The announcement that Mark Murphy and the board of trustees of On the Boards had reached an agreement ensuring Murphy's return as artistic director would seem to be good news. So why did the board of trustees wait until the end of the day Friday, May 28, to put out a press release confirming that agreement? Traditionally, the end of Friday is when one releases information that could lead to negative articles, in hopes that only the little-read Saturday editions of the dailies will carry the story. True to form, the agreement was covered in Saturday's Times and P-I, and did not reappear in subsequent editions of either paper. No article on the reinstatement appeared in Seattle Weekly's pages, either.

Sources on the board said the delay in putting out a press release had to do with negotiations over the terms of the agreement (and, one assumes, with getting Murphy to agree to parrot--in quotes included in the press release--phrases used earlier by board members about them having "acted in good faith" when they fired him). Whatever the reasons, the odd timing of the release seems to be another example of the board mismanaging its communications with the outside world. Perhaps when board members do the right thing and recruit a couple of performers for the board, they should look around for a communications specialist as well.

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The incompetent, near-libelous writing about downtown library architect Rem Koolhaas continued in the dailies this week with a staff editorial in the P-I tepidly endorsing the selection of Koolhaas. (The Times also gave such an endorsement, though in their case it was an about-face from a previous editorial supporting Steven Holl for the job.) The P-I's editorial calls Koolhaas "bold" and "envelope pushing," but warns in the voice of unnamed "naysayers" that "the main library's first goal is to be functional, not to put Seattle on the architectural map." The writer then patronizingly suggests that Koolhaas "needs to be encouraged to keep saying 'we,' not 'I' or 'me,' to ensure that everyone with a stake in the $90 million library has a say."

Did this editorial writer bother to learn a thing about the architects involved in this selection process, beyond visiting Holl's beautiful, astonishingly expensive Chapel of St. Ignatius? Koolhaas is always saying "we"--he seems to love the collaborative process between client and architect, and has no truck with Louis Kahn-descended, spiritual, light-and-space architects like Holl. Koolhaas claims that "architecture is not sacred or holy--it gets dirty--it is for anyone." He's exactly the guy who can deliver a functional building that works interestingly, and this is one of the reasons the board unanimously chose Koolhaas over the impractical prima donna Holl.

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Independent booksellers everywhere breathed a sigh of relief last week when they learned that Barnes & Noble had dropped its plan to buy Ingram, the largest warehouser and distributor of books in America, used by B&N, Amazon, and even the smallest local bookstores. Meanwhile, Amazon got hammered in a Barron's cover story, and its stock took another hit. I'm not sure any of this has any effect on the actual fortunes of independent booksellers, but anything that might lighten that dark cloud over most of their heads is welcome.