Mark Sidran is currently Seattle's Mr. Fix-it among Democratic politicians ("Mark Sidran: Sinner or Saint?" 8/13). Most others appear to be "coasting" because the city

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Letters

Seattle's Mr. Fix-it

Mark Sidran is currently Seattle's Mr. Fix-it among Democratic politicians ("Mark Sidran: Sinner or Saint?" 8/13). Most others appear to be "coasting" because the city government remains jammed in their back pockets. Sidran does the heavy lifting and should be encouraged by improved crime and safety statistics. His high profile might be understandable if he were a Republican politician in a predominantly Democratic city, as is Mayor Rudolf Giuliani in New York City. But Sidran's strong efforts confound those who believe that a politician at rest remains at rest unless jarred into action by an opponent's prodding. Without a viable Republican Party in Seattle to offer alternatives and initiatives, Sidran remains unique. What a guy.

John F. Kalben

Seattle

Get the (whole) picture

The main downfall of your recent article on Mark Sidran ("Mark Sidran: Sinner or Saint?" 8/13) was that it was all about the city attorney and not much about anyone else. Overly quoting Sidran, after clearly stating his intentions to be a media magnate, showed the Weekly to be eating right out of his hand.

What's really a blight is that not one person from the hip-hop community was represented. Absenting this perspective does nothing to broaden your (mostly white) readers' understanding of hip-hop music, which, let's face it, often involves irrational fear.

Your statement that "chronic drunks, drug users, mentally ill" dominate street population is based on fantasy. Those people are the majority of homeless people that you see on the street because they are the segment of the homeless that are not in a position to be doing what the rest of the homeless are doing, which is looking for work, housing, a slot in the shower line, plugging into the social services, studying for GED exams. We all should know by now from the excellent exposure SHARE and Real Change have given that the vast majority of homeless women are virtually invisible out of survival and that the powerful drug dealers are not homeless.

Thanks for the spot on the judge who rightfully dismissed trespassing charges against a Jungle resident and thanks for the sprinkling of perspectives that you did. I just want to see more, and in more depth. The whole picture.

Jen Domeier

Seattle

Give that man a medal

Today I read your article about Mark Sidran's office ("Mark Sidran: Sinner or Saint?" 8/13). I loved every word of the article, especially about his agenda for cleaning up the streets and public places in Seattle. When I moved here in 1966, before Seattle became a so-called destination city, I wasn't afraid of losing my life when I walked around Pioneer Square after sundown. I wasn't afraid to wait for the 1am bus in front of the Bon. I didn't see human feces and urine in every public place, and certainly not in a bus shelter (or, nowadays, Metro tunnel elevators). In short, I wasn't afraid to live in Seattle, I wasn't revolted and disgusted by merely walking through a public park, and I didn't think I had to have a Washington state license to carry a concealed pistol and carry such a weapon to protect myself after dark in Seattle. Things were different in 1966, and short of inventing a time machine, Sidran's enlightened, practical solutions and laws are the only way Seattle's decent, law-abiding citizens will ever be able to enjoy their city. I applaud his efforts to clean up this benighted city and make it a nice place to live. But then again, I'm not a low-life criminal urinating on the sidewalk while I'm selling crack cocaine to a prostitute who's bedding down for the night in a city park. "Ban Mark Sidran?" I say, give the man a medal—he deserves one.

Jay Kridner

via e-mail

Goo-goo over Sidran

What's going on? Suddenly you're almost gooey over Sidran ("Mark Sidran: Sinner or Saint?" 8/13), and making nice to The Seattle Times (Watchdogs, "Good 'Times,'" 8/13). Are there some appointments you're angling for? Is the Weekly about to fold? Hello?

Several years ago, I had correspondences with Sidran on behalf of a neighbor beset by reneging city-zoning bozos in his struggle to survive as a small business/rentals owner in South Seattle. The city eventually ground him down—in part from the overall stress and worry he since escaped by dying. To hell with Big Seattle, and Sidran's bosses in City Hall; this town is a mess.

