The cause of the 21st century will be animal rights. It will be what anti-slavery was to the 19th, and women's suffrage to the early 20th. But currently in the Northwest, the politically correct opinion among many is the pro-whaling stance of the Makahs. (See "Blowing It," 11/19.)
There has been much talk regarding the need to preserve the Makah culture through this hunt; the need to bring the Makahs together as a people. Un-fortunately, this only ap-plies to the Makahs who are for the hunt. The Ma-kahs who are against the hunt have been silenced and threatened. The most outspoken, an elder, Alberta Thompson, has lost her job, had her dog die mysteriously, and been driven from the reservation.
No matter who you are or what's happened to you, the gray whale is a threatened species. Japan, Norway, and Iceland are all chomping at the bit to legally hunt whales using the same "cultural heritage" loophole. So someone will need to re-explain to me why having a history of doing something makes it OK, as I'm not catching on.
In the past few months, we have seen the Makah tribe press forward in its quest to begin a whale hunt in US waters—specifically, the western entrance to the Strait of Juan de Fuca. (See "Blowing It," 11/19.) Recently, the Makahs have forbidden access to the marina at Neah Bay to anyone that does not approve of their questionable hunt. Additionally, the tribe has attacked boats in the harbor, arrested and assaulted American citizens, then confiscated their boats.
The legality of this hunt is in serious question, and several troubling issues have been raised. I am asking our elected officials to answer the following questions:
1) Was the Makah marina at Neah Bay funded by American tax dollars?
2) If I, as an American citizen, wish to take shelter at the marina, will my civil and constitutional rights be suspended while I am there? Is my boat subject to seizure and myself subject to arrest if I happen to disagree with the Makah hunt?
3) Is the US government aware of this troubling situation? And what is it doing to make sure my rights are protected?
I am a recreational boater, have traveled in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and plan to boat there in the future. However, the strait can be an unforgiving environment, and it is vital for boaters to know where they can find shelter from unfavorable conditions. If the taxpayer-funded facilities at Neah Bay are not accessible to the American public, it poses a substantial public safety issue.
Why don't you send Geov Parrish back to The Stranger where his politically correct baloney might play better. I'm sick of hearing about the Makah "tribal rights" (Impolitics, "Whale War," 11/19). What about civic, moral, and ethical responsibilities?
And proud of it
If a handful of "white asses" are—as Geov Parrish believes—the only people (race?) who care about preserving life on earth, then I guess I'm finally proud to identify myself as . . . "white ass." (Impolitics, 11/19.)
Oil and water
I'd like to thank the Weekly for covering the maritime safety debate that has unfolded in recent months. Rather than coming up with something they could be proud of, the White House and Transportation Secretary decided to renege on their promises to the people of Washington state to advance our protection from oil spills "before the rough seas of winter drive up the risk factors again." (See "Dire Strait," 10/22; Quick & Dirty, 10/29.)
Since the Clinton/Gore team's foreign policy is based on "engagement through trade," there is not limit to the degree that they will go to bat for the oil and shipping industries. It is clear that they did not want to cause them any additional expense, for after all, the price of gas is low and Far East trade is down. That does not mean we are experiencing any less traffic; it's just that the obscenely large freighters are filled with fewer containers and the world's largest mergers (BP-Amoco, Exxon-Mobil, Texaco-Shell) are occurring without debate.
What I find amusing is that by attempting to prove, in his letter to the editor (SW, 11/26), that the Maritime Administration does not exist to "promote the maritime industry," top MARAD administrator Clyde Hart has only helped to reaffirm my claim that it does. When his vessel inspectors reported on the condition of the Encounter Bay to the US DOT, they claimed it was wildly underpowered. It turned out they only reported on one of the vessel's two engines. In Eric Scigliano's 11/26 Q&D column, the Coast Guard has taken up the charge by claiming the Navy tug named Sioux was not capable for the task, despite claims by the National Research Council to the contrary. What is really behind their concerns is if there is going to be additional tugboats working in the strait, the work better go to the private sector. Otherwise, how can they follow the path of the last two admirals and captains of port, who were hired by the maritime industry upon leaving the Coast Guard (if not before)?
I have taken it upon myself over the past 10 years to make technically sound recommendations on how to advance maritime safety in an area experiencing rapid trade growth. If it were not for the Coast Guard and MARAD providing pseudo-scientific cover for our elected officials, we would have had protection in place this winter far more comparable to Prince William Sound's. Now it appears we have to suffer a spill first. If this is what the Clinton/Gore team does for the Year of the Ocean, what will be left for them to do in the Year of the Oil Industry?
NW director, ocean advocates
We always expect rabid liberalism from the Weekly, but Catherine Tarpley descends to the level of pure spite in "Wacking It" (12/3).
How does she love conservative? Let's count the ad hominems: "a candidate's insanity," "right-wing extremists," "ultraweird," and "wacko fanciers." This must be the famous journalistic objectivity we've heard so much about.
But wait—it's an opinion piece. That means the writer is allowed to take shots at random, then hide behind the skirts of editorial prerogative. Apparently, it also means she doesn't have to interview any of the people she attacks—better by far to cobble together some old quotes from secondhand sources and add a few dollops of invective. What a hard-working reporter.
Tarpley is entitled to her opinions, but if she cares about framing them in an earthbound context, she might hire a fact checker. For example, she mentions "Puyallup's Tom Campbell, who served in the Legislature from 1994 to 1996." Campbell is actually from Spanaway, and was first elected in 1992, then again in 1994—as a Democrat. Kind of undermines the wacko Republican theme, no?
She crows over the election defeat of Rep. Bill Thompson and cites his pro position on I-200 as a factor, but conspicuously fails to mention that the initiative passed with almost 60 percent of the vote statewide, including support from the same group of labor supporters who helped elect a number of Democrats. Wacko?
She ridicules the supporters of the Freedom County movement, dismissing them as "Christian patriots." It doesn't occur to her that the debates over new counties hinged on the age-old conflict between urban and rural interests, not religious issues. That would have taken a spark of insight, even a little work—too much to expect from a wannabe pundit.
State Rep. John M. Koster
Catherine Tarpley responds: True, I didn't interview some of the people I mentioned—they didn't return my calls. Some Republican legislators apparently think that if they just ignore the media, they will somehow go away. Reps. Koster and Thompson did graciously answer my questions, but the others hid behind answering machines and aides. What hard-working public servants!
She said a mouthful
Kathryn Robinson's thumbs-down review of the Icon Grill was so intriguing that it had the opposite effect than intended ("Iconoclash," 11/12). I actually am even more curious to try this place. It read more like a rave than a rant. She refers to "good comfort food" with almost loving awe: the "satisfyingly creamy textures," "rich and wonderfully cooked," "great hunks . . . tumbled off the bone and into the intense winey sauce." Even the stuff she wrinkled her nose at sounded delicious. I think she should've explained the "dumb missteps of execution" earlier on and with detail more appropriate to her negative review. Because first chance I get, I'm reserving a table so my husband and I can try that decadent seven-layer chocolate Texas Funeral Fudge Cake with a bottle of milk and the "nondescript" corn pudding called Shoepeg Spoon Bread.
Carol Banks Weber
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