Letters to the Editor

Hatchet Men

I'm pretty familiar with tools, but this is the first time I believe I've ever seen a double-handled hatchet. Wielded simultaneously by Knute Berger [Mossback, "Monorailtheism," April 7] and Rick Anderson ["It's a Fight to the Finish," April 7], it did a workmanlike job of slagging the monorail and giving aid and comfort to the NIMBYs who are passing around a petition because they perceive their ox is being gored. Anderson's disclaimer about wanting it built notwithstanding, he and Berger have unilaterally decided to support the "Seattle Process" by backing the call for one more vote.

The issue has already been voted upon—three times. It won all three, and survived a nasty end run by our City Council to subvert the will of the people. Now, it seems there are a bunch of whining pillow biters who want to overturn the results of the elections because they don't like where the monorail is going to go. They had the opportunity to make their feelings known. It was called an election campaign. If things didn't exactly turn out the way they wanted it, tough cheese.

John R. Hutchins

Seattle

Thanks, Bechtel

Thank you to Knute Berger for voicing some much-needed skepticism about the monorail's plan for a "public/private partnership" to design, build, operate, and maintain the planned Green Line [Mossback, "Monorailtheism," April 7]. Let's cast aside the euphemisms for a moment and call this plan what it is: privatization. The DBOM contract is the very worst kind of privatization because only the profits are privatized, while the major financial risks stay with the taxpayers and riders.

The Green Line is not going to be an inherently profitable enterprise. But the companies will receive a guaranteed fee no matter how many people ride. In the end, taxpayers and riders are going to pay more to subsidize the profits of these corporations. Has anybody else noticed that the Seattle Monorail Project will not tell us how much the fare will be? The SMP says the public is protected because the DBOM deal is a "mostly fixed-price contract." Signing a "mostly" fixed-price contract is kind of like being a little pregnant. Is it a fixed price or not? Not. The contractor has significant opportunities for passing along cost increases to the public over the course of the 15-year DBOM period.

From day one, the privatizers have had too much influence over the SMP and its predecessor, the Elevated Transportation Company. Some key former ETC consultants and staff are now working for the teams bidding on the project. But don't worry. The SMP knows DBOM is a good deal because their consultant, Bechtel, told them so. Of course, Bechtel is one of the biggest corporate beneficiaries of privatization worldwide. And it happens to be partners with Green Line bidder Bombardier on a DBOM rail transit project in New Jersey. No conflict of interest there!

Marc Auerbach

Seattle

Taken for a Ride

Is Rick Anderson padding the numbers ["It's a Fight to the Finish," April 7]? Is it really true that the Seattle Monorail Project will spend $7.7 million "for advertising, promotion, and public outreach in 2004"?! The SMP can't deliver the same monorail that they proposed to the voters, but they can spend $7.7 million for advertising and promoting a system that hasn't even been built yet? So Seattle taxpayers are already footing the bill to advertise to themselves? Wake up, Seattle voters—we are already being taken for a ride.

Pam James

Seattle

Kissing Lass

I am pictured pecking Patricia Stambor on the cheek, but this in no way means that I have embraced the recall-the-monorail effort ["It's a Fight to the Finish," April 7]. I remain a steadfast supporter of building the monorail. I may have some quibbles with the details, but Seattle needs to begin building the monorail.

The picture does illustrate my intentions to keep my argument for the monorail on a civil, and even playful, discourse. I urge other supporters to stick to the facts of the argument and not be sidetracked by sideshows. I ask that monorail supporters please keep a civil tongue and a sense of tolerance.

Dick Falkenbury

Seattle

Idol Smashing

Is Steve Wiecking deaf ["Idol Minds," April 7]? Declaring that Clay Aiken and Kelly Clarkson cannot sing just makes him sound like an idiot. Cool and hip, of course, but an idiot nonetheless. Perhaps he needs to revisit the dictionary and look up the definition of singing.

I'm so tired of so-called "journalists" who cannot get past their prejudice and be objective for once. Why doesn't Wiecking review 50 Cent or Metallica and leave the pop concerts for those who appreciate this genre of music? Oh, I forgot. It's that pesky desire to sell. He should enjoy that paycheck before he's exposed for being a fraud with an agenda instead of a real writer.

Carol Reese

Chicago, IL

Clay Aiken and Kelly Clarkson got their stardom via a competition, not unlike a Miss America Pageant ["Idol Minds," April 7]. They haven't paid any dues by playing in honky-tonks or set foot in venues like the old Continental Baths, where it really was something for Bette Midler to hold the attention of half-naked men who'd rather focus on each other! Their performance has been shaped by call-in computer demographics. Can we really fault the end product we created? American Idol is potato chips for the ears. We know it's bad for us, but you can't eat just one.

Brian M. Kochera

Cranford, NJ

Victim of False Claims

Beginning in 1994, I had the honor of representing David Cousineau against the false claims that were made against him by Timothy McDonnell ["His Past Life," March 31].

Mr. McDonnell's case was based on purported "recovered memories" that he developed while under the guidance of an unlicensed woman who held herself out as a "counselor in life process management." This extremely troubled man told others that this "counselor" had suggested to him that his myriad of problems must be the result of childhood molestation.

Mr. McDonnell's claims were false and demonstrably so. Mr. Cousineau did not even come to McDonnell's parish and had not met him until two years after McDonnell claimed Mr. Cousineau had begun to molest him. There were multiple other demonstrably false allegations made by McDonnell. David Cousineau did not molest Timothy McDonnell.

No new action has been filed against Mr. Cousineau. Mr. McDonnell apparently joined the action against the archdiocese in Los Angeles now, in the midst of the publicity suggesting that claimants will receive millions.

I would also note that the appropriate officials at Seattle Children's Home were told of the litigation at the time it was pending. Because of their justifiable faith in David's innocence, they did not see any need to publicize the information beyond a need-to-know basis nor to otherwise besmirch David's character because of the false allegation.

There is no doubt that others have been damaged by the inappropriate actions of the clergy, and those who have deserve redress. However, it is most unfortunate that articles such as that written by Rick Anderson create a second group of victims: those who have been falsely accused of such despicable acts. I would ask that both Mr. Anderson and your readers contemplate what it would be like to be falsely accused of such acts. I hope that contempla­tion may lead to more accurate reporting and a recog­nition of the injustice of character assassination based on such false claims.

Edith R. Matthai

Robie & Matthai

Los Angeles, CA

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