It's not rocket science
Chief Gil Kerlikowske said, "I don't know of a single police tactic that exists to be able to insert officers into the middle of a mob" ("Kerlikowske in the crossfire," 3/8). He is correct. What the chief apparently has failed to acknowledge is that the idea is to have the police already positioned in the crowd, thus avoiding the creation of the mob in the first place. It's not rocket science and we all know it. The same failure by SPD resulted in a few anarchists wrecking (or wreaking—take your pick) havoc during WTO; no cops in the crowd. The SPD apparently views any crowd as a hostile enemy.
Due to the (now) historical pattern of SPD failures in reacting to large crowd situations, those individuals (or assholes—take your pick) bent on creating violence and destruction know they can get away with anything in a Seattle crowd. Indeed, they traveled from all over the state to come to Seattle to raise hell for Mardi Gras.
Mayor Schell (or Smell—take your pick) and Chief Kerlikowske are now posing questions such as "What was the role of private sponsors, including a beer company and a radio station that targets teenagers? Did the media behave responsibly?" This only leads one to believe that the mayor seeks another scapegoat for the city's continued failure to respond to situations where the violent actions of individuals within a crowd was known by the SPD in advance.
The city has a rough road ahead because there is only one way to demonstrate to troublemakers that the SPD is capable of quashing violence immediately and appropriately. Until that demonstration is made, Seattleites will continue to fear the department that is supposed to protect them.
It's not bare breasts
In the Seattle Weekly [3/8] and elsewhere, writers have repeatedly pointed to topless young women as one cause of the Mardi Gras violence. What's up with that? The problem wasn't girls with bare breasts—it was boys with brass knuckles. This is part of an age-old tradition of blaming women for "provoking" irrational and violent actions in men.
It's pure guesswork
I usually appreciate Geov Parrish's columns in the Weekly, if for no other reason than because of his honesty and commitment to journalism that is more than glib commentary about those in power. But his article essentially calling Paul Schell Kris Kime's killer ["Blood on his hands," 3/8] is bullshit. Geov doesn't respect his readers enough to give the kind of proof necessary to make such a serious claim.
"This has Schell's bloody fingerprints all over it," Geov says of the police's handling of Fat Tuesday. The police chief, we are told, had little discretion in his ability to preempt the violence he witnessed in Pioneer Square that night. "The police chief was following orders." But this is pure guesswork. Geov has no evidence to back these statements—only the lame stereotype that Kerlikowske is "a cop," and that everyone knows that no cop would ever do what Kerlikowske in fact did without someone else forcing him to. Geov goes on to say that some of Kerlikowske's apologies and excuses are "flatly preposterous," but this does nothing to demonstrate that Kerlikowske is covering for Schell instead of himself.
Invective without evidence and grandstanding at another person's expense are par for the course when it comes to most political commentary. But with issues of life and death, there needs to be a higher standard. And on this, Geov fails badly. If he weren't so consumed with hatred for Paul Schell, perhaps he'd be ashamed of his own shoddy journalism.
It's not normal!!!
We need to get back to normal!!!
As a business owner on Western Avenue I feel it is time for the news media to start reporting responsibly and realistically the facts and the effects from the February 28 Earthquake [SW, 3/8] or any other news story, without the hype, overexaggeration, and sensationalizing of the event. Your unrealistic coverage of the event is doing far worse damage to my business then the actual quake did. The far greater damage will come from the fear that you are creating in our community, that it is not safe to come out of our homes and start living our lives normally again in Seattle.
I have had friends and relatives from all over the country call to see how badly my business had been damaged. From what they saw in the media, it looked far worse than it really was. This past Saturday, almost 10 days after the Quake I had ten calls from clients to see if we were open for business yet. We were never closed. This could only be a perception of how bad the damage was, created by media hype.
When a cameraman places his camera 6 inches away from a crack in the sidewalk to make it look like it is a foot wide, this is not responsible coverage of the event. The Media need to be held responsible for how they cover the news. If there is nothing to talk about, please stop talking. You need to stop reporting the same store over and over again hoping that something will change and you will have more drama to report.
We will go on as businesses despite the media's negative coverage of the events of the past few weeks. I would like invite Seattle to come back and visit the wonderful and exciting shops on Western Avenue as well as the businesses in Pioneer Square. We are alive and well and open for business.
KEVIN M. KURBS
It's me, Frank Chopp
I feel compelled to clarify some overlooked facts and erroneous assumptions made by Roger Downey in a recent Seattle Weekly article he wrote regarding my commitment to building a second suspension bridge over the Tacoma Narrows.
At the outset of "A bridge too far?" [2/22] Mr. Downey wonders why I chose to "reopen the question now" on whether privately operated toll roads make financial sense. The "why" should be quite obvious. Late last year, the state Supreme Court ruled unanimously to halt this project, saying only the state can set tolls on state roads—not a subsidiary of the Bechtel Corporation nor any other private company. The court made the right decision. Public roads ought to stay public. We have a long history in Washington state of repudiating privately operated toll roads. They have failed miserably, and our citizens have rightfully risen up in massive opposition. A private toll road is a device to skirt public control, and I'm against that concept.
Mr. Downey further asserts that my fellow House Democrats didn't expect the bridge to be my "first priority" in this year's session. It isn't. Investing in our schools and protecting human services for our neediest citizens are clearly my top priorities. But our transportation system needs major overhauling, and a second Tacoma Narrows bridge is critical to relieving one of the state's most congested arteries.
Mr. Downey goes on [to] say that I "jumped feet first and without consultation" with fellow lawmakers when I stressed the need to maintain public trust and accountability in the transportation project. To that I say there's important principles at stake here, and these principles take precedence over personality.
Another assumption is made in the article that I find puzzling. Mr. Downey writes that the state's contract with United Infrastructure of Washington (UIW) has been lengthy and time-consuming, and that to change it "at this late date means delay." This is not accurate. If there is cooperation from those involved with the bridge project, there is no need for delays. The bridge is vital and should be built. I have proposed that UIW continue to design the project and then build the bridge. All I am saying is that we should pay for it through a public toll authority. This will save taxpayers at least $400 million. Even UIW representatives agree with my estimate of savings.
It's not funny
In our March 8 Needle Exchange, we made an attempt at humor through gross exaggeration about the views of UW Professor Bob Filley, claiming he feels the collapse of the Alaska Way viaduct and the resulting "multiple deaths would be a small price to pay for the chance to build really nice waterfront condos." Of course, Professor Filley, while no fan of the viaduct, wishes no such thing. We apologize for any confusion.
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