Hooray for Knute Berger for his stance on legislating drunkenness from the city [Uffda, "Blue law bonanza," 8/31]. Legislation will not work. Santa Barbara, California, many years ago learned this while attempting to get rid of the homeless, drunks, and the resultant panhandling. The Santa Barbara City "Fathers" endeavored to pass law after law banning panhandling, only to have each and every law challenged and struck down, eventually being sued. The outcome; the courts found panhandling to be a First Amendment right.
Sure, let the mayor and various council members continue to attempt to restrict sale of certain legal beverages, hours, times, etc., etc. But the underlying (and unspoken) idea of this legislation boils down to a covert attempt to legislate and/or control one's morals, no matter what their origin or cause. Nobody likes alcoholism, but it will not be legislated out of existence. I assert the money and time attempting to legislate 'unacceptable' morality out of existence is better used to treat the cause and not the symptoms.
It was nice to see the even-handed treatment of the sidewalk issue by Nina Shapiro, who pointed out that sidewalk-less streets are just as common in the North End as they are in Rainier Valley ["Mean streets," 8/31]. The story suffers, however, by failing to explain why this is the case. Ms. Shapiro notes that these neighborhoods developed before annexation to Seattle, and leaves the impression that King County and the city simply failed to ask for the sidewalks, probably to avoid paying for their maintenance.
In fact, sidewalks in such areas were commonly omitted at the demand of home buyers. When these neighborhoods developed, the buyers and builders considered them to be out in the "country." The new homeowners wanted to escape the congestion and other dangers of urban life, and one solution they sought was a home removed from street activity. This meant, in part, that they wanted homes where they could expect little to no traffic, including pedestrians. They did not imagine that 50 to 100 years later their homes would be urbanized.
So the problem that present homeowners face is not neglect by local government, but that they happened to buy homes built by others whose expectations were much different.
LAKE FOREST PARK
I see some real irony in the fact that the Seattle Weekly and Geov Parrish consider themselves to be alternative media. If you really think that you can evaluate Deborah Senn and Maria Cantwell as Senate candidates [see Impolitics, 8/31] based solely on your little interview rather than looking at their public records, than you're every bit as self-absorbed as the talking heads on network news.
You say you want differences? Try this: Senn has never failed to stand up to in-surance companies when they've tried to screw an individual or the broader public. Cantwell took $6,000 in PAC money from insurance companies and over $18,000 from banking and financial PACs. She then cast three votes in 1994 against amendments designed to prevent insurance companies from "redlining" low income areas, i.e., denying or reducing coverage based on poverty and crime levels in neighborhoods.
Now let's compare the candidates to the incumbent they would replace. Gorton trumpets his support of cosmetic measures like the Mountains to Sound Greenway, fights for extractive industries and against the Endangered Species Act, and calls himself an environmentalist. Cantwell presided over some of the most outrageous violations of Internet privacy but tells us that she champions the cause. When Gorton can't benefit Texas mining companies on an up or down vote he attaches a rider to an emergency spending bill. When Senn couldn't get legislation passed (or when Republicans undid beneficial legislation) she found ways to issue regulations on her own. When she couldn't do that, she used her office as a bully pulpit and browbeat coverage out of the insurance companies.
Despite your learned misgivings, I'm quite certain that I want Deborah Senn representing me.
I'm hoping you can help me understand the point of the article by Bethany Jean Clement about the Kidd Valley Burger pageant ["There's a new Babe in town," 8/31]. I mean, we know pageants are gross because we're still reading about Jon Benet, so I'm a little confused why Ms. Clement, who proclaims herself a feminist, would consider her experience individual. I looked at the photo of those young women for a long time and they all looked the same to me and I had a hard time seeing Ms. Clement's feminism. But she claims she's a feminist so we know she's different from those other women. We know she's smart because she tells us she's a National Merit Scholarship winner. Even though she's in this pageant, she's only doing it for a lark. She's not like the others.
I think Bethany Jean should spend a little time with her uncle the shrink. Sexism has never gone away. One doesn't need to enter a "dog and pony" contest to know that. But more importantly, our actions define who we are. (I'm not a Playboy Bunny; I just am dressed like one.) She's not really all that different from anybody else, regardless of what she says. She probably lives in a condo that her parents own and pays low rent and I'm sure that if the other contestants don't know Judy Nicastro, they know people who Bethany Jean doesn't know. I enjoyed her mandate . . . Love one another. Love one another but don't forget you're better. She has one thing right, though. She is cheesy!
