Readers of the Headline, and Story, Respond

Desperate or Dishonest?

DEAR EDITOR: I don't care what the f***k you write inside your paper, but putting the F-word on your [May 9] cover was offensive and irresponsible. At first I thought you must be desperate. Then I read the explanation on your Web page where you claim that nonreaders were the ones offended. Now I'm not sure if you're desperate or clueless or dishonest. Your cover is offensive to nearly everyone. I was amazed by your poor judgment in posting an obscenity in thousands of newspaper boxes across town.Kent Meyer

Seattle

Why They Hate Us

DEAR EDITOR: Your cover is socially irresponsible. Your paper or its designers are ignorant to the fact that your paper is in full view of 5- and 6-year-old children who are learning to read and write. They are in stores, in coffee shops, and in family grocery stores. But you know this, so obviously you don't care, right? This socially irresponsible choice joins a million others and is the reason we Americans are hated so much. Your ignorance adds to the collective consciousness that breeds terrorism and hatred towards us. In this country it's starting to become a blessing if one is born blind.Gavern Van Niekerk

Seattle

Can You Blame the Kids?

DEAR EDITOR: While just about everyone quoted in Huan Hsu's story ["Blame it on Becca," May 9]—judges, lawyers, guidance counselors, mentors—seemed to agree the truant students are to blame, it may be useful to ask, "What's wrong with the schools?" The answer might be found in the words of the Seattle School District representative who lectured one kid, "The most important thing is to learn to do things you don't want to do, because that's what you're going to do for the rest of your life." If that's the prevailing attitude, can you really blame the kid for not wanting to go to school?Steve Miranda

Seattle

Unconnected to Crime

DEAR EDITOR: Huan Hsu's well-reported piece on truancy prosecutions under the Becca Bill does an excellent job describing the gap between the wishful thinking underlying such prosecutions and the reality of how youth experience their encounters with the court system. However, the article lets those who adhere to the Becca Bill mythology off easy when it notes that "King County's juvenile arrest rate has dropped by nearly a third" since the law was enacted, as if these two events have anything to do with each other. Washington's success in this important policy area is much more reliably linked to its commitment to evidence-based programs than to its reliance on courts to address truancy. It is also worth noting that juvenile crime rates have fallen dramatically across the country over this same period and other states have not needed Becca-like bills to experience these improvements.Paul Holland

Seattle University Law Clinic

Seattle

Expand the Heart

DEAR EDITOR: True education promotes growth and expands not only the mind but also the heart of the pupil. If students are not touched in some way by what they are taught, then the teaching is inadequate. And to threaten with jail the child who persists in bringing this inadequacy to our attention is to abandon ourselves to the plainest barbarism.Aaron Crosland

Olympia

Sample the "Lifestyle"

DEAR EDITOR: Re: "Should Kids Serve Time for Skipping School?" Yes. It offers them the opportunity to see what "lifestyle" lies ahead for them if they continue in the direction they're currently taking. They can see firsthand the "happiness" that a life on public assistance affords. If they're wise, they'll choose the alternative of finishing school and getting a job.Natalie K. Williams

Seattle

SHA Should Be Ashamed

DEAR EDITOR: Thank you for your article on the Seattle Housing Authority's unfair grievance hearings for Section 8 tenants ["Authority Always Wins," May 9]. The Housing Authority should be ashamed of itself for wasting its dollars on a lawsuit when it could simply alter its policies to allow for due process of residents. That money should go toward providing housing for low-income people. Isn't that the mission of SHA in the first place?Kate Villarreal

Seattle

Unfair to Kafka!

DEAR EDITOR: I must object to the way your article used the word "Kafkaesque" to describe SHA's hearing process. This is unfair to Kafka, and far too generous to SHA. Sure, Kafka's novels depict bureaucratic procedures so obtuse they become tortuous. And I'm convinced SHA's hearing procedure in fact rises to the necessary standard of unfairness and obscurantism. However, the following differences are just as important:

1. Kafka was handicapped by self-doubt, and obsessed over every word. SHA, by contrast, is dangerously self-assured and runs their eviction hearings as if they can do no wrong.

2. Kafka was deeply humble, even asking for his writings to be destroyed upon his death. SHA, by contrast, seems to have an imperial mind-set, with massive redevelopment projects all over the city and a hearing process as closed to dissenting voices as they can get away with.

3. Growing up in a Jewish family in Prague, Kafka experienced a complex combination of inclusion in the culture of the city and exclusion from it, contributing to a fascinating insider/outsider sensibility in his work. By contrast, in SHA's eyes, they're the insiders, and they do the excluding—no subtlety or complexity about it.

Clearly, "Kafkaesque" does not adequately describe a public agency that's willing to terminate someone's housing because a form is not filled out properly. A more accurate description? How about "Guantánamo-arific"?Sage Wilson

Seattle

Blame Bush, Not SHA

DEAR EDITOR: The fact that SHA has a 94 percent success rate on terminations shows that they must have spent a lot of time trying to work with the tenants and keep them in compliance. It isn't in the HA's best interest to go around terminating people for no reason, especially those in obvious need. There is due process coming out at the seams when it comes to terminations. The idea that an HA termination hearing is Kafkaesque is stupid.

I bet it is accurate that spending on vouchers, as well as the number of people leased with vouchers, has trended down since 2004. Hmmm...what happened in 2004? That's right...Bush started obliterating funding for housing programs, with a particular vengeance for Section 8. The HAs have had to make many hard choices, and all have been made with the idea to keep as many people in need housed. EVERYONE has had to take a hit due to the Bush administration's cuts in funding. If you really want to complain, then it would be more useful to call the White House and ask Bush why he continues to cut funding for your housing programs.

But as far as this particular case goes....No one knows what the events were that lead up to [Amidore] Townsend's termination, except her and SHA. I am quite sure that it wasn't over a wrong piece of paper. The rules and regulations of the Section 8 program, as stated by HUD, are made very clear to the tenants, and anyone who doesn't follow them faces termination.Carrie Chase

Burien

We're Still on the Hill

DEAR EDITOR: In your article ["Snowed Out," May 2], the author stated that "Stevens Pass shut down all its concession contracts, merging anyone who would join into a single Olympic Ski School." This is not true. I am a supervisor at Lyon Ski School Inc., operating under concession at Stevens Pass. Lyon Ski School has been in continuous operation at Stevens Pass since 1966, and continues to operate today. We are a family-owned small business and proud to provide our clients a high-standard alternative to the area operator's ski school.Erik Nordheim

Seattle

The editor responds: We apologize for the error.

CORRECTION: Due to a series of mistakes that implicated nearly every person on staff, a portion of last week's review of the Steelhead Diner was left out of the paper. This week we are reprinting the review in its entirety, beginning on p. 42. Our apologies for the confusion.

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