Mardi Gras stupidity
OK Seattle, GROW UP! I can't understand why you have to destroy things to have a good time. Is this fun ? Watching people die and get injured? We don't need that worthless mayor telling us "no more Mardi Gras parties." We need self-awareness.
Now I know it's not everyone, just the stupid ones. And the police, ARRRGGGGGHHHH! I work in Pioneer Square and watched the whole thing go down. SEATTLE POLICE, IF YOU WANT PEOPLE TO GET DOWN OFF THE CARS AND STOP SHOWING THEIR BREASTS JUST GO GET THEM DOWN!
No, instead let's gear up the riot squad and tear gas the bystanders for no reason other than they are blocking the street.
I have been to the New Orleans Mardi Gras several times and not once did I have any problems. Sure the streets are packed and traffic has to be rerouted, SO WHAT. The vibe there is a friendly, festive one. And the CITY organizes elaborate parades all day, every day. And everywhere you go people are shouting "HAPPY MARDI GRAS" and dancing in the streets, with big smiles and beads. The police have enough sense to let them party, and if they get out of line, they get to sit in the back of the paddy wagon for 10 hours, handcuffed and hog-tied with all the other idiots who can't hold their booze.
We can all point at WTO or whatever we choose as the scapegoat, but the truth is this city is like one big spoiled rich kid with too much money and not enough common sense. Our "leaders" (if you will) want to turn a buck at any expense to the downtown culture. Let's turn it ALL into #$%^!#@ condos and ruin the rich artistic and musical scene we have going on here.
I have worked in Pioneer square for 10 years now and have watched it grow into a family of friends who all take pride in the culture and history of Pioneer Square. To some frat boys it may be just another pissing ground to display testosterone, but to us, it's our past, present and future.
TOBY C. BRADY
Wednesday's 6.8 earthquake, with its epicenter near Washington's state Capitol building in Olympia, presents an enriched opportunity for public/private partnership proponents. The historic Capitol building sustained significant damage, rendering it unsafe. Repair is complex and expensive. According to Washington's state DOB (Department of Boondoggles), RFPs will be mailed to the only two/three companies in the ENTIRE WORLD qualified to do repairs, namely those on the "list" maintained by the RPPI—Rip-off the Public Policy Institute.
A $3 entrance toll extracted from captive users (legislators and lobbyists) when they enter the building will recover the cost of necessary safety measures. Plumbing repairs costs should be recovered quickly with the installation of pay toilets. An advisory poll of selected Washington citizens and California tourists who have visited the state within the last 10 years indicates that a new Capitol building is necessary for the state's economic growth. The same company collecting the cover charge will do the safety repairs (as soon as it's profitable) and build the new building. Costs are still uncertain; however, they are expected to increase exponentially irrespective of inflation or interest rates. The public will be informed on a need-to-know basis, after relevant agreements are signed.
The community of frequent users that is singled out to carry the total financial burden for a facility that benefits the entire state is protesting, claiming that the proponents of privatization violate "free market" principles, exploiting a "captive market" instead—but so what? Malcontents don't deserve representation anyway, do they?
MARILYN E. OWEL
Is it me? Am I the only person around who thinks that the function of the police is to preserve order and protect the citizenry from unduly harm? One hopes not.
However the recent action (or lack of) by our new police chief, one Gil Kerlikowske, begs the question. Violence marked the first two nights of the Mardi Gras celebration, and Hizzoner Paul Schell threatened to cancel the operation, but not unsurprisingly reneged. Kerlikowske beefed up the police presence, but when trouble hit, he ordered his troops to stand down. As a result over 70 people were injured and one young man in the prime of life was murdered!
Hundreds of heavily armed policemen stood around like potted plants while citizens were spat upon, pushed, slapped, and beaten. Why? Because, Mr. Kerlikowske states, "I don't know of a single police tactic that exists to be able to insert officers into the middle of a mob." Balderdash!
