DEAR STRANGER: We are 20-ish Capitol Hill dwellers. We are your target audience. We normally enjoy your paper and read it frequently. That said, we both strongly object to Jim Woodring's comic strip. It is grotesque. Just awful. Please replace it with a better comic.
Lola Estelle and Jeff Buckley, Capitol Hill
EDITOR: In "Paradise Lost" by Kathleen Wilson [Nov 30], she describes a neighborhood quickly spiraling downward. However, all of the evidence she uses to plead her case demonstrates the exact opposite: It is called progress. Every neighborhood in the country goes through it, and Capitol Hill is no exception. If it doesn't, it stagnates--businesses move out and rents drop. Wilson's myopic article is a weak mask for her [anger that her] rent is increasing, and that some of her favorite hangouts are being displaced. Her resentment and jealousy of affluent people are obvious.
The neighborhood she describes is, in fact, my neighborhood. I will be thrilled to see the bums (not homeless, not disenfranchised--these are drunken, panhandling bums) relocated in the name of progress. Progress which will include new buildings, new businesses, and new economic growth for this area.
It used to be that if Boeing had a problem, half of the city became unemployed. Now alternative businesses want to develop, and Kathleen is complaining? How shortsighted can someone be?! I'd love to see Bimbo's, an assault to taste buds and Mexicans, close down tomorrow! Stop wasting paper with inane articles that state in four pages what you could've said in one brief paragraph: "My rent's going up and I'm just too cool to move to Wallingford."
~Z, Capitol Hill
KATHLEEN WILSON RESPONDS: My account of my neighborhood was simply that: MY experience with living there, and what I feel will change when that wretched condo goes up. I made it quite clear in my article that lamenting over change is nothing new, and that progress demands such change, but that doesn't mean it doesn't come without its discomforts. As for my rent, I am blessed with wonderful landlords who have not raised my rent in nearly three years. And for what I'm paying, a condo built on my front porch wouldn't make me budge.
EDITORS: Be careful not to put your foot in your tracheotomy. Your amusing jab at Brown & Williamson's new ad campaign [In Other News, "We Feel Your Pain," Pat Kearney, Dec 14] ran directly across from a full-page, full-color Lucky Strike ad. Maybe you should send The Stranger's Cancer Choir to your own layout department.
Alex D. Wilson, via e-mail
DEAR EDITOR: It must be said that I am in love with the Sonics column that Rick Levin has been writing for The Stranger [Courtside]. His insights on the game and his style of writing is unlike anything you can find in typical sports pages--and that's truly refreshing. What I most enjoy is his perspective as a fan and not an "expert," which is what most writers pretend to be, even though most of them have not actually played the game.
Aaron Robinson, via e-mail
EDITORS: I just read the Stranger article by Dan Savage concerning efforts by Paul Schell and perhaps some city council members to screw up the monorail initiative (I-53), with the probable goal of frustrating the will of the voters ["Don't Go There," Dec 21]. If Schell and certain council members persist, have monorail supporters considered a recall effort against Mark Sidran, Schell, and those council members? I'm not sure what the recall provisions are in the city charter, but I would think that if [the option of a] recall exists, it would be possible in this situation, since it would be just cause--failure to follow the law.
A recall would still be useful against those up for re-election (Sidran, Schell, Jan Drago), since it would tap their campaign resources and probably be put to voters in the spring, six months before the fall election. We have seen that these people are far too arrogant to respond to defeats in court, even when they spend a lot of taxpayer money on defending their untenable position. Only by holding them directly accountable will they get the message: They can pay a personal price for failing to govern wisely. It also would send a pretty potent message to Sound Transit about where Seattle is headed on solving its transportation problems, and what Sound Transit will have to do to fit into those plans.
Rick, via e-mail
EDITORS: Now that you have taken on the striking [Pacific Northwest Newspaper Guild] workers, why don't you go outside and kick a few homeless people, too ["The Real Strike Paper," Dan Savage and Josh Feit, Dec 14]? I am one of those striking workers, and I'm glad our union has chosen to take the high road in [response to] the union-busting tactics of The Seattle Times and [the Seattle Post-Intelligencer]. The way we will win this strike is by being better people and by winning over readers and advertisers--not burning newspaper boxes and personally attacking our bosses. This is Seattle, not Detroit, and I'm glad for that, too!
You are also missing the point of the [Seattle Union Record]: It's [published] not to take the views of the union, but to put out better journalism than what the replacement papers (and your non-union publication) are doing now. By showing our bosses what they are missing, we hope to shorten the strike. If you weren't so busy trying to show attitude, you would see that we are achieving that goal.
Roberto Sánchez, via e-mail
DEAR JOSH AND DAN: Excellent article on the newspaper strike! [The Pacific Northwest Newspaper Guild] seems to want a nice, "polite" strike, where they risk nothing and get everything! Sounds like Dreamland to me. They need a dose of '60s activism. To succeed against powerful organizations, [you have to be] willing to go to jail or get your head bashed in. If you're not, maybe you should go back to work and brown-nose your way to the top.
Rob Moitoza, via e-mail
DEAR JOSH AND DAN: I just read your account of the ongoing newspaper strike in Seattle. I don't pretend to know the inside maneuvers and issues of the strike up there [in Seattle]. But as a grizzled veteran of the 1990-91 strike at the New York Daily News (as well as others), I can tell you that you're on the money when you say that a strike is all about taking sides. And when the going gets tough, well... you know the rest.
The Daily News' rank-and-file strikers not only put out our own paper, which we ourselves sold on the streets and subway stations, but we broke stories and managed to send a reporter to the Mideast to cover the Persian Gulf War. The News sent its own [reporters] after seeing what we did. We didn't know the names of all the out-of-town scabs (from the Chicago Tribune, the [South Florida] Sun-Sentinel, and other Tribune-owned properties) who replaced some of us, but we made sure New York City's readers and leaders knew where [the scabs] were coming from in our daily strikers' bulletin.
We got the late Cardinal O'Connor to back the union side, and convinced Mayor David Dinkins not to respond to questions from scab reporters at press conferences. We leafleted stores, held our own parades and rallies, and even got arrested after taking over the Daily News' Brooklyn bureau office, led by Daily News columnist and strike leader Juan Gonzalez. So it is with some disappointment that I read about the Seattle union's request to tone down The Stranger's scab list. Believe me, for all the rhetoric, neither side "wins" in a strike. But once you do choose sides, it's balls to the wall.
Ruben Rosario, columnist, St. Paul Pioneer Press
TO THE EDITOR: How bold you are, running your "Scab Watch" every week to inform us all of who's keeping the P-I and Times in print! Let's consider your explanations for why people continue to work in spite of the strike: "anti-union pricks," "weak-willed individuals," union sympathizers who need medical insurance [In Other News, "Scab Watch," Stranger News Staff, Dec 7]. How about ordinary, hard-working people who think the strikers are a bunch of stupid, greedy fuckers? That seems like the most likely reason to me and probably everybody else who continues to support the two dailies. How about conjecturing why the union called this asinine strike? Maybe union officials needed to convince their members that something was actually being done with their dues, and that their salaries were well deserved? Has anyone investigated the union's higher-ups? And by the way, Josh Feit, I don't know what you're making; but whatever it is, man, it's way too much.
T-Bone, via e-mail