A SELECTION FROM THE STORY COMMENTS ONLINE: Re: "Big Softy" by Laura Onstot (March 12) Thanks for writing a balanced article about the payday lending industry. Like any industry, there are critics of payday lending. There are also consumers who misuse the product and have buyer's remorse, like Ms. Davis, even though she says it helped her when she needed it. And there are lenders in the industry who don't positively contribute to its reputation. The same could be said of any industry. But most of the people in the payday loan industry and its customers are decent, honest, responsible, and want to do the right thing. Mr. Bassford is one of the good guys. Congrats, Seattle Weekly, you've done what others have failed to do: write a balanced piece that challenges not just the claims of the industry but those of its critics equally.—Veritas That's bullsh*t!!!! You can't charge anyone over 300 percent interest, as payday "check-cashing" companies are allowed to do in this state, and call yourself honest by any stretch of the imagination. This creates a horrible dynamic for more and more of us—not just minorities. These places should be outlawed, and the CEOs prosecuted as the usurious predatory individuals they are.—Christal Wood Let's remember that many payday loan establishments actually started as a check-cashing business—a service that was greatly needed in low-income communities because traditional banks would not provide financial services—which is why many of the payday lenders are located in communities of color. When your car breaks down and you won't have the money to get it fixed for a week, this short-term loan is vital to your ability to continue your employment. Sure, there are people who get in trouble with the short-term credit, but there are folks who get in over their heads with traditional credit, and I don't see anyone protesting Citibank. And, Moneytree will extend your loan if you can't pay it back when you promised without any additional fees. Will B of A give you the same courtesy? I get tired of folks treating the working poor like children. The adults who borrow money are responsible enough to have jobs and checking accounts. Surely, they can decide if they can afford a payday loan.—Former Customer I have taken out payday loans on occasion to balance my account and avoid bank fees. On average, a $100 loan charges $15 over two weeks compared to a bank's charge of $35 on an overdraft on the same day of the charge (no matter how much you have overdrawn). If you calculate the APR on the aforementioned bank's NSF, it can easily top 10,000 percent compared to the lesser 391 percent from the mentioned payday loan. Can you imagine the banks having to justify that? Learn the facts. Don't be emotional about it.—Do the math Re: "Down the Commode" by Rick Anderson (March 12) The simple solution is to charge money for the use of the toilets, as they do in major European cities. Get with the program, Seattle, and stop being so g_ d_ passive-aggressive! Pay to pee and it'll go toward maintenance costs AND keep the bums out (so to speak).—K When the public toilets in Pioneer Square opened for the 1909 World's Fair, they were touted in Harper's as being the most beautiful in the country. They were closed up in the '30s or '40s...but A MILLION DOLLARS could go far to renovate them (a historic attraction) and then HIRE some of the panhandlers of Pioneer Square to keep them clean as attendants...offering real jobs to real people....Maybe not as high-tech, but this would serve several positive functions with just one program....Maybe it makes too much sense?—Seattle Guide Greg The only people I have ever seen entering or leaving those toilets are drugged-up burnouts who went in there to shoot up. Stop wasting your money, Seattle. Sally Clark's idea to "align" with businesses to open their rest rooms to tourists and the homeless is ridiculous. Anyone with a brain knows that no successful business owner is going to open up their paying customers' rest rooms to vagrants. Not only would that drive away their business, but it would also be a health/safety risk.—Jewell I used—or tried to use—one last week at the Pike Place Market and the door wouldn't close. When I walked away I saw a guy go in and, the door still stuck open, take a pee anyway. Certainly adds color to the Market!—Jane Wright Adding together the lease money spent, the contract-terminating cost, and the removal expenses, we will have flushed more than $3 million down those toilets. And nobody's going to jail?—Bud These toilets should be coin-operated. Make them $.50 a turn, and the money can be used to rehab them. Offer people a job to run the toilets. Perhaps subcontract it out to Real Change or [the] Matt Talbot [Center]. Most other countries I've traveled to have public rest rooms, and almost all are pay-to-use. Making business pay to provide toilets for all is not the answer.—Andy Hallock Re: "Bush Bombshell" by Rick Anderson (March 12) [John] McKay is your basic, honest law-and-order conservative. I've heard him talk, and you want him on your side; you don't want him on the other side if you're guilty of something. It's clear that that's what got him in trouble with this administration. The question is, what about the 80 or 90 guys who did NOT get fired. Why did they KEEP their jobs?—rewinn Re: "Ramen is Ready for its Slurp-Up" by Jonathan Kauffman (March 12) We thought there were only two ramen joints in Western Washington, Samurai and the one at Factoria Mall. Thanks to your timely review, we found two more to try. We actually tried Kaname Izakaya late last night on a whim, after a ramen jones, and found it OK but nothing to write home to Hawaii about (that's where we're from, so we know our ramen from our udon). We'll try the Boom Noodle when I can convince my husband it's not just "froufrou" Americanized and whored Japanese food. We've been searching eternally for the kind of simple but deeply flavored ramen we've been spoiled on with Banzai Ramen on King Street in Honolulu. Mostly in vain. The ramen here is too salty, too much, or bland. Now, if you guys can locate a decent yakisoba joint, one that isn't sickeningly sweet (isn't everything Japanese on the mainland?), let me know.—Coggie Re: "The Curse of Capt. Peabody" by Brian Miller (March 5) Brian Miller's article about the traditional problems with ferry service keeps alive another Puget Sound marine transportation tradition: hack, ferry-system-bashing journalism. I am specifically referring to the rich tradition of trashing government bureaucrats, ferry management, and ferry workers. With no clear references, Miller prescribes that U.S. shipyards are expensive (compared to what, those in China?) and that ferry workers are overpaid (not according to salary surveys of similar U.S. workers in the private and public maritime sectors). The problems with the ferry system rest with shortsighted political leaders who refuse to recognize that a reliable cross-Sound transportation system takes sufficient public investment. Of course those unnamed Eastern Washington politicians who Miller claims carp about ferry system expense get their underused rural transportation system entirely from the tax base. A system that also has expensive geological challenges to overcome that include expensive-to-maintain mountain passes. Find a political willpower, from elected leadership to the citizenry, that fully recognizes the expense of providing for this important public resource, and there one will find the means to provide reliable cross-Sound transportation. A quality system that is no longer the fodder for a lazy journalist looking to keep advertising revenues up by producing tabloid-quality journalism.—David Freiboth Re: "Trapped in the Closet" by Brian J. Barr (Feb. 27) Brian Barr and the Weekly's editor must be wearing their Wranglers a size too tight. How else do you feature a story with a blurb like "Trapped in the Closet" without making any mention of the gay and lesbian side of things? GLBTQ country-western dancing and music is alive and kicking in the Seattle area. The nonprofit, volunteer-run Rain Country Dance Association currently produces dance nights at the Cuff Complex on Capitol Hill every Friday night and alternate Wednesdays, providing both dance instruction and all your favorite country-western dance music. Rain Country is also in an expansion mode this month: We are adding a classic country music night at the Seattle Eagle, and Monday lessons and dancing at Swank in Kent. (Kudos to the Weekly for your recent story on gay life in Kent!) We also produce a monthly non-bar dance night at a Seattle church. And no, you don't have to show your "gay card" at any of our dances. Everyone is welcome.—Jim Drew Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment online! CORRECTION In Brian Miller's story "The Curse of Capt. Peabody" (March 5), Paul Revelle, head of the state Department of Transportation during the 1940s, was mistakenly identified as the father of future King County Executive Randy Revelle. He was his uncle. We regret the error.