Sick to my stomach
Where did we go wrong? I just finished reading your article about Casa Latina and its attempt to stay alive in Belltown ["Day labor lotto," 10/12]. It appears that the neighborhood associations will soon achieve their unwritten goal of pushing out everyone who doesn't earn $100K, live in stylish condos, drive tanks, and dine in overpriced restaurants.
I have lived and worked in Belltown for the past six years and have witnessed the fast-paced changes, good and bad, that have taken place. While I am not opposed to safer streets, successful businesses, and the development of more housing, it has saddened me to see who these changes really benefit. You guessed it. The wealthy. Time and time again we have turned our collective cheek from the neighborhood's needy, whether it be fierce opposition to a sanitation center or hiring aggressive security guards to "shoo" people out of our sight. And now, the people who have benefited the most want to shut down a project that does nothing but good in the community. It makes me sick to my stomach.
Are we really supposed to consider the opinion of a developer like Peter Erickson? Of course he's opposed to Casa Latina's position below his windows. He might have trouble selling the high-priced units on that side of his building. What sad priorities! Can we really keep pushing people away and pretending they don't exist? And so far as "the last view corridor left in Belltown," it's far too late to use that argument. Why weren't these business leaders using that line to stop view-blocking commercial development in Belltown 5 years ago?
Surely there is room in Belltown for a little decency, room for compassion toward our fellow men and women (yes, Casa Latina also helps place women with work), and room to promote the dignity found in a day's work. But I guess not. Mother Teresa once said, "I fear just one thing—money!" This has become a spoiled, fat city in a selfish nation. God bless Casa Latina, and god help us all.
Selfish in Seattle
I have found myself outrageously disgusted by the article "Day Labor Lotto" [10/12]. Not because of the writing, it is indeed a fine piece of journalism, but because of the content. It is disturbing to me that these men looking for work are seen as a nuisance, as undesirables. Granted, there may be a few alcoholics and thieves among them, but I myself find that idea much less offensive and damaging to a "quality of life" than the excessive materialism and consumer excess displayed unabashedly by the ever-increasing modern-day "yuppie."
Developer Peter Erickson states his disgust with the day laborers and the fact that they "piss and take a crap under the bridge." I wonder if it ever fucking occurred to him that that may be because they don't have a rest room always at their disposal (pun intended)!? They can't just sashay into the nearest cafe and purchase a latte or a wrap for the privilege of taking a crap. When did this become a privilege anyway? I myself, a middle-class white girl, have trouble finding somewhere to piss downtown; maybe next time I have to go I'll just head toward the bridge!
It is also mentioned that some drink, do drugs, and harass women. Well glory be! Isn't that just the most unusual behavior you've ever heard of. I'm sure no upstanding dot-com executive has ever gotten stupid off too much booze; it's [unheard] of for a white urbanite to have a destructive drinking or drug problem! Do I even need to go into the sexual harassment that runs rampant in all levels of our society? This entire situation reeks of hypocrisy, not to mention greed and utter self-absorption.
Every neighborhood in this city is slowly becoming a frivolous and expensive playground for ridiculous people with too much money to spend. What about people who aren't like that, aren't like you? Wake up, people! The world is never going to be as spanking shiny clean as your neuroses dictate your personal environment to be. The world is not a pristine sparkling land where all you have to do is spend your money idly and never worry about your delicate sensibilities being offended.
Next time you step out of your "stunning . . . state-of-the-art . . . $860,000" condo, try taking a step outside of yourself. Next time you sunbathe in the condo's "outdoor courtyard, European style [built to] foster a sense of community," maybe you should spend some time contemplating the communities of people that exist outside of your sanitary little sphere. Have you ever considered what it might be like for any of these men, or [tried] to comprehend the breadth of their struggling? Have you ever tried to make a life in a foreign country where the language is unfamiliar? Have you ever worked sporadically at crappy jobs only to send most of your earnings home to your poor family, leaving yourself homeless and hungry (or at best dirt poor)? These are human beings, just like you; yes, it's true! They have faces and names, they have families and stories.
Why must we always seek to destroy that which is not like us? We have truly forgotten the truth of the human community. Can we please stop being so selfish and just allow space in the world for those whose lives are not like ours?
