TO THE EDITOR: The LAST thing the businesses along Broadway seek to resemble is a "sterile, upscale shopping mall" ["Taming Broadway," Samantha M. Shapiro, April 1]. As the Executive Director of the Broadway Business Improvement Association, and spokesperson for Broadway's business community, I had attempted to convey that point to Samantha Shapiro when she interviewed me for her article. Clearly my attempt failed. Broadway is an urban business district, for better or worse, and no business on this street has any desire to become suburban. The vast diversity of the street life here on Broadway and our eclectic group of merchants are what has made this street great.
Broadway will change and will see development. This is, after all, Seattle in 1999. This development can be driven haphazardly by market forces. Or, Broadway's evolution could be guided by the people who live and work here and have made Broadway the coolest street in Seattle: the owners of its small businesses. If in five years Broadway has become "Anywhere, U.S.A.," I will personally feel that my work here has been a failure.
Kevin B. Guertin
Executive Director Broadway Business Improvement Association
TO THE EDITOR: I am writing to correct glaring inaccuracies in Ms. Shapiro's article "Taming Broadway." I have not been "battling a proposal to put security guards around the Broadway Market." As far as I know, the Broadway Market [already] has security guards. Last fall, while the decision to hire security guards was under discussion, the Broadway Business Improvement Association and some social service providers decided to convene a "street safety task force" to look at other ways to improve safety in addition to or instead of security guards. I have been participating in this safety task force, which I told Ms. Shapiro.
Most alarming are Ms. Shapiro's descriptions of incidents the [Capitol Hill Youth Center] had with police this winter. I made it quite clear that there were no ongoing problems with police. Ms. Shapiro [referred to] "a spate of police raids on the center that began in January," implying that the problem is ongoing. The two problems we had were resolved soon after they occurred. The police consulted their legal department and deserve credit for responding to our concerns. A number of police officers and youth center staff and board members put serious effort into building better relations. This is a major omission.
The Stranger's interest in protecting the civil rights of street youth is noble. However, misrepresenting the facts is bad journalism. When Ms. Shapiro came back to talk to me the second time, she said her editor told her she needed more color. She seems to have achieved "color" at the expense of accuracy.
Director, Capitol Hill Youth Center
Samantha Shapiro responds: I realize that my portrayal of relations between police and the Capitol Hill Youth Center probably put Ms. Munger in a delicate political position, but it was not inaccurate. During our interview, Munger told me she was opposed to hiring security guards in the Broadway Market, and that she had voiced that opposition through the safety task force. I didn't emphasize police efforts to "build better relationships" with the Youth Center because conversations with Ms. Munger, other social service providers, and homeless youth led me to believe that relations between police and street youth continue to be strained, even contentious.
TO THE EDITOR: Ben Jacklet obviously does NOT live in hearing radius of Studio 420 ["Hiphop Hit Squad," April 1]. If he did, he would have written a much different article. I live in an apartment around the corner from Studio 420. Ben should come out and sit on the sidewalk beneath my window from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. on a Friday or Saturday night. He would see and hear for himself what the city and local residents are really trying to curtail. It has nothing to do with the club itself, the owners, the type of music they play there, nor the age, race, or style of people who go there. It is about inconsiderate, obnoxious, smart-ass, disrespectful, drug-dealing, drunk, and vandalistic patrons who attend the club. [They] screech tires, rev engines, stand on the sidewalk at 3, 4, 5, or 6 a.m. and shout, laugh, hustle, jive, scream, yell, trash-talk, drive cars that pour 120 decibels of BOOM BOOM BOOM out open windows, throw bottles, spray paint their tags on businesses, deal drugs and pass bottles in the parking lots on Olive Way, knock over the city trash cans, and then get uppity and smart-ass when the police show up.
Ben paints a nice picture of the young immigrant kids just trying to run a small business who claim that "Hiphop... is about peace, love, and unity." Maybe so. But that is NOT what is going on in the streets around the club.
TO THE EDITOR: After reading Samantha Shapiro's article on the protests and prayer vigils held by some members of Seattle's Serbian population, I wondered where Ms. Shapiro found the clowns she quoted ["Serbs Blast Bombers," April 1]. Sreten Nesic cites a growing disenchantment with American democracy as part of the reason he was pleased to learn of the downing of an American plane. He [states], "This country is made of immigrants. You can't destroy one group in the name of the other, because those people live here." Huh? Is this guy aware that his countrymen are engaged in an orchestrated program to displace and destroy the Kosovo Albanians?
Mirko Spasojevic will be leaving this country to join the Serbian Army to fight U.S. forces. His reasoning? He believes the U.S. government is fascist. Tired of fascism in the United States, Mirko Spasojevic leaves for Serbia to assist his fellow Serbs in eradicating every other ethnic group within their borders. Maybe we can find some more intellects like this guy for the Serbian Army.
S. D. Beary
TO THE EDITOR: Y'all pretty much hit the nail on the head in your "Kill-Yr-Idols" supplement. While bands I like got skewered along with those I don't, I have to agree that each one you mentioned deserved the lumps. Musicians: give us your music and spare us your self-aggrandized egos. Fans and critics: slay your sacred cows and have a steak for dinner. I can only hope that at whatever level of success my scrappy little combo may or may not achieve, I can maintain the one quality that so often seems lacking in the hysterical realm of popular music: humility.
WHO BROKE NIRVANA?
TO THE EDITOR: In the Sleater-Kinney section of the "Kill-Yr-Idols" feature, Elizabeth Harler writes, "Everett True claims major responsibility for 'breaking' the 'Pacific Northwest Scene.' Some call him the man who broke Nirvana, even." And just who might those people be? Nirvana "broke" in America before they "broke" in Britain. At the time, Mr. True was writing for Melody Maker, a British weekly music paper that the vast majority of Americans do not read. How could he have possibly had a hand in "breaking" Nirvana? Or did he pay Ms. Harler a tidy sum to write such rubbish, hoping that rumor might become fact in the minds of the majority?
WHERE THE GIRLS ARE
TO THE EDITOR: In response to the "Queer Club Guide" [Adrian Ryan, March 25]: This was not a "Queer" Club Guide, it was a Gay Man's Club Guide! This "guide" failed to accurately list anything happening in the local lesbian scene besides the Wild Rose. So, maybe Seattle's ladies are wondering what's really going on? Let's start with the biggest lesbian night in town, and one of ARO.space's biggest nights--Hot Box. Hot Box is the first Friday of every month and features lesbian DJs. There is always a floor show, and a helluva lot of babes everywhere you look. Cover $6.
Every Saturday night at Re-bar is Women's Night--this is one of Re-bar's busiest nights as well. The DJ is longtime Seattle favorite MC Queen Lucky. Cover $5. And let's not forget Soiree des Femmes, Seattle's newest lesbian night, which happens every Wednesday at the Back Door Lounge. Soiree features a different lady DJ each week. Ladies always get in free, and so do men in drag. Funny, all these events are advertised regularly in The Stranger. Does Adrian even read the paper?
Another lesbian hangout is the Ditto Tavern. This old Seattle dive has been given a face-lift by its new owners, and is now sporting a healthy lesbian crowd.
Thirsty Girl Promotions
IN DEFENSE OF CHANGES
TO THE EDITOR:
An Old Fart Who Appreciates Changes