Let me begin with this: I'm sickened by what these guys did ["Soldiers of Fortune," Nov. 29]. These guys were armed and ready to defend themselves if confronted. I wonder if they considered that there are ex-members of Ranger units on daily patrol in the Tacoma area as police officers. The accused were obviously weak in character and somehow slipped through the small cracks of the Ranger selection process.
However, I was offended at the way Seattle Weekly changed the Ranger Tab and Ranger Scroll to read "U.S. Army Robber." Those pieces of cloth represent much more than you could ever imagine. Changing it to sell a story was unnecessary and disrespectful to those who truly defend your freedom to write the article to begin with.
Name Withheld by Request
Former 2/75 Ranger
Las Vegas, NV
Take the Initiative
State Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles—whose support for instant runoff voting on the local level I am grateful for—won't support it at the state level because it would be "hard" for third-party officials to be effective within the current two-party system (which our current method of voting is designed to preserve)? ["Primary Killer," Nov. 22.] Surely "hard" is a welcome step up from the current "impossible." I believe she and other members of both major parties are blocking IRV not because of any concern for the welfare of potential third-party legislators but because it is precisely a way to change the system to give them, and those of us who feel disenfranchised by the current setup, some power. That would come at the Democrats' and Republicans' expense, however, so IRV is only ever likely to be implemented by initiative. I was glad to see it pass in Pierce County and am hopeful that King will be next.
Credit is due
I would like to thank Seattle Weekly for your coverage of the commencement of Suzan-Lori Parks' 365 Days/365 Plays project ["A Year in the Life," Nov. 29]. It's an exciting event, and there are many inspired, inventive Seattle artists involved. Given the broad scope and challenging logistics of the endeavor, I fear that media (and therefore public) interest will lag after the first few weeks. I urge you to keep bringing it to your readers' attention throughout the year.
Unfortunately, I do find it necessary to bring to your attention an issue with the story by Kat Ortland. Akropolis Performance Lab was thrilled to discover that the Weekly had sent a writer to cover our opening performance in Volunteer Park, and we were very grateful that Kat stayed after to get our impressions of the project. In that interview, I likened each play to a match in a matchbox, flaring brightly, burning hot, vanishing in the moment like a wisp of smoke—unique to the one time and place of its burning. This analogy was more than just an off-the-cuff remark to a reporter, it was how I framed the Akropolis productions of these short plays to the actors from our first rehearsals. I was surprised and disappointed when I found my metaphor used as the keystone of the story with no indication that the image had come from me.
I'm writing this because I have great appreciation for the Weekly's refreshing commitment to covering the entire Seattle theater arts community with intelligence and integrity, and I believe it is important for the Weekly to be aware when lapses occur in order to ensure that your writers maintain the highest journalistic standards.
Akropolis Performance Lab
The editor responds: We apologize for the error.
Judging the Candidates
Thank you for Mark D. Fefer's recent article on local judicial elections ["Judge Not," Nov. 8]. Both the judiciary and the bar strongly encourage and promote greater voter education about and participation in judicial races.
The article quotes a lawyer stating that "in an open-seat election, 'there's no screening of candidates.'" In King County, there are numerous bar and civic organizations that take an active role in screening and evaluating judicial candidates, whether incumbents or not. These include the King County Bar Association, Washington Women Lawyers, Asian Bar Association, Hispanic Bar Association, Loren Miller Bar Association, Q-Law, the Municipal League, and SEAMEC. Volunteer members of these organizations spend literally hundreds of hours reviewing completed questionnaires, interviewing candidates, and checking references. Additionally, most of the major local newspapers interview and rate judicial candidates. A recently launched Web site, votingforjudges.org, assembles endorsements, ratings, and evaluations on judges and judicial candidates. In a state that elects its judges, an informed electorate is an essential and indispensable element of the electoral process.
John P. Erlick
Judge, King County Superior Court, Seattle
Mark D. Fefer responds: The individual quoted meant that essentially anyone can decide to run for judge, not that judicial candidates are not subject to evaluation once they've entered the race.
Rebuked by a Road Dog
I am a 10-year touring stand-up comedy headliner (or as Brian Miller would say, "a road dog"), and I can speak pretty definitively on the topic ["The Last Laugh?" Nov. 22]. First, I would like to say that Mr. Miller was completely off target in his assessment of the talent in the competition (how do you have two comics going off at 1:1?), and he is so far off target in his assessment of the "Seattle scene" versus the L.A. scene that I wonder if he actually took any time to find out what those scenes really were.
L.A. is full of actors that are using stand-up to get exposure. Thus, they always look out into crowds to emphasize their face. Sadly, 98 percent of the comics in L.A. lack talent. Had Mr. Miller gone down to L.A. and checked out the scene, he would have seen this for himself. L.A. is where you go to be famous, not funny.
Seattle is full of comedy purists who want more than just face time on a sitcom or to shill Sierra Mist soda. Much like their musical cousins, the comedy scene in Seattle (and Tacoma!) is one of trailblazers and people trying to break new artistic ground. This fails at times, but when it's successful, history is made. This is neither "alt" nor "edgy," and I suggest you check out the scenes in Houston, Minneapolis, Chicago, New York, Boston, or San Francisco if you need a comparison. Seattle is pretty typical and tame.
The Laff Hole represents comics trying to do comedy for comedy and not to sell booze—which is what the comedy scene in America has become. Comedy died in the early '90s because club owner greed triumphed over integrity. This gave rise to cheap knock-off comics who would work for cheap, and thus the L.A. scene was born.
P.S. Never mention Robin Williams and stand-up comedy in the same article and expect true stand-ups to respect you. It's like saying that all journalists respect Katie Couric.
The editor responds: Brian Miller never said the L.A. comics were funnier than the ones from Seattle. He said they had a slicker stage presence, and you seem to agree. He never used the word "edgy." And his assessment of the talent wasn't half bad: The comic whose style he said would benefit from the format of the finals won.
Hey boy, what's with the "girl" stuff? [Ask an Uptight Seattleite, Nov. 29.] Didn't that NPR bag and Utne Reader in it teach the Uptight Seattleite anything? Anyone who is old enough to vote is a woman or a man. That applies to Uptight's day-care provider, doggie or otherwise. And that's been the rule since his beard was brown!
Joshua Tree, CA
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