Better living via paving
Thank you for publishing James Bush's article on I-745 and where it came from ["Paving the way," 10/12]. The asphalt pavers have indeed bought this initiative, and are using the electoral process to reduce transportation choices and promote their product.
In fact, in a Seattle Times article published September 22, David Spivey, executive director of the Asphalt Paving Association of Washington, said if the Association had not contributed money to pay signature gatherers, it would have been difficult to get it on the ballot.
The list of coalition members opposing I-745 is lengthy, and includes the Washington State Good Roads & Transportation Association, the Washington State Building & Construction Trades Council, the League of Women Voters of Washington; and business groups such as the Association of Washington Business, Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce, and the Spokane Area Chamber of Commerce. There are over 70 more organizations joined together to keep transportation choices available; these can be found on the Web site: www.no745.org.
Putting 90 percent of all transportation funding—including transit funds—into roads just doesn't make sense. Even in communities that have voted to tax themselves to support their transit after 695 cutbacks would have to send 90 percent of that money to Olympia. This initiative would make matters worse for drivers and transit users across the state. They call it the "Traffic Improvement Act," but [it] should be called the "Traffic Increasing Act."
For the paving company executive to say that goods and services don't move by transit is a vacuous observation which shows that Tim Eyman's new special interest pals haven't really thought through the implications of I-745 [see "Paving the way," 10/12]. No, buses don't carry freight, but they carry people: lots of people who otherwise would have to drive and clog up the roads even more for paving company trucks. In King County, 100 million people board the bus system each year.
Never mind Eyman and his self-serving fuzzy math. The state Office of Financial Management says Initiative 745 could cut bus funding by nearly 50-75 percent. Nearly half the people who commute to Seattle arrive by bus. Force all or most of those people to drive to work and imagine the nightmarish traffic we would have. Is that what the paving companies really want?
I-745, I-695, $2,000,000,000, $650,000, 90 percent, 10 percent, numbers, numbers, numbers and my mind is getting number by the day [see "Paving the way," 10/12]. You want numbers, I'll give you numbers, and these are a real mind-number. Based on the history of the last 15 years, it is expected that ANOTHER 1,000,000 new residents will move into the Puget Sound region in the NEXT 15 years.
At the current rate of 1.4 vehicles per person in Washington state, that's ANOTHER 1,400,000 MORE CARS to the region. The average length of today's car is 15 feet.
Multiply 15 feet by 1,400,000 and that's 21,000,000 feet of cars. Divide by 5,280, the number of feet in a mile, is 3977.27 miles of cars. Divide by 4, the number of lanes on I-5 in either direction in Seattle, is 994.31 miles OF CARS BUMPER TO BUMPER 4 LANES WIDE from the Canadian border to the Oregon border and back again, then a hard right at I-90 out to Spokane and back. AND THIS IS ON TOP OF ALL THE CARS HERE NOW!
Build Roads! bellows Tim "Slyman, Pie in the Skyman" Eyman. OKAAAAY!!! What's the region's four-lane highway road-building benchmark? I-90 though Mercer Island. The most expensive highway, per mile, in the country at roughly $1,000,000,000 a mile. Think any new four lanes will cost less? Think again. You think the fight to stop it, modify it, reroute it, et al. will be any less than what happened on Mercer Island? No don't wake up and smell the coffee roll back over and hit the snooze button on transportation like you've done every year.
World-class city, you bet! World-class traffic, world-class congestion, and world-class pollution coming soon to a neighborhood near you.
JOHN "WORKING FROM MY HOME AND LOVING IT" MARSHALL
Apple, zig, zag
In regards to Angela Gunn's review of The Second Coming of Steve Jobs ["Boy story," Books Quarterly, 10/5]: Gunn rightly classifies the book as a "beach read," but then proceeds to take it as an authoritative statement on Steve Jobs. If Gunn thinks that a billion-dollar corporation can be turned around by someone who is nothing more than a "spoiled, shrieking child," then her own review is a "beach read." The CEOs who preceded him before his return were highly experienced corporate jockeys with impressive business backgrounds. I think Jobs has done far more than "manage" Apple better than them.