Gordon Anderson

Seattle

A vision of 'civility'

Once again, the Weekly has chosen personality profiles over a complete analysis of the issues. Here's what Mike Romano was hoping to provoke from his article on Mark Sidran ("Mark Sidran: Sinner or Saint?" 8/13): I am a Central Area homeowner, and I don't agree with Sidran's ordinances, or his manner of enforcement of existing laws. I don't think it's irrelevant that he targets blacks. I voted against him last election by write-in, and will do so again if necessary.

Here's the questions that article didn't provoke: Are these ordinances and laws really serving to make Seattle a just city? I have a hard time attributing the recent drop in violent crime to Sidran when there was a similar drop all over the nation. Meanwhile I still ascribe to the idea that the measure of a society is in its treatment of the powerless.

Is Sidran's activism on behalf of Seattle's economy really in the city prosecutor's job description? Fascists may define a just society as the absence of "deviants" getting in the way of Manifest Destiny. However, giving the addicts, mentally ill, and "unfortunates" the runaround between streets, overcrowded jails, and underfunded, undereffective rehab and social-service programs is not creating the absence of deviants, it's just keeping them busy—and at what expense in terms of dollars and humanity?

You gave Sidran the opportunity to propose some real solutions to these people's problems besides blaming business owners, but he instead used the space to talk about "civility" instead of giving any real vision. This is why Sidran must go. If Seattle's secret heart wants to simply get rid of deviants, they should elect a more effective "final solution" man than Mark "Send 'Em Through the System 'Til They Die" Sidran. For my part, I'll vote for someone who has more than a knee-jerk view of justice, and who'll use their activism to advocate for a more innovative solution to the "civility" issue than total gentrification.

Rozie, A Central Area "Whitey"

via e-mail

Undercover 101

Why am I not surprised that I was quoted out of context in Mike Romano's article on Mark Sidran ("Mark Sidran: Sinner or Saint?" 8/13)? Mike's language implies that SPD routinely gives illegal drugs as a reward for assistance in arresting a drug dealer. Not so. Please allow me to give your readers the same quick version of Undercover Buys 101 that I gave Mike.

Many street dealers these days use a facilitator rather than sell directly to a customer. An undercover police officer (called a UC) or paid confidential informant (called a CI), posing as a customer, approaches the facilitator to arrange to buy illegal drugs. The facilitator usually takes cash for setting up the deal, but a few insist upon receiving a small portion of the drugs instead, to the extent that refusing to go along can risk the personal safety of the UC or CI. (Apparently, these facilitators think this provides some assurance that the customer is not an undercover cop. Wrong.) Once agreement is reached, the UC or CI is taken to the dealer, where the purchase is made. After giving the dealer the cash, the UC or CI may have to give the facilitator a "small piece" of the drugs to exit the situation safely. Once this exit is made, the "arrest team" officers, who have been surveilling from nearby, move in and arrest both the buyer and facilitator, attempting to recover the "buy money" from the dealer and the "small piece" from the facilitator as evidence before they can be destroyed. Rather than a reward, the facilitator gets a jail cell.

Harv Ferguson

Assistant Chief, SPD

Cut the crap

Regarding PEZ's review of Liz Phair's new album (New Releases, 8/20): Could you just write a freaking review and quit screwing around with this cutesy crap? It's bad enough I have to put up with that gimp in The Stranger who writes music reviews in the voice of Pogo without you jokers opening the door to some fresh hell, as well.

John Tynes

Seattle

Monopolizing the game

Thank you, Eric Scigliano, for picking "SoDo Fields" as the third-place winner (Quick & Dirty, "The People's Monikers," 7/30). Although I might enjoy a Seattle Monopoly game, I'd rather you send it to Garfield Community Center in my and your names.

Gary Locke said that the new SoDo Fields was for kids, yet the fields will have fewer seats at higher prices than the Kingdome. So if the kids can't get into SoDo Fields, maybe they will learn how to make money with the Monopoly game.

Curt Firestone

via e-mail

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