"...you don't know what the hell I'm talking about and every time I've written to explain this very complicated subject, you have not written back."

SURVIVING BI-COASTALLY

If Alan Rudolph was less concerned with "surviving film to mouth?" from his digs on Bainbridge and Manhattan [see "Exhibiting Sex," Aug. 30], he might figure out that most people outside his neighborhoods don't give a fuck about a pretentious class [of] people talking (about what does not matter).

Tom Langen

Seattle

P.S. And I loved Breakfast of Champions.

DEFENDING GEORGES

Does the Seattle Weekly prefer film critics who are as ignorant of the facts they attempt to describe as Brian Miller shows in "Flashback" [Apocalypse Now Redux, Aug. 23]? His lead sentence, "Draft dodgers have now occupied the White House continuously since '89" is flat wrong—twice. President George H.W. Bush volunteered for Navy service at the age of 18 in World War II and survived being shot down by the Japanese. His son, George W. Bush, served in the Air National Guard as a fighter pilot during the Vietnam era. Neither man was a draft dodger. Criticize and lampoon either man to your heart's delight, but get the facts straight.

Ed Offley

Springfield, VA

COMPLIMENTING KURT

I just wanted to compliment the wonderful interview Kurt B. Reighley conducted with Loretta Lynn titled "Still Country" [Aug. 30]. Now I must admit I am not the biggest fan of country music. Yet the article somehow managed to pull and shape my lack of interest into a story about—get this—a real woman! The questions were witty and sincere. Finally, a reporter who can show some respect and not make blatantly ignorant comments that evoke uncomfortable (manipulatively confessional) responses.

Susan English

via e-mail

DISAPPOINTING PATRONS

I have to agree with Sound Transit that the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel should have light rail alone, without joint rail/bus operation [see "Tunnel Traffic," Aug. 30]. I have debated with Maggi Fimia, Roger Pence, and others about this on grounds unusual and rarely considered. Bus operation in the DSTT is fatally flawed. It cannot become "improved" transit service. It leaves more people waiting than riding, much to the visible discomfiture of patrons. But when the train comes, everybody gets on. The obvious inefficiency of duplicative bus lines in the DSTT is more than disappointing to patrons. It is the most disabling factor of transit service as it relates to land-use planning and development. And, it not only occurs so obviously in the DSTT, it occurs on nearly every transit corridor where numerous bus lines converge, including transit centers.

I'm not going to go any further on what should be a lengthy dissertation about obsolete transit design. Why? Because you don't know what the hell I'm talking about and every time I've written to explain this very complicated subject, you have not written back. Fuck you. Go ahead and relish your pitiful level of understanding on land-use and transportation. It's a shame that Seattle has so few planners that understand the obvious flaws, while they're paid handsomely to wrack their brains trying to make an obsolete transit system function.

Art Lewellan

via e-mail

SHOCKING YOU

Should we be shocked? The one big issue in the coming election, in whose shadow all other issues pale, is the issue of light rail vs. monorail. Erica Barnett, the transportation writer for the Seattle Weekly, finds it "the single most boring major story of the year" ["On Track," Aug. 30]. Is she new in town? Isn't she aware that Greg Nickels and Paul Schell have been schlepping light rail since day one, and that their opportunistic pro-monorail statements are mere electioneering?

She must be aware that Sound Transit has managed to blow away $200 million in overhead costs with nothing substantial to show for it. It went somewhere, and someone has been very generous to Nickels and Schell in anticipation of the coming election. What, if any, is the connection?

Barnett must be aware that Sound Transit has the money and the mandate to do something useful for the Seattle traffic problems, but Sound Transit completely ignores the Elevated Transportation Company and the work they are doing. Instead, Sound Transit wants to build a tiny "Toonerville Trolley" in the south end that will contribute nothing but more chaos to Seattle traffic.

The ETC is scheduled to put the result of their efforts before the voters in Nov. 2002. The voters can then vote monorail up or down, but what kind of choice will Seattle voters have if so much money and taxing authority is siphoned off by the "black hole" of light rail that will never be completed.

I'm shocked that Barnett didn't spot Schell's endorsement of monorail from West Seattle to Ballard as a ploy to shift the focus from the light-rail loser that prevents the whole eastern half of the monorail plan from being considered. There are simply not enough resources to build both.

Jerry Johnson

via e-mail

JUSTIFYING SNOBBERY

Truth is not relative. You drop a brick on my bare foot, and you've demonstrated gravity and certain physiological responses. We'll always have Kepler Institutes [see "Learning With the Stars," Aug. 23] so long as 9 out of 10 people prefer fantasy to reality.

On the plus side, outfits like Kepler justify intellectual snobbery.

Jerome A. Schroeder

via e-mail

TRYING TO OBFUSCATE

It is good to see the Weekly giving attention to a major breaking issue like genetically engineered trees ["Franken-forest," Aug. 2, but it is a shame when the writer is so confused that key issues become incomprehensible.

Whatever the technical definitions one might find (and they vary), "genetic engineering" and "biotechnology" have come to refer to non-natural human manipulation of a species' genome typically involving the insertion of genetic material from a different species. Thus, hybrid poplars are NOT "genetically engineered," despite the fact that they result from human ingenuity. Hybrids only contain genetic material from the variations within the same species.

The attempt to include hybrids in the term "genetic engineering" is a deliberate POLITICAL move by researchers and the industry to make the argument that the new processes are no different from what we've always been doing (but of course they are different—as these same people argue to the Patent Office). They are just trying to discredit those of us who express concerns about the environmental impacts, by suggesting that there is nothing to worry about. However, all of the little research on biosafety that has been done has validated concerns raised by environmentalists.

Toby Bradshaw, whose lab was recently attacked, also talks out of both sides of his mouth when he says that he isn't doing "genetic engineering." Apparently it is true that he does not move alien genes into the trees, but his work of sequencing the poplar genome is generally seen as an intimately involved precursor to such activity. After all, Leroy Hood never denies that he is doing genetic engineering when he plays in the same fashion with the human genome. Bradshaw is just trying to obfuscate.

Phil Bereano

Washington Biotechnology Action Council

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