Like most Mac fanatics, however, I don't think Jobs is a saint. Actually, I don't spend that much time thinking about Jobs at all. Mac users don't love their computers because he had a hand in their design, but because the Macintosh operating system kicks ass. I might also note that within the Mac community there is a constant and occasionally vociferous debate about every aspect of the current OS, Macintosh hardware, and Apple's corporate moves. Quite often, the very loud complaints of Mac fanatics have made Apple zig instead of zag. After all, we sustained the company through the bleak years.
Lastly, I sincerely doubt that Deutschman's Second Coming helps explain why Microsoft won the PC war against Apple, Sun, IBM, and others. If Gunn thinks otherwise, she should have paid much more attention to the Justice Department's recent foray against Microsoft. And a large part of the blame lies with gullible Windows users. Did John D. Rockefeller enjoy the kind of adulation that Bill Gates receives? Never have so many been so thankful for being reamed so hard.
Angela Gunn responds: Gunn—no fan of Microsoft, having spent all Saturday digging MS debris out of her overtaxed hard drive—was paying attention to the DoJ case. She was also paying attention to the revelation last week that Sun and other Silicon Valley companies funded a multimillion-dollar war chest called Project Sherman, which "helped" the DoJ construct the case against Microsoft. As for Jobs' management, she refers you to the latest earnings report, which looks mighty pretty refracted through the cracks of a G4 Cube casing.
Good job, guys and gals ["Life in a tarp town," 10/12]! I just moved back to North Dakota after nine years in the so-called humanitarian city of the world, and it's hard to believe that the forces of evil (Mark Sidran and co.) are still at work beating and harassing the most vulnerable people in our society and the most in need of our collective compassion.
I don't feel sorry for big business, but I do have to contend with my own little itty problems in domain land [Kiss my ASCII, "Supply and shortage," 10/12]. Several years ago I took the .org version of my domain name. The .com and .net versions have since been scooped up by people not likely to relinquish them. Never mind that my domain is the best known/most actively used version. I'm pretty sure I'd have to pay more than $35 each to the other two domain registrants. I can just see what's going to happen when ICANN lets loose the "paltry" half-dozen new top-level domains.
It bites that we can't have 50 new top-level domains? It bites that I have to constantly remind people that MY domain ends in dot ORG. Hey, I did what was right several years ago. I went with the top-level domain I was supposed to. Now I'm in a bind.
Oh, yeah. For just $1,000 I can get xenite.tv. Oorah. I've had a taste of the future already. I think I'd rather stay with the current fiasco than see it multiplied fifty-fold.
Holy crap! I used to have respect for Geov Parrish, but recently his views have been coming out of right field. Now Parrish comes out as "opposed to abortion" (though not for making it illegal) because he believes "all life, including potential life, is sacred" [Impolitics, "A bitter pill," 10/12]. Did it ever cross his mind that if we take potential life to be sacred then any woman who fails to attempt to become pregnant every time she ovulates is preventing "potential life," and that therefore extremists could equate abstinence with murder??? This may seem ludicrous, yet, in reality, abstinence prevents birth every bit as much as abortion does. If, instead, only fertilized eggs are sacred, then you would think that we would stop spending so much money on finding cures to such minor killers as cancer, heart disease, and AIDS and instead find away to prevent miscarriage, which "kills" approximately 25 percent of those "potential lives" mostly in the first few weeks after conception, often before a woman even realizes she has conceived.
I read the Weekly because I am sick and tired of the stupid and uneducated stances that I see in the major newspapers. Et tu, Weekly?
OWEN S. HAMEL
Black and white
In his September 21 Impolitics ["Sunrise, sunset,"], Geov Parrish forgot to mention that 40 percent of the crime victims in Seattle identify their suspects as African American or some variation. And 15 percent identify their suspects as Hispanic. At least that was true the last time I made a survey of the West Precinct crime reports.
When I hired on with the Seattle Police Department in '65 patrol officers were required to write one traffic a day. No big deal? I hated writing tickets and soon learned that every traffic stop involving African Americans ended up in an argument. Leave them to the Traffic Division. I almost never stopped a car with a black driver. After I got my 20 years I quit writing traffic tickets.
If I was still writing my column in "The Guardian" I would be proposing a 30-day moratorium on all traffic stops on black people. There are plenty of white tickets out there. Give the city what it wants.
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