WE WANT THE MONORAIL! WE WANT THE MONORAIL!
DEAR CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS: I ordinarily do not get involved in politics, but I will personally make an effort to oust you from office if you do not take a huge turnaround in favor of the monorail ["Build the Monorail," Dan Savage, June 8]. The city needs it and you are chickenshit if you don't get behind it. I will be watching your efforts and starting an e-mail campaign if you give the project anything less than your full support. The citizens have spoken and voted for it. You are legally obligated to build it. Do your job or don't expect to keep it.
Ken Mahar, Seattle
DAN SAVAGE: I just read your article about the monorail on the Stranger website. As a member of the American electorate, I can't fathom the arrogance of a city council working against the voters' wishes. My family and I traveled from Florida to Seattle last summer, and aside from it being quite possibly the most beautiful place with the nicest people I have ever seen, getting around town was miserable. I've been to many of the big East Coast cities and experienced bad traffic, but was totally unprepared for the nightmare that is your interstate system. Getting around downtown was tough too, especially in the afternoon. When we left, my wife said, "I would love to move here, but I'm sure that I can't take that traffic." Arrogance aside, I can't understand why five people want to continue to promote that mess.
EDITORS: Are there any organized groups doing anything to support the monorail law? I'm pissed off and ready to fight!
Sandra Fillmore, Seattle
EDITORS: I too lived in Chicago as a boy, and was able to get around very well on the rapid transit system. What I have observed in Los Angeles, where I now live, and in Seattle through reports on the monorail battle, is that politicians fall all over themselves trying to implement high-cost, low-ridership rail systems while thwarting the public's will on monorail and other lower-cost, effective possibilities that work in Japan and elsewhere. Who benefits from a transit system stalemate? Oil companies, auto manufacturers, and their allies. It would be very interesting to see how much auto-affiliated money goes into Seattle City Council members' campaign funds.
Phil Pearson, Agoura Hills, CA
DAN SAVAGE: I welcomed your piece on the monorail, but initially was put off by the tone. On reflection, though, it seems that a good rant was just what was needed. You presented a lot of facts and made good arguments, but then you did what everyone else has done who has written about this issue. You stopped short. You compared the cost of the RTC (billions) with the monorail (millions) without pointing out that those billions aren't simply some sort of burnt offering; they are used to pay for construction. So who gets the money? Construction people, that's who. Now suppose you are a principal of one of the construction companies in this city and there are these two proposals on the table. One requires underground tunneling, excavation, clearing, building, and so forth. The other requires the erection of many identical pylons and "hanging" tracks between them--a challenging task for a troop of Explorer Scouts. I can't imagine the construction companies are just waiting around hoping things will go their way. Whatever persuasion is going on seems invisible.
When we came here in 1969, Seattle's politics were often described as "squeaky clean." Perhaps they still are, but isn't it the role of journalists to investigate what isn't obvious? To rub a bit to be sure that the squeak is still there? Why aren't any of the media doing that?
Charles Bollinger, Seattle
EDITORS: I am a law student who reads three newspapers a day. I can honestly say that The Stranger is Seattle's best newspaper. It has the most journalistic integrity, relevance to the city (rather than to the suburbs), and seems to actually strive to better the plight of its readers. While the Times and P-I are moving away from "news" and toward magazine-style fluff pieces, The Stranger, with such articles as Savage's on the monorail, delivers the "just the facts, ma'am" news that American journalism was founded on.
Rory Patrick McManama, Seattle
DEAR DAN: I want to applaud you on your article about the monorail, a system I think should have been built 20 years ago. I'm 45 years old and grew up here in Seattle. I have actually gotten on I-5 to go downtown and CRIED when I saw the stopped traffic. Do you know how many times I haven't wanted to go anywhere because I didn't want to face the mess out there?
Deborah M. Russell, Seattle
EDITORS: I'm glad Dan Savage is fighting for the monorail and I really hope The Stranger keeps working this issue. I think you've got it in your power to make it happen.
EDITOR: After reading the first paragraph of Dan Savage's piece, I began to wonder why he even bothers. And then I began to wonder why I even bother. Why sort through all that "fuck you" this and "fuck you" that drivel in order to get to the meat of the story (which was probably quite interesting, although I myself couldn't get past that first paragraph)? Five "fuck yous" in one sentence. Gee, Dan, you really have a way with words.
Annik Stahl, Seattle
DEAR STRANGERS: Dead-on column by Dan Savage concerning Seattle officialdom's snubbing of the voter-mandated monorail system. Paul Schell's laughable proposal of free taxi rides is something I'd expect from a small child, not the mayor of a major city. But then, Schell occupies a world none of us could hope to visit without ingesting near-lethal doses of hallucinogens. Has there ever been a more obvious one-termer than this guy? But then, who would have thought a vacuous twit like Patty Murray would be elected TWICE to the Senate? When it gets down to it, it's the voters' fault that unqualified people get elected to office. Until voters start paying attention to what politicians actually DO rather than taking them at their word, there will always be liars and incompetents from both major parties making decisions that have nothing to do with the greater good.
Bruce Baskin, Seattle
EDITORS: Thank you for your great piece and continued support of the monorail. It is the best summary of the issue I have seen.
John D. Peter, Seattle
EDITORS: I vividly remember Schell criticizing the monorail vote, saying that voters didn't know what they wanted. Ironically, more people voted for the monorail than for Schell. Simple math escapes the best of us sometimes.
Kelly Giem, Seattle
EDITORS: The only reporter in Seattle with enough gumption to tell it like it is on the issue of the monorail is best known for licking doorknobs and writing an explicit sex advice column. Two cheers for Dan Savage! A big raspberry for the Times, P-I, and Weekly for hardly covering the story of the mayor and city council's monorail shenanigans at all. Let's hope they get off their fannies now that the court has found in favor of the will of the people.
Lars Henrikson, Seattle
DAN SAVAGE: Thank you, thank you, thank you. It is both damn satisfying and proactive-anger inspiring to have my feelings of the last two years expressed in your recent article. I voted for a monorail; it didn't get built. I voted against a stadium; it did. Light rail will not even go as far as Northgate. Then where? The U-District??? Both major dailies have been anti-monorail since the initiative was announced. Even after it passed, they commented on it as if it were the same kind of fluke that won Pat Robertson a state primary way back when. Fuck 'em.
Jim Nageldinger, Seattle
DAN: Thank you for your article on the monorail. You expressed very well what a lot of people have been thinking. I was pretty worked up about a billion dollars' worth of new stadiums, but with the passing of the monorail initiative, I began to mellow a bit, feeling that well, hey, this is a democracy and we all get our turn. I was beginning to feel a little less screwed. Yeah. Right. Anyhow, what can I do to help get this thing going? Can you print a "Monorail Update" or some such thing telling people which city council meetings to attend and what they can do there that isn't so much pissing in the wind? I really do feel that your article could be a turning point if we could get enough people to keep putting the pressure on. I've worked all day and I'm tired and I'm beginning to ramble so I'll just leave off here.
Hal Colombo, Seattle
EDITOR'S NOTE: Why sure, Hal. If you want to kick some city council booty, you can call 684-8888. If you're looking to join a movement, call Friends of the Monorail at 789-3891.
DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS:
Last week we were so stoned, we forgot to credit the lovely photos of the EMP that ran with Eric Fredericksen's piece "It's a Bird, It's a Plane...." They were taken by Lara Swimmer.