I found the 10/15 cover cartoon, in which you depicted Linda Smith as a dominatrix, and Patty Murray in a sexually subjugated position, distasteful (see



Blowing our cover

I found the 10/15 cover cartoon, in which you depicted Linda Smith as a dominatrix, and Patty Murray in a sexually subjugated position, distasteful (see "Patty Murray: Keep Her or Beat Her?"). It showed profound disrespect for these women, and for the honorable positions they occupy. We, the citizenry of this country, are dismayed by the casual disrespect shown the electorate by superficial coverage of issues, and sound-bite-based political discourse. If we wish to be accorded respect by our elected officials, we must do no less than accord them the same degree of respect. While such cartoons may be "cute" (debatable) in the mind of the Seattle Weekly's editorial board, they merely contribute to the degradation of political discourse in this country. While the Weekly offers some of the best political journalism in the region, this cartoon does not elevate political discourse, nor does it contribute to a rigorous evaluation of the merits of these two politicians. Further, it sends a clear message to women aspiring to enter politics. To wit, "You may win office, honey, but we will still objectify you sexually (the depiction of Linda Smith), or treat you as something to be sexually subjugated (depiction of Patty Murray)." So much for the the Weekly's supposedly "progressive" values.

Alison M. Barnes


Up front

In my opinion, your front-page cartoon on your 10/15 issue makes fun of politics in general. I think both candidates were unfairly degraded by this cartoon. Rep. Smith is not my choice of candidates. Note that I used the title of "representative." The press (the unreliable source) has a duty that you are not doing with this front page. I suggest you put the views of candidates and issues on your front page until Election Day. Oh, by the way, I will not longer read your paper.

Dick McManus


The money game

While reading your article on Patty Murray and Linda Smith ("Patty Murray: Keep Her or Beat Her?" 10/15). I was struck by a great idea for reforming the political election process, saving Social Security, fixing the education money woes, and saving the country from these worthless campaigns. (It'll even make the losers winners!) Let's elect politicians solely on their ability to raise money! (This is how it really works anyway, right?) So we forgo all the stupid negative advertising, which eases our blood pressure. We forget about signs, which cleans up the views and the environment. And we let the candidates do what they spend 80 percent of their time doing anyway—asking for more money. Then at the end of the campaign season, both or all of the candidates just march into their respective capitol buildings and hand over the cash. The one with the most money wins, but the government gets to keep all the money so we can fix all the social ills that the politicians are perpetuating anyway. If this ain't American, I don't know what else is.

Kevin Locke

via e-mail

Jock hitch

I am writing to clear up a mistake in your 10/1 article "Jock vs. Nerd." I believe we should widen Route 522, rated by Reader's Digest as one of the nation's 10 most dangerous highways. The article said I have called for "more traffic lanes on 520," which is not the case. Thank you for the correction.

P.S. Jocks have more phun.

Jay Inslee

1st District Congressional Candidate

Honest Inslee?

Jay Inslee has a campaign ad about Rick White that says, "[I]f he won't tell you the truth . . . why should we trust him at all?" (sic) (See "Jock vs. Nerd," 10/1.) This is precisely why Rick voted to impeach Bill Clinton. D-U-H! So, according to Inslee, telling the truth does matter after all. Doesn't this make his other ad decrying White's vote to impeach look awfully ridiculous? I have news for Inslee: He comes across as a logic-chopping, insincere person who will resort to contradictory, gramatically challenged ads to try to become a member of the House of Representatives. Others have tried this tactic, and look what happened to them: They now call themselves "O'Blivion."

Jay Kridner


Minimum-wage burden

Writer Nina Shapiro is clueless about why people oppose Initiative I-688 in the article titled "Life Below the Line" (10/15). Economic theory is pretty clear that when a monopoly or government imposes a price above the market price, there will be a increase in the price, but a decrease in the quantity purchased. If the price of low-skilled jobs is artificially and forcefully raised, then the amount of work available at the higher price will be less than would otherwise be available. This leads economically knowledgeable people to conclude that most of the burden of an increase in the minimum wage will be born by those people that work at minimum-wage-type jobs, by having fewer jobs or hours.

Randy Park

via e-mail

Get organized

Agreed! Garrett, Kevin, Jennifer, and Anna cannot live very well on even a $6.50 minimum wage ("Life Below the Line," 10/15). There is another option for them that Wal-Mart and McDonald's hate even more. Join a union. Union wages have always been better and usually include some health benefits. Of course few low-wage employees can or will stand up to the union-busting lies their employers will dish out when they try to organize. They would rather complain that all they get paid is $5.15 an hour. It is organized labor that has fought for a minimum wage for all workers, not just union members.

Coe Tug Morgan

Past President, Hope Lodge #79, IAM&AM and IAM District Council #160

Teeny impact on teens

There is faulty reporting in your article on Initiative 688, the "Minimum Wage Initiative" ("Living Below the Line," 10/15), which makes erroneous references and would have been improved by basic lessons in Research 101.

In her article, Nina Shapiro begins her reporting with a comparison of two workers, one 17 years old and one who is 42 years old. This is a flawed attempt to inform your readers about I-688. Had she taken just five minutes to read the initiative before reporting on it she would have written a different and more factual article.

Initiative 688 is a clear, straightforward, and well-written initiative—one of the few initiatives before us on the November 3 ballot that is not confusing. My 16-year-old daughter read it was immediately clear to her that a yes vote on the part of her parents and her voting-age siblings would not get her a raise. The wording in I-688 states four times that the initiative will impact the wages of "employees who has reached the age of 18 years . . ."

I-688 would affect teenagers who are 18- and 19 years old. So later in her article when Ms. Shapiro reports a 10 percent discrepancy in the reporting of how many teenagers would be affected (20 percent to 30 percent ), the difference is in the fact that 18- and 19-year-old workers will be affected but those under the age of 18 will not.

One final note: On your 10/15 cover you use the wording "Lives of slave-wage workers" as a lead to Ms. Shapiro's article. Today's workers are not and will never be slaves, and to refer to a minimum wage as a slave wage is insulting to those who are descendants of slaves with no economic benefit for more than three centuries.

Dawn Mason

via e-mail

Nina Shapiro replies: Mason is correct that I-688 applies only to those 18 or older. The point of my piece, however, was to show what type of people currently earn the minimum wage—a broad range including both teens and family breadwinners—and how they manage. Because the minimum tends to set a standard for everyone, teens usually make at least the minimum even if it's not mandated by law.

Give 'em a raise

As the volunteer executive director of Washington Association of Small Business Owners (WASBO), I'd like to let you know there are many small businesses that support raising the minimum wage (see "Living Below the Line," 10/15).

The National Federation of Independent Businesses' own polling of its members shows that about 40 percent of them support raising the minimum wage. This indicates to me that NFIB is not accurately representing its members, but rather representing the members that are against the minimum wage.

In Washington, according to the departments of Employment and Labor & Industries, there are 1,575,000 people working for hourly wages. Of that, 300,000 earn less than $6.50. And of that 72,000 earn $5.15 or less (current minimum wage), which is 4.75 percent—4.75 percent of the entire state population getting a raise is not going to create an economic hardship for anyone! The arguments against raising the minimum wage are mean-spirited and bogus. Poverty is a community and society problem. Raising the minimum wage is a step toward addressing this issue.

Krishna Fells

Executive Director, WASBO

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