"Anyone who would claim thinning plantations under certain circumstances is a blanket sacrifice is ignoring years of scientific research. . . . "


Thanks to Andy Ryan for his stellar report ["Chainsaw Politics," Dec. 11]. This new phase of war over the future of the Northwest's national forests is a microcosm of the Bush administration's policy endeavors across the globe. Their unabashed intent amounts to delimiting their constituency to the plutocrats contributing copious quantities of cash to the GOP. The Bushies make not even a pretense of representing you, me, or the forest community that defines our Northwest home.

An equally sinister aspect is evident with Dubya's henchman, Mark Rey, and his logging corporation buddies. That is revenge, directed at Northwest citizens who had the gall to influence logging reductions on public lands over the past decade. Any objective source will tell you lumber prices are in a slump, there's a glut of wood on the market, and 10 years of accelerated clear-cutting on private lands has done zip for the socioeconomic health of rural communities.

Our group, the Olympic Forest Coalition, intends to redouble efforts to blunt Rey's wildly swinging ax via first working collaboratively with an unusually conscientious staff at Olympic National Forest. Yet we will steadfastly oppose any activities that threaten the integrity of native forests and their watersheds. The situation is likely to be bleaker for groups focusing on other national forests, and a broader range of aggressive counterpunches will be necessary.

For those more inclined to attempt to cut a "thinning deal" with Rey, if history is any indication, we submit that what might appear acceptable on paper will almost certainly look damned nasty on the ground.

Jim Scarborough

Board of Directors, Olympic Forest Coalition

Bainbridge Island


Many thanks for the impeccably researched report on the escalating threats to our national forests ["Chainsaw Politics," Dec. 11]. Commercial logging on these lands has always been and will always be an agent of ecological devastation regardless of whether it is called a timber sale program, an ecosystem management program, or, lately, "plantation thinning." Commercial incentives and ecosystem restoration goals simply do not mix, and anyone who doubts this need only review one of the many new timber sale proposals put forth by the Olympic and other national forests throughout the state. These large-volume proposals will destroy many large-diameter trees, require new road construction in watersheds already severely fragmented by existing roads, damage sensitive fish-bearing streams, pollute clean water sources, and degrade valuable recreation and scenic areas. Audaciously, the Forest Service asserts that intensive logging proposals such as these are needed to restore old growth and improve riparian zones along our streams and rivers. There is no scientific proof to support these absurd claims.

John Talberth

Director of Conservation, Forest Conservation Council

Santa Fe, NM


Andy Ryan wants Seattle Weekly readers to believe that the conservation groups (see www.nwoldgrowth.org) that have been watchdogging the Forest Service over the last decade, timber sale by timber sale, and effectively litigating to preserve old forests and endangered fish and wildlife are now suddenly willing to give it all away for little or nothing ["Chainsaw Politics," Dec. 11]. The organizations that make up the Northwest Old-Growth Campaign are some of the most ardent and committed forest defenders in the region: American Lands Alliance, Oregon Natural Resources Council, the Oregon Chapter of the Sierra Club, Northwest Ecosystem Alliance, Forest Ethics, Biodiversity Northwest, Gifford Pinchot Task Force, Cascadia Wildlands Project, Siskiyou Project, Umpqua Watersheds, and the Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center. We have been the plaintiffs in most of the litigation that has kept federal logging rates at bay in the Pacific Northwest.

Right now, 90 percent of the logging on our federal lands in the Pacific Northwest targets old forests. In addition to protecting old forests, we support a comprehensive restoration program for federal lands that includes, among other things, repairing and removing roads, restoring streams and rivers, and restoring young monoculture plantations through careful thinning. True, some activists don't trust the Forest Service to use thinning as a tool to restore plantations. We are continuing the work of science-based discussions and forums to build a consensus on when, where, and how plantations should be restored. Anyone who would claim thinning plantations under certain circumstances is a blanket sacrifice is ignoring years of scientific research by some of the best forest ecologists in our region. And if abuses do occur, we will act accordingly.

Unfortunately, many of these facts were omitted from the story, allow- ing Ryan to posit our solution-based approach as a dirty deal. Your readers deserve a more honest and meaningful portrayal of the issues driving Northwest forest policy.

Jasmine Minbashian

Coordinator, Northwest Old-Growth Campaign



Thanks to Knute Berger for his sensitive recounting of the death of the geese at Seward Park [Mossback, "Jackass on a Jet Ski," Dec. 11]. We have tried everything we know to stop this slaughter. Not enough people are actively opposed. Maybe this will help Seattle citizens know the truth.

Wayne Johnson

Northwest Animal Rights Network Seattle


I can't fathom the outrage over Nicole Brodeur's metaphor-laced column about Seattle's overspending. Nor the logic behind Philip Dawdy's column raking her over the coals ["Mental Case," Dec. 11]. The bipolar-oriented comments in Brodeur's article are quotes by Marilynn Albert, an adult nurse practitioner at UW's Psychosocial and Community Health Department. Brodeur built the metaphor as a journalistic conceit, but Albert furnished it—and managed to get a few hypersensitive readers all hot and bothered and baying for blood. Dawdy's column, however, lays the blame entirely on Brodeur's doorstep, which seems a shortsighted attack. Why not give Albert a ring? And Brodeur a break? Frankly, I'd rather read a provocative, creative article than an earnestly p.c. one any day of the week.

M.L. Owens

New York, NY


As the manager of Q Cafe, profiled Dec. 4 [Hot Dish], I would like to thank Seattle Weekly for the free ink. At the same time, the summary of our coffeehouse listed disturbingly inaccurate information. While Quest Ministries did raise funds to remodel our warehouse space, they have birthed a separate, nonreligious 501(c)(3) nonprofit, which encompasses the cafe/community center. The church put up the funds/ created the venue, but you won't find scripture verses in the bottom of your latte. The cafe/community center are open to and here for the use of the general public.

As the primary person responsible for booking live music and art at Q, I would like to state that we do not book artists who play "Christian" music at our cafe.

Leah P. McCann

Manager, Q Cafe



Due to an editing error, Stefan Ballard was mistakenly identified as a King County employee in an article about two deaths at Harborview Medical Center ("Locked In," Dec. 11). In fact, his mother, Deborah, works for the county.

Want free ink? 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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