GOOD DRIVER, BAD DRIVER

The driver sets the tone on his bus ["Bus Battles," Jan. 3]. There are good drivers who thank you and wish

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"Stop publishing such whiny articles! It makes the people at your magazine, as well as those who live in Seattle, sound like a bunch of spoiled babies."

GOOD DRIVER, BAD DRIVER

The driver sets the tone on his bus ["Bus Battles," Jan. 3]. There are good drivers who thank you and wish you an enjoyable evening, call out stops and transfer points, even announce library hours. I'd bet a week's salary they have few incidents [or] complaints filed by or against them.

Then there are some Metro drivers who use their position of power to provoke, antagonize, and vent anger and frustration. The way complaints are handled reinforces this behavior. In the past, the customer service department made me feel like my complaint was unjustified.

The truth is some drivers are good at bringing out the best in people and some are good at bringing out the worst. The second type you just have to walk away from. There is no way you can win.

Diane Howell

Seattle

EX-DRIVER

["Bus Battles," Jan. 3] has a decidedly anti-driver overtone. When one writes about "rude" drivers, one should also touch on possible reasons for this rudeness.

As a former Metro driver of nine years and union shop steward, I learned that Metro management perpetuates a mentality among riders that it's OK to act badly on the bus because they will get away with it. (Metro management has done nothing to deter the bad behavior). This, in turn, creates resentment among some drivers because they have to deal with these jerks all day, every day. It's difficult to muster a smile or say, "How ya doin," when someone has just called you a motherfucker to your face.

Steve B. Edmonds

EXPRESS-O BUSES

Having just moved to Seattle from Detroit, I realize that Northwesterners need something to complain about ["Bus Battles," Jan. 3], but Metro is a treat compared to Detroit's DOT! Metro buses: (1) actually run, (2) are heated, (3) are, for the most part, on time, (4) run to most parts of the city. YES, it would be nice if the bus picked you up at your front door serving lattes and had laptop connections, but a public service is just that—PUBLIC SERVICE.

Dominic Suchyta

Seattle

SPOILED IN SEATTLE

Apparently [Erica C.] Barnett has never been to another big city in her life. This is the second time she's written a weak article stating her concerns and complaints about Metro ["Bus Battles," Jan. 3]. You should send her to New York and stick her on the buses and subways there for a dose of reality. I wonder if she knows that sitting next to a stinky drunk once in a while is absolutely normal. I realize sitting on a bus and fearing for your life is not acceptable, but stop publishing such whiny articles! It makes the people at your magazine, as well as those who live in Seattle, sound like a bunch of spoiled babies. If you don't like it, get a car and sit in the traffic that you guys also always complain about. Seattle is a wonderful city, and it's really disappointing that your publication is constantly [complaining] about everything that makes a big city a big city. And if anyone is trying to be funny, it is not coming across very well.

[I] hope Ms. Barnett soon appreciates what a great city she lives in. I have yet to hear her say anything about that!

Leana Johns

Seattle

CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH SQUAD?

The open letter that sparked Rep. Ed Murray's angry response to the Sidran Truth Squad and was referred to in James Bush's column [4th & James, "Still Sore," Jan. 3] was written in good faith and a respectful tone and signed by scores of community leaders and 43rd District residents. It merely asked Rep. Murray and Sen. Pat Thibaudeau to confer with their constituents before taking stands that so critically affect the future of our city.

That such a diplomatic communiqu頧enerated from Rep. Murray the response that it did speaks, more than anything else, of the disconnectedness, lack of accountability, and hubris of incumbent politicians who hail from "safe" legislative districts.

For your readers who want to examine for themselves the entire open letter, signed by 73 Seattle-area activists, and Rep. Murray's disparaging reply, as well as a sampling of impressions from various prominent citizens, they can log on to www.sidrantruthsquad.org/.

Mike Maloney

Sidran Truth Squad member

PORK BARREL PATTY

In reading this week's story about Sen. [Patty] Murray's transportation bill ["She Loves Pork," Jan. 3], it's obvious she's truly moved on to that other Washington. Yes, from Washington state's own Soccer Mom as senator to Washington, D.C.'s own Pork Barrel Patty as senator, her transformation from defender of the little guy to special-interest saleswoman is complete.

Here's another way to look at the $20 billion Boeing bailout: If that $20 billion over 10 years was handed out to the 23,000 plus people who've filed for bankruptcy in Washington state this year, that would be an average of nearly $87,000 per person per year. Imagine what that would do to stimulate the state's economy.

John Marshall

Olympia

YO! Em-TV SUCKS

Roger Downey goes too easy on the Food Network's Emeril Lagasse ["YO! Em-TV Cooks," Jan. 3]. That showboat is far from "a fine kitchen technician." I seriously doubt the guy could whip up a boiled egg, much less all those half-finished, slapdash concoctions from his overrated, overblown, overdone cooking show.

I used to dig Emeril when he first appeared on the food cable network. Back then, he tripped, blathered, and monologued to himself as would any fumbling bachelor. When he went off on a tangent, like the time he shouted about mayonnaise being bad if left out of the fridge too long ("Of COURSE it's gonna hurt ya!"), I doubled over with appreciative laughter. His trademark, "Kick it up a notch!" was a novelty when he first uttered the line. But after awhile, it—along with his other overused truisms—became stale repetition.

His current Emeril Live is painful to watch. But it's damned hard to avoid. I swear that stupid show is on every other hour; every time I turn around, there HE is hamming it up with the same goddamned script. [And] he hardly ever cooks. He's too busy mugging for the camera, flirting with the babes, and attempting to out-macho the guys in the audience to bother. Most of the time, he never even finishes the dish, or the dish starts turning into a amped-up creative science experiment instead of nouvelle cuisine.

Carol Banks Weber

Lynnwood

GOOD IF YOU LIKE GRISTLE

"[Masala of India] knows a thing or two about cooking meat"? ["Extra Hot," Dec. 27.] A lot must have changed in the several months since I dined at Masala. My tandoori chicken was so full of gristle that I told my dining companion that I would never eat there again. He didn't disagree with my assessment. It is essential to use quality ingredients to prepare a good meal, or it's a pointless effort. Two restaurants in the Roosevelt district do a fine job with tandoori chicken. India House I would give three stars out of four. But my favorite is Taste of India. FOUR STARS. Once, on a very busy Friday evening, the service did slip a little, [but] the food remained excellent! Cedars rates two-and-a-half stars for tandoori chicken, although a friend who ordered baklava said it was the best he'd ever eaten. I am assuming it may be world class, since I know he spent several years living and traveling in the Middle East.

Steve Bradley

via e-mail

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