Hey, Readers:
This is my last issue of The Stranger. I've been the editor since 1995, since we were 48 pages, working out of a musty, cramped office. I told Tim Keck I could only run the show for a year or so, then I'd have to get back to writing. But I stayed for four great, wild years. The paper has more than doubled in size and staff since I started. It doesn't feel like an experiment anymore: it feels like a sure thing. I'm leaving to write a book, a pastime careerists and academics somehow consider the most vital pursuit, but I don't know if I'll ever do anything as vital as The Stranger. It's a rare thing--a truly ambitious, angry newspaper full of brilliant, funny writers. It's almost like an eighth wonder of the world or something.

Yours Truly,
Emily White


Dear Stranger,
Shame on David Schmader, along with the rest of the print and broadcast media, for continuing to refer to gynecologists who perform abortions as "abortion doctors," as well as referring to the medical offices at which they work as "abortion clinics" [Last Days, Feb 11]. The doctors listed on the "Nuremberg Files" website are gynecologists. Obstetricians/gynecologists provide prenatal and postnatal care, deliver babies, prescribe birth control, and perform regular gynecological health care for women, as well as performing abortion procedures. Obstetricians/gynecologists who have been attacked or murdered worked at women's health care clinics. These clinics provide a wide range of health care for women, including prenatal care, birth control, treatment of infections and other illnesses of the reproductive system, cancer screening, and yes, abortions.The murder of an obstetrician/gynecologist, the destruction of a women's health care clinic, and the harassment of women patients do not save babies. These acts deny women of every race, ethnicity, and religious faith access to professional medical care. They are an attack on American women. The sick, zealous individuals who murdered Dr. Slepian and other doctors because they performed abortions have denied women good physicians who will never again deliver a baby or detect cervical cancer early and save a life.

Our culture does not typically define a physician by one type of procedure he or she performs. We do not call an oncologist a "chemotherapy doctor," or a urologist a "vasectomy doctor." The media will continue to incite the violent individuals in the pro-life movement as long as they continue to define doctors and medical facilities by one specific procedure.

Lisa Shaftel

David Schmader responds: Presumably the people who shoot gynecologists-who-happen-to-perform-abortions do many other things besides shoot gynecologists-who-happen-to-perform-abortions (drive trucks, have sex with their cousins...), but I doubt you have a problem with them being referred to only as "killers." Streamlining information is a necessary journalistic practice, and crediting the media with "inciting violent individuals in the movement" is foolish.


Dear Stranger, Well, I have to tip my hat to Judy Nicastro for having the good sense not to allow the Freedom Socialists, one of the two local branches of Trotsky-ites, into her coalition for "rent control." ["Nicastro Rallies the Troops," Ben Jacklet, Feb 11]. Those people are still looking for an issue to "mobilize the masses for revolution." Would someone please tell these folks that they are about 100 years behind the times?But "rent control" is just as obsolete. All it would do is make it impossible to find a decent place to live in this town.

The Seattle Times ran an article about an elderly woman who lost her taxpayer-subsidized apartment in Belltown who had to (gasp!) move to Ballard. So fucking what! I'd like to live in Medina next to Bill Gates, but should you have to pay for it? This is just about a bunch of whiners who can't afford to live in the neighborhood of their choice.

It's too bad if you can't afford to live on Capitol Hill. You can still live in Seattle. Try Rainier Beach. Otherwise, go back to the Midwest. It's still affordable on minimum wage.



To The Editor,
I went to the rent control forum on February 2 and I left the meeting with a lot of questions. Where were our city council members and state reps when everything started getting out of control? Who is going to speak up for low income families like mine? In Ben Jacklet's article he attacks Guerry Hoddersen of the Freedom Socialist Party because she asked just those questions. And she asked Velma Veloria to walk her talk and sponsor a bill that would allow cities in this state to pass rent control laws. This was not an attempt to ridicule, but to find a solution to a problem.

Jacklet says the FSP is a flop, but I have seen them growing and getting more involved in helping low income people. As far as Ms. Hoddersen's getting five percent of the vote when she ran for state rep in the 37th district: To me, that's a success.

Ruth Allen


Dear Stranger,
I praise Judy Nicastro's efforts to bring about rent control in Seattle. She appears to have a cool head on her shoulders. We poor people in Seattle have been gouged long enough by landlords. It was so disheartening to see Mayor Paul Schell in a recent TV interview saying with a slight smile that he wouldn't support rent control. The mayor is a mercenary working for fat-cat landlords. I will definitely not vote for Schell in the next election. I hope Ms. Nicastro will run for some kind of public office that would be of benefit to us poor renters. Heck, I'd vote for her as mayor! Go Nicastro!

Chuck Swaim


To the Editor:
The Stranger's Ben Jacklet and rent control organizer Judy Nicastro pride themselves on their superiority to old-fashioned red-baiter Michelle Malkin, the conservative Seattle Times columnist who recently painted rent control as a "commie plot." But in Jacklet's article, they out-Malkin Malkin by bashing the Freedom Socialist Party and FSP organizer Guerry Hoddersen for having the effrontery to speak in defense of the issue and actually demand that legislators do something about it.Nicastro and Jacklet ridicule Hoddersen for calling on Velma Veloria to sponsor a bill repealing the statewide ban on rent control. According to Jacklet, taking such a direct route to one's goal is "heavy-handed and self-aggrandizing rhetoric." Nicastro and Jacklet prefer the "savvy" tack of aspiring to rent control but doing nothing this legislative session so as not to risk a "failed effort." To win rent control, Nicastro says you've got to keep the people who are radical enough to actually demand it "in the background."

So what does Nicastro hope to gain by presenting a parade of injured tenants while announcing that no remedies are possible for at least another year? Nothing for renters, but a seat in the political establishment for herself: "If she runs a savvy campaign, she'll be lobbying from the inside." Looks to me like Jacklet is vying for a spot as her campaign director.

Helen Gilbert


To the Editor: Reading Ben Jacklet's story on rent control was really depressing. After a wonderful public forum Feb. 2 attended by 200 renters, he wrote a story that managed to make the rent control movement look completely divided, nasty, and vicious. His and Miss Judy Nicastro's super-slam of Guerry Hoddersen and the Freedom Socialist Party was spiteful and undermines the good work done by everyone on the Local Housing Needs Local Laws committee, including FSP.I get the impression that Jacklet is a lot more interested in demolishing leftists than he is in promoting rent control. With reporters like him writing opinion pieces that masquerade for journalism, the landlords must be laughing all the way to the bank.

Yours truly,
Ann Rogers