Thank you for the article "In Search of the Original 'Seattle'" [Feb. 16]. As a manager of what is left of Seattle's forests, I am very appreciative of David B. Williams' research and Seattle Weekly's support through publishing this article.
The Green Seattle Partnership (a joint venture with Cascade Land Conservancy and the city) is working on developing a 20-year plan to restore Seattle's forests so that we may preserve many of the attributes Williams describes in his article. This work will be dependent upon building forest stewardship in our neighborhoods. This accessible and evocative article will help build that stewardship.
Mark C. Mead
Senior Urban Forester, Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation
Thank you to Knute Berger for clarifying the issues in Seattle's impending loss of status as a two-newspaper town [Mossback, "Black and Blue and Hardly Read at All," Feb. 16]. I was a regular reader of The Seattle Times up until its decision to switch to a morning edition. I don't recall being polled on my preferences, but I refused to read the P-I because it was "yesterday's news" while the Times gave readers today's news today. When it stopped providing that, I switched to the P-I and was pleased to find the reporting was at least lively and entertaining, while the Times seemed to be becoming more conservative.
News happens all the time. It's much easier to stay current by going online rather than buying a newspaper from one of those street-corner vendors— especially when it's day-old news.
The demise of The Seattle Times or the Seattle Post-Intelligencer may be a cause for regret for newspaperman Knute Berger and corporate-welfare beggars like Paul Allen and Howard Schultz, but for Seattle taxpayers, it will mean one less newspaper promoting corporate welfare for the wealthy elite who run this town [Mossback, "Black and Blue and Hardly Read at All," Feb. 16]. It will mean one less newspaper providing political cover for Seattle politicians who consider the taxpayers to be little more than funders of the grand schemes of their corporate masters. Indeed, the demise of The Seattle Times or the Seattle Post-Intelligencer might be the best thing to happen to Seattle taxpayers in years.
George P. Hickey
George Bush's plan to "reform" Social Security amounts to nothing less than treason ["Wrecking Social Security," Feb. 16]. Bush, probably on orders from God, is out to destroy America as we know it by undermining and crippling the economy. My only hope is that if he succeeds, the people who get screwed are those "red state" morons who elected him. Seeing them take it in the shorts would be sweet music indeed.
John Painter Jr.
I Choose Neighborhoods
I think it is interesting that we are all talking about the choice of where our children go to school ["They Choose or We Lose," Feb. 16]. My daughter goes to Alternative School No. 1 in Northgate. We moved to that neighborhood for that reason. This school represents the way we feel children should be taught, though it is not a good fit for all students or parents. I believe if you want your child to go to a particular school, you should live in the area of that school.
I find it unfortunate that my daughter's friends live all over the city and the only way for her to play with them is to have parents ferry them to and from their houses. We are not building a sense of community here. The kids don't have the ability to build close, long-lasting relationships with their peers. I would rather see people move into the area where they want their children to go to school and cut down on the busing.
School is where you go to learn and build relationships, and the formula parents are using is destroying one of the most important parts of getting an education. We think that if our child goes to school, gets good grades, and moves up through the ranks (grades), they will be a success in life. I don't think so. If you look historically at successful people, they are the ones who have learned how to build relationships and work with other people. At this time, our focus is on the WASL. Do you really think it is going to prepare them to lead this country? I think it will prepare them to be what the school system was put in place for: good employees. I am more interested in my child learning to love education and the process, not trying to please the Boss (teacher).
We need to consider the best options for our children. For some schools, an all-city draw is good; others should be neighborhood traditional schools. Building community is more important than getting an A. Community builds lives; grades build good employees who spend time at the therapist wondering why they don't have a life.
The Fab Five
Please tell Mike Henderson that the lady Huskies also won on Feb. 10 ["The Fab Four," Feb. 16]. He does know that there is such a thing as women's basketball, right?
Christ's Assisted Suicide?
I was bemused to read of Michael Medved's complaints regarding the ending of Million Dollar Baby while he also bemoaned the lack of accolades for The Passion of the Christ ["Million Dollar Brouhaha," Feb. 16]. Has it occurred to Medved that the subject of Mel Gibson's movie is itself nothing more than a highly elaborate assisted suicide?
Some People Are Dense
I have followed the discussion of density vs. sprawl in recent Mossback columns ["Who Killed Lesser Seattle?" Jan. 19; "More or Lesser?" Feb. 9] and in letters to the editor with great interest .
A critical flaw of the Seattle Comprehensive Plan has been the notion that Seattle can solve the Puget Sound region's growth-management problems. The underlying assumption shared by those who support unfettered increases in density seems to be that if enough new, larger buildings are built in Seattle, sprawl will be prevented. In fact, these phenomena are largely unrelated, as the market for new suburban construction is fundamentally different (and larger) than the market for high-density in-city living.
With regard to regional growth management, Seattle planners hope to capture about 34 percent of the growth targeted to King County as a whole—predicted to be about 47,000 of 140,000 new households for the period 2004–2024 (and this does not account for all of the new development slated for Pierce, Snohomish, and Kitsap counties). While most new development in King County is not permitted outside the urban growth boundary, suburbs such as Auburn, Bothell, and Issaquah are all well within it and will continue to expand apace, even as Seattle continues to do its part to accommodate regional growth
Different people want to live in different places, and upzoning the University District from 65 feet to 85 feet (for just one example) has absolutely no effect on the consumer demand for suburban housing that is both legal and profitable to build. However, it does increase the likelihood that existing affordable housing will be lost to redevelopment. Land-use code changes being pushed by the mayor and supported by the "density at any cost" crowd will not reduce the number of units built in the suburbs by a single unit—not one.
If simply maximizing urban densities really prevented suburban sprawl, Manhattan would have prevented New Jersey. It didn't.
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