AND A GASBAG...
AMY JENNIGES: As a journalist for more than 20 years, I've been a fan of The Stranger for its entertainment value, not for the quality of its news coverage. So I shouldn't be surprised that you managed to misquote me after spending five minutes on the phone with me Tuesday. I did not say or imply that the entire city of Seattle should be designated as an Alcohol Impact Area ["Don't Drink," Dec 11]. You suggested that. But as you know, that would not be allowable under state law. What I did say is that our residential neighborhoods, where families are raising children, are the least appropriate places for chronic public inebriates and the convenience stores that cater to them. I thought the testimony of my teenage daughter at last week's public hearing underscored that point perfectly. She rides the Metro bus to school every day, and I ride the bus to work every day, so I can confirm her observations. She has to wait at the bus stop in front of a convenience store, and she's had drunks approach her at 7:00 a.m. to ask her about what time the store opens so they can buy beer. She gets asked for money to buy beer. She's heard drunks on the bus talking about having to ride Metro up the hill from Pioneer Square so they can buy their beer. The migration is occurring already.
This is a bigger policy decision that the city council is going to have to tackle. Should we push the CPI [chronic public inebriates] problem out of the business core and into the residential neighborhoods? The social services that the city provides for detox, housing, etc. mostly are located in the business core areas, not in the residential neighborhoods. Will CPIs just use the bus to go get their beer in distant neighborhoods, and bring it back to Pioneer Square? Or will they set up camp in parks and empty lots near where the beer is available, as we see happening in our neighborhood? Or will the Alcohol Impact Area [AIA] make it too inconvenient for CPIs to obtain alcohol, and so they will quit drinking? Or will they just start drinking something else? Should we ban fortified alcoholic beverages altogether, as some of my neighbors suggest? I think the overriding mission here is to provide alternatives for the addicted and motivation for them to become productive members of society, rather than a financial burden on our social services and public safety system. The AIA can provide some of that motivation.
In the future, I hope you will be more attentive to what your sources tell you rather than focusing on what you want them to say.
Colman Neighbors Block Watch Group
AMY JENNIGES RESPONDS: When I spoke with Reamer on the phone, I asked her to comment on the criticism that neighborhood groups might continue to push for Alcohol Impact Area expansions, until practically all of Seattle is an AIA. To quote her exactly, Reamer said, "Well, I'm not sure what's wrong with that," before explaining her views on CPIs' detrimental effect on residential neighborhoods--which comprise the majority of the city. Those comments, coupled with Reamer's city hall testimony arguing for an expansion of the AIA proposal, led me to write, "Heck, Reamer would be thrilled if the whole city, especially the residential areas, were an AIA." I did not quote her as saying the entire city should be designated an AIA, but characterized her desire that residential areas--which, again, make up most of Seattle, and nearly all of the area that won't be covered by this expanded AIA--be protected from street drunks. I stand by that characterization, and the rest of her letter seems to back me up, given her uneasiness at pushing CPIs into the farther corners of the city.
TO EMILY HALL: Bless you for writing that article, and especially for pinpointing that particular pro-life ad ["Helpless and Mute," Dec 11]. I know it's crap when I see it, but like so much crap that has filtered into the mainstream media of late, I tend to accept its presence without any sense of wanting or needing to fight back. And yes, it is a feeling of helplessness. Thank you for renewing my sense of what I've always strongly believed abortion rights are about: not the right to kill unborn children, but a woman's right to make her own decisions regarding the biological realities that are uniquely hers. If a woman is not allowed to make her own moral choices, she is regarded as less than human. It's as simple as that, and that's what's at stake for women in this country right now. Thanks for the wake-up call.
THAILAND: THE PILL, THE CHOW
EMILY HALL: I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I usually just read your restaurant reviews. However, your article this week about the pro-choice movement was excellent and I'm glad I read it. There is so much BS regarding women's health and reproductive rights--for example, why do I need a prescription to get the pill, but a woman in Thailand can buy a pack of birth control pills at her local 7-Eleven for about 50 cents?--and it seems overwhelming. I mean, where should I even start? But your article was very well written and it was a reminder of why it is important for me to find something that I can do even if it is something small. So thanks. And keep up the good work with the restaurant reviews. I'm sick of the crowds at Thai Tom but I love the food. Any Thai places you would recommend?
EMILY HALL RESPONDS: That's a tough one, since I'm not a big Thai food fan, and generally I prefer Thai Tom over anyplace else. I dimly remember hearing a rumor that Tom had trained someone who's now at the Thai-ger Room down the street. And I do like the Drunken Noodles at Jai Thai. Good luck!
I just wanted to pass on some info. In his review of Jimmy Carter's new book [The Stranger Suggests, Dec 4], Josh Feit mentions that Carter brokered a peace deal between Egypt and Israel, which he does concede caused Sadat's assassination because it angered the Arabs, but I feel he leaves the wrong impression. What angered the Arabs was the fact that that "peace" deal gave Israel over $3 billion in arms, which then enabled it to invade Lebanon, as well as other aggressive maneuvers. So they killed Sadat and the violence rages on.
SMOKER LEAVES HOME
In response to your article in this week's issue ["Don't Smoke," Dec 11], I have to contradict Roger Valdez's opinion that "People don't just say, 'I'm not going there. I'm going to the Indian reservation to smoke....' They just go stand outside."
As a smoker myself who is not allowed to smoke in my rented home, I go to bars that allow smoking, especially in the winter. When I know ahead of time that a particular bar is nonsmoking, I choose a different bar--one that allows smoking. My friends who smoke feel the same way.
DUMBASS OF THE WEEK
It's significant that the letters insisting that the monorail be built NOW! are from newbies to Seattle. Makes me wonder, what was so wrong with where they lived that they relocated to the rainy Northwest? Was it maybe a series of large-scale public works projects had decimated the soul of their respective cities!? Seattle became a "most-livable city" exactly because it missed all the grandiose urban renewal projects of the '60s and '70s and '80s. So in order to save Seattle, it becomes necessary to ruin all that made it attractive? What a sad commentary.
DAN SAVAGE RESPONDS: With all due respect, William, you're a fucking moron. What's significant about the local debate over rapid transit--what's sad about it--is how myopic, close-minded, and smug so many "native" Seattleites can be. Like anyone who's spent any time in a city with a functioning rapid transit system, I was shocked when I moved to Seattle 13 years ago and discovered that there was no alternative to owning a car. Lord knows that Chicago, my home town, has its problems, but one thing that works about Chicago--and New York, Paris, London, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., etc. --is its rapid transit systems.
Finally, William, you betray your ignorance when you dismiss rapid transit as some misguided urban renewal scheme from the '60s, '70s, and '80s. The rapid transit systems in New York, London, Chicago, and Paris are all more than a century old. Rapid transit is an idea that predates the automobile.