EDITORS: The statement in which I was referred to as an "anti-off-leash area activist" ["Political Party-Hopping," the Stranger Election Death Squad, Nov 8] is untrue. I am a pro-leash activist--which means that I try to get all unleashed dogs either on leashes or into off-leash areas (OLAs). Anyone in possession of the OLA facts knows that I first proposed an OLA to Cheryl Chow in the summer of 1991. In 1993, I publicly offered $10,000 to establish an off-leash area.
While [I was] president of Citizens for the Protection of Volunteer Park, [we] successfully sued to close one specific OLA. I have not been active in other attempts to close OLAs. As a pro-leash activist, I convinced the city to place signs at all the children's playgrounds and athletic fields, informing the public of the Seattle municipal code's prohibition of dogs on playgrounds.
Ellen Taft, Seattle
TO THE STRANGER: Pat Kearney's diatribe against light rail on floating bridges is all too typical of the inaccurate and inflammatory reporting we've come to expect from The Stranger ["Covering Their Tracks," Pat Kearney, Nov 15]. In this article, there was no mention of the fact that the I-90 bridge was actually designed for future light rail.
The recent Department of Transportation engineering study showed how to do it, contrary to years of rumor that there was a fatal flaw. In fact, there is no twisting or other bridge motion that will affect light rail except at the transition points, from floating to land bridge at either end. Here, a couple of feet of very slow motion is possible. One known solution is a "rail splice," where tapered rails automatically slide by each other when induced by bridge motion.
Trying to put monorail or aerial rail on I-90 would be another matter. The weight of the heavy concrete guideway alone is far more than the bridge was designed to carry. Light rail requires only ordinary steel track on the existing bridge surface. And imagine the cost of trying to engineer and construct a reliable "monorail splice" at those transition points. (For stability you'd want the center of gravity low, not high.)
Light rail is our high-capacity transit technology of choice for a very good reason--its versatility and overall cost-effectiveness. Floating bridges are a case in point.
Dick Burkhart, via e-mail
EDITORS: Congratulations on an excellent piece ["Covering Their Tracks," Pat Kearney, Nov 15], with the kind of reportorial digging we rarely see. Hope you pursue this matter further.
FYI, the claims for light-rail capacity in the downtown Seattle transit tunnel (DSTT) are 50 percent dependent on a cross-lake rail line in the I-90 corridor. Here's the expert, independent assessment of the prestigious firm, DMJM+Harris: IF Sound Transit implements both an extensive north/south Link rail line and a cross-lake rail line--THEN rail transit capacity in DSTT will equal what we could do far more quickly and less expensively with buses. (Roughly 15,000 maximum passenger capacity, each way, per hour.)
In short, take many years and billions in capital investment for a project (i.e., cross-lake) that probably isn't viable, and at the end of it, the ability to move transit patrons through the most congested, hourglass core of the city will be no better than what can be done right now.
Until August 21, 2001, Sound Transit's own data indicated that, absent the cross-lake I-90 rail line, there would be greater bus capacity than rail capacity in DSTT. Its new study downgraded bus capacity to 83 percent of the tunnel's design capacity (from 150 to 125 buses, each way, per hour), and claimed that optimal passenger ridership was 75 percent as many passengers as seats (whereas for rail, it calculates it at 185 percent). In this fashion, Sound Transit was able to claim that there would be more rail than bus capacity even without a cross-lake bridge.
This is illustrative of the kind of data manipulation that Sound Transit engages in as its standard operating procedure. I have long concluded that the reason for the chronic misrepresentations is an acute awareness that it is pursuing a project that cannot be defended on its merits. Regrettably, the press seldom shines a light on these machinations.
I hope you'll continue to explore your current subject. And consider adding some close scrutiny to the tunnel capacity issue.
Emory Bundy, via e-mail
JEFF DeROCHE: Bravo! I just wanted to drop you a quick line to say that your review of Built to Spill [Up & Coming, Nov 15] was perfect! I have had the same exact "house music is great all night, but when the sun comes up you just need something REAL!" experience. I related to your NYC moment perfectly! Thanks for articulating!
I spent my summer weekends with a popular DJ in Vancouver, and it was fabulous, but inevitably after the parties and the bars closed, I would slip in some Built to Spill on our way home, and the realness of the sound was always so welcome.
Sarah, via e-mail
DEAR EDITORS: It's one thing for you fucking assholes to talk shit about Mark Sidran week after week, even though you know good and goddamn full well that he's the only man who can clean up this town (yes, I know it's cute to advocate for the homeless, but have you ever tried talking to one? They're all insane!). Fine. We've all come to expect that from the likes of you. I am writing to complain about a whole 'nother thing, and that is the snooty, elitist "review" (and I am being kind in even calling it a "review") that Sean Nelson "wrote" about the Penny Marshall film Riding in Cars With Boys [Film Shorts]. And I quote: "A film for 40-year-old soccer moms of all ages."
Is this supposed to be homourous [sic]? I haven't seen the film, but as a proud 37-year-old mother of three children (only two of whom play soccer), I resent the implication. "Because the film is directed by Penny Marshall," Nelson writes, in his oh-so-clever words, "it is bad, indeed painfully so." Um, hello, Sean Nelson? Awakenings? A League of Their Own? Jumping Jack Flash? The Preacher's Wife? Renaissance Man? These are but a few of the films Marshall has brought to the screen. And if that's what a "bad" movie is, I'd hate to have to sit through something "good." Perhaps Mr. Nelson should brush up on his film history before "gracing" your "newspaper" with any more uninformed rants against one of Hollywood's proudest daughters. Besides, I don't see Mr. Nelson's name on any blockbuster hit movies. The only one I did see with his name on it was something called Fresh, and not even my 12-year-old had heard of that. Hmph.
Mrs. Karina Vellum, Kirkland
HEY CHARLES MUDEDE: As you do such stirring Police Beats each week, I felt I should share with you what I think is quietly a quite beautiful (and completely ignorant of its own beauty) news clipping from the police blotter of my hometown newspaper in Florida:
FBI thinks fugitive may be in Key West
CITIZEN STAFF REPORT
The FBI is offering a reward for information leading to the arrest of Robert Warren, 54, who is wanted in Michigan on drug charges.
Authorities say Warren--said to be living in Key West under an assumed name--distributed more than 220 grams of cocaine. A federal warrant has been issued for his arrest for unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.
Also known as Robert Louis Warren, Robert L. Warren, or Robert Lewis Warren, he could be with his wife, who may be a French Canadian prostitute, authorities said.
Warren reportedly likes trendy clubs and restaurants and claims to be a dealer in antique cars. Considered armed and dangerous, Warren is a known associate of the Detroit Mafia, authorities said.
He is further described as 5 feet 5, 140 pounds, with brown hair and eyes, scars on his forehead and legs, having some missing teeth and a glass left eye.
Anyone with information as to Warren's whereabouts is asked to call the Key West office of the FBI at 296-3093.