BOEING THE BEGGAR
I always look forward to Geov Parrish's political diatribes. Whether or not I agree with them and whether or not I feel that they are based in fact or, in part, fiction, I usually find them thought provoking.
With reference to his piece on Boeing, it is appropriate to hold our state leadership accountable for their actions with respect to the onslaught of Boeing giveaways ["Murray vs. McCain," Dec. 3]. Over the past year, Boeing rivals the street people begging for spare change at my local QFC in persistence and tenacity, although as of late I think the street people are much cleaner. The politicians have resembled cheap, aging whores . . . nothing new there.
I think that most politicians, regardless of party affiliation or position, usually fall into the historical trap of chasing the big fish, even when that fish begins to eat all of the rest of the fish in the pond (e.g., Mayor Nickels/Paul Allen and South Lake Union). The inevitable chain of events is that sooner or later the big fish finds another pond where the feeding is better. How long will it take Allen's biotech firms to export jobs to India, China, or some other part of the globe? How long will it take for us to rush to give Allen property-tax breaks because he has vacant Lake Union office space? Having been raised in Michigan, I am very familiar with this scenario with the auto industry. I think most of us share similar experiences with so-called major employers in most major marketplaces. Billions of taxpayer funds are spent trying to rekindle a dying romance with a changed partner who has already mentally moved on.
In the meantime, thousands of small-to-medium employers and entrepreneurs are not just ignored but dismissed by these same politicos. I'd make an educated guess that these small businesses employ the bulk of the state's population and pay a substantial portion of the state's corporate income taxes, without the benefit of tax breaks.
Rather than place all our eggs in one basket, it would seem wiser to pool these resources and attract numerous small- to-medium companies. This would offer us true economic diversity and a better quality of life. How about a financial-aid package for promising startups or to help expand existing entrepreneurial businesses? If we have supposedly attracted so many bright, well-educated young people to our area, why not finance a few of them? How long will we try to nurse Boeing, which is a dinosaur in fast retreat of the ice age? There is obviously no loyalty on Boeing's part to Washington state.
When private business throws its weight around to further a (for profit) agenda, the diligent whistle-blower can turn to government for support and action. When it is the government throwing its weight around to further a (political) agenda, where does the diligent whistle-blower turn for support and action?
Bravo to Rick Anderson for exposing the self-serving (oh, whoops, we made a mistake . . . too bad) approach that the politically popular and idealistic monorail project committee has chosen to take ["Monorail Roadkill," Dec. 3]. I can only hope that Anderson and other members of the press will investigate exactly whose political agenda is worth promoting while so obviously "in your face" violating the very process they and their predecessors helped to create.
It's one thing to be dogged and skeptical of the monorail. If Rick Anderson's coverage were just that, then I'd believe that he was providing a service with it ["Monorail Roadkill," Dec. 3]. But everything he's written on the monorail is so absurdly lopsided and manipulative that I'm left wondering what his agenda is. Quoting Richard Borkowski without identifying him as an active opponent of the monorail (and avid supporter of Sound Transit Link) is just plain deceitful. Where was Anderson when light rail was destroying businesses on Beacon Hill and Martin Luther King Way? Every week Anderson trots out more bile about the monorail and ignores the follies of Sound Transit and its Link project.
JUST ANOTHER CITY
Considering the apparent closing of the Independent Media Center, I am amazed once again at how unaware Seattle can be of its national and international reputation ["Endymedia," Dec. 3]. Another example was the lack of activism during the fourth anniversary of the WTO demonstrations this year. People in other cities were shocked to learn that Seattle had no mass rallies or celebrations. Where is the courageous proactive spirit that spawned the worldwide network of IMCs and generated countless political protests since 1999?
A large number of people in the rest of the world see this city as a cutting-edge bastion of activism and alternative music. Unfortunately, the reality of the situation in the Emerald City is much less glamorous than the limited publicity it still receives. As an activist and musician, I witnessed Seattle in its heyday when everything seemed fresh and hip and the possibilities seemed almost mythical. Now we run the risk of becoming just another city in the U.S. suffering from the corporate boom-and-bust cycle and reeling from the effects of corporate and institutional corruption and greed.
We are so unsure of our own culture that the best and most innovative work still continues to take place in the artistic and political underground, unseen and unheard by the masses. When innovators in Seattle do manage to reach out and influence the larger culture, they often succeed in grand fashion. That's why I'm surprised that folks around here are so afraid to connect with the rest of the world and keep that kind of creative energy going. The rest of the world needs something more interesting than Fox News and Clear Channel. Seattle used to provide a few alternatives. Now I worry that we are becoming slaves to mass culture instead of creating something new.
You missed a couple items in your review of Cool Things to Buy That're Not Necessarily a Waste of Money [Gift Guide 3: Books, Music & DVDs, Dec. 3].
Dick Waterman's newly released Between Midnight and Day: The Last Unpublished Blues Archive (Thunder's Mouth Press) is an incredible collection of photos taken by Waterman over a 40-year span as he personally managed blues icons from Son House to Buddy Guy and Bonnie Raitt. The collection includes a photo of the very first note a rediscovered Skip James played at Newport in 1965. Waterman does an annual workshop at the Portland Waterfront Blues Festival, but this is the first time his amazing archive has appeared in book form.
Also, I don't know how you guys missed the The American Folk Blues Festival 1962-66, Volumes 1 and 2. I don't even own a DVD player, but I bought these and watch them on my computer. There's a local angle, too; the flicks were co- produced by John McDermott and Janie Hendrix at Experience Hendrix. Just a couple of weeks ago, they were awarded the 2004 Keeping the Blues Alive Award in film from the Blues Foundation in Memphis.
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