Rick's Good Read
I deeply appreciated Rick Anderson's story on the governor's election ["The Latest Returns," April 27]. Thorough, readable, careful—wonderful reporting! Now I finally understand the big picture of what's going on with that election and its aftermath. Thank you!
Media efforts to hold Dean Logan "accountable" (pronounced "scapegoat") for shortcomings exposed by the 2004 gubernatorial election will accomplish nothing ["The Latest Returns," April 27]. Logan, appointed King County elections director in September 2003, is merely the administrator who inherited years' worth of structural problems.
Instead of lynching the messenger, let's solve some of our problems through meaningful electoral reform. Implementing instant-runoff voting statewide would eliminate our insane fixation with the beauty contest we call a "primary," as it is essentially a series of runoff elections held on a single day to save time and money.
Voting entirely by mail eliminates problems of temporary poll worker training, provisional ballots, black-box voting fraud, Election Day machine failure, and voter ID, and allows precious tax money to be better spent on improving ballot processing by ending our dual system. Checks and balances like hand counting (the most accurate method, as machines cannot determine "voter intent" or count damaged ballots) must still be built into the system.
When Seattle Weekly publishes an issue devoted to electoral reform, it will be worth reading!
Logan Runs it Well
I think it is shameful for Seattle Weekly to keep dragging the governor's election story out for this long ["The Latest Returns," April 27]. The story ended months ago when the election was settled in favor of the honorable Christine Gregoire. I suppose it is not surprising for the Weekly to continue to try to cast doubt on the integrity of our electoral process. This is fully in keeping with the increasingly moderate drift of prominent members of the Seattle media.
Dean Logan is a gentleman and a hero. I am sure he will retain his position because he is a man we can count on. He allowed the vote counting to continue only long enough to insure that the right candidate won. To extend the process any further would have cast real doubt upon the validity of the election. He has been honest and evenhanded in his leadership, and in the process, he has saved the Democratic process in Washington state. The voters are the winners. We now have the leadership we deserve.
I agree with the premise of the article by Geov Parrish ["Without DeLay," April 27], but I fail to see a solution to the Republicans' march toward one-party rule. I base my skepticism on two recent experiences.
In one case, I attended a local Democratic Party meeting. Almost everyone wanted to talk only about his or her "core issue," whether it was unions, gay rights, Social Security, or the environment. Not only was there no agreement on anything, but you could sense the discomfort between various factions.
In the other case, I attended a wedding at one of those huge Christian churches in the suburbs. The pastor rambled on about marriage being between "one man and one woman." As he spoke, all 1,000 of the white middle-class Protestants in attendance vigorously nodded in agreement, reminding me of a scene out of The Stepford Wives. I have no doubt that when the pastor tells his flock to vote Republican, they will march off to the voting booth to do his bidding.
I greatly fear continued one-party rule by the Republican right; however, I see little or no hope that any person or issue can unite Democrats in sufficient numbers to beat the monolithic Republican/conservative Christian voting block. I hope I am wrong.
Assault on Choice
Thank you for Nina Shapiro's article on the proposed Seattle schools restructuring, especially regarding school choice ["Advanced Displacement," April 27]. One detail that has gotten buried in all this is that children in grades K–2 will not be grandfathered in under this proposal, starting in 2006. With the reduction of school choice, these children will be reassigned to their neighborhood schools.
For our family, like many others, our neighborhood school is not a good match for our child. We put a tremendous amount of time and energy into picking a school that matched our educational philosophy. Imagine our reaction when we realized that our son will be pulled out of this school and placed into the very school we disliked.
Like other more affluent parents, we have the economic freedom to pull our child out of that school. We can send him to private school. We can move. But what if all the parents like us do that? What will that do to the Seattle School District?
The issue of school choice seems to be getting buried under school closures. I appreciate Shapiro reporting on it, as the implications may be much more widespread and long-standing than the closures.
Fixing School Inequities
Many complain that the savings in the proposed school closure and consolidation plan is too small ["Advanced Displacement," April 27]. I disagree—$3.2 million represents an extra $67 for every student in the district or about 50 additional teachers. It is true that there would be additional capital expenditures needed to support the proposal, but these changes pay off in capital savings in the long run as well.
Nina Shapiro's article, like others, cites the Accelerated Progress Program at Garfield as the district's academic "crown jewel." I believe the concentration of "high-achieving" APP students at a single school provides significant choices and opportunity for those in the program while limiting choices for bright students at other schools. How many students at Seattle's other comprehensive high schools are denied the opportunity to take AP history, calculus, or Spanish to provide AP Latin at Garfield?
Shapiro's article quoted Katherine Triandafilou of Garfield PTSA as saying: "I think what they're doing is taking away services from people they're serving in order to attempt to serve people they haven't been serving." Is this wrong? If we are underserving a portion of our student population, don't we have an obligation to make budget adjustments to rectify the inequity?
There is no doubt the proposed changes will be difficult for those directly affected. That does not mean we should do nothing.
Brian Miller's concluding statement, "that's not why we go to the movies," in his review of Todd Solondz's Palindromes is quite an assumption [This Week's Attractions, April 27]. Since when are films supposed to appeal to everybody? Solondz makes original and personal films that, at least, challenge the cultural staleness and safeness of assembly-line blockbusters. It's refreshing to hear a voice that probes and questions its own life experience.
As far as his statement that Solondz is "stuck in an artistic cul-de-sac": That is awfully hypocritical from a critic whose other review included the lazy, dismissive adjective "cheesy." If you're going to have such high standards as a critic, at least have the prose to allow us to trust in your intellect.
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