Romance, damn it

I just wanted to comment on the excellent article written by Diane Sepanski on her experiences at a Romance Writers Convention ["Labors


"It was refreshing to finally read an article written by someone who recognizes that we are not all clad in pink chiffon."

Romance, damn it

I just wanted to comment on the excellent article written by Diane Sepanski on her experiences at a Romance Writers Convention ["Labors of love," 6/1]. As the author of 14 single title historical romances, it was refreshing to finally read an article written by someone who recognizes that we are not all clad in pink chiffon, and yes, it would be damned nice to have the NY Times actually review some of the romance novels that consistently make their best-seller lists.

Bravo Ms. Sepanski, and thank you.



Marble, pen?

Please send my thank you to Diane. I loved her article ["Labors of love," 6/1]. Yes, I was there with all the excitement. Diane, thank you for being a Goddess Warrior in your article. You took a slab of marble and with your pen, you wrote from the heart, which is our gift to all readers. You stepped out . . . and wrote as a Madonna. Hey, was that your husband who was in the center of us dancing ladies? If so, thank him. I was the Fairy Godmother dressed in blue and silver. God bless, once again, thanks.



Dear Dr. Laura,

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's law [see "KING of controversy," 5/18, and "Free speech or hate speech?" p. 14 this issue]. I have learned a great deal from you, and I try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind him that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate. I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the specific laws and how to best follow them.

When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord (Lev. 1:9). The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. How should I deal with this?

I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as it suggests in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness (Lev. 15:19-24). The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

Lev. 25:44 states that I may buy slaves from the nations that are around us. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans but not Canadians. Can you clarify?

I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?

A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination (Lev. 10:10), it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this?

Lev. 20:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?

I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.




More Bible study

Have the individuals/groups who are protesting Dr. Laura's show forgotten about the first amendment [see "KING of controversy," 5/18, and "Free speech or hate speech?" p. 14 this issue]? Or do they simply believe that the First Amendment only applies to them and/or their groups?

On the present day politically correct bandwagon known as DIVERSITY, it seems that we are all supposed to accept things such as gays, lesbians, alternative lifestyles, sexual preference, abortion, gambling, etc., as acceptable [sic]. However, there seems to be no room on the diversity bandwagon for acceptance of any person/group whose personal and/or religious beliefs cause them to take a stand for those beliefs.

Why is that??? Why are activities that, until a few short years ago, were viewed as unacceptable by the majority of our society now viewed as acceptable? Could it be that our present day society has turned its back on God? If so, perhaps a lesson on the fate of Soddom & Gomorra [sic] is in order.

Of course, to give/receive such a lesson, one would have to pick up, open, read and study the Holy Bible and we certainly couldn't have that, now could we? After all, if the Bible were opened, read and studied the Bible [sic], who knows what other activities embraced by today's diversity propaganda machine might also be exposed as sinful!



Dategirl—trashy slut!

I read "Dategirl" by Judy McGuire in the June 1 issue with utter disbelief! I found it offensive, disgusting, and basically pornographic. It was an article one would expect to find in the pages of something like a Hustler magazine, certainly not the Seattle Weekly. It does nothing to elevate the status of women in our society and only serves to denigrate them. If this is supposed to be an "enlightened" viewpoint, we are all in serious trouble.

There is nothing wrong with sex, but there is something wrong with promiscuous sex, which is what Dategirl is promoting. In this age of AIDS and the epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases, I find it irresponsible of the Weekly to even print such trash.



Judy McGuire responds: Ms. Henderson: I found your letter curiously arousing. What were you wearing when you wrote it?

Inquests and facts

I am Michael Okarma's other sister. After reading "Open and shot case" [5/18], I find myself feeling both sad and relieved. I was apprehensive about seeing anything related to my brother's death, but found Rick Anderson's views and facts thought-provoking. Finally someone has stepped up to the fact that the system is biased.

"License to kill" [11/4/99] explained how inquests work, saying that the judge makes the total decision on what evidence is admitted and who testifies, but it did not mention that there is no appeal. My brother could not come back to give his testimony, so the family hired an expert to find out how he was killed. The judge refused to allow any portion of our expert's findings. We are paying salaries for the judge, prosecutor, and police, and yet we have no say and no recourse. Occasionally when someone has been killed by a police officer, the mayor (or someone in political office) says, "We should have someone look into this," but nothing ever comes of it. I am still waiting for a Citizen's Review Panel, as proposed by Seattle's Mayor Schell early last year. To my knowledge, there is no such panel in any city in Washington state. We desperately need changes in the current inquest system. Personally, I would like to see a mixed panel of both independent private prosecutors (as Lem Howell suggested) and a few citizens with some legal expertise. Let's allow all the facts to get unbiased answers.



ACLU and inquests

Thanks to the Seattle Weekly and Rick Anderson for reporting on the unfairness and government bias that permeates the county inquest process ["Inquests' blue flu," 6/1, "License to kill," 11/4/99]. Another example of the problems: During the inquest into the 1992 death of 70-year-old John B. McDonald, the deputy prosecutor in charge called the supervisor of the officer under investigation as an expert witness on the use of reasonable force. Talk about objectivity!

