Taking On Monomania
Jason Osgood and Ricky Sadler, protesting Knute Berger's comments on Monorail Recall's Initiative 83, misstate and ignore basic facts [Letters, Sept. 22]:
"We" did not vote on this plan three times. We've never voted on it. The prior three votes concerned speculative fantasies lacking substantive details: one reason the last plebiscite wheezed half-dead to an 800-vote margin.
Eighteen months of Seattle Monorail Project's dishonesty, prevarication, and ineptitude reveal that the one bidder "plan" is drastically short of money and yields much single track and an ugly, pigeon-pooped edifice similar to today's Fifth Avenue monorail; runs through a prominent urban park and over sidewalks; is phony in its ridership claims; will take only 1 percent of cars off the road while poaching over 80 percent of riders off existing buses; will not "pay for itself"; serves predominantly low-density corridors in Ballard, Interbay, SoDo, and West Seattle, with only downtown and parts of Lower Queen Anne to claim meager passengers. Even Second Avenue sections of Belltown (which stopped Seattle Monorail Project) and downtown don't want it. They know it will blight their neighborhoods and businesses.
Cost: $1.75 billion, funded with generations of car-tab taxes averaging families hundreds of dollars annually—for a project that doesn't solve any transit problems. No wonder Seattle is "unaffordable": Wasting tax dollars on bogus megaprojects while diverting those same dollars from more effective uses contributes to the very city unaffordability of which Sadler ironically complains. Even worse, the public, after discovering they've been hosed, will vote down future taxes for good causes because of the disgust and tax burden generated by crap like the monorail.
What bitter mono cultists ruing I-83 ignore is that the initiative process belongs to all, not just to self-appointed elites who think they know better than others—that's what the courts upheld in placing I-83 on the ballot.
I will vote "yes" on I-83, favoring future intelligent transit solutions that take cars off the road and are responsible public and environmental policy. At a time when our city is slashing its budget across the board, we need our scarce tax dollars for more important, and smarter, things.
Reject 'Top Two'
It's true that we voters don't much like the partisan primary, but I hope that doesn't mean Initiative 872 will pass out of spite ["Registering the Vote," Sept. 22]. There are much better ways to reform our elections. Instant runoff voting, where voters get to rank their choices, would let all the candidates appear on the November ballot, not just the "top two." It's like having the primary and a runoff at the same time, and the state could get out of paying for the primaries altogether. Instant runoff voting would bring more choices to the largest number of voters, instead of gutting the general election just because we're mad about the primary. If you want the chance to vote for minor parties and independent candidates in November, you have to vote against I-872. Then write to your legislator about instant runoff voting.
It is very difficult to figure out what really happened around history-changing events like Pearl Harbor and Sept. 11, 2001 ["Two Views of 9/11," Sept. 22]. However, after a few hours reviewing numerous reports, analyses, congressional hearing transcripts, etc., via the Internet, and using the lawyer's standard of "more likely than not" (the standard for proof in a civil case), I conclude:
1. FDR knew that Japan would probably attack the Pacific fleet if it was placed at Pearl Harbor, and he used that likelihood to set up an event that would allow him to move the U.S. into World War II. There were extensive congressional hearings on this question, and I think this conclusion is supported by the evidence.
2. American Flight 77 did not hit the Pentagon on 9/11. There are dozens of "off the wall" theories and unanswered questions about this "event," but the evidence is pretty strong that a Boeing 757 probably was not the object that hit the Pentagon on 9/11. I wish the press and public would keep asking: How could a 757 create such a tiny hole in the building upon impact, without disturbing the lawn as it did so, and leaving behind only one purported piece of the plane in front of the impact site? There seem to be two answers: flat-out denial of the obvious (the wings folded up to fit through the hole, without damaging the facade at all as they did so); or, any alternative to the 757 being the object in question is just a wacko conspiracy theory.
OK, many of the questioners are wackos, but we still have the inadequately answered questions.
Pickle Juice and Acid?
I've just read Dave Queen's article on Heart's new CD, Jupiters Darling (not Darlings like stated in the article), and I was a little taken aback ["Taking Sides," Sept. 22]. Could you tell me who the heck Neal "Geraldo" Bartock is? That is not the name of the lead guitarist. I guess Queen should have done some better research, but it's hard to do research when you've got your head up your ass. After reading other articles this gentleman has written (I can't even classify this guy as a writer), I seriously believe he needs to be drug tested. I've heard there is some really bad brown acid going around on the Pacific Northwest coast. Maybe he was rejected by Rolling Stone, who knows. He must write with a glass of pickle juice in one hand and a thesaurus in the other, because his articles are really dripping with bitterness and disdain.
Lake Charles, LA
Craig Bartock, not Neal Bartock as stated in the article, co-produced and played guitar on Jupiters Darling.—Ed.
Queen's a Genius
After reading Dave Queen's review "Taking Sides" [Sept. 22], I felt compelled to write in. I found his piece the most entertaining and innovative piece of journalism I've read in ages. I was a Heart fan back in the day, and I think that Queen's hilarious piece was spot on. It may be bordering on genius . . . and it made my morning.
Nina Shapiro's statements about the science WASL made me worry, not only for her, but for public education in the area ["Taking the WASL," Sept. 15].
Shapiro didn't know that the moon is visible because it reflects the sun's light? What, does she think it has a big halogen lamp? This seems pretty basic—about one step beyond knowing that the sun does not revolve around the Earth. (You do know that, Nina?) I'm not exactly a Ph.D.—I took no science classes after sophomore year of high school—so I'm not being elitist when I mock her ignorance.
The truly appalling part of the article is the science teacher who says high-school sophomores should not be expected to know that, as they have not studied physics yet. I would expect eighth-graders to know such a basic fact about the moon—really, I would expect the issue to be covered in the study of the solar system around, oh, grade four.
I don't have much faith in standardized testing, but I'm fast losing faith in the education system. Maybe we do need some way to hold schools accountable for basic teaching.
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