Resident Editorialist

The Seattle Times has published two editorials by columnist Jim Vesely about the current battle between Mercer Island and other lakeshore neighborhoods over the proposed rearrangement of SeaTac flight paths. [For our coverage of this issue, see "Upper-Class War," In Other News, December 23.] In the most recent Times piece (December 13), a blatantly pro-Mercer Island editorial titled "Railroaded! Why Mercer Islanders feel betrayed," Vesely aired the claims of Mercer Island residents who are frustrated over a move to run flight paths over their neighborhood.

What the Times failed to mention, though, is that Vesely is one of those residents himself. He owns a house at 3736 Gallagher Hill Road on Mercer Island, valued at over $311,000. INGRID POLSTON

The Mysterious Origins of Traffic

A recent study by UW grad student Ivana Begley seems to shed light on King County's growing traffic problem. Between 1990 and 1998 (the last year for which figures are available), the number of drivers in King County grew by 20 percent, to 1.3 million. But surely population growth alone can't explain the huge increase in traffic around here. Indeed. Here's something else Begley's study shows: The number of vehicle registrations in the county increased a phenomenal 425 percent, rising from 240,000 in 1988 to 1,338,836 today. How many cars does one person need? Figures were not available for the median ass size of King County residents. GRANT COGSWELL

Quotes on the End of the World

"The Fire Ceremony originally scheduled for 8:00 p.m. is postponed to a later, yet-to-be-determined date." -- December 22 Seattle Center press release, announcing the cancellation of Mayor Schell's latest bright idea: to start fires at Seattle Center on New Year's Eve.

"There [is] no specific evidence, beyond the case of Mr. Ressam, that foreign nationals [are] plotting other terrorist acts in the United States.... Counterterrorism officials know of no additional domestic threats...." -- December 21 New York Times article, paraphrasing President Clinton's Stamper-esque national security adviser, Samuel R. Berger.

"I think they're planning to go down into their bunkers. I'll tell them when it's ok to come out. Honest." -- Eric Ward, spokesperson with the Coalition for Human Dignity, a group that monitors right wing radicals.

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