John Flavin's article "What If?" (12/17/98) about the slaying of Metro driver Mark McLaughlin trivialized Atlantic Base chief shop steward Johnny Jackson's conclusion that the



Endangered drivers

John Flavin's article "What If?" (12/17/98) about the slaying of Metro driver Mark McLaughlin trivialized Atlantic Base chief shop steward Johnny Jackson's conclusion that the slaying was bound to happen. By pretending Jackson was referring to the most petty circumstances of the tragedy, Flavin turned the statement into a straw man so he could knock it down.

Last August, Silas Cool, the man who has now been identified as Mark's assailant, pulled the trigger twice on another Metro driver. Flavin wrote that police response was confined to a fruitless search for the man near the stop where the incident occurred for a mere two weeks. As a result, Silas Cool was left on the streets, free to board other buses, free to pull the trigger on another driver.

Flavin acknowledged that, two years ago, in response to a petition by 200 operators asking the county to clear up the "atmosphere of lawlessness" on the No. 6/359 line, King County Executive Ron Sims and Mayor Paul Schell claimed their investigation uncovered no problems. Given this willingness by the county to stick its head in the sand, Jackson's statement that the tragedy was bound to happen makes sense. Moreover, we contend the county continues to cover up the extent of the security problems on the buses.

A few years ago, Metro reacted to the concerns of the drivers and the community by launching a three-pronged attack on the atmosphere of lawlessness on the Route 7. Police officers' presence inside the buses, patrol cars' presence trailing the buses, and a special police department van on Rainier Avenue curbed the lawlessness. By contrast, the county chose not to implement any program of intensified security on the Route 6 in the North End. Demands from the union and the direct petition from the drivers were dismissed out-of-hand.

It is the union's job to counteract any failure by the county to adequately protect the drivers. Despite two years of fury expressed at union meetings against Metro's inaction on the Route 6, the union office could not even get Ron Sims to admit there was a problem. Instead, the union has been pretending to be management pretending to be the union.

Shop stewards had planned to volunteer their time on the Thursday following the slaying for a survey of drivers to identify better solutions to their security concerns. When Metro managers discovered shop stewards' plans, base supervisor Sue Kattar directed Jackson to cancel the shop steward day and prohibited stewards from surveying drivers.

Flavin wrote that King County Executive Ron Sims and Seattle Mayor Paul Schell pleaded in 1997 that there were no funds to improve security on the Route 6. We do not accept money as an excuse for endangering the safety of ridership. Many of us within the union are ready to join with the ridership in a coalition to build a world-class transit service in which these tragedies are not bound to happen.

Johnny e. Jackson

Chief Shop Steward

ATU Local 587

Jamie Newman,

Shop Steward

ATU Local 587

Untruth in advertising

Is it news that businesses use certain devices to get customers to notice them? From reading Eric Scigliano's 12/10 Quick & Dirty ("Amazon.come-on"), you think he'd never seen an ad before in his life. Mr. Scigliano, I hate to tell you this, but the night does not belong to Michelob and it never has! However, it's not going to keep the company from telling everyone that it does. does not corner the market on deceptive marketing, despite what your column implies. I would argue that it's not even deceptive. I'm sure the customer service people over there would love to send you e-mail the very second a book on Veridicom is for sale, or help you buy a book on the Rio Sao Francisco. Sure, their ad said, "Books on Veridicom," but that's no different than an ad for facial cream that promises clear skin, or a cologne that implies that it's use will turn ordinary people into irresistible objects of affection. is not breaking any new ground here.

I think the bone you have to pick with is weak at best. Plus, I would hate to be around to see you open one of those envelopes that say, "Mr. Eric Scigliano, you may have already won $100,000. . . . "

Stephanie Pure

via e-mail

Beg Watson's pardon

I have been following Geov Parrish's commentaries wherever I may find them, for years now: in Seattle Weekly, The Stranger, the excellent Eat the State, and on KCMU's Mind Over Matters. And I must point out that 99 percent of the time I completely agree with his point of view.

But I have also been following the inspiring career of Captain Paul Watson, founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society even longer. On this debate I must say that Captain Watson's letter in your 12/17 issue was right on target. Geov, you are wrong, wrong, wrong. Don't be so stubborn. You and Captain Watson have more in common than you think. The issue of the Makah whaling isn't about culture or race. It is simply about the human race vs. an already pulverized ecosystem and the other species on this planet. I don't see the Makahs who advocate this whaling (all do not) racing to take up other "lost" cultural traditions like basket-making or bead work.

Captain Watson deserves an apology from the Weekly as well as from Mr. Parrish.

R. Duncan Bond


On the wrong track

As Eric Scigliano pointed out in his 12/17 Quick & Dirty article "Where the Trains Take Us," Sound Transit has many important decisions to make before deciding the final route for the 24-mile Link light rail system that will connect the cities of Sea-Tac, Tukwila, and Seattle.

However, his final line saying that "[light] rail forces us to choose awkward at-grade or costly tunneling: Consider the third alternative—elevated lines . . . " is clearly incorrect. Light rail can and has operated efficiently on elevated lines as well as very safely and effectively at street level and in tunnels. This unique flexibility of light rail is just one of the many reasons this proven technology was chosen over other types of rapid transit systems.

Indeed, just a few lines earlier Mr. Scigliano acknowledges light rail's ability to run on elevated lines, mentioning that the route suggested by Sound Transit staff proposes "elevating a short, relatively unobtrusive stretch from NE 65th."

While each type of rapid transit technology, including the monorail, has unique merits and drawbacks, it would be only fair in the future to accurately report the most basic facts about light rail systems.

Clarence Moriwaki

media relations coordinator

Sound Transit

Her sentiments exactly

I have just read Geov Parrish's 12/17 Impolitics column, and, man, he is right on!

His comments about Christmas spending were especially appropriate. I also appreciate the "union" sentiments; I come from a long line of unionism back in the days when the movement was really significant and meaningful. When I tell you that my father (who died last year at age 92) striked/worked along side the famous union icon Harry Bridges during the 1934 longshoremen strike (heard of "Black Thursday" in San Francisco?) you will understand why.

Keep up the effective reporting and enjoy rather than endure the holidays with memories rather than things!

Ellen Liebe Dunlap


Dancing for joy

We were thrilled with the review of Kaleidoscope Dance Company's "Gift of Dance" concert in the 12/17 Seattle Weekly ("Step in Time"). Our daughters have attended Creative Dance Center classes and concerts for nearly 10 years. We can't express adequately our satisfaction with Anne Green Gilbert's approach to dance education—developing excellent dancers and creative people. Her program offers kids a physical activity that expands their brains and isn't competitive. In addition, Kaleidoscope provides Seattle-area audiences, both in schools and at concerts, with an opportunity to enjoy modern dance as an alternative to other art experiences. Kaleidoscope and the Creative Dance Center are cultural treasures that have an important place in the Puget Sound arts community. Thanks for recognizing them.

Barb & Art Lachman Lake Forest Park

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