Why so hostel?

Your feature article about hosteling in Seattle ("Euroslackers," 5/20) was not only inaccurate but extremely insulting to budget travelers from all over

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Letters

"By the way, what do you think of Bellevue residents who know even less of the 'real' Seattle than some German who spent three drunken days around Pike Place Market?"

Why so hostel?

Your feature article about hosteling in Seattle ("Euroslackers," 5/20) was not only inaccurate but extremely insulting to budget travelers from all over the world.

I am a 55-year-old woman who loves to travel. On Sundays I go to the hostel downtown to volunteer as the concierge. Working there I meet other travelers from all over the world. They ask questions about our city and I tell them all about Seattle, what to see and where to spend their $30 a day. My clients are of all ages—alone, in pairs, as families, or large groups. Some are business travelers and some are down on their luck looking for jobs. Most, however, are pleasure travelers visiting new places and meeting new people.

Many, like Ike, work hard to support their chosen lifestyle with a mixture of travel, school, and work. By living and traveling as cheaply as possible, they have minimal impact on our environment and the earth's resources. These "slackers" carry their own weight and clean up after themselves no matter where they travel.

Hostelers rarely take cabs—they're too expensive and generally unnecessary. Besides you can walk from the bus station to downtown. This should have been your first clue when you met Ken. All hostels get their share of Kens and Jerrys but they are the exception rather than the rule.

I spend a lot of time at the Seattle Hostel and stay at hostels when I travel, although not exclusively. I have yet to find any hostel where the "daily routine" consisted of "TV and drinking." I'm most often asked about museums, the Underground, bike trails, and what bus to take to the airport.

I was embarrassed by your cover story. What does it tell our foreign visitors to see themselves characterized as "Euroslackers"? Shame on you.

Especially since the only actual slackers you apparently found were Americans.

Loretta Pirozzi

Seattle

Slacker envy

Your "Euroslackers" article (5/20) seems to me a jealous attack on people having a good time. Was the author rejected by some Danish blonde he tried to canoodle with in a hostel once? Is this what the article is really about? For many who love to travel intelligently and learn about other countries, hostels are a wonderful way to do this, not some cocoon where they just watch TV.

True, the Euroslacker phenomenon exists, but it's just one aspect of hostels which you've inflated totally out of proportion.

Maybe the best way to get to know the "real" Seattle is to work and live here for some time, which is what I'm doing, being fortunate enough to have the skills to do this. By the way, what do you think of Bellevue residents who know even less of the "real" Seattle than some German who spent three drunken days around Pike Place Market?

It's good that you did an article on hostels, just a shame you painted an inaccurately negative picture of them.

Sure there are some irritating cretins in hostels, just like anywhere else, but why not ignore them instead of retaliate by attacking the whole hosteling thing?

Nick Davis

via e-mail

Mood rings true

Thanks for running the recent story by Fred Moody about Web publications coming into their own ("World Wide Wow," 5/20). It was well-written and very accurate. Forward-thinking people like Ryan Lane and Nathan Tucker create entertainment that is new and refreshing.

Mark Wieman

via e-mail

Nick picker

Now that you guys have a Tech section, it's time to stop getting sloppy with Internet vocabulary. Nick Licata has a mailing list (4th & James, "Split vote on ballot split," 5/20). It's called Urban Politics. It's great. When Nick wants folks' opinions, he goes to the keyboard, or goes to his e-mail, or perhaps goes to the Speakeasy. It would be a linguistic stretch to call this going to the Web, which is, appearances to the contrary, only part of the Internet. If you hadn't put the danged phrase in bold, I could have forgiven this oversight.

Jessamyn West

via e-mail

A great law

Gossett is way off! ("A Sad Lot," 5/13) These people are being penalized for breaking the law and endangering the lives of innocent people. How many of those driving with a suspended license have their cars insured? I'm betting none. This is a great law, although the loophole that allows friends of the offenders to buy back their cars needs to be addressed.

Laura Berfield

via e-mail

Ex-cop on black crime

Don't know why County Council member Gossett should be surprised that 36 percent or 44 percent of drivers caught with suspended licenses should be African Americans ("A Sad Lot," 5/13). African Americans comprise at least 40 percent of most categories of anti-social behavior.

Several years ago I was curious and made my own investigation. A year or so before retiring as a Seattle police officer two years ago, I read every crime report in the West Precinct for a month. I listed every offense report in which the victim described the race or nationality of the suspect. I did not count any report where the victim was a Seattle police officer. The results of several hundred reports was that 50 percent of the victims described the suspect as African American. Fifteen percent of the victims described the suspect as Hispanic. These are the same percentages which appear in arrest reports, in the prison population reports, in the Youth Center reports, etc.

Naturally I collected another Internal Investigations complaint over releasing my investigation. I was accused of impersonating a Crime Analysis officer. It was resolved with another nasty letter in my file.

The point being that Gossett and Rick Anderson have access to the precinct crime report clip boards. They hang on the walls in every precinct. If they have the guts to assign a flunky to make the same investigation, I'll bet them a lunch that their results will be similar—at least 40 percent African Americans named as suspects by victims who don't have an axe to grind.

Bill Wald

via e-mail

Making the space case

Sean Axmaker's review of Star Wars: Episode One, "Starbust" (5/20), was filled with the usual negative critique of computer-animated characters, and he says the movie is "so shaped by digital technology that it's smoothed the life right out of the film." This reminds me of something I heard a dusty professor say 10 years ago in a sound-engineering class: "Digital music recordings don't contain the life that you hear on LPs." Sccccccratch!

I read Sean's review shortly before seeing what I believe was the same film he critiqued. I can say that The Phantom Menace was some of the most fun I've had seeing a film in years. The adults that packed into the Cinerama last Sunday do not agree with Sean's statement that "for all of us adults it's slow, it's mired in moments of cuteness, and it's more fairy tale than science-fiction space opera."

"Starbust" was terribly insulting when Sean tried to speak for all "adults" and frankly didn't critique the film at all, but simply allowed the menace of film critic consciousness to convince him that "film critic coolness" lies in throwing mud pies into the force of ticket buyers everywhere. If the Star Wars saga is not space opera, then what exactly is it, I ask?

Will Anderson

Seattle

Viva Omar Torrez!

Tricia Romano's review of the Omar Torrez Band (Goings On, 5/20) stated "The Omar Torrez Band plays what they call afrocubanflamencofunk. If that combination sounds bad, that's because it's one big, smelly mutt. A funk groove is interrupted by flamenco guitar, only to return a few seconds later joined by Cuban-influenced percussion. Add Torrez's Middle Easterninfluenced vocals to the schizophrenic hodgepodge and you've got even more of a mess." I could not disagree more, and from the size and response of their audience, the Omar Torrez Band has gained a solid fan base that is enraptured by their style. The fact that Tricia Romano cannot appreciate the allure and the art of mixing different styles of music shows that she has failed to recognize American culture and its art as it stands today. Omar Torrez represents a group of young and up and coming artists that are influenced not only by the American culture they grew up in, but by their parents' mother countries. Hats off to such talented people who keep their artistic heritage running through their veins and refuse to disown their past to white America. The cold war is over, and white America is slowly dying. America is a melting pot, not only of people, but of the art and histories each one of them represents. Thank God our country is diverse, and that we have the opportunity to listen to such artists as Omar Torrez.

Shana Hopkins

Seattle

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