"No large public transportation project gets done without some lying, unbudgeted expenses, and unhappy citizens. Tough."

DO NOTHING? NOTHING DOING!

Hats off for the insightful, in-depth probe of the monorail plan ["Not So Fast" and All Politics Is Local, "Head vs. Heart," Sept. 25]. These skeptics make the case in favor of monorail better than any of us "gung-ho" pro-monorailers have. They presented just about every conceivable argument against building it and came up short. And neither writer suggests alternatives.

It's clear that Seattle Weekly is a strong proponent of the do-nothing position on mass transit here (Howland's facetious "vote with my heart" counterpoint notwithstanding). It's a valid position. Doing nothing is always an option. It's been "tried" here for 20 years and has led to hour-long commutes that should take 15 minutes and traffic jams that make getting around so difficult and stressful.

For those of us less cynical and frightened than the Weekly's journalists, the question remains: Is Seattle still a "can-do" city? On Nov. 5, we'll know the answer.

Neal Brenard

via e-mail

THE SPELL IS BROKEN

I'd like to thank the Weekly for writing a hard-hitting article about the proposed Ballard to West Seattle monorail ["Not So Fast," Sept. 25]. Until recently, the media in Seattle has fallen under the same emotional spell as many residents. I'd like to add one additional comment about the impact the guideways and stations will have. The stations will be several hundred feet long and form a sky-blocking roof over any roadway they sit on. And after the recent incidents on the current monorail, the Seattle fire chief has stated that no monorail would be approved without walkways running the entire length—essentially meaning that we would end up with a 14-mile elevated fire escape.

Jonathan Dughi

Seattle

GET MOVING

Transportation choices are essential for the life and health of a successful city. Seattle citizens have been hemming and hawing and whining about these issues for 20 years ["Not So Fast," Sept. 25]. And each year life here gets less pleasant. It doesn't matter if ETC or Sound Transit ridership projections are inflated. It doesn't matter if the cost to build is underestimated. It doesn't matter if peoples' sight lines are negatively impacted. That's the price of having a city where you can drive when you need to without sitting in outrageous traffic jams. No large public transportation project gets done without some lying, unbudgeted expenses, and unhappy citizens. Tough. It's time to shut the heck up and get moving. Seattle's future depends on it.

Dennis Norwood

via e-mail

RAISE YOUR VOICE

Thank you for "Rogue Statesman" [Mossback, Sept. 25]. It seems our democracy is failing and fascism rising. I appreciated Knute Berger's attempt to awaken the dead and dozing. I'm a pastor in Ballard. My sadness is that the church, by and large, is snoring in the pews. Where are the voices of dissent? Thanks for lifting up yours.

The Rev. Rich Lang

Seattle

ELEMENTARY WATSON

Was Knute Berger this whacked-out before he left Seattle [Mossback, "Rogue Statesman," Sept. 25]? I could understand an over-the-top article right out of the gate, but his diatribes against Dubya's Evil Empire are getting old. Is he trying to remake himself into the Emmett Watson of Seattle leftists?! He was a cranky curmudgeon, too, and soon ignored.

Roger Clarke-Johnson

Kirkland

YOU TOIL, YOU DREAM, YOU GET PANNED

Is Steve Wiecking aware that the Fringe Festival smiles with a Cheshire grin at struggling artists and reaches out to them with warm words and rainbow visions of being "the place" where they can show their art and blossom ["To Fringe and Back," Sept. 25]? So you sell the car and move across country, because surely this is the one venue where you can safely showcase your talents. The day comes! You step on stage, ignoring the smell of urine because your theater is a part-time toilet. You shine, you spread your vulnerable wet wings—and get egg on your face and scoffed at by unemployable, unschooled critics who came with agenda-laden breath to your show and are going to revel in the kill. You find that you are alone in the world and your art world buddies at the Fringe office are nowhere to be found. But it gets worse. The Fringe amplifies the harsh voice of these critics and not only puts out stands where they can peddle their acidic reviews [in the Fringe Review Rag] but gives them more space on the Fringe Web site than the artists who paid money in the first place! You toil, you dream, you PAY money, and, alas, turn to the Fringe Web site and find SOME NO-NAME REVIEWER raping your show.

I agree there should be more quality shows. Let's start at the top and throw out the people who run the festival and drop the third-world quality theaters; only then can you dare expect quality. Why should you get quality? When have the artists who bought into the Fringe myth received it?

Mary Chow

via e-mail

BAD BUSINESS

The sordid case of Russell LaFountaine, who is accused of ripping off at least $800,000 worth of liquor supplies while working for the state Liquor Control Board ["$840,000 Bar Tab," Sept. 25] raises the question of why the state of Washington is still in the business of selling liquor. If the state's monopoly on hard liquor sales was set up to avoid mob-related activities, the downside has been that it sows corruption among public officials and encourages the misuse of public funds. At a time when falling revenues are forcing the state to mull ways of scaling back and even cutting off vital government services, shouldn't the sale of alcohol be a prime candidate for privatization? If our elected leaders are too caught up in the murky culture that sustains and enriches the likes of LaFountaine to do anything about it, then the voters should address this matter through the initiative process. It's time that we say to the Liquor Board: The party's over.

Russell Scheidelman

Seattle

THE C WORD

Thanks to Roger Downey for having the courage to admit to being an A.B.C. [Sips, "The ABCs of A.B.C.," Sept. 18]. I so seldom read about or meet a kindred spirit. The typical response to my preference for "anything but chardonnay" ranges from disbelief to pity for my uneducated taste buds. The recent wine event at the Enological Society confirmed for me that nothing has changed with my taste buds over the years. The good news for the A.B.C. minority is more aligot頦or us!

Karen Tripson

Enological Society, Seattle Chapter

CORRECTION

In last week's article on the monorail, "Not So Fast," Seattle Weekly reported that Vancouver's 28-mile SkyTrain carried 65,000 passengers on an average weekday. That number reflects the number of round-trip riders, not the number of times passengers board the train. The average number of individual boardings per day last year was 147,000, slightly more than twice the number of daily passengers. Other numbers in the story regarding the proposed monorail and Sound Transit's light-rail line are based on boardings. For example, the Elevated Transportation Company predicts that the 14-mile monorail will have 69,000 boardings (or about 35,000 round-trip riders) on a typical weekday; Sound Transit predicts that its 14-mile light-rail line will have 42,500 boardings per weekday.

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