What?!? Close the Blue Moon ["Lunar Eclipse," May 17]? NO! The Blue Moon is sacred to honest-to-god Seattleites—the ones who were here in the '60s and '70s. The Blue Moon was the first bar I'd ever been in. It was packed with character and characters. The Vietnam War was still going; we wore flowers in our hair, long skirts, and were most likely barefoot. I spent most of that afternoon and evening reading the historical graffiti and wisdom carved into the walls and tables. I didn't officially know the regulars, but a gentle bearded and bandana'd new friend turned to me from the nearest table and handed me a dog-eared book and asked, "Have you read this?" I read the title—Another Roadside Attraction, by Tom Robbins. I accepted the gift, and my life has never been the same.
I'm so sick of losing our character and history. I suspect people who are turning our city into McAnywhere, U.S.A., are people with no roots here. Many of our working-class (for lack of a better word) landmarks are disappearing. We are being squeezed out by the Botox-junkied, iPod-plugged status heads. My neighborhood, with its old, beautiful gardens and small homes with porches, is being razed, to be replaced by obscene, walled, instant condos. There are no opportunities to meet and chat with neighbors, no sense of community.
Seattle won't be Seattle without the Blue Moon! Is anyone organizing to save it? If they can save the pink Toe Truck, surely—surely!—something can be done to save our Moon.
Regarding your softball article on the Blue Moon ["Lunar Eclipse," May 17], I had the extreme misfortune of working just a couple doors down from the Blue Moon in 2004.
"Life's colorful seepage"? More like a social sewer. During my time at the copy store, I saw countless homeless-alcoholic-junkie types wander in from the Blue Moon and its neighboring bar to beg for money, demand the use of the store's phone, steal store supplies, pass out at the self-serve computers, use the rest room to shoot up, and generally harass and terrorize the store's staff and customers on a daily basis. I called the SPD more times than I can remember for everything from drug deals going down in the parking lot behind our store (about 10 yards from the Blue Moon) to knife fights at the front entrance.
Last week's story, "Schwarz Surprise" [May 17], by Roger Downey was indeed a surprise and not the quality of journalism we have come to expect from Seattle Weekly. An article based solely on hearsay, much of which is factually inaccurate, requires a response as we believe your readership is not being served responsibly.
Mr. Downey made no attempt to communicate with Seattle Symphony management, board, or players' organization for comment to create a factual, balanced story. Several statements and unattributed quotes, including apparently from me, were both inaccurate and misleading. Most egregious is the claim that I do not support Gerard Schwarz and that I am expected to seek "greener pastures." I can assure your readers that I came here specifically to work with and support Maestro Schwarz and am looking forward to our continuing partnership.
Executive Director, Seattle Symphony
Surprised by story
I was astonished to read this article ["Schwarz Surprise," May 17]. In my view, Gerard Schwarz is a first-class musician and conductor, and Seattle is fortunate that he wants to remain under any circumstance.
That American and Canadian conductors are forced to spend time fund-raising is an outrage, but since that is part of the job and Schwarz is seemingly so good at it, what is the musicians' problem? They should take a look at the lengthy list of orchestras that have gone bankrupt in the last several years and be thankful that their conductor helps them receive their weekly paycheck and perks. When Schwarz assumed my former position after my resignation from the Eastern Music Festival, I was delighted. He is dedicated to excellence, and shouldn't that be what the performing arts are all about?
Music Director Emeritus, Eastern Music Festival
Tooting Schwarz's horn
Having been a semipro hornist since 1945, when I moved to Seattle in 1998, one of the very first things I did was attend a Seattle Symphony concert to listen to the horn section ["Schwarz Surprise," May 17]. By the end of that concert, I knew I was in for listening treats every time I attended a concert, with especial mention of the wonderful horn section. Then, last year, I attended the concert that featured the Mahler Fifth Symphony, with the marvelous obligato horn part in the third movement. John Cerminaro stepped forward to play, without music, flawlessly and with incredible musicality. The tears brought forth by hearing and experiencing this lasted through the end of the concert.
If Maestro Schwarz ever did one thing right in his life, it was insisting that Cerminaro be his first hornist (and Schwarz has done many other very fine things, so that it's a pleasure to attend any concert he conducts). I'm overjoyed that the board has rehired him for another three years.
I am a Columbia City resident who is in favor of the Downtown Emergency Service Center's project to house chronically homeless adults in a new facility on Rainier Avenue ["Here Goes the Neighborhood," May 10]. I welcome the economic diversity that this guarantees, and I am happy to be in a position to know people who are different than me. I do understand the concerns of the business people around the area, and I share some of them. However, I think we can make it work. We can use our imaginations and creativity and compassion to make our community better, not just richer.
Concerns in Columbia City
I am writing concerning the Downtown Emergency Service Center's proposed housing facility for the chronically homeless and mentally ill to be constructed at 5270 Rainier Avenue South in Columbia City ["Here Goes the Neighborhood," May 10]. The DESC's Web site claims that they chose Columbia City because they wanted "a neighborhood with a high quality of life that would be safe for vulnerable people." This description does not match Columbia City. I have lived two blocks away from the proposed facility for the past year, and in that year my car has been prowled twice and stolen once; I have seen three drug deals from my living-room window; one neighbor has been arrested at 2 a.m. by a K-9 police unit; and we have been kept awake by drunken teens roaming our street and encountered graffiti and prostitutes.
Our neighborhood is still struggling to pull away from its crime- and drug-ridden past. It is not that I think the 80 future residents of 5270 Rainier will add to the crime as perpetrators; rather, I know that the homeless and mentally ill are often themselves victims of crime, and to place them in a neighborhood still burdened with drugs, violence, and prostitution will be to hinder or even prevent their re-entry into society as functional human beings.
Many of us feel we are being rushed into this decision. We hope DESC will put a hold on their plans until some agreement can be reached between them and the neighborhood. We are not saying "no" forever; just "no" for now. We hope that the DESC will see our reluctance as concern for the future of our neighborhood, not opposition to the good things they stand for.
Allison Wedell Schumacher
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