This article appeared in the Arts and Culture section of the Weekly. I enjoy that kind of ironic humor in my free newspaper. Thank you.
In his otherwise fine article on the ICP Orchestra ["Dutch masters," 8/31], Jason Verlinde claims that they have no "John Zorn attitude." What does he mean by that? John Zorn may have an attitude about talking to the media, but the times I've seen him play, he has been nothing but positive—smiling, laughing, at ease, having a good time, and playing great music (most of the time).
Verlinde's comment seems an unnecessary and pointless potshot that does no justice either to Mr. Verlinde or the ICP.
Well, what can we get from the pundits, Michael Hood and Geov Parrish. First their articles ["Going to the John" and Impolitics, "Satan for governor," 8/31] appeared side by side on pages 16 and 17, an editorial decision no doubt. Second, gosh darn, even if you don't like Gorton, Hochstatter, Carlson, and Limbaugh's politics, you got to like them as people. Rush was slim and funny. Gorton told good old Seattle jokes and Carlson hijacked the picnic. You got to like them. The Republican Train is coming through. Make sure you get on board.
Well, did you know that John Carlson is a populist and gets almost no corporate money. Yup, that's what these pundits are saying. Imagine that, a Republican populist without a sugar daddy. Yup, I read it in the Seattle Weekly. I can't remember which pundit wrote it as the articles were laying side by side. I guess John Carlson doesn't need that much money as his populism is only intended for a few, if that makes any sense.
Well, to sum it up Politics are a changing. If you're disappointed with the current crew, the Republicans are a fun-loving populist bunch who understand the needs of Seattle. Now if you hear John or Slade chuckling they ain't laughing at you.
Apropos of religion and politics, Knute Berger writes in his August 24 column, "Godless for Gore": "America is a Judeo-Christian culture through and through, and you hardly notice it, unless their God is not your God."
I'm scarcely the world's most devout or observant Jew, but I still cringe when I see the phrase "Judeo-Christian" thrown about with such reckless abandon. The Jewish God is not the same as the Christian one; more precisely, Jews explicitly reject the Christian notion that the New Testament is the teleological completion of the "Old." To talk of "Judeo-Christian" religion is to efface what is specific and unique about Judaism.
Culturally, too, America is very much a Christian country, and not a "Judeo-Christian" one. It's true that Jews have done very well in this country (largely because of the existence of blacks and other minority groups who have borne the brunt of the white Christian prejudice that we suffered back in Europe). But despite Jerry Seinfeld and Joseph Lieberman, Jewish culture and beliefs are most certainly not a part of the American mainstream in the way that Christianity is. That's why a Jew being nominated for a national ticket is such a big deal.
James Bush's recent story on artist Jack Mackie and his legal struggles with the Seattle Symphony over their appropriation of his popular Broadway Dance Steps ["Out of step," 8/24] made me livid. While Mackie certainly erred in judgment through not formally registering his copyright with the government (although he took pains to do so correctly in other ways), the fact remains that this work is his. He has every right to profit from it. The fact that it was an arts organization that shafted Mackie makes the story sadder still.
The $1,000 judgment by US District Court Judge Marsha Pechman was an embarrassment, as were the excuses posed by Symphony personnel. Worst of all was graphic artist Bonnie Reiser's theft of Mackie's images, her unauthorized alteration of those images, and her mass distribution of the resulting art work—and all without a word to the artist himself, who was simply a phone call away. And Reiser caps off these actions with, "I thought I was doing something nice"? The mind reels. The Seattle Symphony representatives in your story seem to be scratching their heads in sweet confusion while acting as though they've never heard the words "copyright infringement" in their lives. I don't buy it.
Perhaps the saddest part of the story, for me, was the way this one high-profile instance of infringement brought to life several others that Mackie hadn't been aware of—images and photographs of his Dance Steps works which were making a sizeable profit for others, while not a dime had gone to him.
Why is it so hard for people to remember that artists are in business as well? That we would actually like to be paid for our efforts? Writers, artists, singers, etc. do what we do not only because we're driven to create, but because that talent allows us the goal of making money at something we love. Maybe even a lot of money, for the lucky few. As a local writer I can tell you that, contrary to stereotype, we aren't all sitting around making rainbows, giving to the universe.
