A sampling of readers' letters, faxes and e-mail.
When the lights go down in the city
As mayor and council squabble, our margaritas are melting
Editor, The Times:
The Seattle City Council and Mayor Greg Nickels are squawking over bureaucratic horse pucky while city residents and guests get screwed over because we can’t enjoy peaceful, quiet, mixed-use neighborhoods where bars and pubs rule the roost.
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We wait and wait while elected leaders flap their wings over a slimy piece of paper called a license ["Mayor vetoes controversial club ordinance," Times, page one, Sept. 28]. Law-abiding conduct on the sidewalks and in the parking lots near nightlife spots by any other name is still law-abiding conduct.
I won’t speak ill of the mayor’s license proposal but I think all the cockle-doodle-dooing over who is right and who is wrong is costing us citizens the confidence that our safety is paramount in the minds of our government.
Nickels and the City Council ought to sit down together and work this out — just like GM and its hourly workers negotiated a contract after the strike was called.
— Tom Hundley, Seattle
Just like the disco era, Nickels’ plan won’t seem like a good idea later
I was disappointed by your “Council twiddled on nightclub rowdiness” editorial [Times, Editorial, Oct. 4]. The mere title implies you missed the point. This is an issue of safe streets and noise control, not nightclub rowdiness. While formally waiting a year to officially deliberate the topic was passive, even for Seattle, the City Council showed strength and leadership by not simply rubber-stamping Mayor Greg Nickels’ knee-jerk, headline-grabbing solution. His license idea has serious drawbacks and did not effectively address the issues of noise and security on the streets. It was poor legislation.
Your editorial accused the council of taking orders from the “nightclub lobby.” If your editorial board had listened to any of the City Council’s deliberations, it would have heard the very clear concerns they had with this license and its impacts on small businesses — not their fictitious fears of some mythical “nightclub lobby” machine.
— Don Blakeney, New York
So who’s quaking in their go-go boots?
So apparently the Seattle City Council is terrified of the of the powerful (insert sarcasm) nightclub lobby. Really? I find it amazing that your paper could be so blatantly biased. You’ve misrepresented several facts surrounding this issue and have failed to look into the motives behind the campaign for this new nightclub license.
Other than a news story ["Seattle to act on nightclubs — in a year," page one, Sept. 18], and a satirical column by Danny Westneat ["Public enemy No. 1: Nightlife," Local News, Sept. 12], all you have printed on the subject seems to have come straight from the Mayor’s Office.
Could The Times be afraid of getting on the wrong side of the powerful (no sarcasm) pro-development lobby?
— Jason Tyler, Seattle
Bet your last dollar on this little concept: Having kids isn’t free
There has been a huge uproar over the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. President Bush vetoed the bill passed by both houses of Congress, and Gov. Christine Gregoire announced that Washington state is going to sue the Bush administration over its “draconian” new restrictions on SCHIP. Republicans are lobbying Republicans to change their minds. Democrats are savaging Republicans for choosing war over children.
Now, down to earth. I have raised four daughters. I chose to bring them into this world and assumed certain responsibilities and obligations in doing so. One was to give them a solid upbringing. Another was to support them until they were in a position to support themselves and to assist them in their education to enable that. In doing so, I made trade-offs: a new car, a vacation, even going out for pizza were choices sometimes at odds with the obligation I made to support those kids.
We gave up components of a better lifestyle to bring them into the world. It was our choice to give things up; as it was to have the kids. Nowhere have I seen anything written concerning the obligation and responsibility of parents to support the children they have conceived and brought into this world.
Are we as Americans to have no responsibilities? No obligations? No consequences? Can we have it all and what we can’t afford, the government will provide?
SCHIP is nothing more than a vehicle for one political class to dominate another, with our money.
— Theodore Wight, Seattle
At the end of the day, Dems will be Dems
President Bush was correct to veto the expansion of the SCHIP bill. This is just a further step to create socialized medicine and rationed health care. This bill will give politicians an excuse to raise taxes even more, and create an even larger class of people dependent on the government.
As usual, the Democrats are using our children to raise taxes, increase their power and create dependency on them to increase their voter base.
— Wayde Hager, Vancouver
A little perspective
Regarding Bush’s recent veto of the expansion of SCHIP, this is a no-brainer. Would you rather have your tax dollars spent to provide health care for American children, or for Blackwater guards to provide meager death benefits to Iraqi children whose parents become “collateral damage”?
— Ellen Lewis, Kirkland
It’s the circle of news
Johann Neem’s argument that “reporters can’t be objective if they remain neutral” is misleading. Objectivity is not the opposite of neutrality; bias is.
It is bias that leads to a lack of objectivity. It is bias of which the media is frequently accused. It is not neutral (as Neem describes it), but unbiased reporting that readers are looking for.
— Chris Plyman, SeaTac
What about the truth?
Thank you for the commentary by Johann N. Neem ["Reporters can't be objective if they remain neutral," guest commentary, Oct. 4]. Neem is accurate in his analysis. I have called it investigative reporting, but he is correct in that it is merely objective reporting: report the facts when someone makes a certain claim.
So many times an interviewee makes a claim that I can tell is inaccurate, but the reporter lets it go. It is necessary for reporters to know the facts and call the speaker on it if they deviate from the truth.
We know what each party is going to say, so why waste our time? President Bush and Congress are allowed to make inaccurate statements about such issues as the SCHIP bill, and aren’t called on it.
Neem is also correct in that we readers/listeners don’t always know the facts and it is up to the media to give us that information. The only problem I see now with the obligation of the reporter to disclose the truth is that the truth has been obscured these past seven years.
How do reporters go about finding the real truth? Do we even know what the truth is anymore?
— Kathy Harris, Seattle
Bill hardly a touchdown for those playing by rules
Your recent editorial about the DREAM Act ["DREAM another day," Editorial, Oct. 3] missed a few points. For example, unlike the amnesty bills from the Senate for the past two years, DREAM is a continuing program, not just a one-time amnesty. What people usually think of as “amnesty” is at least a one-time disaster, and this will continue so long as illegal aliens continue to bring their children into the country.
Second, once the “student” gets the “conditional” lawful permanent-resident status, he or she can seek green cards for the parents who brought him or her into the U.S. illegally in the first place, thus creating backdoor amnesty for millions of illegal aliens.
The DREAM Act provides in-state tuition at public universities for the illegal aliens, thus discriminating against U.S. citizens from out of state and law-abiding foreign students.
The DREAM Act is just another way to provide amnesty to illegal aliens.
— Richard Quam, Sedro-Woolley
Education — at a cost
An interesting story would be “How much will Seattle Public Schools pay in consulting costs this academic year” or “How much does Seattle Public Schools spend on assessments during the academic year?”
For a district trying to figure out how to “direct resources into the classroom,” it seems to use a lot of consultants, and their assessment costs are chewing up much of their budget — not to mention teachers’ time.
— Jack Nolan, Shoreline