THE NICKELS-ALLEN ALLIANCE
Kudos to George Howland for unmasking the increasingly cozy relationship between multibillionaire Paul Allen and our city's chief exec, Mayor Greg Nickels ["South Lake Disunion," Oct. 1]. The gall of a man like Allen, who is richer than Croesus, attempting to finagle control of limited tax dollars to enhance his property values and bolster his pet projects is stunning. But Nickels' seeming willingness to go blithely along with such arrogance is downright disturbing.
Vulcan's proposal for public funding of Allen's South Lake Union venture is not a just nor is it an effective use of funds. There are other crying needs in our municipality. The Nickels-Allen alliance stinks to high heaven.
BUILD IT AND THEY WILL RIDE
After living on Capitol Hill for 20 of my 35 years in Seattle, I recently relocated to New Orleans, which is just reopening the Canal Streetcar from the Mississippi River to Lake Pontchartrain. This in a city of severe poverty, crime, and unemployment. New Orleans is finding ways to fund and reinstall their streetcars. Why and how? Because they are cost-effective and much needed transportation.
Contrast this with richer and less troubled Seattle, and it seems Seattle has a transportation death wish ["South Lake Disunion," Oct. 1]. All mass transit projects seem to be too expensive at the beginning and praised as a godsend after completion and for long into their future.
BACK TO BUSINESS
We are facing more than $20 million in cuts to city services, and yet all the media wants to report is the lunch appointments of City Council members ["Buzz," Oct. 1]. Can we get on to the real business of the city, please? My vote will be based on decisions that reflect good city policy, not who ate lunch with the former governor.
WORRY OVER SCHOOL PLANS
I'm also a neighbor worried by the [Seattle Country Day School's] expansion plan ["There Goes the Neighborhood," Oct. 1].
You need only look at [Seattle's Department of Construction and Land Use] files and find a long history (over 20 years) of neighborhood complaint on intrusion, traffic, and parking. Time and again, these issues were swept aside by promises by the school to implement "traffic management" programspromises that were not effective.
I also have documentation from the past and from the current process, which started last February with neighborhood meetings hosted by the school that did not reveal their already hatched plan to expand. (The school holds two meetings with the neighbors to "gather input," does not reveal its plan to expand, and yet claims to have involved the neighborhood in the process. How can we not be angered by this?)
We neighbors feel like we are caught in a system that we are unsure who it works for.
WRITE-IN FOR CITY COUNCIL
I have to agree with Geov Parrish on his belief that we voters have poor choices in the general election for City Council ["Run, Someone, Run," Oct. 1]. (I have a problem picking between Judy "Mayberry" Nicastro and Jean Godden.) Speaking to the race that Parrish wrote about, Jim Compton versus John Manning, I, too, have concerns. I started a petition drive to save Green Lake's Engine 16. When Margaret Pageler told me if I could find $1.6 million I could keep my fire station, I looked over the mayor's budget and, lo and behold, the budget for SCAN (the municipal channel) was going way up (all franchise fees from cable service can go wherever a city wants and Seattle uses it for SCAN). I pointed this out to Compton (who oversees not only Public Safety but also Communications), but both he and the mayor said it was very important to civic engagement. My reply: over a fire station, parks, or libraries? The answer was yes. Manning, on the other hand, wants to put back all the jobs lost over at the police department, but not once does he mention stronger citizen oversight of police action.
FOREST THINNING WORKS
Before letting loose his pen on the realities of thinning federal forests under the guise of fire prevention, Eric Scigliano should just maybe visit a thinned site or two and see what kind of trees are being cut ["Burn the Forest for the Trees," Oct. 1]. I am a forester who works for a private timber company that occasionally buys a thinning sale from the Forest Service.
The mill I work for cuts a maximum log diameter of 26 inchesa typical second-growth log of 60 years or so in agebut much prefers smaller logs that average 17 inches in diameter.
The typical stands we thin on Forest Service sales are all small logs, growing in dense thickets technically described as "overstocked," and indeed are at higher than normal risk for fire. There are a number of factors that contributed to the overstocking of these forests. One solution, apparently endorsed by Scigliano, is to periodically allow these forests to burn, and I don't disagree that in some instances that would be a good alternative. But in many, many other instances, on many millions of acres, it would make much more sense to lower the tree density by commercially thinning the forest. Rather than simply letting all these trees go up in flames, creating a bunch of noxious smoke, killing a bunch of wildlife, and possibly endangering nearby homes and communities, thinning these stands would create jobs and, more importantly, provide a continuing source of wood fiber that all of us use. Or does that just make too much sense?
MOVE TO PRIVATIZE SCHOOLS
Geov Parrish notes Seattle School Board President Nancy Waldman's blissful ignorance of the major red flags with [one-time] superintendent candidate Joan Kowal ["Buzz," Oct. 1]. However, with the board's selection of these particular finalists, it has become increasingly clear that they are not ignorant but simply pushing ahead their agenda to help [former board member] Don Nielsen privatize the schools.
Steven Adamowski privatized services and opened charter schools in his district [Cincinnati].
Lidia Gil privatized several schools in her district into charter schools [Chula Vista, Calif.].
Evelyn Castro [N.Y.C. Department of Education] is a fan of "choice," which really translates into charter schools.
The children in Seattle need and deserve better. The public can help by voting on Nov. 4 for a new School Board.
A HORROR OF A REVIEW
After reading your review of the 5th Avenue Theatre's production of The Rocky Horror Show ["Performance," Sept. 24], I felt bitter and jaded.
Having seen the production five times, I felt that the review was inaccurate and one-sided. I found the article to be overly critical of Doug Tompos (Frank-N-Furter) who, like with the rest of the cast, played a cult deity, which they had to break down and reinvent for themselves.
I am a hard-core Rocky Horror enthusiast. This said, I found most of the actors to have portrayed their roles significantly better then their film counterparts. Especially John Curley's version of the Narrator, Wildrick's Columbia, and, yes, even Tompos' Frank.
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