Cedar County vs. City Slickers

Have You Been To Duvall Lately?

I agree with Geov Parrish that the passage of the critical-areas ordinance and the subsequent furor exposed the already present rift between urban and rural parts of the county ["Cedar County vs. City Slickers," Dec. 22]. Parrish fears that in going too far, a backlash has been created and the good might be thrown out with the bad. In much the same context, though, I worry about the precedent set in establishing "takings" legislation. Once you start going down the slippery slope of reimbursing people for losses incurred (whether real or perceived), it will be difficult to ever climb back up to a level playing field where any real improvements to the common good can be adequately funded. And Parrish is simply being obtuse in his statement that a house that posed no environmental threat in September now does. Obviously, the threat (or potential threat) was always there, it just wasn't addressed via the regulatory process.

One irony in this whole issue is reflected in how Parrish describes it: rural vs. urban. Has he been to Duvall, Fall City, or North Bend lately? They really are no longer rural. They're fast becoming suburban. Development is rampant and threatens the "rural" lifestyle these folks seek to protect more than any critical-areas ordinance does. But let 'em build their hobby farms and homes on their 5 acres, and a few years from now they'll be complaining about being surrounded by residential development and all the traffic from the shopping mall down the road. If rural landowners really wanted to protect their lifestyle into the foreseeable future and were not simply pursuing their own interests, wouldn't the critical-areas ordinance be a step in the right direction?

Jeryl Kolb

Bellevue

Critical Path

The clearing part of the critical-areas ordinance was not a problem but a solution ["Cedar County vs. City Slickers," Dec. 22]. I could not disagree with Geov Parrish more when he says there is no reason for the clearing section of the ordinance other than preventing sprawl. How about flooding, water quality, and salmon habitat, just for starters? Perhaps this reporter does not understand how the environment works. You cut down a bunch of trees and the rain comes, you flood your neighbors and your roads. With trees gone, you flood streams in the fall and winter and effectively kill salmon in the summertime. You remove trees, you don't have rain recharging groundwater. The great divide is not between Cedar County and city slickers, but instead it is between land speculators and those of us that have a more practical approach to making our lives better.

Jesseca Brand

Seattle

Stalinist Neocons

Good article and interesting question [Mossback, "Rummy, Romanism, and Rebellion," Dec. 22]. I suspect that if there were a military coup, international policy might be moderated but only because they will be focused on mopping up opposition at home.

I think the snazzy new commander in chief uniform is very telling. This cowardly lying little punk in a made-up uniform, strutting about with a heroic swagger, is one very sick puppy.

George W. Bush and I walked away from the Air Force at about the same time. Deserted, if you prefer. Now he is the president, a war-loving commander in chief of the American military. Bush seems to be a shining if very extreme example of a man who has never taken responsibility for his own actions. It has become such a habit, the man actually believes his own made-up history.

You know, the guys responsible for Stalin's falsification of Russian history could have taken lessons from the neocon spinmeisters. Thanks for a good read.

Thomas McCay

Vancouver, BC

Wake Me When It's Over

Four years ago, when we were all hanging on Florida's chads, I was poignantly amused at how we all seemed to believe that it was Florida's fault that the vote was suspect. Reality check: There are vote-counting scandals everywhere. When the electorate seems to be half in and half out with any given set of candidates, our system is not clean enough, efficient enough, or sensitive enough to give us any assurance that we actually elected those who serve [Buzz, Dec. 22]. This isn't a Florida, Ohio, or Washington problem. Just as you can't blame the guy who puts up the last Hail Mary shot for the loss of a basketball game where the whole team got them to dead heat at the last second, neither can we place blame on any one state, county, or secretary of state. We are in this together and we gotta get out of it together, too.

So what should we do about this? First, get the whole software situation under scrutiny. It is possible to audit for hacking, leave paper trails, and allow for instant verification at the polls. Do that. Do all of it.

Now, what if the election is really within 3 percent? Or 5 percent? Or even 10 percent? Elections that close guarantee some big winners, but even bigger losers in our winner-take-all, loser-eat-dirt system. I say if we can't declare a clear winner, we should force Dino Rossi and Christine Gregoire to form a coalition government and do it together. Let's be realistic—nothing is going to get done anyway. This is Washington politics after all.

Meantime, I'm going to take a long winter's nap. Wake me when it's over, please.

Kathy Baxter

Seattle

Favorite Sports Nut

I just want to compliment Mike Henderson's sports writing ["Incomplete Past," Dec. 22]. Although a bit pessimistic at times, albeit very funny, he is able to intelligently string together a nice analytical column with great references inside and outside the sports world (for instance, when he wrote that calling the Seahawks the best team in their division is like calling Jeb the brightest of the Bush brothers). His columns remind me of sitting next to a cantankerous sports nut at a bar, relaxing over beers while yelling at the TV—and that's a good thing.

Brian Kidd

Seattle

Cockle Warming

I couldn't agree with Steve Wiecking more as regards Clay Aiken and his smarmy contemporaries [Small World, "Clay Bait," Dec. 22]. I'll take a performer with guts and heart any day over Clay Aiken and the festival of cheese some people call a Christmas special. Not only is Wiecking witty and wise, but his caustic style and deadpan delivery have warmed the cockles of this reader's heart this season. I'm not one who usually shares columns with friends, but the two regarding Aiken had to be passed around.

Joe Hamilton

Los Angeles, CA

My Aiken Heart

Bwah! Oh goodness, just had to stuff Steve Wiecking's in box a little more to say I actually quite enjoyed his article about the mountains of mail from Clay Aiken fans he got for criticizing Clay's Christmas special [Small World, "Clay Bait," Dec. 22]. Man, I'm a Claymate through and through, and I'll admit that special was not the best. (I still think he has an absolutely lovely voice, though, and anyone who thinks he's totally innocent and asexual has not seen the way the boy growls notes in concert and runs his hands along the mike stand; I swear he laughs to himself every time someone screams.)

I was somewhat astounded by the nastier feedback Wiecking received. I just wanted to thank him for seeming to have such a good sense of humor about it

Devon Mackenzie

Philadelphia, PA

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