GRAFFITI HATERS RESORT TO... WELL, GRAFFITI

Some of Seattle's most ardent graffiti haters tried their hands at the craft last week. The guilty parties plastered Stranger distribution boxes throughout the city with slickly designed posters reading:

"GRAFFITI IS A CRIME! Report graffiti in progress to 911. Report graffiti on private or public property to 684-7587. A message from GHOST (Graffiti Habitual Offenders Suppression Team)."

This unsolicited invitation to rat out graffiti writers was in response to The Stranger's posting of a reproduction of the graffiti tag "Flare"--the alter-ego for Max Dornfeld, an 18-year-old recently sentenced to a year in jail for tagging ["Tagged Out," April 15]--on its distribution boxes.

It's ironic that people so obsessed with eliminating unauthorized writings (and unregulated speech) from their properties would be so quick to toss their beliefs and graffiti on someone else's property.--Ben Jacklet


KOSOVO, SO FAR AWAY

The group of two dozen local Serbs who've been holding Saturday protests against the war in Kosovo linked up with a larger lefty contingent last Thursday, for a march through downtown. The socialists, kids, and folks sporting Northface backpacks (circa 1973) who gathered at the federal building were surprisingly difficult to distinguish from the mass of government employees waiting for the bus home. The bright afternoon sunshine had placed the same glazed grin on everyone's face.

It wasn't just the sunshine that gave the protest a diluted sense of rage. The hour-and-a-half worth of speakers who filed up to the stage at Westlake Center (where the march ended up) made interesting points on occasion, but didn't present terribly clear ideological arguments. Many of the analogies made--comparing the small protest to those during the early stages of the Vietnam war, comparing the bombings to the shootings in Colorado, and comparing Yugoslavia to Iraq--required some pretty big leaps in logic. Were the bombings really an effort to stymie socialism by turning Muslims and socialists against each other, as Akili, a speaker from the Pan-African Student Youth Movement, claimed?

The most riled-up speaker turned out to be a drunk who had been hanging out in Westlake before the marchers showed up. "Kosovo is in Yugoslavia," he screamed over and over again, cracking the dried drool on his face. "I want to deal with Seattle!"--Samantha M. Shapiro


THE REAL SHAME IN STRIPPING
An outright ban on strip bars in Seattle would violate the First Amendment, so every year since 1988 the Seattle City Council has extended its "temporary" moratorium on new "adult cabarets," using the need for "further study" as the excuse. Under the moratorium, established strip bars like the Lusty Lady on First Avenue are allowed to remain, but new clubs are forbidden.

On April 20, at 9:30 a.m., the council did its yearly business and opened the issue for discussion. Nobody showed up to speak. Martha Lester, the council staffer charged with studying laws in other cities and reporting back, presented a remarkably undetailed analysis of new regulations in Cincinnati. Councilmember Richard McIver's joke about how consumers in Cincinnati probably just crossed over into Kentucky to get what they needed drew only a few nervous titters.

Since there was no debate, the business committee members moved with due speed to pass the buck for another year. "On this subject," commented Council President Sue Donaldson, "the less said, the better."--Ben Jacklet

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