Stateless in Seattle

A Man's Writer?

Gee, thanks for Tim Appelo's paean to male writers in Seattle ["Stateless in Seattle," Nov. 16]. Isn't it awful women in this town don't like to write—not even nature porn as described by Appelo: "peaks 'n' grass as tits 'n' ass." Thanks to Appelo, we now know writing is done by and for men. Jonathan Raban must be real impressed with Appelo's mastery of the writing scene in Seattle and his placement by Appelo at the top of the heap. I'm just glad I don't live in Appelo's world. Keep up the good sexist journalism!

Maria Pascualy


Don't Forget August

I read the article about Jonathan Raban, whose work I admire, but Seattle Weekly has it wrong as to who is Seattle's greatest writer ["Stateless in Seattle," Nov. 16]. He just died, his name is August Wilson, and he was born in Pittsburgh, Pa. Raban is good, but Wilson is truly great.

Miller Myers


Preachy and Predictable

I can't believe people are still sucking up to a guy like Jonathan Raban ["Stateless in Seattle," Nov. 16]. He's actually read Wordsworth, wow! He speaks with an English accent, wow! Jesus Christ; one whiff of his preachy, lugubrious style and the whole miserable business becomes utterly and completely predictable. I mean, gimme a break.Yes, we all understand the pathology of American society, blah, blah. Raban says that as soon as his daughter enters college, he's out of here. Let's hope it's soon.

P. Foster Sullivan


Windbag Brit

Regarding Tim Appelo, Jonathan Raban, and Bremerton ["Stateless in Seattle," Nov. 16], I offer a few thoughts from "Jersey":

1. Having spent some time on the west side of the Delaware River, I appreciate Raban's Jersey joke. Well played! Does he insult Washingtonians on the East Coast?

2. I'm fine with Bainbridge being a proverbial "part" of Seattle as long as Kitsap County still keeps its tax dollars. I'm sure the Island folk value the inclusion.

3. This town that is "out there somewhere" is the proud home to one of the largest employers in the state. Though that wouldn't concern folks of such discerning tastes due to our lack of sophistication and wine-sniffing arrogance.

4. I, for one, would oppose a bridge or tunnel linking Seattle and Bremerton if it would mean an influx of windbag British writers and snooty Seattle Weekly journalists.

Overall, we in Bremerton like our affordable housing, decreased congestion, and lack of travel writers. Finally, we don't want their friends at our house parties. Oh, and prior to Washington, I used to live in Montana and don't quite care for the writers' tone with that state. I'll take that up another time.

Mike Hardiman


Doll Maker Responds

Thanks very much for a well-written, well-thought-out review of our movie New York Doll [This Week's Attractions, Nov. 16]. It is obvious that Laura Cassidy watched the film with an open mind and let Arthur Kane take her on his journey. As we sat down to process the nearly 100 hours of footage obtained along the way, the only way that made sense to edit the material was to try and best represent the events as they unbelievably unfolded in front of our eyes, ears, and cameras.

I wanted to point out that I produced the film with Seth Gordon (also a Seattle product—both of his parents are University of Washington professors). This film would not have been possible without Seth's many contributions.

Again, thanks for watching the film, and making it an SW Pick.

Ed Cunningham

Venice, CA

Vigorous Defense

On Nov. 9, Seattle Weekly printed an article entitled "Cleaning Up Hanford." We believe that the article contains inaccurate statements attributed to Mr. Gerry Pollet, executive director of Heart of America Northwest. We're specifically concerned about the article's assertion that nothing prevents the attorney general's office from enforcing Initiative 297 (the Cleanup Priority Act) right now, or that the attorney general's office has somehow declined to implement or enforce the initiative. In fact, a federal court injunction prevents the state from acting to implement the law. That injunction will remain in place until the legal challenge to the initiative is resolved by the federal court.

Furthermore, the attorney general's office does not have authority to implement or enforce the initiative. That authority is in the hands of the state Department of Ecology (which is also subject to the current injunction against implementation). The role of the attorney general's office is to represent the Department of Ecology and to vigorously defend the initiative against the United States' challenge.

The facts simply do not support Mr. Pollet's suggestion that this case is not a priority for the attorney general's office. The state has vigorously defended Initiative 297 in both state and federal court, and it will continue to do so. To follow is a timeline:

First, before Initiative 297 could take effect, the United States filed a lawsuit against the state Department of Ecology asking a federal court to strike down Initiative 297 as unconstitutional. On Dec. 2, 2004, the federal court granted the United States' request for an injunction preventing Ecology from implementing or enforcing the initiative at Hanford and other federal sites. Several proponents of the initiative, including Heart of America Northwest, intervened in the case. On Feb. 8, the state achieved a significant victory in the case when the federal court granted the state's motion to certify important issues of interpretation to the state Supreme Court. It was the position of the state that only a state court, not a federal court, can authoritatively determine the meaning of a state law. It is only after the state court interprets the initiative that a federal court can decide whether the initiative is constitutional. As a condition of certification to the state court, all of the parties, including Heart of America Northwest, agreed that the ban on implementing the initiative could remain in place until the federal court decides whether the initiative is constitutional.

The state Supreme Court promptly issued its decision, agreeing with the state on several key issues and agreeing with the United States on other issues. The case has now been returned to federal court where the court will rule on the constitutionality of the initiative. The United States has filed a summary judgment brief asking the court to strike down the law. A team of four assistant attorneys general is now preparing the state's response, which urges the court to uphold the initiative.

Upon agreement of all of the parties, including Heart of America Northwest, the federal court will hear oral arguments on May 23, 2006, and the court will likely issue its decision shortly after that date.

We appreciate this opportunity to provide readers with additional information about the Initiative 297 litigation.

Rob McKenna

Washington State Attorney General

Geov Parrish replies: Pollet's point is that I-297 simply makes mandatory the enforcement of powers the state already had; the injunction does not prevent the state from applying the standards of I-297 using that pre-existing authority. However, the departments of Health and Ecology both totally ignored I-297 in issuing a recent decision that effectively makes Hanford's commercial low-level radioactive waste dump a national radioactive waste dump for large quantities of radioactive waste. The state also ignored I-297's standards in other recent decisions, the most notable being the failure to use the initiative's timetable for cleanup of unlined burial grounds when negotiating a new agreement with the Department of Energy on the massive ditches from which contamination is spreading.

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