Imagining My Father
I would like to thank you for running Philip Dawdy's excellent story "The Plan to Nowhere?" on March 8. Although the subject of homelessness is scary, heartbreaking, and downright anger inducing, the author did a superb job reporting on a tough topic.
I work downtown, so of course I thought I understood the homeless problem. But as always is the case, I only saw it from my own perspective. Through the eyes of Larry Govea and SPD Sgt. Paul Gracy, one gains a much wider view of this catastrophe. I started to imagine if my own father were homeless. I started to wonder how sad I would feel if I were in Sgt. Gracy's shoes. Not sad for the homeless, but sad about the state of our society.
We won't end the homeless problem until every single one of us understands the perspective of the homeless. Thank you for the opportunity to examine my mind-set and search my soul.
Thanks so much for running the in-depth piece on homelessness and the 10-year plan ["The Plan to Nowhere?" March 8]. I hope the plan succeeds, but it's hard to trust the effort when one of the most important partners, the city of Seattle, uses it to justify a decision that will result in some of the most vulnerable homeless people in our community losing their shelter and being forced to sleep on the streets. It's too bad that this endeavor that's supposed to be rallying our community to end homelessness is ending its first year mired in disappointment because of one partner's bad decision. All of us involved are doing what we can to help end homelessness, but we need the city's help. It's been frustrating to listen to Seattle officials manipulate numbers and claim that they aren't reducing shelter. Philip Dawdy's article cut through some of that and gave faces to the real people who will be affected by the plan's success or failure. I haven't seen that in other papers.
Thanks again for paying attention. If we are going to end homelessness, we need Seattle Weekly's continued help in educating the public and watchdogging those leading the effort. I'm looking forward to more stories like this!
Advocacy and Organizing Director, Real Change
Kudos to Philip Dawdy and to Seattle Weekly for the on-target piece "The Plan to Nowhere?" [March 8]. Just as powerful is the cover, "Where's Her Arena?" It may be the most indelible image Seattle Weekly has had on a cover that I can remember. I encourage it become a poster until we can be sure that those of us who are in any way attached to the formal Committee to End Homelessness in King County get the message much louder and much clearer. More on point, there clearly needs to be this kind of oversight by the press, by citizens, and by those who are homeless to ensure that rhetoric not exceed action and that handing out plaudits not exceed change that matters. The 10-year plan is all about partnerships that reform the business-as-usual and inattentive legislating that brought us to this distressful place. Sure, outside impacts from the feds have made it all harder, but it is not impossible even with federal foolishness. The attitude evidenced in quotes from Seattle Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis speaks volumes, such as when he says that "we have to start moving money away from . . . " What Ceis fails to see is that the remedy to homelessness in the region exceeds Seattle's ability (Ceis' "imperial we") to decide this on its own. We encourage him to try something novel, such as having Seattle talk to the many other partners—nonprofit, faith community, business, and other municipalities—who could help Seattle see a lot more clearly.
The Rev. Bill Kirlin-Hackett
Director, Interfaith Task Force on Homelessness Seattle
Tooth Fairy's Plan
"The Plan to Nowhere?" was an apt Seattle Weekly headline [March 8]. Why? Because only politicians and preachers could come up with such pie-in-the-sky appeals to gullible potential patrons as "Goal: End homelessness in 10 years." Yah, end all alcoholism, end all family bad decision making, have a constant, affluent, growing economy that willingly allows massive amounts of dollars to be funneled into building-industry hands in order to provide subsidized housing and maximize endless, sustainable (?) growth. Yah, believe in the tooth fairy, too.
A Rude Awakening?
When I saw the cover photo last week [March 8], I hoped against hope that the photographer, Ron Wurzer, had asked that apparently sleeping homeless woman permission to put her picture on the cover of your paper. But if she was sleeping, it would have been pretty rude to wake her up to ask. In fact, if she was sleeping, I can't think of any way, whether permission was asked or not, that taking that photograph wouldn't have been incredibly rude. Did Wurzer get permission from her? If not, why not? Homeless people deserve that level of respect, too.
Ron Wurzer responds: No, I did not get her permission to take her picture. Because, as stated, I didn't want to wake her up to ask. Was it rude of me to go ahead and take her picture for possible publication? Maybe. But I thought then, as I still do, that it was too strong a picture to pass up to illustrate a very serious problem and it served a greater purpose. While I would prefer to get the permission of everyone that I photograph, it's not always possible.
In the "Bones and Blonds" piece [Mossback, March 8], I was very disappointed to see some relatively questionable science disseminated along with regurgitated failed fact checking. Why blond hair exists and how it came to be is still considered highly speculative by the scientific community.
What is certain? The World Health Organization never published any such nonsense as blond hair dying out as a trait by 2202. On the face of it the assertion seems stupid, and it is. Why would something as prolific as blond hair go away in less than 200 years? That's just silly, and it makes Knute Berger look likewise when he carelessly recycles the bad information.
This was atrocious fact checking by The Times of London, and in some sense it is even worse that Seattle Weekly would rubber-stamp the notion. This typifies the way bad science gets quoted in popular media today. People are so confused, they don't know what to believe. Then again, maybe I am wrong; maybe dinosaurs also walked the Earth within the last 10 millennia, and maybe global warming is "just" a theory. Kudos to the Weekly for being on the bus.
Thanks for Jeremy Engdahl-Johnson's fun article on karaoke ["Wasting Away in Karaokeville," March 8]. As a kid, my parents had eight-track karaoke and later laser-disc karaoke. Now there's a PlayStation 2 with Karaoke Revolution games where I live. However, I've never actually been to a bar with karaoke. Now Seattle Weekly has piqued my interest!
I know the article is about karaoke in bars, but somewhere in there Engdahl-Johnson should have mentioned a few places where you can rent karaoke rooms, like Seattle's Best Karaoke, because that is incredibly fun as well!
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