DEAR EDITORS: [Even though] Sound Transit is experiencing [problems]--and despite the budget overruns--the light-rail project is one that needs to continue ["More Expensive, Less Filling," Josh Feit, Dec 28]. This is a project that was committed to by the voters in 1996, unlike other projects (like Safeco Field, which was rejected and we got it anyway). The reality of projects like this is that they do go over budget. Big deal.
The appropriate people on the Sound Transit board should be fired, and credibility should be restored. Then it's time we get on with this project.
Richard Borkowski, Seattle
EDITORS: Sound Transit has no reasonable excuse for not employing the monorail as a superior and cheaper alternative to ground-level light rail. That old "YOU MUST ACT NOW TO RECEIVE THIS ONCE-IN-A-LIFETIME DEAL" reminds me of those telephone scams they often warn us about. The argument that we [had to] "act now" to capture $500,000,000 in grant money from the FTA to help us dig a money pit like the Capitol Hill light-rail tunnel is a total scam--and a not very slick one at that.
Anonymous, via e-mail
TO THE EDITORS: We all appreciate the sample as [an emblem] of pop culture. Perhaps Laurie Anderson does so more than Nate Lippens ["Ghost Stories," Nate Lippens, Jan 4]. Laurie Anderson's "lullaby" to "history's entropic progress," which Lippens quotes in his lead, is not her personal song. The "angel of history" of which Anderson sings is a cultural and literary artifact already thrice removed. In 1940, Walter Benjamin wrote a short comment on the 1920 painting by Paul Klee, Angelus Novus, which has since been widely quoted for its vivid reversal of modernity's idealization of progress. Klee's angel, writes Benjamin, is "turned toward the past.... Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage upon wreckage... but a storm is blowing from Paradise. This storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. This storm is what we call progress."--Walter Benjamin, "Theses on the Philosophy of History."
Anonymous, via e-mail
BRET FETZER: I just read your Stranger Suggests piece about the public art in the East Precinct [Jan 4]. The work was created by Diane Katsiaficas, and was installed during the remodeling of the building (a former taxidermy center!) in the early '80s. As for the piece's meaning, your guess is as good as any. Diane is now teaching at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, and lives half-time in Greece, near Athens.
Richard Hesik, via e-mail
ALLIE HOLLY-GOTTLIEB: This is in response to your article "Tense City" [Jan 4]. It is disturbing to know that in the year 2001, there are still 1955-generation newspaper articles written by obviously talented journalists. Did any individual from The Stranger visit the site at El Centro de la Raza? Were phone interviews from the opposition the only source of knowledge on this situation? I can only hope that there will never be a day that I have to depend on the kindness or support of an upstanding organization such as El Centro, as [Tent City residents] do. Was there a quote given from anyone at El Centro that might have been omitted from your article? As a member of the Seattle community--not just the South Seattle community--I would be interested to hear both points of view.
Wendy J. Wamsher, Seattle
DAN SAVAGE: I read your article today about the Elevated Transit Company with great interest ["Foamers Need Not Apply," Jan 11]. I have been following the evolution of the ETC and the challenges it faces since the election. It's been my understanding that installing Tom Jones at the ETC was engineered primarily to ensure that Gogerty Stark Marriott gets the P.R. contract for the ETC. Makes sense, except that (a) they were strongly against the original plan... and (b) they are one of the most EXPENSIVE firms in the state--just ask the Native Americans who paid $150 an hour for secretarial services from Gogerty Stark Marriott during their abortive slot machine campaign.
The ETC needs someone who can do the job, but who is also not beholden to the establishment and can perform the kind of "guerrilla P.R." [it] will need to survive the onslaught of the Heidi Willses of the world. There's any one of a number of up-and-coming folks who would do a great job--the question is, will the ETC cave and hire expensive establishment people who will spend [the ETC's] own money to kill [it], or will [it] hire someone who would really enjoy helping [the ETC] at a fair cost? Let's hope the ETC isn't stacked with wannabe insiders who will sell out the monorail for the sake of good cocktail parties at City Hall.
Anonymous, via e-mail
EDITORS: By the time I was halfway through reading Bradley Steinbacher's review of Traffic ["Brain Candy," Jan 4], I was fully prepared to save myself the $8.50 and the disappointment of sitting through this apparently trite and uninspiring movie. I thought him rather humorous, [and] quite an apt movie critic. That is, until he lumped Traffic in with another "film that critics go apeshit over, a film that doesn't really deserve it"--namely, American Beauty.
M. Desai, Seattle
EDITORS: What a fascinating article ["Love for Sale," Adrian Ryan, Jan 11] about a subject I have long been curious about. I knew "man-ho's" were out there, but one NEVER reads anything about them. It's always bimbo boobs 'n' booty. This story was downright refreshing--not a single reference to silicone boob jobs and/or the travails of a poor single mom taking it all off for the sake of her fatherless kid.
Anonymous, via e-mail
HEY: Kudos to you for your article on the past year's great moments in Seattle's theater scene! ["Memories of 2000," Stranger Theater Critics, Jan 4.] We didn't learn anything worth remembering about the diverse and lively plays [of 2000], but we DID learn that the guy wearing the "wife-beater" was cute. Gee, I can't wait to tell my sisters down at the shelter for battered women that their broken noses and mutilated bodies and torn vaginas would've felt much better if the dickheads who attacked them had "short auburn hair"! Looks count, after all. And wow! What a thrill for some hard-working gal to be spat on by some pisswad who thinks he's a woman! Yeah, you save up to go to the theater and relax and be entertained, and what fun to have a creepy male let loose with his delightful saliva. And even better, how charming that the [reviewer's] fave memory of the past season was that another woman was given such a treat.
Such a crew of fun-lovin', women-hating reviewers you all are! Too bad even your female writers are assholes.
EDITORS: This letter is in reference to the cover of your Jan 11 issue: The cover depicts 1948 Republican presidential candidate Thomas E. Dewey with the word "Decimal" beneath [Dewey's face]. It appears that this [illustration] is making reference to the famed "Dewey decimal system" used to catalog and organize library books. However, the architect of this system was John Dewey, the celebrated Columbia University philosopher and educational theorist--not Thomas Dewey, who eventually lost the 1948 election to Harry Truman. I respond in the interest of your younger readers who are known to consult Stranger cover art while preparing book reports and social-studies assignments. While seasoned readers can at times be comfortable with such ambiguity in the name of art, we must remain mindful of our youth, who are all too easily led astray by neglectful parents and mass media. This kind of confusion can lead to low grades, drug use, and low self-esteem.
Andrew Knudsen, Capitol Hill