A recent article by Rick Anderson about 1998 business travel and other expenses incurred by the Port of Seattle's Engineering Services department ("How to Blow Lots of Money," 4/22) cites a $700 hotel tab allegedly run up by department head Ray Rawe in Paris last fall. In fairness to Mr. Rawe, who is widely respected for his professional ethics and integrity, your readers should know that he never spent more than about $150 per hotel night in Paris, which is an expensive international city by anyone's standards. Mr. Anderson never double-checked the information with the Port, although his story may lead readers to believe otherwise.
The Port of Seattle prides itself on being a financially and professionally responsible organization that makes valuable investments on behalf of King County citizens so they have access to cutting-edge transportation facilities at the seaport and airport. The Port has a legal mandate to make these investments and to act as a catalyst for the creation of thousands of family-wage jobs. To ensure that its facilities meet the highest and most up-to-date standards in their respective industries, the Port believes it is necessary to continually enhance its employees' professional skills and knowledge. Not a penny of public tax revenues is spent on this training and travel, or on any other Port operating cost. These expenses are paid for by the revenues the Port receives from its business customers. That too is a matter of pride for the Port, whose commission has effectively lowered its tax levy rate for King County homeowners during the past six years.
Chief Administrative/ Chief Financial Officer
Port of Seattle
Rick Anderson responds: The Port of course knows I asked about the figure; they are correcting their mistaken response.
Unfortunately, Chris Carrel's story regarding Initiative 696 ("Snow Job?") failed to give your readers an accurate assessment of our effort to save Washington state sea life.
Our goal is simple. Yes on I-696 will remove non-tribal, non-selective net fishing from all Washington waters so that the remaining salmon stock fishery doesn't collapse.
Harvest is not talked about much in this state. Why? Because the commercial fish industry's lobbyists have controlled the public policy debate in Olympia and at the National Marine Fishery Service.
This hasn't been the case elsewhere. Citizen groups in 14 states have banned this type of net fishing in their effort to save diminished fisheries.
As for the diversity of our supporters, we are gathering thousands of signatures a day throughout the state and have received contributions—ranging from $10 to $2,500— from more than 750 people in just two months. By any measure, I-696 is truly a broad-based, grassroots campaign.
Other than the overall unfair "spin" Carrel's article gave our campaign, I must also point out a few things that should not go unmentioned. Carrel quoted me, although I have never talked to him, and he failed to inform readers that his "expert" from the University of Washington is a licensed gillnetter.
As we continue this campaign through November 2, 1999, we look forward to fair and balanced reporting from the Weekly.
Ban All Nets
Chris Carrel responds: The quotation in question is Nelson's from an interview with Washington-Oregon Fish and Game.
Anyone who has spent any time in Olympia can tell you that there is no mighty local commercial fishing lobby keeping salmon harvest off the table. Harvest is least discussed because it is the least of the four H's (habitat degradation, hydropower dams, and hatcheries being the other three) killing wild salmon and it's adequately dealt with by current regulations. For instance, commercial fishing in Puget Sound has been scaled back tremendously to protect wild stocks.
The primary salmon killers, while receiving plenty of talk, get very little action. Witness this legislative session, where proposals to begin addressing water quantity and quality in rivers, and impose new logging restrictions were quashed.
In this political context, BAN is just another diversion from the hard work needed to save wild Northwest salmon.
I was very disappointed to see that Geov Parrish's normally well-functioning mind apparently shuts down when the subject turns to dogs (Impolitics, "Dogging the City," 4/1).
The bottom line on the whole off-leash area debate is this: Dogs and densely populated areas don't mix!
It's really very simple. Apartment buildings are bad places to have band practice, elevators are bad places to fart, and crowded cities are bad places to own animals that require lots of space.
Dog owners want to be able to live in the city and still have it be convenient for them to exercise their beasts. What sucks is that they expect everyone else to give up large chunks of our limited park space, to be turned into big, muddy, feces-and-urine fields. If you don't believe me, just take a stroll over to Volunteer Park. What used to be a nice, green picnic area, next to the Asian Art Museum is now an ugly and depressing shit hole.
The conflict is not "between people who want to use the park and people who want it as a pretty thing to look at" as you say in your article, Geov. It's between people who want to share the park with their fellow citizens and people who would ruin it before questioning the impact of their impractical decisions.
Mike Romano's slanted article regarding the inquest into Michael Ealy's death ("Death on Dexter," 4/8) has prompted me to write. Certainly his death is a tragedy, as is the loss of any human life. This has obviously been a very sad and difficult time for Ealy's family. Emotions aside, the emergency medical technicians from American Medical Response and the Seattle police officers who responded to the 911 call that night involving Mr. Ealy have been unfairly cast by Ealy's family and attorney as insensitive racists who recklessly restrained and choked to death a helpless patient.
Having been an EMT for the last nine years, I have found myself in many a situation where the use of physical restraint has been warranted. Anytime a patient is perceived as a threat to himself or others, restraints are the protocol. It does not matter whether the patient is a man or a woman, black, white, Hispanic, Asian or any other race. Michael Ealy was not physically restrained because he was an African American. It was because he became violent and lashed out at the EMTs and officers who were doing everything in their power to get him safely to Harborview Medical Center. Mr. Ealy's dangerous behavior compromised his own safety as well as the safety of those attempting to care for him.
To say that emergency workers single out and treat a patient differently because of his or her race is in and of itself a racist view. Our job is to care for everyone and it is a job that is done well, day in and day out, often under less than ideal conditions. As the recent inquest found, several different factors, including Mr. Ealy's cocaine intoxication, contributed to this isolated and unfortunate incident and is by no means an accurate reflection of the care provided every day of the year by Seattle police and AMR.
Joe Cropley, EMT
MP3s and music's future
Congrats on Richard A. Martin's excellent article "The Future's Flea Market" (4/1). Though the decline in record buying by one target demographic could be linked to MP3 consumption, the survey to which he refers didn't ask any questions specifically about MP3, only whether or not subjects bought any CDs recently. An educated guess, but not a scientific study.
I feel a bit sorry for Liquid Audio, as it was smart enough to see [MP3s] coming and was offering copyright-safe downloads more than a year ago. Yet maybe one out of four articles on the topic mentions Liquid Audio, even though several sites offer its format. The problem is, the liquifier is $295, but you can make MP3s for free. Plus the MPEG standard is compatible with the new specs for high-definition TV.
Back in 1996, Professor Pamela Samuelson wrote an incisive critique of the way large media firms are winning legal extensions to copyright and publishing interests (http://www.wired.com/wired/archive /4.01/white.paper_pr.html). Interestingly, technologies like MP3 seem to work against this monopoly of interest, while at the same time increasing the size of the pie. What these media firms routinely fail to understand is that freely available, open standards (like MP3) increase the size of markets, because consumers aren't as at risk of getting stuck with a proprietary format (like beta) only to find no content available. With a larger market, there is more business and more competition.
With the flurry of phone and cable companies mergers, the conduit for carrying music and other media should soon widen. Content companies like Time-Warner have major interests in several of these mergers. The same companies that own the Recording Industry Association of America's member record companies may wind up (at least partially) controlling the media pipeline of the near future. But like Martin said, none of the contenders know how it will all play out. Whatever happens, it will likely be a far more dynamic system than in the recent past.
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