"If San Francisco can build a train tube under the San Francisco Bay, certainly it's possible for us moss heads to fix a mile or so of waterfront. . . . "

BEEN THERE, DIDN'T DO THAT

Ah, the hand-wringing Seattle waterfront questions . . . again ["Can the Waterfront Be Saved?" July 3]. In the early '70s, I wrote a letter in response to an article in Seattle magazine to Mayor Wes "Yes" Uhlman about my concern about how $5 million of bond money was going to be spent on the waterfront. To my surprise, I, a commercial fisherman, was put on the mayor's Waterfront Park Task Force. The task force consultant, from San Francisco, discussed and drew pretty pictures of the same alternatives being discussed today. Although there was some support then for pursuing funding for removing the viaduct and relocating the train lines, the Department of Community Development folded to the wishes of the waterfront businesses and spent the money on making it easier for waterfront businesspeople to make money. My idea of at least part of the area being given over to a "real park" with some green space was dismissed as a hippie pipe dream.

And so every five years or so, we rehash the "what to do with the waterfront" questions. It seems to me a local truth in Seattle that big questions/problems (i.e. rapid transit, Sound Transit, monorail, Westlake Mall) breed big studies, big magazine/ newspaper articles, and eventually a big cave-in to entrenched interests.

I was recently in San Francisco and was impressed with the way that great city has had the huevos to fund and implement real projects of visionary proportions (BART; taking down the Embarcadero, then rebuilding the area; even the new Embarcadero to Castro trolley system, which is cool and works and actually does something). Sadly, I feel Seattle just doesn't have the whatever you choose to call it to fund and implement real, creative, exciting fixes to big problems.

Clearly the viaduct needs to go, and the city would benefit from a major rebuilding of the central waterfront to tie the city to its historic waterfront and to increase activities that residents would want to enjoy year-round. If San Francisco can build a train tube under the San Francisco Bay, certainly it's possible for us moss heads to fix a mile or so of waterfront/viaduct/train line.

My guess? Whining waterfront businesses and others who might be inconvenienced by construction or relocation will lobby and succeed in keeping things "as is," with us (taxpayers) paying for a few cosmetic changes.

See ya in another five years. Man, this stuff makes me feel old!

Peter Howard

Seattle

SAVE THE VIADUCT

Stop with the viaduct hate already ["Can the Waterfront Be Saved?" July 3]. "You can be a block away from the water and not even realize it's there"??? Where are you standing? Behind a pillar? The view of the water is obscured by the viaduct? From where? The view of the water is obscured by Pike Place Market. Even if the viaduct wasn't there, you would have to be in a high-rise to see the water . The viaduct is an extremely important roadway for West Seattleites to not only get downtown but to Ballard, Fremont, Wallingford, UW, Magnolia, Queen Anne. . . . Where do you propose to funnel us? I-5? Have you seen I-5 lately? And what about when the new football stadium opens and creates even more traffic in the SoDo area (which is bypassable on the viaduct)?

See these people for what they are— developers frothing at the mouth to land a huge deal that will make them millions. No one seems to be looking out for our best interest here on the westside.

Ingrid Bartels

via e-mail

MINI ME TOO

Loved [Bethany Jean Clement's] article on the Mini ["Mini Me," July 3]. I have owned mine for a few weeks, and I have never experienced anything like it—I don't think I would get more attention if I rode a camel around town. Nice work capturing the experience—the Mini masses will identify very well. Thanks for the great read.

Alex Pulver

Seattle

BUT IT'S CUTE!

[Bethany Jean Clement is] an excellent example of why folks who aren't car people should stay in their dam [sic] Honda Accords ["Mini Me," July 3]. The Mini does not haul. It won't even do zero to 60 in six seconds. Even the supercharged model, which you didn't have on your "oh boy, a cute car" tour, won't do it. The normally aspirated model you drove will be slaughtered by a current model Buick Century. How sporty do you think the Mini is now? Write about a "new car" but don't lie about what it does. Better yet, have someone who is a real car person do the story.

Marshall Scott Warner

via e-mail

CARLSON'S COMPLAINT

Seattle Weekly published a story about a complaint filed against my gubernatorial campaign alleging that my wife, Lisa, was illegally compensated by my campaign fund after the election and that other campaign money was misused after the race ["Investigating Carlson," June 27].

The complaint, filed with the State Public Disclosure Commission, was investigated and dismissed on every count. I urged the Weekly to interview Lisa if they thought the complaint had any validity, but no attempt was made to contact her. Here is what the PDC (and other reporters) knew that Weekly readers did not. Lisa is a professional event planner, with dozens of clients. During the campaign, she did contract work on several of our big events, but her contracts stipulated that she would be paid only after all staffers and vendors were compensated, and only then if there was money left over. That is why she was paid after the election.

As for money she received in 2001, Lisa agreed to close down all aspects of the campaign, which included, but was not limited to, overseeing all PDC reporting, hiring movers, sorting through all office papers and files, arranging storage, cleaning data off computers, maintaining the computer database, coordinating letters of recommendation to find jobs for staff, paying all monthly bills, canceling vendors, supervising the sending out of thousands of thank-you letters, etc. For this she received a total of $15,000, or $1,500 a month for 10 months, well under her traditional level of compensation and well under what most campaigns pay to shut down a multimillion-dollar statewide race. Indeed, some of this work continues today but has been done, since last November, on a volunteer basis.

The article also erred in stating that I endorsed Christine Gregoire's re-election in 2000 over opponent Richard Pope, who filed the complaint. That happened in 1996.

John Carlson

Seattle

ARMED AND READY

I have repeatedly tried to educate America that the militia is a natural phenomenon ["Where Have All the Militias Gone?" June 27]. It emerges in the midst of perceived danger and recedes when that sense is diminished. But don't count the militia out just yet. Many of us are still well-armed and have intensified our training to meet the new threat of the federal government under the guise of "homeland security."

I never expected the president to acknowledge the militia's offer to protect the homeland. To do so would have been political suicide and would have short-circuited his creation of the national police force now in place. The reasons for our gesture are apparent for those who have mastered the game.

Norm Olson

Senior Advisor, Michigan

Militia Corps Wolverines

Seattle

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