TO THE EDITOR: I enjoyed Eric Fredericksen's article ["The Great Mall of Seattle," Aug 12]. Until a year ago, I lived in the Pike-Pine-Madison corridor of antiquaries and coffee houses that ranges from I-5 to the new Madison Market at 17th Ave, and found it a vibrant, diverse, and attractive neighborhood. But I always found much less of that on the downtown side of I-5. On a recent trip downtown, I was struck by all the foot traffic on a Friday evening, the activity, the chatting pedestrians, and the many busy restaurants. But Pacific Place looked [like it was] in trouble. There were crowds of people on the escalator to the movie theater and the restaurants. Yet the bath shop and the paper store and the other upscale specialty (but still national chain) stores on the lower floors were empty except for big SALE signs.

It would be ideal if Pacific Place gradually replaced its upscale no-customer shops with places Mr. Fredericksen called "important" -- a barbershop, a liquor store (or maybe a good wine and beer shop), and so on. This turnover could leave us with a perfect blend of what draws tourists and what keeps downtown vital.

Jerry Neufeld-Kaiser, Seattle


EDS: Can somebody please tell me where all the real estate-hoggin', Belltown condo-buying, Old Navy-shopping, cell phone-talkin', street-clogging, Subaru Outback-driving, $30-car-tab, petition-signing, public service-eliminating, private-sector capitalist, Seattle Weekly-reading, right-wing "liberal" YUPPIES are coming from?!

As wonderful as $30 car tabs may seem, I-695 is NOT a good bedfellow for easing the highway gridlock. This initiative will make it EASIER to operate a private vehicle while simultaneously cutting public service funding. With how crowded it is in this area, there is no need for added incentives for people to drive their own personal vehicles. Essentially, what this initiative means is cheaper cars and less mass transit. Hell, maybe the light rail project should be scrapped so the money can be used for something more important, like a 125 gazillion-dollar floating shopping mall with a quadra mega movie plex and a stadium for gladiator battles on Lake Washington.

I'm not a commie; I am just sick of all the fuckin' cars terrorizing pedestrians and anything else that gets in the way.

City Dweller, via e-mail


TO THE EDITOR: It's amazing how a lie serves the needs of those who want to control. I am replying to your article, "Bad Trade Medicine?" [Ben Jacklet, Aug 5]. There is virtually no evidence that HIV causes AIDS. To continue with the hypothesis that HIV causes AIDS is simply continuing the dogma. No wonder AIDS cannot be cured, and is such a mystery. It's like thinking that the stars revolve around the Earth.

Pharmaceutical companies continue pushing AZT even though it has never been a cure. The fact is, it has contributed to the premature death of many healthy people. By perpetuating the lie of AIDS, drug companies continue to make billions of dollars and control science, the media, and the government. Now we see how the lie has set the stage in Africa by empowering global corporations over sovereign governments in the name of protecting intellectual property.

Douglas Bishop, Federal Way


DEAREST EDITOR: I'm having fun and wasting work time reading your Best of Nooksack issue [July 22] while my computer munches on a process. Very fun indeed. However, you neglected to tell us just where-in-Wash-HECK-ington Nooksack IS! Please edify -- I may want to tool the family there in the auto for our vacation.

Lydia, via e-mail


DEAR STRANGER: I just wanted you to know that I really enjoyed the Best of Nooksack issue. I grew up in Nooksack, so I thought it was special. Thanks!

Michelle, via e-mail


DEAR EDITOR: I know The Stranger well enough to [know] that James Kirchmer is not a conscious apologist for apartheid, but his remark on Johnny Clegg in your July 29 issue [Live Music Calendar, "WOMAD U.S.A."] could have come verbatim from Verwoerd himself. Using the language of disease to refer to race-mixing (and/or its musical equivalent), Kirchmer attacks a man who, in the apartheid era in his native South Africa, bravely led the racially mixed band Juluka, frequently risking arrest by performing explicitly political music to racially mixed crowds. Referring to a "public musical-health disaster" and contrasting "mutant" Clegg to the "untainted" Thomas Mapfumo, Kirchmer expresses his joy that Clegg will not be performing at WOMAD.

I'm not going to weigh in on the relative musical merits of these performers, but I would hope that The Stranger could judge them by a different standard than the American Nazi Party.

Joe Mabel, via e-mail


DEAR EDITOR: I suppose this isn't that important -- I mean compared to the woman who was gonna shoot all her co-workers if you didn't print her letter [Letters to the Editor, "The Love Connection," Aug 5]. Still, I'd like to get something off my chest: It's about Chris Ware, the cartoonist. You have recently started running (at great expense, I imagine) his weekly color strip [Jimmy Corrigan], and you are not alone in your admiration. He is hailed everywhere as a wunderkind of comics.

To all Chris Ware's admirers, I say this: Look, I beg of you, at the work of George Herriman, Jack Kirby, and Robert Crumb. Examine just a few frames of Herge, the man behind Tintin. Look at Don Martin, Charles Schultz, and Charles Burns. Look at the work of any one of these artists, and turn again with awakened eyes to Chris Ware. You will see that his work is fussy, brittle, and bloodless. Clean? Ernie Bushmiller is clean. Chris Ware is sterile. His "explorations of the form" in the Acme Novelty Library are smug and meaningless. The man has no guts. If you all don't stop sucking up to him, you will never enable him to develop past the technically accomplished but soulless phase he is stuck in.

David Stoesz, Seattle


TO THE STRANGER: Interesting story about the closure of [Studio 420] and the gay bashings ["Unhiphop," Adrian Ryan, July 29]. I'm not surprised that [the club] was a hotbed for that kind of activity, because everyone knows blacks are more homophobic in general than other races, and violently so. It's just not p.c. to say it. I wrote to a black columnist for a major newspaper just last week and asked him why this is so, and he gave a variety of answers -- including the oppressed oppressing other oppressed peoples. I certainly hope this changes in the future. I, for one, am gay and would love to hang out at hiphop clubs!

Jesse, via e-mail


DEAR STRANGER: I am very disappointed by your article on the Music & Youth Task Force ["Dancin' Fools," Min Liao, Aug 5]. As a member of the [task force], I've seen a lot of ideas shared and a lot of misconceptions broken at the table. At the root of the Teen Dance Ordinance is a fear of losing control over youth and of public disturbances. Very professionally, those on the task force involved in the music scene have been trying to ease fears and break stereotypes. All-ages shows are about appreciation of musical talent, and are not about drugs and prostitution. However, unless everyone on the task force and the city council believe that, we cannot move forward in creating a progressive law to encourage all-ages music [events].

I apologize that we have not worked fast enough for your liking, but building trust and calming fear takes time. Unless we, as a [group], take the time to reach common ground, Seattle will end up with a re-worded Teen Dance Ordinance, but with the same prejudice at its core.

Sid Spencer, University of Washington


DEAR EDITOR (AND ERIC): Eric "The Dog" Fredericksen can find copies of Talk magazine at the E. John/15th Ave E. Safeway, above Broadway ["Culture Wars," Aug 12]. They don't seem to be selling very many. Magazine overload?

Thornton Kimes, via e-mail


DEAR MR. MUDEDE: Perhaps your Police Beat jab at Officer Deese [Charles Mudede, Aug 12] was meant to be a joke that I didn't get, or to provoke comment, which it did. I don't believe our policemen need to be literary geniuses in order to fulfill their job descriptions. [They only need to be] careful and complete in how they present a sequence of events.

Janice Price, via e-mail