"There are few absolutes in the world and especially in the medical field but there is one in audiology—noise destroys!"


Enjoyed the Music Quarterly [3/16]. Amused by your use of the old saw, "If it's too loud, you're too old." My take on that theme would read more along the lines of, "The less one has to say, the louder one tends to say it."



WE seem irresponsible?

Mark Driver's mocking, in-your-face (ear) article on the folly of using earplugs ["The worst plug," 3/16] reminded me of an incident that occurred some 30 years ago. Under the influence of mescaline, in those heady hippie days, I attended an indoor rock concert and in order to REALLY experience those groovy sound waves, I placed my ear directly ON the face of one of the band's speakers and stood there for a half-hour FEELING the sound vibes. Being young and stupid, I had no idea I might damage my hearing. For a day or so afterwards, voices sounded as though they were coming from a radio ill-tuned . . . scratchy, staticky, garbled. But sound went back to normal after another day . . . or so I thought.

Next week I am going to an audiologist for tinnitus, a constant loud ringing in my ears, as well as for significant hearing loss in the conversational range. Had I known better, I might not have been so reckless in my treatment of a precious commodity—hearing, when I grooved out on that speaker one night long ago.

Your printing of that article seemed to me irresponsible.



Noise destroys (sense of humor)!

Funny, I used to believe featured writers require some form of education to be allowed to have their story in print, obviously I was mistaken. As I write a response regarding your article regarding earplugs ["The worst plug," 3/16], it is at some reluctance. After all, as my husband the businessman points out, this article increases my job security as an audiologist. If they truly take this information to heart, I should be seeing an increase in my hearing aid patient load in approximately five years. There are few absolutes in the world and especially in the medical field but there is one in audiology—noise destroys! The extent and repercussions may vary. Some may only have constant tinnitus, others a hearing loss severe enough to lose their job or eventually limit their communication, and, of course, impair their ability to enjoy the fine mix of loud music the author so nicely referred to in his article, but there will be damage.

[It] should be noted . . . that as technology improves, the level of amplification increases. Therefore the artists Driver mentioned, did not necessarily wear hearing protection five years ago, but if you look closely, more are wearing it now because they must due to the increased sound level. It could mean their job if they don't. To a musician, or anyone else who appreciates music, damage to their hearing distorts the delicate balance between pitches. Obviously Driver is neither a musician, nor knowledgeable about music. Take away all the of the switches on his stereo except the bass and he would probably not notice the difference.

So I guess in retrospect, I should thank you for printing his column. You've just ensured my job security for many years to come.


Jesus H. Christ!

The Seattle Times might want to kill the P-I [see "Start the presses! 3/9], but it doesn't want to offend anyone. Humor columnist Dave Barry, in his March 6 column, quoted former major leaguer John Blanchard saying "Oh Lord God." Seattle subscribers wouldn't know that because the Times changed the quote to "Oh boy." I queried Michael Fancher about the change, who replied by e-mail:

"Yes, we did make that change in Dave Barry's column that ran March 6. We follow a very careful policy with any use of God or Lord or anything that can be construed as profanity (as we do with all rough language). We ask questions like, is it essential to telling the story, does it convey as we can in no other way convey what the story needs to say. If it's just casual, like 'My God' used as punctuation as it is so often heard in conversation these days, we will omit it or rewrite it. There is a segment of our readership quite sensitive to the casual use of God, and we honor that, as we do other readers' sensitivity to ethnic or racial slurs."

You would have to read the column to appreciate how changing the quote ruined the humor. Not to mention the journalistic sin of changing a direct quote. What concerns me is the one paper we will probably end up with is more worried about not offending its readers than journalistic integrity. Is it possible to publish a good newspaper without offending someone? Apparently the Times is going to try.



Factual error astounds!

Nina Shapiro's article about the SPEEA strike, "The next generation" [3/9], contains a factual error so astounding that I'll never again be able to take her seriously as a journalist. Shapiro states, "The last real technological revolution in aerospace was about 35 years ago, when the jet engine replaced the propeller system and produced the massive 747."

This statement is mind-boggling in its ignorance. The 747 first flew in 1969. By that time jets had been flying for 30 years, and the first commercial jet airliner flew 20 years earlier.

The first jet engine designed for an aircraft was bench-tested by Britain's Frank Whittle in 1937. The first aircraft to fly solely with a jet engine was Germany's Heinkel He 178, in 1939; both Germany and Britain had jet aircraft in service before the end of World War II. The first jet commercial airliner was the de Havilland Comet, which first flew in 1949, and entered service in 1952.

