“I guess we’ll all be happy flipping burgers at the end of four-hour commutes on clogged roads from ‘Forest Estates’ subdivisions along the Cascades foothills.”

Facts about forest plan

Your 3/11 Impolitics column (“How Not to Save Salmon”) contains some very glaring errors of fact. The Forests & Fish portion of the governor’s plan calls for stream buffers equal to the average height of 100-year-old trees along any particular fish-bearing stream. This amounts to 90-200 feet in Western Washington, with the average at 145 feet, not the 50 feet your article claims. In addition, the costs to the timber industry are $2 billion in timber value alone. The tax cuts to the timber industry amounts to a measly $15 million in the next biennium. The bill also calls for significant costs to the industry associated with road building, scientific monitoring, and numerous other protections.

Furthermore, private timberlands in Washington state provide the lowest impact to salmonid fisheries when compared to any of the other private land uses, like farming, development, or urban use. None of these other land uses have stepped forward to commit as much to salmonid conservation as the timber industry.

The Forests & Fish plan is not an end-run around the process. It is the result of more than 15 months of negotiations between the industry, state and federal agencies, tribes, and others.

I suggest that Seattle Weekly get its facts straight before lambasting the forest industry. Maybe then you would see that the real story is how the industry has learned to take its role as land stewards seriously.

Mike Liquori

Watershed Scientist

Champion Pacific Timberlands, Inc.

Geov Parrish responds: I showed the column and letter to Dave Werntz of Northwest Ecosystem Alliance, who, after much technobabble on the regs and interpretation of the bill, stands by the average figures summarized in the column. Werntz: “Mr. L. misrepresents/misunderstands the amount of protection the salmon receive under the industry bill. According to the bill, the vast majority of streams receive no protection at all. The maximum protection for streams with buffers is 140 feet and up to two-thirds of this area can be clearcut.” This compares to the much higher standard I cited for federal land.

If the forest industry were indeed now taking its role as land steward seriously, they would not have helped craft a bill environmental groups are crying bloody murder over. Underlying Liquori’s letter is an extremely dangerous industry assumption: that above any other use, private companies are entitled to clearcut all public forestland, and that any calculation of economic harm done by regulation starts from this baseline. No wonder salmon are dying.

Treeing salmon

The timber industry tells us we must trade adequate salmon protection away in order to save jobs (Impolitics, “How Not to Save Salmon, ” 3/11). The timber industry is an odd one to cry wolf when its own actions are the cause of most of the decline in timber industry employment: unsustainable levels of harvest for over a century; rapid conversion of forestlands for development; and increased mechanization in the woods and mills.

Now the Endangered Species Act is forcing action by the state and local governments to protect salmon. In response, the timber industry wants certainty that a slight improvement in forest practices rules now will relieve them of any further obligation for 50 years. Without any assurance that they won’t convert as much forestland as possible into suburbs during that time.

What the timber industry proposes is a bad deal for the public. Not only will we lose the salmon, but both timber industry and fishing industry workers will be unemployed. I guess we’ll all be happy flipping burgers at the end of four-hour commutes on clogged roads from “Forest Estates” subdivisions along the Cascades foothills.

Toby Thaler

Staff Attorney

Washington Forest Law Center

Kill a hooker, save a buck

You say Old Green killed 50 prostitutes 15 years ago? (See “Green River Freezes Over,” 3/25.) That’s 750 prostitute-years. If a prostitute works 300 days/year, that’s 225,000 prostitute-days. If a prostitute turns 10 tricks a day, that’s 2,250,000 tricks. If 10 percent of the tricks come down with AIDS, that’s about 200,000 cases. If every AIDS case costs the state $10,000, that’s $2,000,000,000 in tax savings. Thanks, Old Green!

Bill Wald

via e-mail

Port pranks

It is the height of audacity for the Port of Seattle to brag about a profit of only $3.1 million on the $7.9 billion in public property managed by the Port (“Terminal Cruise?” 3/18).

The Port services more than 3,900 acres of tax-free public-owned prime commercial and waterfront property. The Port does not pay taxes. To add insult to injury, the ratio of jobs per acre created by Port ownership of land is so poor that the Port must receive a $35.6 million property tax levy each year to minimize losses. And $29.6 million of that levy is squandered on interest payments on bad investments by the Port, while another $5 million is spent on Port legal expenses.

During the 1997 Port commissioner election, I recommended that the $35.6 million tax levy would be better invested in local industries such as Microsoft or Costco. The recommendation was belittled. However, if the suggestion had been implemented, the investment would have produced more than $160 million for the taxpayers and eliminated the need for the levy.

Perhaps now is the time for the Seattle and King County councils to stop defending the Port and instead determine if tax dollars should continue to be wasted on blunders like the $135 million cruise-ship dock and inefficient Port operations. Is continued land speculation by the Port in the best interest of the voters?

Would it not be in the voters’ best interest to sell off the Port properties and return that 3,900 acres to the tax rolls? This sell-off could produce more than $100 million in new tax revenues and provide a strong boost to the local economy.

Dan Caldwell

Des Moines

Vaudeville verit鼯H3>

In the piece about Hokum Jeebs’ vaudeville re-creations at Hokum Hall, the sentence “Jeebs runs a clean vaudeville house (something unheard of during the genre’s glory days) . . . ” the parenthetical remark is exactly wrong (“That’s hall, folks!” 4/8). Vaudeville was started by Tony Pastor (who always called it “variety”) to be a clean alternative to the beer hall and “museum” entertainments of the day, presenting, as vaudevillian Fred Stone once said, “Shows to which a child can bring his parents without fear of embarrassment.” And it certainly stayed that way through the glory days, roughly 100 years ago. Mr. Verlinde is perhaps confusing vaudeville with burlesque, or English Music Hall. It sounds like Mr. Jeebs is not similarly confused, and good for him.

Greg Palmer

via e-mail

Making much of Miriani’s

In 1981, I married a Seattleite and moved to Seattle from Switzerland, where, as a Swiss-trained chef, I worked in many five-star hotels and had my own restaurant. Since coming to Seattle, my wife and I often try new restaurants (many of them Italian), but we always end up going back to Miriani’s (“One Toque over the Line,” 3/11). It consistently offers quality food preparation at reasonable prices together with friendly service. Unlike so many places where you get the “Aren’t you lucky to be dining in our restaurant” attitude, Miriani’s Rene Perez and his entire staff are genuinely happy to see their customers, and I can attest that many customers are regulars like us. Seattle could benefit from more such great restaurants.

I don’t know what culinary background Kathryn Robinson enjoys. However, her article about Miriani’s was not a restaurant review, but an unfair attack. To be fair, I sincerely hope that you will print this letter and let your readers enjoy a review from a customer who has had more than 50 great dinners at Miriani’s!

Werner Zehnder


Sans Serafina

Thanks for the 3/25 Spring Fashion supplement! It was fun, a delight to the eyes and my virtual-reality taste buds. But someone was missing . . . Susan Kaufman of Serafina was blatantly absent from the spring parade.

Serafina is a fabulous place: mouthwatering cuisine, friendly and romantic ambiance, and eclectic jazz and Latin music. Susan Kaufman, owner/manager of Serafina, makes a fashion statement as appealing as her creative restaurant. Where was she?

Deborah Luger


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