THANKS FOR GENIUS
DEAR GENIUS AWARDS: Thank you for the invitation to attend The Stranger's 2nd Annual Genius Awards, to be held on the evening of October 15, 2004. Unfortunately, prior commitments preclude my attendance.

I would like to take this opportunity to express my wholehearted support of The Stranger's recognition of some of our brightest and best. In the cloud cuckoo-land of our sports-besotted citizenry--where NASCAR Neanderthals now want us to consider spending $250 million for an Arlington-area racetrack--I am greatly encouraged by, and admiring of, the paper's wish to elevate writers, performance artists, visual artists, and arts organizations higher in the food chain of local awareness through acknowledgment, celebration, and a bit of hard, cold cash. You have my gratitude.

Laurence Ballard

CIVICS 101
TO THE EDITOR: Do the monorail recall people have Karl Rove advising them? They sure sound like Bush Republicans. They're a "grassroots" organization funded almost entirely by one guy. We hear Liv Finne going on and on about how badly the monorail will block views while accepting most of their budget from Martin Selig, a guy who owns several of the biggest view-blocking buildings in Seattle. Hey, Liv: How about calling for the removal of the Bank of America Tower? Next we hear paid signature gatherers all over the city telling people, "Why should you pay for something you won't even use?" Here's why: It's because we all choose to live together in this city. We pool our resources so that life will be better for all of us. I don't have kids but I vote for just about every school budget that comes along. This is Civics 101. But all these excuses by a few wealthy downtown property owners are really just a smoke screen. You know what they really fear? That the completion of the monorail will allow companies to relocate to offices all along the line, not just in downtown. I suppose Martin Selig would see the quarter of a million dollars he's put into fighting the monorail (so far) as a fine investment in keeping his monopoly on downtown office space intact. Of course, he can't say that, so he funds a marginal group of neighborhood NIMBYs who couldn't be bothered to get involved in the extensive and unprecedented public input process put in place by the monorail agency in the first place. Shame on him and shame on the people who mouth his lies.

Hal Colombo

SHOWING OUR AGE

DEAR DAVE: I wanted to compliment you on the new piece on Seattle magazine ["City of Gloss," Dave Schmader, Oct 7]. It was fair-handed, funny, and eerily accurate. As someone who has paid a few bills with the occasional article for this august journal, I've been a good contributor and read whatever else is in the magazine, and I thought you were even-handed in noting the good (pieces by James Bush and Michael Hood, for example) with the bad.
But here's the smallest word of caution. This was a thoughtful critique of a magazine that only a couple of years ago would have been thought of as beneath The Stranger's contempt. Maybe it's because you all are aging and (in some cases anyway) becoming part of that odd SM demographic--urbanites with some cash in hand who enjoy the occasional night out at a fancy restaurant or even (horrors) a trip to a spa. Restaurant reviews, thoughtful art coverage, the thoughtful attention that your paper's been giving Rossi as a candidate; these additions show an almost-unbecoming maturity.

Please don't change too much. As many times as I've dismissed The Stranger as unreadable and juvenile, I think it's important that it retains its smart-ass adolescent tone.

John Longenbaugh

SERIOUS BUSINESS
DEAR EDITOR: Many thanks for highlighting our new publication in "Seattle Woman" [Oct 7], but we were sorry to have bored writer Amy Kate Horn "senseless." She misses the whole point of the magazine, however, when she faults us for not being sexy. Women's magazines always emphasize fashion, beauty, and sex. We're offering something new: a local women's magazine that highlights substantive issues.

As for our "saw-that-one-comin' piece on breast cancer," we only wish you or any other publication in our area had seen it coming and reported responsibly on our region's extraordinarily high rate of breast cancer. Women need to know that Washington State has ranked number one in breast cancer incidents for the past two years, and that Seattle places first among all U.S. cities. The hope is that this kind of information will encourage women to be more vigilant about getting mammograms and leading healthier lifestyles. Not sexy, but important.

Marianne Scholl

Publisher, Seattle Woman

CLARIFICATION: Based on a conversation with campaign manager Craig Wright, The Stranger recently reported that Republican attorney general candidate Rob McKenna had spoken with NARAL Washington head Karen Cooper the day after the primary to stake out a nuanced, but generally pro-choice, position on abortion ["Debased," Sandeep Kaushik, Sept 23]. Wright was correct that the conversation took place, but mistakenly confirmed the timing of the conversation. McKenna did speak with Cooper about his abortion views, but did so several weeks before the primary, according to both Wright and Cooper.