TO THE EDITOR: While I'm all for creating more efficient urban spaces, and welcome additional housing on Capitol Hill, I don't think places like the Braeburn are the answer ["How Capitol Hill Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Density," Amy Jenniges, Dec 16]. As a former resident of the Bancroft Apartments on 15th Avenue and Pine Street, I can say that we were given almost no warning before construction was started, and were left in the dark about sidewalk and street closures and periodic loses of street parking around the building.

In spite of all the noise and inconvenience of living in a construction zone, that is not my main complaint with the Braeburn. My complaint is that they are not making any effort to build affordable housing. With one-bedroom condos starting at $180,000, they are way out of the price range of the great majority of the people who live in that neighborhood. My fear is that projects like this will turn Capitol Hill into the next Belltown, full of soulless, overpriced condos filled with yuppies who complain that the bar they moved in next door to is too loud. Yes, urban density is a good thing, yes we need more affordable housing all over the city, unfortunately this isn't it.

Angela Dove

CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE: Thanks for the column on the cancellation of the PoetsWest/WPA poetry reading series at Third Place Books in Ravenna [Nightstand, Dec 16]. Very witty title.

Third Place Books store events coordinator Patti Harriman was quoted as saying: "Between 10 and 20 people would come." There were a few evenings when the readings were attended by approximately 15 people, but this was not the norm. There is an open mic sign-up list at our events and you would find 12 to 18 people on that list most reading nights, which usually represented approximately half of the audience.

I sincerely hope there is no negative fallout towards one of the best independent bookstores in Seattle because of this. I want everyone to know that the staff and management of the Third Place Books treated the reading organizers and hosts extremely well during our successful two-year run. I also hope poets and spoken word lovers will now be less likely to take other free readings and events for granted and remember to support them by attending as often as possible.

Christopher J. Jarmick poor FLUFFER
STRANGER: After seeing David Schmader's sneering suggestion [Last Days, Dec 9] that Pat Sajak was out of line in asking liberal Hollywood why it was silent about the assassination of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh by a Muslim fanatic, I looked up Sajak's op-ed piece. It was an effective essay.

Schmader seems to think that since Sajak makes his living on lowbrow game-show fluff, his political opinions should be regarded as fluff. Pat Sajak is a Marine and a Vietnam combat veteran. While Sajak himself might prefer more dignified employment, he is making so much money that he can support causes he regards as important. Can Schmader support his own important causes with more than piddling donations? Finally, Schmader should admit to himself that his column is no more than entertainment fluff.


DEAR STRANGER: The article on the Mercer Island High School water polo team ["Pinup Boys," Amy Jenniges, Dec 16] and their fundraising calendar left out an important detail. How can those of us who don't live on Mercer Island--including those of us who live outside the Seattle area--get our hands on one of these calendars?

Reader in Detroit

praise HIPPIES
HEY, DAN: Here's the letter that you probably knew I'd send after your comment, "...higher than all the dirty hippies at Hempfest rolled into a big, dirty ball" [On Screen, Dec 16].

I'm not a hippie, and it would take a blind man with bad case of pink eye to think that Hempfest was mostly populated by hippies. You'll find more hippies at Folklife or Bumbershoot. So why the tiresome jabs at Hempfest? The mean-spirited comments about Hempfest and hippies by you and others at The Stranger mislead readers to believe that only dirtbags go to the event and that ordinary pot smokers should stay away, when the opposite is true.

But really, the issue isn't with Hempfest. The issue is that you're using the word "hippie" as an insult. The word can be positive or negative depending on how it is used. If you had instead written, "the dirty Indians at Salmon Days" or, "the dirty blacks at the Bite of Seattle," you'd expect a public indictment for the offense.

Even though the hippie lifestyle may not be the cultural affect that you and I choose to embrace, people should be entitled to be hippies without unfair ridicule. Without hippies the world would still be far more backward, more Victorian, and more, in a word, fucked. So praise the Lord for hippies, even if their social groove doesn't jive with your and my lifestyle as clean, stylish, and sharp-tongued faggots.

Dominic Holden

Director, Seattle Hempfest

DEPT. OF CORRECTIONS: The byline was left off of last week's review of the film "The House of Flying Daggers." Andrew Wright was the writer. The Stranger regrets the error.