FUN IN THE SUN

ELI: I am not so sure I would call the move [of the Pride Parade] to downtown a rousing success quite yet ["Ghetto-Morphosis," June 29]. I think we will have to wait and see what the turnout is when the weather is gray, cloudy, in the low 60s, and threatening to rain. I marched in the parade with the Democrats and have for the last six years; the crowd is mostly weather dependent. The turnout is great on nice days, not so good on rainy days. While this year's turnout was huge, I would attribute most of that to the great weather rather than the move to downtown.

Hal

DEFENDING AIKEN

EDITOR: In reference to the column I Love Television [Wm. Steven Humphrey, June 29], Clay Aiken is my favorite male singer and male entertainer. Clay Aiken is the greatest and the best male musical artist ever!!! Clay Aiken Rules!!!

M. Hinojosa

LADIES WRESTLING

DEAR KAREN COOPER AND LINDA MITCHELL: It was reported in The Stranger ["The Feminine Critique," Eli Sanders, June 29] that you two met with Stephanie Pure to ask her to leave the race for the representative of the 43rd District. If true, this is out of bounds for both of you. The Fighting 43rd can make up its own mind without outside interference, thank you.

I strongly support both NARAL and the Women's Political Caucus and I appreciated your endorsements when I ran in 1997 for the Seattle School Board. However, both Stephanie Pure and Lynne Dodson are my PCOs in area 22 of the 43rd. Both women are articulate, smart, and hard working. Both are running good campaigns for this vacant house seat. Both women would be a credit to the 43rd should they win. We need more strong women as role models and leaders, not less. For you to step in behind the scenes to discourage any woman from running for office is another example of women being our own worst enemies in the struggle for a level playing field.

While I am supporting my friend, my neighbor, and my Legal Marriage Alliance secretary, Jamie Pedersen, in this race, I nevertheless encourage and support both of my PCOs Stephanie Pure and Lynne Dodson. They are good women and good activists. They deserve a fair chance at the polls.

Janice Van Cleve, PCO 43/1858

43rd District coordinator, areas 21 and 22

SUBPAR HERO

ANDREW WRIGHT: I don't think you could have nailed that ["Grounded," a review of Superman Returns, June 29] any better. The only thing you missed was the annoying kid they brought into the story for no reason

Isaac Delys

PORTRAIT OF THE HOOD

CHARLES: Your prose is so beautiful. The topic is so sad ["Human Remains," June 29]. I live in that neighborhood and I watch its rhythms from my bedroom window. Sometimes I laugh, sometimes I cry, and sometimes I am afraid, but I love the neighborhood. Thank you for your piece.

M. A. Campbell

PROUD MOTHER

HELLO CHARLES: I had the pleasure of reading your reflections under "Black Twilight." You quoted lyrics from Central Intelligence's tune "Aim for the Sky." My son, Fred Cain II, is one of the founding members of the group. That album was such a defining point in both my son's and my life. It allowed me to look into his soul and realize what was really important to him: God, his family, his new daughter and her mother, his mom (me)! I saw that I didn't do too bad raising my son as a single mom. It was the fruit of many years of labor and weekly meetings. Then the album was released. What a high! The whole album was a look into the souls of these five young black men and the places they grew up in and the lives they lived.

Fred continues to live in the Central District because he saw what was happening. He knew once he left, he wouldn't be able to afford to move back in. He is still rapping under the label Grind Hard Records with his partner, K-Stel. Thanks for the shout out to Central Intelligence, whose name was giving props to the 206, the CD.

Debra Lyles

MOVING UP AND OUT

CHARLES: Very interesting article and interviews. From the folks in the neighborhood I've spoken with, black flight from the CD is a little more complex than your article suggests. Sure, many of the poorer families have cashed in on the rising property values and moved south where property is cheaper and tax is lower. However, much of the black middle class left in the late '80s/early '90s searching for better schools and safer streets, and they were just as likely to head north and east as they were south. Many still come back to the hood on Sunday mornings for church, though.

Sean

FROM THE FORUMS

POSTED ON JUNE 28 BY MR. SPARKLY PANTS: The flag- burning amendment was struck down in Congress yesterday, just a vote shy of a two-thirds majority. God help us stop this barbaric and senseless genocide.

Our flags are now in very serious trouble. The rounding up of flags for summary burnings is already increasing: This morning I saw a young flag ablaze in a park, as children giggled and applauded and parents took photos. The flag succumbed to the flames licking its broad stripes, while its ghoulish captors cheered. Just before it was completely engulfed, the flag glanced at me with a hurt in its stars that I have never seen on any flag before. Not pain, mind you, but a bewildered look of shock, as if to say, "Mr. Sparkly Pants, it's up to YOU to not allow this to happen to all the flags of your country."

When I thought of all the little flags that will meet this and similarly barbaric fates, I wept. WHAT HAS GONE WRONG WITH MY COUNTRY?