disinclined to dress up for, or be seen at, a more upscale venue. If your friends spot you at an accepted dive bar, you have only demonstrated you can drop pretensions for a night; your reputation for taste remains unharmed. The term is not normally applied these days to places that the city is trying to close down after a long history of reported crimes.


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