"The long tradition of Mardi Gras in New Orleans is part of [that] city's culture and is about much more than just a teenage boob show."

SAVAGE'S MONSTER

I know I shouldn't be reading these stories ["Did They Get Their Man?" Feb. 28]; all they do is either make me more depressed or angrier. This time, I'm a little of both. To continue to read and see [defense attorney Tony] Savage's little wanna-be jokes is getting to be too much.

I do believe that every American deserves to be defended of a crime if accused. I believe a lawyer should do everything in his power to defend that client or be disbarred. That I have no problem with. I have a problem with [Savage] trying to paint [his client, Green River murder suspect Gary Ridgway] as some great guy—a guy to drink a few beers with. I have a problem with the man who seems to not have any moral convictions at all. I honestly believe that my sister Opal [Mills, a Green River murder victim] is being victimized again by this "grand old man of . . . defense. . . . " I also believe that he has been "fooled before" because he WANTS to be fooled. There is no glory or money in turning down a high-profile case. I might as well go all the way. . . . I used to feel for Ridgway's wife [Judy]—I have said so in a few interviews—but she has chosen to ignore the things that he himself has admitted to (frequenting prostitutes and choking a prostitute). Perhaps they were not real women to her, so I guess it doesn't count. To me she's no better than an accomplice or just a fool . . . I guess killing others doesn't hurt as long as he is good to her. . . .

Opal and the other victims will get their day in court, and I will be there as Judy and Savage will have to say goodbye to this monster forever. That is something Ridgway took away from me—the chance to say goodbye to Opal. I and the other families will somberly rejoice when justice comes down on this man, while Savage moves on to his next case to be "fooled" again.

Garrett Mills

via e-mail

BOOBS FOR BEADS

[Erica] Barnett's criticism of the Seattle Police arresting women flashers on Fat Tuesday [News Clips, "Breast in Show," Feb 21] is missing the point. This is not about partying or being liberal or a chance for yet another anti-Seattle Police article. The long tradition of Mardi Gras in New Orleans is part of [that] city's culture and is about much more than just a teenage boob show. Mardi Gras parties outside New Orleans lack the other 98 percent of the New Orleans culture and so simply degenerate into teenage hooligans, drunks in public, and pathetic displays of America's repressed culture regarding nudity.

These other events actually contradict what Mardi Gras is really about. The trend to use Mardi Gras to hold frat parties in other cities is ruining the original event in New Orleans, as the locals down there will tell you. New Orleans would be best to remove the increasing focus on the "boobs for beads" aspect of their party so as to preserve the true spirit of Mardi Gras. Let's keep the crayfish and voodoo down in the Big Easy where they belong.

Uno Veski

via e-mail

CHEAP BOOZE FOR NEW ENGLANDERS

FYI: The reason New Hampshire is the grand-prize alcohol winner [with the highest consumption of distilled spirits in the country, see Sips, "The Seven-Whiskey Lunch," Feb. 28] is, lacking a state income tax, it operates huge discount state liquor stores [that] are extremely popular with folks from its much more populous neighbor Massachusetts.

I know cuz I used to drive from Rhode Island to visit the very same stores.

Alec Brindle

Seattle

PULLING FOR PULLEN

[The debate over the use of mercury in dental fillings] has all the elements of a big public-health issue: the medical establishment in angry opposition, poisonous chemicals, and a disproportionate impact on the poor. Well, it's got almost everything. . . . Except, as Kevin Fullerton notes [News Clips, "Mercury Madness," Feb. 21], the anti-mercury-in-our-mouth cause is being led by, gulp, a conservative Republican.

In all likelihood, the issue will probably fizzle out. I, for one, really hope that [King County Council member] Kent Pullen keeps hounding away. Why? Because he's going to help us all establish who in the "public health" movement is actually for public health, and who is nothing but a cranky appendage of the power establishment. While one hopes most folks fall into the former category, one suspects a lot of people are going to establish themselves as a member of the latter, politically oriented one.

Ivan Wood

Seattle

DON'T ASK THE EXPERTS

You got that right! [Science Column, "Wine Snob Scandal," Feb. 21.] That's why I stopped [reading] Wine Spectator magazine—the descriptions of the wines are nonsense.

I teach a few basic wine-appreciation classes in the Pacific Northwest and try to get the attendees to understand that the best wine in the world is the wine YOU like, never mind what the "experts" say.

Unfortunately, there are more wine snob wanna-bes drinking wine than wine snob writers misleading them.

Well done, Mr. Downey.

Nik Tomassi

via e-mail

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