CATHOLIC CHURCH: SMUG AND UNRESPONSIVE
I found your article about married priests very interesting ["And You May Kiss the Priest," July 18]. I have often wondered why the American Roman Catholic Church doesn't separate from Rome and why they don't acknowledge that the number of (nonmarried) priests is inadequate to meet the spiritual needs of Catholics in America. My mother was a devout Catholic and an involved member of her church parish. For over 30 years she was a member of St. Louise Parish in Bellevue, where she and my father were active volunteers. They always helped with church-related activities and contributed money on a regular basis. About three years before my mother died, she had to move to a rest home in Kirkland. Not once did a priest from St. Louise visit her; and when she died, they wouldn't administer her funeral Mass. They didn't even offer advice on how we could get another priest. Thankfully, we found [married priest] Pat Callahan. He did a great job, and we felt that we had done the best thing we could do toward meeting our mother's spiritual beliefs.
Since that time, I have felt bitter toward St. Louise. I don't understand how they could be so dismissive of someone who gave so much. It is probably because they didn't have enough priests. Instead of Seattle Archdiocese spokesman Bill Gallant sounding so smug with his retort, "Catholics who understand Catholic teaching and . . . the sacraments know that [the services performed by married priests are] not officially recognized by the church," he should be working to make the church responsive to the needs of its members.
A NEW AMERICAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
I agree that we need to welcome married Catholic priests back into the church ["And You May Kiss the Priest," July 18]. What grinds me is that the Catholic Church supports the conversion to Catholicism of married priests from other religions and then allows them to act as Catholic priests, families and all! Why can there not be an acceptance of our own? I would be thrilled to see these married Catholic priests create a new American Catholic Church that would more truly represent and support our communities, so we can get off the political bandwagons and get on with worship and community.
TOO SURREAL TO BE REAL
Thanks for the hilarious satire about welfare requirements, "The Safety Net Stays" [July 18]. I love reading The Onion, and your spoof articles are the best. Wait . . . you're not The Onion? This is not a joke? These women are actually upset that they ONLY have 60 months to get off welfare? Ms. Latoya Smith was upset that her welfare caseworker had the audacity to suggest that after 40 months of handouts, she should, perhaps, get a job. Craziness. I actually spent about the same amount of time working AND getting a college degree. What the hell was I thinking?
The article further states that welfare workers are "still trying to scare people with time limits." Heaven forbid they suggest that these deadbeats get off their fat asses and get a job. Apparently some welfare recipients have been subjected to the horrors of the WorkFirst system, "a series of caseworker meetings, job readiness workshops, job-hunting requirements, and constant documentation that can be a perpetual struggle for people having a hard time just making it through the day."
Give me a break! Meetings, requirements, documentation, responsibility? And starting next month these people will have to "job hunt or engage in related activities close to full time." Some people will even be required to check in every day. Holy crap—that sounds like . . . A JOB!
But don't despair. The article finishes by letting us know that there is hope. In the words of Latoya Smith: "So you can keep getting money as long as you're playing by the rules." That's right, Latoya, and guess what—you can also keep getting money if you GET A FUCKING JOB!
FEDS SHOULD LOOK INTO WHAT'S COOKING
Now the truth comes out. The stadium deal was rigged, based upon "cooked" consultant reports with dubious criteria ["And the Game Goes On," July 18]. This sounds a whole lot like what happened over the PacMed deal, with the public paying through the nose both times.
Two thoughts. First, it would appear that each time a public project is based on a consultant report, journalists must dig deep into the details of who funded the report and what were its data and criteria before things are decided, voted upon, and funded in the millions. The mainstream media lapdogs were only too happy to vomit up rewritten press releases from Ron Sims, Paul Allen, et al., and jump on the new stadium bandwagon. Only years later does a gutsy weekly reveal the true details of carefully crafted lies and deliberately concealed so-called public documents, as pried loose by the tremendous and personally costly efforts of hotel owner Armen Yousoufian.
Second, aren't "cooked consultant reports" a whole lot like the "cooked books" at Arthur Andersen? Isn't this the very thing that is being denounced upon the floor of the U.S. Senate? Who are these shady consultants who produce made-to-order reports for the express purpose of shaking money loose from the public, and what other dubious projects have they influenced? These are matters which call for criminal investigation by the feds.
Grand Forks, N. D.
ELVIS: BETTER THAN EVER
Re: "A Little Less Reanimation" [Two Ears and a Tale, July 18]—I feel Kurt B. Reighley is in the minority when it comes to his opinion of the new Elvis vs. JXL remix of "A Little Less Conversation." This song is No. 1 in 17 countries throughout the world, and it is only there because Elvis Presley Enterprises and RCA/BMG Records decided that Elvis' catalog needed a relaunch to appeal more to a younger audience.
The record itself has a fantastic dance beat and is so much more exciting than the original version. I personally feel more Elvis tracks should be brought into the 21st century with a similar treatment.
ROAD WARRIORS FIGHTING THE WRONG BATTLE
The opposition to Referendum 51 on the part of 1000 Friends of Washington, Transportation Choices Coalition, and the Washington State Public Interest Research Group is ridiculous ["Green Warriors," July 11].
From their reaction, you'd think R-51 was more like Tim Eyman's absurd I-745, which would have gutted transit funding to pay for more roads. R-51 does not sacrifice buses for asphalt, but still we're hearing dire warnings of urban sprawl, congestion, and pollution.
Nonsense. The sky will not fall if R-51 passes. R-51 will simply substitute a higher gas tax for the departed excise tax.
Our 1960s vintage freeways (some of which will be rubble after the next earthquake) weren't designed to handle today's traffic. Yes, we need better public transportation, but we also need more lane miles of highway. R-51 provides for both, and the gas tax is the best way to pay for it. The more you drive (and the less efficient your vehicle), the more you pay. Furthermore, if R-51 succeeds in reducing congestion, it will result in less pollution, not more.
My message to the above interest groups, as well as those who have not yet taken a position on R-51, is this: Admit that our inadequate highways aren't doing the region or the environment any favors. R-51 isn't perfect, but it deserves to pass.
STATEMENT GETS THE AX
Last week in Buzz, we mischaracterized the circumstances under which Seattle City Council aide Mariette Spence left her position; she resigned. The Weekly regrets the error.
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