THE DECLINE OF SEATTLE'S SOUL
If social scientist Richard Florida, during his recent visit here, had to go way out to Georgetown to find a slice of the "authenticity" he touts as being an indicator of an economy's future success, it's because there is so little of it left in this city ["Brave New City," June 27]. Let's face it: Thanks in part to the gentrifying effect of the wave of high-tech whiz kids who flocked here in the late '80s and '90s, Seattle has been sapped of much of its original "soul" in favor of a cookie-cutter, "Anywhere, U.S.A." ambience—just what, according to Florida's book The Rise of the Creative Class, today's whiz kids shy away from. But if, as Florida's book indicates, the whiz kids prefer Seattle anyway (despite our two new sports stadiums and two downtown malls—which the book says are anathema to the whiz kids), it probably has more to do with the fact that average high-tech wages are still higher here than elsewhere. How else to explain why the techies don't instead migrate to New Orleans, which has more "authenticity" on each block than Seattle has in its entirety? Yet Florida cites New Orleans as an economic "loser." I'd say his social theory is the real loser.
LEFTIST LEZZIES LIKED SEX IN THE '70S, TOO
Tyler Merriman's pro-sex article "Taking It All Off" was a breath of fresh air. Not only was the talk right-on about being sex-positive, but I very much appreciated the critique on body-isms and the inclusion of butches in the discussion of queer female culture. I must take issue, though, with the implications of Merriman's statement regarding "the sex-negative, anti-porn, anti-sex work attitudes of '70s lesbian feminism." As a young dyke coming up in the '70s, and a co-founder of Seattle's Leftist Lezzies (a lesbian-feminist organization of those times), I can tell you we were not anti-sex or anti-sex work. While some lesbian feminists were anti-butch, anti-femme, anti-porn, etc., there were many of us enjoying plenty of sex in a rather anti-monogamous culture (which had its own problems). During this time, sex worker organizations like Coyote developed, and they enjoyed support from lesbian feminists.
I would recommend that the author heed her own words. While lesbian feminism certainly had its shortcomings, it shouldn't be thrown out with the anti-porn, sex-negative bathwater.
Kevin Fullerton nails it when he gets the Pacific Seafood Processors Association's president to admit fishermen must "accept the risks of dealing with new players" ["Not a Nice Fish Story," June 27]. Alaskan salmon fleets all know this means the risk of retaliation in markets and services, let alone price. One can dovetail this with Fullerton's article "Fishy Accounting," April 18, on our efforts to bring processors' CPAs under scrutiny as "certified public accomplices," and see that we have a Fishron in Alaska. The foreign firms are highly sophisticated at creative bookkeeping, especially in abusing transfer pricing of products bound to Japan affiliates. These cross-border product laundering schemes are the mechanism of lowering wholesale prices to ensure fishers get low grounds prices. Grave economic losses occur, harming regional businesses. We hope the Weekly covers the trial this fall. It will shed new light on what for courageous fishers has become "the Lost Frontier."
Founder, Groundswell Fisheries Movement
HOW MANY ACTIVISTS DOES IT TAKE TO HOLD A BANNER?
While I appreciate the Weekly publishing an article relating to animal rights issues ["The Stephen Kelley Affair," June 20], I was disappointed by the errors and omissions in Philip Dawdy's article. Dawdy compares the Northwest Animal Rights Network's (NARN) campaign against Dr. Stephen Kelley (CanKelley) to PETA's campaign against Kroger and the Humane Society's work with Procter & Gamble. Both PETA and the Humane Society are national organizations with thousands of members and, as Dawdy points out, large PR budgets. NARN is a local organization with about 100 active members and a very small PR budget, and with the exception of a very few articles (like Dawdy's), the local media ignores animal rights issues because it is not considered "news." As for the paltry numbers that show up for the CanKelley protests—Dawdy chose to show up for a banner drop to count our numbers, and you don't need more than three people to hold a banner. Dawdy also mentions that NARN has only two objectives: "to get Seattle to go vegan and to end animal research at the UW." While I have only been working with NARN for the past year, I can tell you that NARN has much more on its "to-do list." NARN puts a great deal of effort into many animal issues that go far beyond animal experimentation at the UW and getting people (not just Seattleites) to go vegan.
Dawdy states that there have been advances in the humane treatment of lab animals, but as he also points out, the USDA and other agencies do not enforce these laws. Can he name one lab that has been shut down for inhumane treatment of animals? Dr. Kelley only left Oregon after his own staff turned him in for cruelty. NARN shouldn't have to spend any time targeting Dr. Kelley. If the UW cared about the welfare of their primates, they should have hired a reputable veterinarian rather than someone who was merely "available."
A SOUTHERNER SPEAKS OUT
As a native Southerner born in Louisiana and raised in Birmingham, Ala., I take extreme offense at the notion of my home being described as a "strange, strange place" [News Clips, "Separate, Not Equal," June 20]. Because your writer visited one city, in one of the states making up the Southeast, for one weekend, he holds the intellectual and moral authority to condemn an entire region of the country? I think not. His comments about the hair styles and cuisine are incorrect. I am livid about the statement, "Down South, segregation is alive and well, thriving like a batch of fresh-caught prawns." This notion is ridiculous. You owe an apology to all Southerners and to all of your readers for printing such untruths.
My high school was in an upper-middle-class suburb of Birmingham. We had roughly 2,000 students, of which 250 were completely integrated African Americans. We elected African Americans as student body and student government presidents. African Americans contributed to the success of academic and athletic teams as well as social and community events. When I moved to Seattle, I left behind many African American friends, and they would be just as upset over this article as I am.
Before you print such a malicious article in the future, please gain some knowledge on the subject about which you are writing.
P.S. The stat isn't two to one mullets; it is three guns for every person.
PRAISE FROM AN OBSESSED FAN
Just read [Bob Mehr's] review of Guided by Voice's new album ["Back to the Lake," June 20] and had to drop you a line of praise. Fine writing, thoughtful and highly insightful. My affinity for Bobby Pop does more than border on obsession, and I read every article I can find on the band. I'm quite sure that I will not soon read a better piece on this album and GBV generally. It's obvious that you get it.
Hope you made it to the Showbox. Bob's always in good form for Seattle shows.
New Orleans, LA
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