Thank you for Rick Anderson's story on Ronald Hicks ["Dead-End Jail," Sept. 21]. I was co-counsel on his three-strikes trial. I was there when he asked the judge to sentence him to death, and I was there at the hospital after his unsuccessful suicide attempt. I was saddened, but not surprised, when told of his suicide.
Ronald Hicks was a sweet man, despite his traumatic history and mental illness. So many people and institutions failed him in so many ways. I was deeply disappointed by the trial and appellate courts' failure to accept any of a number of legal arguments we put forward that would have allowed imposition of something other than a life sentence.
I hope Anderson's article prevents further unnecessary jail deaths.
Knute Berger is right that we have created too many single-purpose authorities like the hapless Seattle Monorail Project [Mossback, "Designer Governments," Sept. 21]. These projects crop up as a consequence of the "regular government" failing to do its job. Then we end up with populist cures that become populist curses.
Beyond having a mission that is too narrow, the Seattle Monorail Project is moribund because it never had a directorate with the requisite experience and expertise to oversee a multibillion-dollar public works project. A large part of the problem is a mayor and City Council who were more concerned about ethnic and gender balance than with recruiting directors with experience in transportation planning, economics, finance, procurement, and construction management.
Didn't every Vote Count?
The electorate has voted often for extended elevated transit in the face of business interests with their unlimited anti-monorail advertising dollars ["Nickels Turns on a Dime" and Mossback, "Designer Governments," Sept. 21]. We're tired of voting "yes" multiple times while being screwed by people getting rich on our taxpayer dollars and throwing away this wonderful concept.
On a cold, dark winter evening in the mid-'90s, I signed an unattended petition taped to an ironing board to put the monorail project on the ballot. That's simple participatory democracy. What happened to us?
More Mass Transit
Seattle needs the monorail and light rail ["Nickels Turns on a Dime" and Mossback, "Designer Governments," Sept. 21]. It is not a question of either/or. The city will continue to grow. We should have added more mass transit infrastructure decades ago. Do people think it will be cheaper to build in 10 to 20 years? Give the monorail project a reasonable amount of time to complete this plan and explore additional funding. The buses are great; I ride almost every day. But we need more public transportation options.
It is really painful to see how myopic our vision can be. People are concerned about money. Understandable. How much do we waste and spend in our disposable society?
Short and Sweet
I think we could probably find the funding for a much shorter monorail project ["Nickels Turns on a Dime" and Mossback, "Designer Governments," Sept. 21]. I would suggest we downscale the scope by limiting the route to the main downtown business corridor, running the monorail line from Westlake Center down Fifth Avenue to Seattle Center. That seems doable.
Reichert Not Worthy
George Howland Jr.'s recent comments about Darcy Burner's candidacy for Congress make me wonder once again why your paper is so infatuated with Dave Reichert [Buzz, Sept. 21]. Apparently, in your minds, the standards of our representatives in Congress have dropped to the point where simply being less awful than some other officials makes him worthy of re-election.
Reichert has voted against providing benefits to National Guard troops and their families and for weakening the House ethics committee so Tom DeLay could avoid investigations into how he's been handling his finances. While Reichert's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge vote was a shrewd move politically, making the right vote for the wrong reasons doesn't forgive past transgressions.
If Tom DeLay is the flu, then Dave Reichert is a lingering cold. Not quite as bad to deal with, but given the choice, I'd still rather be completely healthy.
It's better in Burien
Thank you, thank you for Laura Cassidy's delightful article on Osteria da Primo ["New Neighbors," Sept. 21]. I am on the Burien City Council, and we are trying so hard to slightly alter, but not change, Burien's sense of community. I can't imagine a nicer place to live, but in the past we have had our share of negative press. I want to enhance our small-town community feel, and when I go to Primo's and see standing-room only on a Tuesday evening, I can't help but smile. Cassidy's article will bring other entrepreneurs to our wonderful town, and we will gratefully welcome them.
Allow Anderson Privacy
As a gay man myself, I fully understand the main point Steve Wiecking makes concerning his desire for full disclosure from Anderson Cooper—and lord knows, Mr. Cooper is a handsome devil—but probing questions from reporters attempting to penetrate the privacy of those people routinely (or occasionally) appearing in print is a distracting annoyance for many of the same [Small World, "Golden Boy," Sept. 21]. Perhaps Mr. Cooper's proclivities are simply none of our business? If and when he wishes to inform us, he will. Until then, let him do his job: report the news. What he does between those sheets in Chelsea (and with whom) is irrelevant.
I do enjoy Mr. Wiecking's lavender column in the Weekly. . . .
Keep Bass On Board
Shame on Seattle Weekly for not endorsing the re-election of Seattle School Board Director Mary Bass ["Off Year? Off the Monorail," Sept. 7]. Your picks would certainly get along well with the district, but it is the "old board" mentality of being a team player that created the district's budget blunders during the Don Nielsen and Joseph Olchefske era and the current financial fiasco under Raj Manhas. Bass tried to prevent these problems, calling for accountability, answers, and actions from the district, but she is only one vote, while the majority board plunged blindly ahead.
In the last board election, the community elected four new directors with the hope that they were like Bass. But three of four new members have become the old-board status quo. This time around, we hope to retain Mary Bass and elect two more members with her integrity and intelligence.
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