TO THE EDITORS: In Eli Sanders's feature "Almost Infamous" [April 24] I read with sadness about this guy William F. Ball who was falsely accused of stabbing Shannon Harps, then fatally stabbed by some other person within eight weeks.

Ball's mother blamed a lot of her son's problems on drugs messing with his mind forever. A Washington psychiatrist sealed the deal by suggesting the drugs induced his schizophrenia. It made me think of the people who aren't as violently prone or doped up as Ball, who may be suffering from mild depression, a sleep disorder, grief from losing a loved one... and what happens to them when doctors prescribe a host of drugs designed to help them get unstuck, from Prednisone and antibiotics, to Ambien and Wellbutrin.

Are any of us safe?



HELLO: I just read your review of Ron Paul's The Revolution: A Manifesto [New in Books, Paul Constant, April 24]. I must say I am sick with disgust. Ron Paul was and is still the best chance we have for president. He is the only one who speaks of truth. There is only one way to interpret the Constitution. It was written with no room for growth. We often hear about the Constitution being a "living document." It's not; it's fixed.

If we let the Democrats impose more laws and taxes, we screw ourselves further into a hole. How quickly we forget that all major conflicts in the last 100 years were under a Democratic president. I don't know who you are behind, but I know it's not Ron Paul. If I was a better writer, I'd give you all the details but I am not; I speak better. If you want to go to lunch, I can illuminate you.

Mark Thomas


TO THE STRANGER: Thanks for covering the historic weakening (during Earth Week, no less!) of Seattle's law implementing the State Environmental Policy Act [In Other News, Erica C. Barnett, April 24]. Further setbacks loom, so here's hoping that your next story comes out beforehand, and mentions what's to be lost.

The City Neighborhood Council is composed of 13 district councils, which like the CNC are official advisory bodies. We aren't "density opponents," but support the right to public notice, comment, environmental analysis, and mitigation.

The city council and departments never justified the April 21 change, with no prior notice of second-class citizenship for Capitol Hill, First Hill, Lower Queen Anne, South Lake Union, Northgate, the University District, and downtown. Project impacts will now largely be ignored for air quality, drainage, trees, wildlife, environmental health, light and glare, energy waste, height/bulk/scale, views, shadowing of open space, traffic, parking, transit, utilities, and landslide and seismic hazards in areas not already designated as environmentally critical.

And most city council discussion and issuances (and the Stranger article) didn't mention that this environmental injustice also hits those within a quarter mile of light-rail stations. Council Member Tim Burgess's City View newsletter misstates that "Urban Villages outside of the Urban Centers are not impacted by the legislation [and] current SEPA thresholds remain in place." Actually, no. Because they have stations, the following urban villages did lose SEPA rights under his legislation: Rainier Beach, MLK at Holly, Columbia City/Hillman City, North Rainier Valley, and North Beacon Hill.

CNC can be proud to have stood up for the hundreds of thousands who live or work in urban centers and station areas.

Chris Leman

Chair, CNC

ERICA C. BARNETT RE-SPONDS: Chris Leman's letter misrepresents the impact of the legislation the council passed. First, the council's legislation dramatically decreased the scope of the original legislation from the mayor's office, which would have impacted all areas zoned multifamily in the city. The new legislation only applies in urban centers and areas directly around light-rail stations, not the long list of neighborhoods to which Leman refers. Second, SEPA rules are largely redundant with other, existing city rules that govern environmental quality. Moreover, the impact of SEPA analysis doesn't extend to things like views (which aren't protected by law anyway), height, bulk and scale, and shadowing, which are generally addressed during design review; in fact, the rules' most common use is to restrict noise during construction. If anything, things such as air quality, environmental health, transit, and energy usage are actually helped by dense developments near transit stops. Finally, not only was there ample "prior notice" of the changes, there were five separate meetings to discuss the changes this year alone.