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Thursday, July 7, 2005

Ad Hominem Henry

Posted by on July 7 at 11:46 AM

A story in this week’s Seattle Weekly quotes monorail critic Henry Aronson belittling new Seattle Monorail project chairwoman Kristina Hill, a professor of landscape architecture at the University of Washington, as an intellectual lightweight. “She’s a landscape gardener!” Aronson sneered.

That’s an odd comment to make about a woman who was recruited to the UW from MIT and is one of the youngest tenured professors at the university. Would Aronson have referred to Hill’s colleague Paul Toliver, the former head of Metro, as a “bus driver”? Or to her fellow board member Steve Williamson, head of the King County Labor Council, as a “protest organizer”?

In fairness, Aronson’s slam wouldn’t be the first attack on landscape architecture (there are entire forums out there where landscape architects and urban designers go round and round about the relative merits of each profession).

But as a former port commissioner who was forced to resign his position in disgrace, it’s hard to see what right Aronson has to be impugning another public official’s credentials.

One elected official’s response to Aronson’s asinine aside? “What a moron!” But I wonder who’s the bigger moron Aronson, or the Weekly reporter who breathlessly reported his idiotic ad hominem attack?