JOSH FEIT: I have often been critical of your reporting; however, I wanted to tell you that I thought your piece on [developer R. C.] Hedreen's attempt to use expired bonus credits was very accurate and well written ["The Six Million Dollar Scam," June 20]. Perhaps your reporting this will encourage some city council members to re-evaluate their position. Thank you for bringing the issue to light.
Eric Pravitz, via e-mail
JOSH FEIT: Thanks for covering Sound Transit so well ["The Eastlake Lobby," June 20]. How do you do it better than the big papers when you work for a small paper? Keep asking the tough questions and make them answer.
I keep writing congressmen and women who are part of the transportation committee telling them to scrutinize Sound Transit and see the real picture of Western Washington transit. Sound Transit = mostly lies. So far the only thing they have to show for all their money is the regional express buses, a program that in large part already existed and worked well before they took charge of it.
The current tactic of Sound Transit and the press is to lull us to sleep, forget the issues, and wait for federal funds. When everyone wakes up and Sound Transit is in the middle of construction, it will be too late, just like with the football [stadium].
Jonathan Clapper, via e-mail
STRANGER: I just want to commend The Stranger and Emily Hall for noticing, writing, and printing an article about Randy Wood, who is one of the best people I know and an inspiring, self-motivated artist. More people should be like him! Ms. Hall managed to capture his energy and optimism (which I prefer to describe as refreshing, rather than suspicious) in her article. I hope The Stranger will keep keeping eyes out for new talent like Randy, and keep giving them the limelight they so deserve, and so infrequently receive.
Jamie FitzGerald, via e-mail
LETTER FROM JOHN RICHARDS FAN #1
EDITOR: It's a shame that Jason Trachtenburg had to begin a negative campaign against John Richards and KEXP because he's pissed they give his kitschy novelty act little-to- no airplay ["Starry-Eyed," Kathleen Wilson, June 20]. He should have taken a look at the real reasons for the radio silence, because what he may not realize is that the Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players, as a musical act, suck. The silly slideshows that accompany their third-rate quasi-political-folk music are the only thing that give them more appeal than any other all-but-unlistenable local act, and he seems somehow unaware that a visual medium does not lend itself to radio.
John Richards' involvement with both KEXP and Loveless Records may appear on its face to create an undue conflict of interest despite, as the article points out, the limited amount of airplay afforded to Loveless bands. The fact is John Richards, KEXP, and Loveless Records have played no small part in helping to revitalize a Seattle music scene that had been floundering for years. They have brought an audience to great bands like Orbiter, the Drop, and Voyager One, and, despite [Trachtenburg's] best efforts, will continue to do so long after Jason Trachtenburg's embittered ass has mercifully vanished from the fringes of the local music scene.
Darren D., via e-mail
EDITOR: Last year, the Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players were in The Stranger's talent show at Bumbershoot. The preview edition of The Stranger interviewed the talent show contestants. One of the questions asked was, "Who would your celebrity dream date be?" Jason Trachtenburg's reply was "[KEXP DJ] John Richards"! It appears all of Trachtenburg's hostility stems from the fact that he can't get Richards to give his family any airtime on his morning show. Boo-fucking-hoo. There's plenty of bands in this town much more talented than the Trachtenburgs who aren't getting airplay. Trachtenburg has attempted to woo Richards, gotten turned down, and has become a jilted crybaby.
The local press and clubs have been extremely supportive of this crappy trio. If they think they're going to get that in New York City, they are wrong. NYC will eat them alive! Good riddance! Don't let the door hit you on the way out, and please don't come back!
Joe R., via e-mail
EDITOR: Who does this Jason Whinerburg think he is, anyway? Trash-talking Seattle--well, fine, you whining kook, move away. As far as I am concerned he is exploiting his child for his own benefit. There are child labor laws for a reason.
I have no problem with kids getting into music; in fact, I think it is important to introduce them to it. But to have an eight-year-old up past midnight in a smoky club earning money for her parents--that's just plain wrong.
Since Seattle people rarely say what is on their minds, I will say it for them: Good luck in NY, and please don't come back. And I know several musicians who never paid a dime to KEXP and they get played all the time.
MTT, via e-mail
I have great empathy in my heart for Jason and his family. In a perfect world, every radio station would have them on heavy rotation. There would be The Trachtenburgs instead of The Osbournes. Shameless record company promotions and full-page Rolling Stone campaigns. The Trachtenburgs at the Gorge--the world would be upended. But instead, we are faced with reality: a sniveling brat who isn't happy with the great success his band has enjoyed in a city where garnering such attention just ain't that easy. Good luck in New York City--they don't mind bitter old fucks out there. I just hope that, through time, your young daughter doesn't turn out to be an old hag like her old man.
Phil, via e-mail
KATHLEEN: Your story about Jason Trachtenburg's rants against KEXP and John Richards is such complete and utter bullshit I can't imagine why your editors have allowed it to take up space. Just because Jason has a lot to say doesn't mean anyone else needs or wants to listen!
And by the way, Trachtenburg claims, "He [John Richards] never, ever, says on his radio show that he owns his own record label." Anyone who receives Richards' daily playlist e-mails can tell you that each and every mail is signed "John Richards, Music Blackheart & CEO Loveless Records." So while he may not be announcing that fact on air every day, he's not exactly trying to hide any dirty little secrets either.
Name Withheld, via e-mail
In regard to Kathleen Wilson's article "Starry-Eyed," I think KEXP is a very payola radio station. It's a radio station that has commercial mal-intent under the guise of being a nonprofit organization. This is a true disservice to community radio in Seattle. KEXP is run by the same commercializing cronies who killed the free-form radio of KCMU and have now totally killed community radio in Seattle with their abomination of a radio station. It's sad that community radio in Seattle is very dead because of this.
Chuck Swaim, via e-mail
BRADLEY STEINBACHER: Just wanted to tell you that your article on your encounter with Tom Cruise ["Utmost Famous," June 20] is the funniest, most honest piece I have ever read about interviewing a celebrity.
Instead of the usual unexamined fawning, your piece examines possible reasons for why the press--and by extension us reading public--feel the need to adore the famous (and why, so often, celebrity interviews are utterly, even painfully, banal). I think you are correct about it having something to do with feeling that celebrities are royalty or gods or something akin to that, in comparison to us mere mortals. Your description of your conflicted feelings is very funny and very honest, and I think lots of readers, if they were honest with themselves, would have shades of those same feelings when they think of themselves in relation to celebrities--even if they've never met one in person. Your piece is insightful, courageous, and funny. Well done.