Why not! The police undergo training for riot control. They have the latest, most sophisticated weaponry including laser and stun guns, rubber bullets, and the old standby, tear gas. And yet they stand, frozen in place by orders of Chief Kerlikowske. Meanwhile, Mayor Schell, knowing full well of the imminent danger, leaves orders to not be disturbed so he can get a good night's sleep. The next day, with a flourish worthy of Pontius Pilate, he washes his hands of the whole debacle by stating, "This is a police operation, not a mayor's operation." Say what you will about Rudy Giuliani in New York—given the same situation, we'd be reading how police moved in and kicked butt! Much butt!
Unfortunately here in Seattle, we are saddled with Tweedledee and Tweedledum. As long as we are, Seattle will never bask in the glow of the title "World-Class City."
DOUGLAS Q. BARNETT
Applauding the SPD
Does the media ever get tired of blaming the Seattle Police Department for the inexcusable behavior of angry civilians? Stop for a moment and think about the danger the police face every day as a part of their "normal" jobs, as you sit there and do nothing but point fingers. I applaud the SPD for their effort and success in controlling the youths on Fat Tuesday. This city has got to get tough and work together to stop this disgusting trend of trashing the city.
Race or booze?
In response to Rick Anderson's commentary on the Mardi Gras "celebration" that happened on Fat Tuesday [News clips, 3/1]: I have been reading a variety of posts on the Internet that have disturbed me. A lot of people seem to think this is a racial issue, and some people/businesses have even gone as far as saying that blacks should be banned from other Seattle events like the Bite of Seattle.
As someone who was born and raised here, I am absolutely disgusted and ashamed at what has taken place. I always thought of Seattle as a diverse place where people of many different races and cultures could live together in peace and harmony. Now we have an event where a bunch of people from different races and cultures get together, it turns violent, and the blame is being put on black people only?
Hello, Seattle, have we not noticed the common denominator here—ALCOHOL??? OK, and STUPIDITY??? I was not there, nor did I watch much footage because it literally made me sick to my stomach, but from the pictures I did see in the media, it wasn't only black people doing the harm.
It was everyone. From what I gather, if the drunken revelers on Friday and Saturday hadn't reacted the way they did to the police when they tried to control the crowd, maybe things wouldn't have snowballed to the mayhem it did on Tuesday. When you get that many people together, add alcohol, irresponsible flashing, and raging hormones to the mix, you have one cocktail that can kill. It seems to me that everyone who was involved in creating this animalistic behavior is responsible, including the media who made such a big deal about it. Can't this issue be addressed and something done to take care of it? Is this how all our events in Seattle are going to be like from now on?
If we continue to focus on this as a race issue, Seattle festivals will never again be the same. Then again, maybe those events will be just fine, because they are not centered around alcohol and rowdiness like this one is. If you can't handle yourself when you drink alcohol, then you have no business drinking it in public. Come on, Seattle, fess up and get some alcohol counseling. It's time to be responsible for yourselves; no one else can or will take that responsibility for you.
"Employed" at the Times
In your excellent article "Workers Unite! Or Else!" [3/1], Seattle Times President Mason Sizemore is quoted as saying that during the strike, the self-employed [emphasis mine] carriers who deliver newspapers door-to-door continued to work. This is a lie! The Times (and P-I) carriers are not "self-employed," but are employees without employee rights! Contrary to their carrier recruitment ads that say "NO BOSS" in big letters, carriers are in fact subject to strict employee-like control, even though we are "independent contractors"!
I know; I delivered newspapers for the Times, the P-I, and the Eastside Journal over 20 years' time. All three papers had oppressive policies against their "self-employed" carriers. In fact, I lost my Times route last year because of their employee-like control over me.
It is very hard to come back after a strike [see "Workers Unite! Or Else!" 3/1]. My husband walked into one and could not believe that the people he thought were his friends and liked him were so denigrating to him because he was part of the administrative force. After the strike it is hard to forget that and just go on.
The answer seems to be in some soul-searching on the part of both parties. However, I do not see that authority putting the people who walked the picket line in a place where they are feeling they are being punished is the answer either. We are, after all, human beings and deserve to be treated as though we are worth something to the scheme of things and particularly our work surroundings. The working people are the ones who put the money in the pockets of the administrators and investors, and they would indeed be very poor without workers to do the job. I just feel that everyone needs to use some good common sense and work to heal the breach.
