"Maybe you've decided to embrace your inner Bush, concluding that you don't need any actual qualifications to do your job."


The American Civil Liberties Union [ACLU] opposes the notion of forcing absentee voters to cast ballots before Election Day [News Clips, "Vote Early," Nov. 15]. All citizens should have the opportunity to assess the full range of information provided up until the end of campaigns, to think about what candidates are asserting and promising up to the last minute, and to cast their votes confident in the knowledge that they were not denied a final important piece of information about a candidate or ballot measure. Those who choose to cast their absentee ballot with the same complete set of electoral information as other voters should not have their votes voided by the government.

Understandably, there can be frustration with delays in learning some election results, as occurred in Seattle's recent mayoral campaign. Such delayed gratification in close general elections may stem more from how absentee ballots are handled by the King County Office of Records and Elections. Given that voting by mail may very well continue to grow, our elections offices should develop ways to adapt to the new reality. Washington should not create two classes of voter—those who get to have all the information provided by the candidates, the campaigns, and the press, and others who are forced to vote early for the convenience of the counters.

G鲡rd John Sheehan

Legislative Director,

ACLU of Washington



James Bush wants us to believe that people who vote by absentee ballot are "our laziest citizens," "slackers" who can't be bothered to participate in the political process [News Clips, "Vote Early," Nov. 15]. Just in case you're too stupid to see the irony in your own statement, James, let me point out a couple of things.

If I take the initiative to vote, in person or absentee, then I am by definition participating. Voting by absentee doesn't mean that I don't attend rallies; contribute to causes, parties, and campaigns; solicit door-to-door; or lobby my elected representatives. It means that, for whatever reason, I can't make it to the polls on that specific day in the designated hours. My work takes me out of our fair city often. In the past 10 years, I've been in town for zero elections. My option, in your world, is to not vote at all, which is a hell of a lot more lazy and irresponsible than voting absentee.

There are a lot of folks out there who can't get to the polls. My grandmother was 95 when she died. For [her last] five years, she could barely get [up] to use the bathroom, and she couldn't tolerate outdoor treks. Without absentee balloting, her voice wouldn't [have been] heard.

Military service members, expatriates, and lots of other people who are not in the U.S. or in their hometowns on Election Day vote by absentee. Are they lazy slackers too, like my grandmother?

Finally, I bet most of us have our ballots returned earlier than Election Day. But as you would know if you had bothered to research your insulting column, the vote talliers don't necessarily count those votes—ever! They're only counted when there is a close enough race that the total number of absentee ballots might tip the scales for one candidate or another. That means they're often not tallied at all, and they're never tallied until after the in-person voting is complete. The problem in delayed results lies not with the absentee voters but with the tallying system which waits to count them until they're required.

Do your homework before you run your mouth off. I thought that research was the hallmark of good journalism. Or maybe you've decided to embrace your inner Bush, concluding that you don't need any actual qualifications to do your job, you just get to climb on a soapbox and spew your offensive, right-wing, self-centered garbage.

Scott Ofstead



Regarding your fascinating review of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone ["Great Expectations," Nov. 15]: I suppose one has to take some sort of "stance" in an attempt to create a stir, or perhaps a name for one's self, but alas, yours fell completely on its ass. I particularly enjoyed the dramatic " . . . competitions take up an alarming part of Stone's two-and-one-half-hour running time," the keenly analytical, "It's impossible to miss the class implications here, . . ." and the cutting death strokes of critic prose in your final paragraph.

I'd neither read the book nor shared ONE of your opinions about this pretty successfully charming movie. Sometimes it's better to put the hipness aside and relax, Brian. Pulitzers aren't won for writing movie reviews. I happened on an opportunity to see the film and later stumbled on your review. The former was the much more enjoyable "chance" experience.

Hanafi Libman



After reading Brian Miller's review of Harry Potter ["Great Expectations," Nov. 15], it's as easy to make assumptions about him as he makes assumptions about Harry Potter. One, he obviously didn't read the book. Two, he doesn't have kids—and if he does, he doesn't read to them. Three, Harry Potter characters may have silly names, but I'd put 'em up against the silliness of Star Wars' names any day. Four, here's a shocker for him: Not all films are made for adults. Call me crazy, but adult sensibilities are different from children's. Is it so bad to let them have one film every once in a while that's [just] for them? I loved Shrek, but not every kids' film has to have a smart-ass character just to make it appealing to adults.

Adults who have read the Harry series to their kids have found a wonderful world to escape into with their children. You can argue whether J.K. Rowling has created great children's literature, but you cannot argue with her gift for story and character. The film is a very true re-creation of that world. Perfect, no, but it is a relief not to see it jazzed up and wrecked by Hollywood.

I'd hate to see Mr. Miller's take on Santa Claus.

Melissa Westbrook

via e-mail


If Erica Barnett rode her car, as she seems to dream of doing, she would probably pee in her own pants sitting in one of Seattle's many traffic jams [see "Fare and Loathing," Nov. 15]

As a user of public transit, I would certainly like to see more frequent bus service. But I fail to see how Erica's bashing of the bus and bus drivers accomplishes this goal. In fact, I consider her lucky—at least she has a bus to ride. A couple of years ago, the route I relied on to get to work was eliminated, a casualty of Tim Eyman and I-695.

I now rely on a van pool. But when I do ride the bus, I see the stressful conditions drivers have to cope with, from overloads to bad schedules and heavy traffic. I understand why they are often short-tempered. But overall they do an incredible job under difficult circumstances. Erica's vent is misplaced. It is better directed toward county officials, Metro management, and state politicians who know we need better funding, more buses, and improved policies but fail to act.

Rich Ferguson

Vashon Island


In "Seattle's 100 Hot Dishes" (Nov. 15), we listed the lamb panini gyro at Bistro Antalya on Broadway. In fact, this in-house specialty is not a Greek gyro but a Turkish doner kebap. Also, in the Nov. 22 media column, "Thanks, Media," the URL for the Newsdex news portal was incorrect. It should have read: www.newsdex.net. Seattle Weekly regrets the errors.

Wanna vent? Write to Seattle Weekly, 1008 Western, Ste. 300, Seattle, WA 98104; fax to 206-467-4377; or e-mail to letters@seattleweekly.com. By submission of a letter, you agree that we may edit the letter and publish and/or license the publication of it in print, electronically, and for archival purposes. Please include name, location, and phone number.

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