JUST DO ITQUIETLY
I applaud those recipients of inherited and/or earned wealth who've seen and who act upon the true spirit of philanthropy: (1) just doing it, and (2) without fanfare ["Can the Rich Be Good?" April 16]. These individuals (and their beneficiaries) will truly benefit from good deeds because they will have overcome the underlying tendency to treat the discussion of good works as an end in itself. We can all learn from them, no matter our economic status.
Not having read the Seattle Weekly much, I was attracted to your last coverthe portrait of Bill Gates Sr. as UW regent cum Medici. I was expecting a hard-hitting piece by Rick Anderson or some such on the connections between the failings of Sr.'s corporate welfare law firm, Preston Gates & Ellis, and the monopolistic downside to Microsoft.
I was, however, quite shocked to discover that instead of a critical piece, you published a bit of self-serving tripe ["Can the Rich Be Good?" April 16]. Wealth and doing well can go togetherbut as you, and the lawyers of the Gates firm, have already proven, Seattle has ended up not with the best of both of these worlds, but with the worst of both.
PASSING ON THE FRUITS
This is in response to the April 16 article "Can the Rich Be Good?" I was fortunate enough to inherit our family business; I do not feel that it was fair or unfair, it just happened. My wife and I, like previous generations, markedly increased its value by dint of increasing land values, investment choices, and hard work. I did a lot of physical work myself, installing siding, painting, minor roof repairs, etc., on the properties. As I made these efforts, I was enjoying the dream of our three children, and later our grandchildren, inheriting the buildings. Corny as it may be, I even romanticized: Just think, Dad installed this. It was one of the main concepts that kept me active and made our business successful. I will now, therefore, incur the scorn of those other wealthy people who have banded together for very altruistic reasons and of those who support their concept of keeping the inheritance tax. I understand their philosophy of not having an idle-rich class of inheritors. I, however, feel that I should have the right to work and invest so that I can pass it on to our children. The profits from my business have already been taxed during my lifetime by the feds, state, county, and city. Why again? Now to try and redeem myself: I provided 50 very low income units, which I leased to a nonprofit housing provider for $1 per year! One of the reasons I eventually sold that building, to the nonprofit, was that I was very worried that, upon my death, the kids would have to have a quick distress sale to pay the inheritance tax. If our family business was in the multibillion-dollar category, and our children could live without working, I would look at it differently. But like the majority of successful family businesses, we are not in that category, and to drastically limit our seemingly natural right to pass on the fruits of our efforts seems unjust.
OLCHEFSKE'S LEARNING EXPERIENCE
Finally, a media piece that offers some context, some background for Joseph Olchefske's eventual resignation rather than the tired line that it was the budget fiasco ["Why They Hate Olchefske," April 16]. I would contend that parents, teachers, and administrators aren't afraid of change. To be educated is to be a lifelong learner, and that means seeking out the new as well as the established. However, as a parent, I don't want that change to be forced on my child without any explanation other than "I'm the superintendent, and it's my decision."
I am just about finished reading the budget audit, and it surely is a cautionary tale about hiring a business/finance person to run the district. We will be paying for Olchefske's mistakes for years to come. He came in as CFO with the district having budget problems and, according to his district bio, solved them. It would have been nice if he had thought to put some checks and balances in place. Or some oversight. Many recommendations of the budget audit have the notation that they would cost no money to put into place. So many seemingly commonsense business practices that could have been done at no cost could have saved us from this mess.
Lastly, a correction. The article stated that I was going to actively work against the school levies. That is not what I said. I said I was not going to support the building levy (I would never work against the operating levyit's 22 percent of the district's budget). Not supporting a levy is not the same as actively working against it. It's not semantics, it's the truth.
NATIVE AMERICANS OMITTED
How can Knute Berger write about negative eugenics without acknowledging that 42 percent of American Indian women of childbearing age (some were as young as 15) were forcibly surgically sterilized by the U.S. government in the 1960s and 1970s [Mossback, "Breed and Weed," April 16]? Why do blacks, Jews, Asians, and gays warrant mention, but not Native Americans? Is it because the aforesaid groups have more socioeconomic power and greater numbers than Native Americans? Native Americans suffered a higher per capita forced sterilization than any other ethnicity, yet this fact is omitted in a story where it seems sine qua non.
BRING BACK EUGENICS
Knute Berger's article on eugenics takes a very negative light on the matter, which isn't entirely unjustified [Mossback, "Breed and Weed," April 16]. In the past, eugenics has been poorly done, with inhumane methods and insufficient knowledge of actual genetics. This has resulted in tragedies, such as the Holocaust.
However, as we learn more about the human genome and about how genetics works, we have the capability to more humanely institute eugenics. The idea of preventing people from having children based on genetics might seem unfair to some, but we often sacrifice the freedoms of the few for the benefit of the many. The retarded, inherently crippled, and other people suffering from genetic defects are generally a burden on society, requiring tax money to support them.
LOVE IT OR EAT IT
Why doesn't Laura Cassidy stick to writing about food instead of trying to sneak in little generic, cookie-cutter political tidbits about our country ["Über-American," April 16]? Where else would she be able to make a living while stuffing her face and then writing about it to an audience of people who get a hard-on at the slightest chance to bitch about the country they live in?
Thank you for sharing with readers that Safeco Field was voted one of the top 10 "veg-friendly" Major League ballparks by PETA [Hot Dish, April 16]. I gave up meat, dairy, and eggs years ago because of the inherent cruelties involved in factory farming and the many health risks associated with the consumption of animal products. I've never been healthier or more fit! I'm so glad to know that Safeco Field has vegetarian offerings for the growing percentage of people who eschew animal products. For your health, the animals, and the earth: Go vegan!
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