Want Food With That?

Malt or Mall Friendly?

Don Scheidt has a grudge against the Elysian brewpub, here in Seattle. How else to explain his omission of the Elysian and the inclusion of Gordon Biersch as one of the "great places to match eats and brews," as he did in "Want Food With That?" in the April 13 issue?

The food and beer at GB are fine, sure, but not as good as the Elysian's, where the food transcends the category of "pub food" but is still true to the pub experience. Besides, the Elysian is local and therefore great, no matter what, compared to Gordon Biersch, which is a freakin' California-based chain with 25 locations nationwide. Good grief, Mr. Scheidt! Keep your mall-friendly preferences to yourself next time.

Bart Reynolds

Seattle

Sipping Belgium

I read Don Scheidt's piece about Belgian beers ["The Future of Beer Is Belgium (Belgium?!)," April 13]. It's nice to know somebody cares! It's good to get recognition.

The variety in beers is one of the great riches Belgium has. Belgium had been a country without any insight in international sales. This is changing but has been true for a while. It's part of our tradition, I suppose. The Netherlands (a country that's by size, location, and population comparable to Belgium) has a far better foreign trade. Well, they used to rule the waves, they are a nation of tradesmen.

It's always been a great frustration for the Belgian, when he was abroad, to find that everybody knows Heineken, Carlsberg, and Bud. Beers that are rated "cheap" in our little country are sold everywhere. We've been peasants for a while, but now we're catching up.

Hans Fraiponts

Ghent, Belgium

Time for Plan B

There is a backup plan if monorail builders and project directors can't reach agreement ["The People Strain," April 13]. It doesn't require a lengthy rebid process. It would improve transit service from West Seattle to Ballard through downtown virtually immediately, not in 2009 or later. It would not require considerable taking and disruption of businesses along the route and violation of the city's most used park, Seattle Center. And it would cost one heck of a lot less than Plan A, allowing scarce tax money to go to higher transportation priorities like the viaduct and 520 bridge.

Monorail believers don't want the public to know about Plan B because it threatens their visceral belief in a transit technology—a fixation, really, that doesn't fit the problem. The most cost-effective way to improve transit mobility in the West Seattle–to–Ballard corridor is to bring current bus service to an advanced level. This means using easy-to-board buses with low floors like the vehicles Metro and Sound Transit are introducing across the region. The new buses have comfortable seats, are air-conditioned, and feature quiet and relatively pollution-free operation. And it means giving buses priority lanes and a jump start at traffic signals. Buses will easily be able to handle peak rider demand in the corridor merely with the addition of more frequent service.

Of course, this is too simple and straightforward for Seattle. We like feel-good solutions that match our very green sensibilities. And we too often seem ready to follow pied pipers over the cliff of political correctness, regardless of cost. In the case of the monorail, this has meant a process that has effectively foreclosed consideration of other options that address real transportation problems and are affordable.

Dick Nelson

Seattle

We Need the Pope

What Steve Wiecking and all my friends who remain left wing fail to recognize is the reality of human nature ["Small World, "Death, Be Not Proud," April 13]. Human beings are not naturally kind and serving of others. We are by nature selfish and base. We need families, communities, and cultures to mold us as we grow into people who can be social and productive. We need clear definitions of right and wrong, good and evil. We need leaders who give us reasons to strive to be better than we are. It is in this arena that I see the greatness of men like Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II (and, dare I say it, even our current President Bush!). They called us to a higher standard.

When I hear left-wing pundits and writers such as Wiecking express surprise over the outpouring of emotion and devotion by masses of people at the funerals of such men, it stands as stark evidence of the fundamental misunderstanding they have about human nature and what such men mean to many people. No one likes to be wrong. My own life experiences have taught me that the liberalism I embraced as a young man was really a self-serving cover for giving myself permission to do things I was taught as a child were wrong. I eventually paid attention to the pain and destruction my behavior wrought in the lives of people around me, and I recognized that what the pope and other great institutions and leaders had been saying all along was not only right, it was better for me and those I cared about than the short-term, feel-good philosophy of my liberal teachers and friends. I was wrong. And so is Wiecking. I welcome the attention the media are giving to the pope and am thankful they are focusing on the good he did. We need more heroes and positive role models.

Dennis E. Schroader Sr.

University Place

St. Coot

Steve Wiecking—that rascal—has done it again ["Small World, "Death, Be Not Proud," April 13]. I chuckled all the way through his column and cut it out for a pope-despising friend to read. Boy, it's so true. Every old coot that dies, who has been a jerk in real life, somehow gets eulogized like they had already achieved sainthood. Apparently upon death, they ascend immediately to a hallowed spot, regardless of what they have done here on Earth.

Pamela Clerico

Seattle

Licata on Vulcan

Regarding Karen Daubert's letter [Letters, April 13], I applaud Vulcan's $5 million contribution to the Seattle Parks Foundation for South Lake Union Park. And I thank Ms. Daubert, executive director of the foundation, for noting that Vulcan is legally obligated to "'develop a minimum of 20,000 square feet of new space' in the neighborhood for cultural use" as a condition of the city selling its property in South Lake Union to Vulcan to the exclusion of other bidders.

Given Ms. Daubert's experience as a former attorney in the King County Prosecutor's Office, where she focused on property acquisition, parks, and real estate, I respect her "opinion" that Vulcan's contribution to the park will fulfill that legal obligation. As the author of the legislation that mandated such a condition, I can say that any contribution to the park was not the intention of this requirement. We were interested in providing a "new" facility and not the remodeling of the Park Armory or providing other park improvements with this obligation. If the mayor has decided that Vulcan's contribution meets that condition, he has yet to make such a formal determination to the City Council. Nor has the city attorney notified us that this contribution meets the sales condition.

The Parks Foundation's support is critical to the health of our park system, but their enthusiasm in accepting this gift should be tempered by the recognition that the council must uphold the legal obligations in the contract between the city and Vulcan. We cannot alter those obligations without amending this signed and executed agreement. If we do, the city should consider the possibility of lawsuits from other businesses charging that they were excluded from bidding on the property because they could not meet the required sale conditions.

The city should not play favorites among businesses but should treat all equally, including those who have been so generous with their financial contributions.

Nick Licata

Seattle City Council Member

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