It is time the strikers and the people who walked in across the line need to get back to business, but that does not mean they should be treated as pariahs either.
Nips and bites
I'd like to clarify some points with regard to the Weekly's coverage of our campaign to revise Seattle's Dangerous Animals Ordinance ["Scary creatures," 3/1].
First, our issue is not with the concept of a dangerous animals ordinance, but rather with the Seattle law's heavy bias towards complainants, which puts innocent pets at risk of being labeled "dangerous" and killed.
With regard to "potentially dangerous" notices, complainants can remain anonymous and there is no way to appeal. And overly broad and ambiguous definitions, based on subjective perceptions (e.g., "menacing" behaviors) mean a dog who barks or chases a cat can be labeled "potentially dangerous." And since two "potentially dangerous" notices can result in a "dangerous" designation, a dog that is just acting like a dog could be designated dangerous and killed.
A nip is not the same as a bite, and a single bite isn't the same as a severe mauling—but the law mandates death or permanent exile for all dogs that bite. This is unnecessarily harsh. Training can resolve most behavior problems, and there are ways to protect the public without killing the dog. Washington state, for example, specifies conditions such as a secure enclosure, walks on leash with a muzzle, etc. Some jurisdictions even allow for rehabilitation, expunging the incident from the dog's record after three years with no repeats. Seattle prefers to kill the dog. (By the way, the permanent exile option—which sends the dog to a shelter in Utah that will never let its owner see it again—is no great boon. Our pets are our family. To rip apart a family on the basis of a minor indiscretion is unspeakably cruel.)
Don Jordan's euthanasia statistics (12 deaths since 1994) are misleading. They don't include the many dogs found to be dangerous under the law's criminal provisions—only those so designated in administrative hearings. Nor did he include all the dogs that people have "voluntarily" given up to be killed, in response to Animal Control's threats that the city will sue them and take away all their property if they don't.
It's time to create a balanced law that protects both the public safety and the rights of pet owners. Come to the city council's public workshop Thursday, March 29, from 6 to 8 pm, in the Snoqualmie Room of the Seattle Center.
DANGEROUS ORDINANCE GROUP (D.O.G.)
Bites and nips
The recent article "Scary Creatures" by Mark D. Fefer [3/1] left out the insurance issue—to be precise, who pays the medical expenses when a dog bites. In a worst-case scenario it is often the taxpayer. A person on welfare or their child gets bitten, and the owner of the dog has no wages to garnish, no property, or the dog already has one bite on his record. Some insurance policies only cover one bite per mortgage, and many insurance policies have a disclaimer for rottweilers, pit bulls, or Dobermans.
Many dog owners in this city do not support the recent lunacy and are very supportive of the new dangerous dog ordinances. They have trained dogs who do not impose on their neighbors or other citizens, they obey the laws, and are frankly sick and tired of all these uncontrolled, untrained, unleashed dogs attacking their dogs and costing them a lot of money in vet bills.
It is time that a 12-step program was instituted for dog owners. There is a whole pattern of denial similar to alcoholism and narcissism. The skewed thinking goes like this: Anyone who considers themselves inconvenienced by my dog jumping on them, licking their face, or killing their children clearly has a problem. The world has been put here to serve my interests and my dog's. Your lawn exists as a latrine for my dog. If you can't sleep, take some sleeping pills. Any bite is always a "nip."
The small group of dog owners who wish to rescind the dog ordinances have more in common with a certain animal rights activist Bohemian corporal named Schickelgruber than Animal Control officers, who are interested in everybody's rights, not just the rights of bullies.
Wishes o' the week
I WISH, YOU, WE AND ANYBODY ELSE ON THE EARTH DON'T LIVE THIS FEARFUL EVENT NO LONGER. BECAUSE WE KNOW WHAT THE EARTHQUAKE IS. . . .
EMRE BOL ( FROM TURKEY)
I hate to admit this but a part of me wished the earthquake happened the previous night of the Mardi Gras riots in Pioneer Square, at 13.5 on the Richter scale.
Justice has bad timing.
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