As for Boeing itself, the 747 was far from the company's first jet. That would be the B-47 bomber, whose prototype first flew in 1947. The first Boeing Commercial jet was the 707, whose progenitor, the Dash 80, first flew in 1954. The 707 entered service in 1958. By the time the 747 first flew in 1969, Boeing had two more models of jet airliner, the 727 and 737, also in service.

I don't expect your writers to be an expert on every subject they write about. But using any decent aviation reference book, or even the encyclopedia, would have prevented such a blatantly false statement being propagated.



Nina Shapiro responds: Allen is right. I should have called it the last real technological revolution on Boeing's commercial side, and that was about 45, not 35, years ago.

Duck and cover!

Roger Downey's article "Nuke the moths!" [3/9] may be closer to the truth than most of us know. The Washington State Department of Agriculture's blessing of the Btk formulation as safe should not be accepted based on some warped misconception that Agriculture has actually researched this formulation at length. Remember that the WSDA in the past has given its blessings to Agent Orange and DDT. It is wholly possible (and probable) that this pesticide formulation contains nuclear or other hazardous waste. The scary part of this scenario is that it's legal.

The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) is riddled with loopholes inserted at the behest of big business which allow dangerous hazardous and toxic waste to be "recycled" in pesticide formulations. FIFRA allows any chemical that does not act directly toward the intended end-use of the product to be called inert. FIFRA also allows the manufacturer of pesticide products to declare these "inert" ingredients as a trade secret (the Confidential Business Information or CBI rule) and not have to release to any person exactly what the inert ingredients are.

The Btk formulation that the WSDA intends to spray over two square miles of Seattle is 97.9 percent inert ingredients. The manufacturer of the formulation is claiming CBI and refusing to identify the contents. No epidemiological studies have ever been conducted on any group of people sprayed with any Btk formulation. Certain chemicals when combined act in concert with each other; these synergistic effects cannot even be considered if we don't know the contents. How many people must die of strange cancers at young ages before we stand up to this madness? The citizens of Seattle must say NO! to this insane behavior.



Let the people decide!

In 1988 the voters of Seattle said NO to a Harborfront Levy that included an ambitious plan to expand the Seattle Aquarium. In spite of this defeat, the city has allowed and encouraged SEAS (a nonprofit private organization) to plan for a new aquarium on the Central Waterfront on Piers 62 and 63. [See "Sea monster?" 3/9.]

In 1989, the City acquired Piers 62 and 63 in order to prevent waterfront open space from being privately developed. Ordinance 114390 does not state as it legislative purpose that these piers were to be purchased in order to build a new aquarium on them. It could not—only one year before the voters said NO.

For the past 10 years, Piers 62 and 63 have remained as open public space, while the City has allowed the existing aquarium at Pier 59 to deteriorate to the point where the city says it justifies demolition. Simultaneously, with little public knowledge, SEAS and many of our civic leaders have been planning for a new aquarium at Piers 62 and 63.

Although SEAS's planning efforts are through and have been effectively designed to secure its goal of building a new, privatized but publicly subsidized "world-class" aquarium, a private organization's plans for a major development on publicly owned property should only be supported, through a vote, by the citizens of Seattle.

I suggest that the November ballot include a separate proposition for the new Seattle aquarium in which public costs to complete all phases of the project (including Phase III, a $30 million public investment to restore waterfront park space) are clearly identified. If the citizens say YES to a new aquarium on the Central Waterfront and choose to be a "partner" with SEAS and its board of directors in this project, then SEAS and the city should move forward, with meaningful public input, as planned. If, however, the voters again say NO, and SEAS and the city are still determined to carry out their plans for private control and management of a new aquarium, then they should be required to find a new location for the project on purchased private land.




"Precious" view

I guess it's time for Seattle to pick another politically correct battle—and this one seems to bemoan the loss of "precious waterfront views" for a new aquarium ["Sea monster?" 3/9]. In fact, now we are told that this is "the last open view of the Central Waterfront."