Concerns about the inquest process are longstanding. In 1997, when a review of the King County Charter was under way, the ACLU urged the Review Commission to change the charter's inquest provisions to ensure fairness. Unfortunately, the Commission failed to do so.




Amazon: "I was there"

This story ["Bad neighbors," 6/1] is a gross misrepresentation of the facts. I was there. These people were warned they would be arrested if they did anything other than observe. They wanted to be arrested. They were unsuccessful in stopping this process legally, so they wished to try illegally. They were arrested because they endangered their own lives and the life of a Seattle Police Officer by going into dangerous work areas. There was no lawsuit filed by the plaintiffs, merely an appeal of the permit issuance. The plaintiffs could have filed a lawsuit any time after January, but never did. The coverage of this story and the trespassers' comments show that they do not understand or respect the legal process. The work was done on a Saturday because it was dangerous and the Amazon campus could be closed to tenants. Get your shit together.



Tree cruelty

Thanks to Geov Parrish for his portrayal of the cruel and dirty trick played by Joel Horn and Wright Runstad in their arrogant and duplicitous removal of dozens of irreplaceable stately trees around the PacMed building ["Bad neighbors," 6/1]. This is a despicable act that spits in the faces of everyone in this city, not just those residents of the north end of Beacon Hill.

Horn and Wright Runstad should be penalized in some fashion, in addition to making a public apology to the neighborhood and everybody else who loved the majestic splendor of the trees which were so swiftly and cynically cut down. Horn and company engaged consciously in a brazen and cowardly act, an act they well knew would have been challenged by an outraged community. Naturally, such pusillanimous sleazeballs like Horn and his pals wish to avoid inquiries by the Weekly, since there can be no decent explanation for their spiteful action. The courage and civic concern demonstrated by community activists like Bob Kubiniec and Sandra Steed puts greedy and perfidious clowns like Horn and others at Wright Runstad to shame.



Pathetic forest policy

Mark Fefer's article "Tree-huggin' lumberjacks" [6/1] described the efforts of several groups to purchase large tracts of private forest land to prevent these lands from being converted to residential uses or clearcut. I support, both financial and morally, these efforts and have great respect for the dedicated conservationists pursuing this option.

However, its important for your readers to know that the "buy it and gently log it" or "buy it and preserve it" options are really last-ditch solutions that basically constitute a pragmatic surrender. Conservationists have been forced to purchase timber lands to protect them because our state forest practice laws are so pathetically weak. Compounding the problem, profit-driven timber companies can and will pave their forests over in a flash if they can make money from the conversion. Finally, we are having to buy the forests in the Pugetropolis fringe because weak-kneed politicians, supported by development interests, don't support tough growth management laws that would keep these places forested.



Broad and vivid

Mr. Anderson's article of May 11 regarding the late Nick Abruzzi ["That big pizzeria in the sky"] needs two immediate corrections. It was a pool hall, not a bowling alley, that was run by Arthur "Portland Slim" Montgomery. I would also submit that "Slim" was no black pornographer but merely exercising his constitutional rights in selling material that was eventually found to be constitutionally protected. I take great offense at my father being characterized as a black pornographer. Just what does Mr. Anderson mean by his comments? Not only was he black but he was also a pornographer? It seems as if my father is found guilty, in absentia, of two offenses: being black and a pornographer.

My father was one those downtown Seattle characters who seemed to have fallen from the pages of a Damon Runyon story. He left home in his teens to hustle pool and find his fortune. He rode the rails to LA, where he worked for a time for Mickey Cohen. He end-ed up in Portland, Oregon, where he picked up the moniker "Portland Slim" for his ability to play the pool game "one pocket." He moved to Seattle and eventually owned four businesses.The Paradise Billiards and Carcinogen Smoke Shop were almost the only black-owned and -operated businesses in downtown Seattle for many years. He also owned two other businesses in the Rainier Valley, Slim's Place and the Rose Petal.

Seattle was a much different place in the not-too-distant past. Jazz clubs, gambling joints, and after-hours clubs were a part of the Seattle nightlife. Hustlers and hucksters were to be found on nearly every street corner. First Avenue was lined with hotels that catered to retired merchant seamen. Pennyland Arcade, filled with pool tables and penny games, dominated the corner of First and Marion. Pioneer Square, the originator of "Seattle Grunge," was populated by people who wore Pendleton shirts not for style but for work as fishermen or lumberjacks.

Seattle no longer has many of the characters left. Most of them, like Nick and Slim, are gone now. All we have left now are lattes and PDAs. But there are still a few that remember when Seattle was inhabited by men and women who were truly characters and painted the canvas of life in broad and vivid strokes.



Rick Anderson responds: The pool hall was a former bowling alley. Slim's self-deprecating description of himself to me was as "the only black pornographer in town." I liked him. The sign on his door said, "Business is good because SEX is good," and after he got busted for porn he would play a tape-recorded message for customers of the voice of Justice Hugo Black asking, "Who can tell me what pornography is? . . . It's over here, it's over there . . . who knows for sure?"

Who knows for sure, indeed? Letters may be edited. Please include name, location, and daytime telephone number. Write to Letters Editor, Seattle Weekly, 1008 Western Avenue, Suite 300, Seattle, WA 98104; fax to 206-467-4377; or e-mail to

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