STRANGER: Hannah Levin's precious comments ["The Power of Positive Poverty," Jan 31] about applying for food stamps (sorry about the screaming kids and farting old men, Hannah--life is unavoidably tough for some folks) are a good demonstration of one reason why public assistance rules have grown so complex over the years--to avoid subsidizing the lifestyle choices of sarcastic but otherwise healthy, college-educated, and eminently employable young people who are going through their "bohemian phase"! Time to get into graduate school, Hannah--it sounds like the romance of "positive poverty" is wearing a little thin....

Mark Dalton, via e-mail


DEAR EDITOR: The Stranger's summary of available health care is a valuable service for your readership. However, your article ["The Power of Positive Poverty"] gives an inaccurate picture of the quality of services provided at the STD Clinic at Harborview.

The STD Clinic, which is run by Public Health--Seattle & King County, has been widely praised as setting a national standard for patient care, teaching, and research. Most important, all indications are that most patients are very happy with the services they receive, which are highly confidential and are provided with sensitivity to diverse populations, usually at low cost (or no cost) to the patient.

The STD Clinic provides more HIV testing and counseling services--which are available either confidentially or anonymously--than any other facility in the Pacific Northwest; over 6,000 persons were tested for HIV in 2001. Most patients can be seen the same day, without an appointment.

For an appointment or other information, telephone the STD Clinic at 206-731-3590. For general information about HIV or STDs, call Public Health's STD/HIV Hotline, 206-205-STDS (206-205-7837).

Although the STD Clinic is not part of Harborview's health-care system, in my experience the article's general comments about health care at Harborview badly miss the mark. Most of the medical staff chose Harborview precisely because they care about the welfare of underserved populations. Their morale is excellent, and most patients are very happy with the superior care they receive.

H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D.

Director, STD Control Program Public Health-- Seattle & King County


DEAR MS. LEVIN: I am a fairly dedicated employee of Harborview Medical Center, so when I hear a complaint, I either try to fix it or I direct the patient accordingly. However, the only complaint that you made was that the staff appears miserable and underpaid. If you think it's so "unfortunate" that people use the public facility that is here for everyone (including underserved populations like the homeless and/or mentally ill), why don't you explain why? Because you think everyone who works here is miserable? I would rather hear how you feel about the care that you received if you are going to go so far as to criticize an entire facility which has been rated as one of the top 10 medical centers in the nation. I don't deny that you may have encountered a grouchy person behind a desk (when I hear it, I cringe with shame), but at least be more specific in your complaints, or how else can we improve upon them?

Katie D., via e-mail


TO THE EDITOR: The LP Show, an exhibition of often-obscure album covers, is presently on view at the Experience Music Project ["Pop Art," Emily Hall, Feb 7]. This is a scaled-down version (by more than 1,000 covers) of a show held at the Exit Art gallery in New York City last year; and it will travel to Pittsburgh, to be seen again in its original, expanded form, at the Andy Warhol Museum later this year. It should be noted that the admission price in NYC was a "suggested donation" of $2, and it will be $8 in Pittsburgh (where Friday evenings are free to the public). In Seattle, however, it will cost you a whopping $20 to see EMP's truncated version of this show; no "free nights" are being offered. Although I have a strong personal interest in viewing this exhibition (I collect albums, in part for their cover art), I am not willing to submit to EMP's egregious [admission policies]. Highway robbery is the kind of "experience" I would rather forgo.

Russell Scheidelman, via e-mail

DEPT. OF CORRECTIONS In the last week's paper, Debra from Graceland's name was accidentally misspelled as "Deborah" in In Other News. Two weeks ago ["Bright Lights, Jobless City," In Other News, Jan 31], we incorrectly reported that Seattle Weekly associate editor David Massengill left his job. He has not.

Also, in regards to an error so old it's got whiskers on it, evidently Julianne Shepherd wrote an Up & Coming about some band called Hella way back on November 29, 2001, in which she said Spencer Siem is the drummer and Zach Hill is the guitar player, when actually Spencer Siem is the guitar player and Zach Hill is the drummer. The Stranger regrets these errors, no matter how old they are.