Mackie should be paid the government standard for the Symphony's error: a sum in the range of $20,000 to $100,000 as stipulated by law. Until the Symphony pays up? Me, I'm sticking with the radio.
James Bush's article ["Out of step," 8/24] portrays Jack Mackie and other public artists as victims who are ripped off when their work is reproduced without permission. Isn't there another side? The motivation for artists to register their work and always demand compensation for reproduction is as likely to be greed as fairness. Should gardeners who make flower arrangements for public parks demand a cut when some company reproduces them in a greeting card? Should the contractor who poured the cement around the Dance Steps also get a piece of the action?
Mackie seems to believe that those who regard "public art" as "public domain" are naive. But are we? I'm a painter who does small easel paintings and public murals. If someone profited from reprints of one of my unsold paintings without compensating me, I'd be livid. I'd feel differently, though, if one of my murals was reproduced in a book (as one has) or in a greeting card. My sold art doesn't belong to me, but to whoever purchased it. And if "the public" purchased it, than the public can do what it likes with it, without me sticking my greedy hand out when they choose to make a profit from it.
One of the things that makes Mackie's claim against Reiser ["Out of step," 8/24] seem so silly is that his dance steps are obviously derived from the Arthur Murray "footprints," which have been a trademark of Arthur Murray studios for many years.
To avoid ensnaring more citizens in litigious webs, I hope the city will be careful in the future not to contract artists like Mackie who attach so many strings to their work.
Angry, damn straight
Hallelujah! A reporter with the guts to tell it like it is! Ten years ago living in Port Angeles was a dream, with a great career and a happy family life until we became the victims of the Endangered Species Act like tens of thousands of people who suddenly found themselves at the mercy of the US Fish & Wildlife Service when the Northern spotted owl was listed [see "Loggers' revenge," 8/24]. Displaced and without work, the major breadwinner migrated south looking for employment, leaving me and our four children to wonder where we would end up. It took months and all the money we could muster to relocate to the Sierra Nevada's in Northern California. The end result of this disastrous decision by the Clinton Administration cost me my marriage, my career, my home and my mental well being.
Angry, damn straight! Angry at the urbanites for laughing while rural communities in the Pacific Northwest fell into almost immediate poverty and dismay. Angry that "they" perceived themselves as something better than the honest hard working families who lost it all when the owl became more important than any individual's well being. Revenge is now at their doorsteps, and they have only to blame themselves for standing on the sidelines cheering on the abuses that took place by the USF&WS. They'll scream bloody murder when suddenly their private property rights are infringed upon, their businesses are closed, and they have to sell their house to the highest bidder and pack what they can. Suddenly our outcry against the Clinton regime and the ESA will become their scream for fair treatment and consideration of the social and economic impacts and private property rights. More than likely they'll begin to wonder where we are—the people who have continued to fight for freedom and demand equity—when they need support for reason and balance in the environmental equation. Guess what? You'll find me, and probably thousands of others, standing on the side line with a sign in my hand—"Call someone who cares. Al Gore and the Sierra Club feel your pain."
I am saddened by the state of our waterways, but it does not make sense to overregulate the population of Puget Sound [see "Loggers' revenge," 8/24]. I am not alone in this sentiment.
I have been a catch and release sportfisherman here in Seattle for 30 years. I have watched the salmon decline year after year, to a point that we (unorganized sportfishermen) are not even allowed to fish for migratory Coho for the peak months of their run. It is ridiculous, plain ridiculous, that our congressmen (and other politicians) fail repeatedly to recognize that to have salmon return as adults, you must first allow their parents to reach the spawning beds.
When a commercial fisherman catches salmon by the tens of thousands in a few days of fishing, those fish are not allowed to return to their spawning grounds! It is no wonder why there are no fish in those upstream areas that so few are pushing to preserve.
Is it going to fall on the back of the developers or the commercial fishermen? When you try to regulate how a suburban resident fertilizes his lawn, I have to wonder. When you route our hydroelectric power to California at our salmon's expense, I have also to wonder. Just what are you politicians thinking? We are not an ignorant population of voters.
I have watched clearcutting without replanting bring about the downfall and unemployment of rural loggers, I have watched the strip mining of ore bring about the unemployment of miners, and the overfishing of salmon. . . . Well, you know where this is going. Honestly, am I the only resident here with common sense?
I will wait at the polls. We shall laugh last, at the last salmon to escape. Isn't it going to be a delicious meal for one of the non-native sea lions in the end?
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