To Dan Savage: Thank you for your article "In Defense of Dignity" [Oct 9]. I lost my mother a year ago to ALS, and for the last three months of her life they had to stick a tube down her throat every 20 minutes to suck out the mucus since she could no longer swallow. In the end, they drugged her up and removed her feeding and water tubes. It took five more long days for her to die. I had the same thoughts as you—was she still aware, was she in pain?
I learned one thing from this experience—religious or not, anyone who opposes a reasonable right-to-die policy has been lucky enough never to have witnessed a loved one go through that. My heart goes out to you for your loss. As I wipe the tears from my eyes after reading your article, I can at least take comfort in the fact that my mother and yours are at long last freed from all pain and suffering.
MS. BARNETT: Thank you for your warning about how scary the prospect of Dino Rossi in the governor's office is ["Meet Your New Governor," Erica C. Barnett, Oct 2]. A Rossi victory would certainly dampen the thrill of an Obama presidency for those of us in Washington State. So where do I go to volunteer for Gregoire? Why is her campaign so damn invisible? There must be thousands of us in Seattle who are fired up about the election this year but realize Obama already has our state locked up so are not very active. Why is Gregoire not channeling all this excess energy into her campaign?
Erica C. Barnett responds: If you're interested in volunteering, contact Gregoire's Seattle office at 382-2008. The campaign has canvassing events on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays, and phone-banking every weekday from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Mister Kiley: Thank you for writing "Ten Things Theaters Need to Do Right Now to Save Themselves" [Brendan Kiley, Oct 9]! It's already created discussion on Portland's theatrical listserv. I wanted to tell you, just in case you were getting a lot of flak from the story, that you're absolutely right on every single point. These are things we're going to have to realize sooner or later if we ever want to be culturally relevant again—or even survive. Thanks again!
A GRIM SITUATION
EDITOR: I am writing in response to Dominic Holden's "Home Free, Foreclosure Crisis Benefits at Least One Group: Renters" [Oct 2]. I work in the housing department of Solid Ground, a HUD-certified housing counseling agency. I am generally grateful for Mr. Holden's attention to the issues that impact tenants, as their perspective is often excluded from the housing crisis. However, I take issue with the general portrayal of the foreclosure crisis being a positive predicament for renters. It is quite the opposite; not a week goes by that I don't talk to renters across Washington State either evicted or forced out of their housing as a result of foreclosure.
In fact, under current laws there is no requirement to notify tenants that a home is in foreclosure or that the homeowner is in default. Once the home is foreclosed on, the law even allows the renter's lease to be dissolved, catching people off guard with only 20 days from the date of the sale to find other housing. For many, especially low-income people or those with disabilities, this will often result in homelessness.
The article focuses on a unique situation and portrays it as a trend. In reality, the foreclosure crisis is quite a grim situation for renters caught in the middle of a homeowner's bad loan. I have spoken to renters who came home only to be greeted by the sheriff, not even aware they were in danger of being evicted. There are consequences: If the eviction lawsuit is filed, it will show up on a renter's permanent record, following them everywhere as a mark that will deny them housing.... This is the actual trend that exists.
Renters should also never withhold their rent; that is not a legal right of the tenant. It only gives the property owner the upper hand to evict the tenant for nonpayment. If renters ever have questions concerning their rights, they should call our tenant services hotline: 694-6767 Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Although the article explained that these renters lucked out, the headline made it sound as if all renters were in clover. We were drunk when we wrote the headline and we feel terrible.