Have we already forgotten how the city has so strongly advocated the creation of the 8-acre Olympic Sculpture Park on the north end of the waterfront? The zoning there would have allowed up to 1,200 high-rise apartments, which would have wiped out views and access to the waterfront and Myrtle Edwards Park. The creation of this park should more than offset the fact that we have a woody, neglected pier on our central waterfront that has had minimal use (except in the summer festival seasons). In fact, I don't know of any waterfront city that has an opportunity to develop such an exciting, centrally located parcel. Seattle's waterfront has always been dominated by piers, and direct views have never been expansive, and certainly have not been guaranteed.

Recently, the Port of Seattle has done a wonderful job of integrating open space and public views with projects such as the Bell Street Pier and the huge waterfront park and trail at the north end of the Terminal 5 expansion near West Seattle. Similarly, there may be many solutions that could integrate public access and viewing points with the proposed aquarium.

Vancouver's Canada Place Convention Center and Cruise Terminal, with its distinctive, sweeping canvas roofs, has become a focal point for Vancouver and offers a wonderful esplanade that wraps around the structure, offering plenty of unobstructed views. Similarly, we have the opportunity to build a unique and dynamic new symbol for Seattle's relationship with the water, while at the same time improving the access and view areas on the perimeter of the structure. There could also be an opportunity for the our sadly outdated Waterfront Park next to the aquarium to be integrated into a larger and more vibrant waterfront viewing area, which could span three piers. (One thing to remember is that Seattle's aquarium, because of the Shoreline Management Act, will be significantly lower than recent aquariums such as Baltimore's.)

It's exciting to realize that there may indeed be a number of opportunities for combining public viewpoints and views with the new aquarium, as well as drastically improving the existing Waterfront Park. . . . But of course, there's the reality that this issue is not really about public access or public views of the water, or anything for the benefit of the general public. This is really about the view blockage of the wealthy condominium owners across the street, who feel entitled to unobstructed views forever. Shame on whoever supports the opinion that Seattle should forgo the opportunity to finally improve its aquarium and Central Waterfront for the sake of a handful of condominium owners, who frankly are the ones who feel entitled to ownership of this so-called "precious" view.

In the era of Growth Management, no resident is entitled to views forever. Seattle is growing and densifying, and people are going to be upset. But please, don't compromise the vitality of this city's cultural needs for the sake of the privileged few.



Repulsive spewings!

The recent letter by Alan Gurevich in response to the aquarium proposal is one of the more repulsive spewings I've read in months [see Letters, 3/16, and "Sea monster?" 3/9]. I live on Capitol Hill and have a spectacular view which is eroding inch by inch every year. I do not find this a reason to shrug my shoulders. I spend an enormous amount of time down by the waterfront, and seasonally choke on yet another street corner view disappearing behind some condo or Port of Seattle project. Last time I checked, our views were part of Seattle's signature. To reduce the big picture to one of capitalism at work is neither practical nor realistic, but one of apathy and resignation. If Alan thinks the exchange of our natural beauty for a handful of tourist dollars is sane, his view is part of the CIVIC problem!



So very angry!

I got so very angry reading the letters on the aquarium issue from Mr. Gurevich and Mr. McLean [see Letters, 3/16, and "Sea monster?" 3/9]. First, to Mr. Gurevich. Just because Mr. McClurg lives across from the pending civic tragedy on our central waterfront doesn't mean his argument has no credibility. PLEASE! There are people all over this city that want save Pier 62/63. I live down here in Rainier Beach. I visit the central waterfront often because it is a spectacular front door to our city. In this ever-crowded and growing city, spaces like Pier 62/63 are indeed rare. Citizens all across this hopelessly paved-over city will not give up this open space at our city's front door without a fight.

Then, to Mr. McLean. No one is saying do not upgrade the aquarium. Indeed, I support a renovated and "state of the art" aquarium. What makes me crazy is that NO ONE is considering the possibility that a new aquarium could be built somewhere else. There are sites on the water south of the Ferry Terminal near Pioneer Square. A new aquarium on this POS property could be an excellent anchor to POS's proposed redevelopment of the south central waterfront. Or perhaps across the Bay on Harbor Ave., with a spectacular view of the city. There are other options besides just filling up the last and best open space on our central waterfront, and those of us all across this city that give a damn will keep fighting to make this a win-win situation for all of us, even those with small minds and no imagination!



Inquiring minds want to know! Letters may be edited for length, clarity, and legal considerations. Please include name and daytime telephone number for verification. Write to Letters Editor, Seattle Weekly, 1008 Western Avenue, Suite 300, Seattle, WA 98104; fax to 206-467-4377; or e-mail to letters@seattleweekly.com

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