"Erica Barnett just doesn't get it—people want better transit around here, and they are willing to pay for it."


Regarding your article about the mother with a disabled child who has been relying on welfare to take care of her son ["Does This Family Deserve Welfare?" Oct. 4], I must ask why she hasn't gone to the Social Security office to have her son put on SSI?

I have a disabled son that I've raised on my own all 17 years of his life, and I know the difficulty in managing financially. In needing to take my son to daily intervention classes, therapy appointments, and medical appointments, I had a very difficult time working when he was younger—same as Dolores.

I was fortunate I had people to mention to me the services available for my son and myself. I also searched them out on my own. I worked day in and day out to get and keep these services. There are people and agencies to help with advocacy issues also. The resources are available.

Things aren't as bad as you made them sound for parents of children with disabilities. I want to be sure that if Dolores is that unaware of her resources, someone tells her rather than rev her up about a resource I'm frankly surprised she's been getting.

This society does have a lot of kinks, but I have faith that parents, advocates, etc., have fought hard for the services that are available now and should spread the word.

I do so now.

DeeDee Lazik



Nina Shapiro leaves a lot out when she writes about the woes of Dolores Wilson and her two children ["Does This Family Deserve Welfare?" Oct. 4].

First, there is Earl Richardson, the father. Living? Receiving disability from the army? Does he work? Visit the boys? Rake leafs? I think Earl can probably do a lot more than he is doing. This court system has little problem in saddling 19-year-old boys with $500 per month child support. Is Nina suggesting that because Earl has seizures he can do nothing for these kids?

Secondly, there are the boys. How many Social Security disability checks do they get? It is not honest to leave out this critical factor.

Thirdly, I think it would be good for Dolores to work outside the soft, gooey field of social work and special education, where productivity is difficult to measure. If Dolores went to work, she would have a lot more respect for that dairy farmer who gets up at 3:30 a.m. to face 55 cows and a huge debt, or the fast food workers who put up with homeless people all day.

There is [also] the style in which Nina writes. Were Nina to visit me and write up my life—full of back taxes and child support, traffic cops and telemarketers, supervisors and overtime—in the same hair-splitting, empiricist manner, most any reader would ask "How does he do it?"

Welcome to America, Dolores. Welcome to reality, Nina.

Don Stevens



Erica Barnett just doesn't get it [see "Zombie Train," Oct. 4]—people want better transit around here, and they are willing to pay for it. Light rail is the most popular choice worldwide for high-capacity regional transit through medium-size cities. Seems like everybody wants to tout some cheaper, faster, safer, or more attractive alternative—but the claims of these snake-oil salesmen have never stood up to professional scrutiny.

Sound Transit has the audacious goal of building it right. This is not cheap, and it has meant stepping on more than a few toes. It means serving regional centers and high-transit neighborhoods directly, not routing it down a hostile freeway environment for mostly suburban commuters.

In regard to Erica's "reasons" that could scuttle light rail: Even if the feds don't give us a dime, we can build to the Henderson station. Many cities have begun this way. Denver began with 5.3 miles using only local money and was ridiculed as a train to nowhere. Now it's 14 miles with more under construction, with local and federal support.

Nickels has 14 years of experience with transit, he's steadfast and courageous, and works well with all factions. Sidran, unfortunately, is perceived as a clueless opportunist on transit. The PI quotes him as wanting to "figure out how to build a more rider-rich northern route." Sorry Mark, it's already been done—the intensively studied Capitol Hill route is on par with many big-city subway routes. Possible alternatives, such as the proposed Eastlake route, may cost a little less, but they'd take a big ridership hit. Nor could Sound Transit, a regional agency mandated to serve regional transit, follow Sidran's direction to shift money to city buses or monorail.

With Ron Sims at the helm and Julia Patterson set to come on line, it's unlikely King County would refuse to share the bus tunnel. Joint operations will keep almost as many buses in the tunnel, and others will feed into a light rail station. We can expect light rail to improve bus ridership as well, based on similar experiences elsewhere and current bus redeployment plans.

Dick Burkhart

Rainier Valley Transit



The article by George Howland in which he said that Grant Cogswell likely would not defeat Councilman McIver because "liberal Seattle would never vote for a white kid" [Campaign Cocktail, Oct. 4] is possibly the most offensive thing I have seen in your paper. It shows the problem with evaluating people by the color of their skin.

Cogswell is much more than a "monorail maniac" and a lot more than "a white kid." He is an intelligent, thoughtful guy—somebody the city of Seattle could benefit from having in any kind of political office.

Real political reporting should steer clear of cheap shots and dismissing candidates out of hand because of their race. Good political reporting does not pander and looks at politics as something more than a horse race.

Terrence Parkhurst



Having read Timothy Harris' drearily predictable but mercifully short vilification of Mark Sidran [Letters, Oct. 4], I have only one question: Where in the Constitution does it say a drunk, druggie, or prematurely mainstreamed lunatic has a sacred, sovereign, inalienable right to wander downtown pissing on, barfing on, shitting on, pan- handling, and otherwise harassing folks?

Quote me article, section, and paragraph, man, and I will take seriously your hysterical knee-jerk critique of Mark Sidran.

GO MARK! Give 'em hell!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

James R. Cowles

via e-mail


Please forgive me if I am having trouble grasping this. Once again, the U.S., by far the most powerful nation in the history of the earth, has launched a military attack on one of the poorest countries on this planet. Not to worry, though. We are also dropping food for the poor, oppressed inhabitants of Afghanistan. We are told that this is to show that the United States is not attacking the Afghani people. Would it be possible to know the ratio of explosives to food? My guess is that the explosives far outweighed the food, given that the original and main intent of the attack is not feeding the hungry. For public relations purposes, I can imagine that airdrops of food will help in some quarters. If nothing else, it will give those who already support the attack one more reason to feel that this is an acceptable undertaking.

Perhaps we should be glad that those who attacked the United States on the 11th of September did not also feed the homeless in Washington, D.C., and New York. Given the logic coming out of the White House, we would be hard pressed to argue against the validity of those actions.

Russ Kevin Childers


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