I'm cribbing from Keith Haring because maybe that will get through the provincial hipster haze that is The Stranger. I'm referring to the case of Bradley Manning and the roar of silence from the gay community, which should be supporting him as much as any other issue, gay or otherwise. Glenn Greenwald offers a demolition of gay cowardice in today's Guardian.
Gay marriage supporters who obediently kick PFC Manning to the curb remind of nothing so much as African-American soldiers in the Civil War, who only had to wait 130 years before gaining the right to vote. Gay obedience will not protect marriage rights; just as the mass of progressive legislation from the early 1970's was ultimately thwarted, so too is gay marriage always open to reversal without a vigorous defense of human rights on all fronts.
The Stranger became an embarrassment as the Manning trial began and the silence could no longer be explained away. I reiterate my support for the permanent end of sexual closets, and also to ripping the gay activist base out of its newly-minted political closet.
Have a voice for Bradley Manning, because later on we straights might decide that gay marriage really wasn't worth the headache and wasn't a few decades enough?
I know you like bikes. So do I. I have a proposal for Seattle which could put it squarely in the spotlight as the most bike-friendly major city in the US (which as we know is a magnet to all those hip, educated, 20/30-somethings that are the lifeblood of a city’s future). And, as far as transportation infrastructure goes, it's really, really cheap.
It's called "1NS/1EW." One bike-only street that goes north-south and another that goes east-west. Cars get hundreds of streets, bikes should get one!
Cars have the right-of-way everywhere in the US. European cities often have big carless plazas and bike-only streets. But except for Mayor Bloomberg’s pilot in Times Square, cars are literally, literally everywhere in the US. Isn’t it about time we ask for one little strip of their domain?
This idea, by the way, is much different than a greenway. This isn’t a trail that skirts AROUND a city. And it isn’t tens of millions of dollars in cycle-track redevelopment. This is a NORMAL street.
We take a standard, low-vehicular-traffic, two-way street that is centrally located. We change it so that, except for major intersections, cross traffic must stop. Then we sign it so that it is “Local Access Only”—in other words, cars and trucks can still travel half a block to load/unload/park as needed. Then we tell the city and the world that Seattle just invented the first major bike-only street in America for the cost of a few signs and some green paint. Done.
Yes, it would be a small inconvenience for drivers, but it’s counterbalanced by the fact that it keeps cyclists "out of the way" of busier/faster streets. It’s like the “green streets” concept that Portland pioneered, only smarter.
I’m not a realtor, but I have a hunch it would be pretty cool to live or work on the bike-street. It’ll be quieter, safer and more pedestrian (aka shopper) friendly. I think property values would be driven up.
Hey, I’m a driver too. And I know that Seattle, with all its water, is hard as hell to navigate. But to me, getting cyclists safely off the thoroughfares and onto their own is worth the sacrifice of one street. Let’s try it. Let’s pilot it. And if it doesn’t work, it’s a song to undo.
Let me know what you think.
I say: Hear, hear! What do you say?
Shall the city of Seattle create one bike-only street that goes north-south and another that goes east-west?
Thanks so much for posting my message, I found who I was looking for! Sorry about the layout of the message, I'd never emailed a newspaper before and I thought you would only publish the parts relevant to finding them :p the irony is I'm actually an English literature graduate but I never really use paragraphs in casual emails lol!
Thanks once again I really appreciate what you have done,
So thanks, Slog! (I let Michelle know that I was just joking with the header, and that editing costs extra, payable in the form of baked goods.)
* * * * * * *
Without further ado:
Subject: a refreshing account of an act of kindness from one human to another, when most news is bad news!
I was wondering if you could help me with something. My name is Michelle Gallagher, I am from Scotland and I was working in California in the summer of 2009 when a lovely couple whom I had never met before, came into my workplace in the Northstar resort of Lake Tahoe, and out of the blue, after just ten minutes of conversation, and asking for nothing in return, invited me to visit them at their home in Medina, Washington at some point in my trip, so that I could experience the beauty of their city as I would probably never have seen it otherwise. I am pretty sure this area they said was six miles away from the home of Bill Gates, whose daughter the lady used to teach at elementary school. Their names were Pam and Chris Espinoza (or at least I am pretty sure that is their second name!). On the way home from our summer work experience, my friend and I decided to do something wild, and take them up on their offer and we called them and arranged to stay with them and honestly they treated us like royalty, but on the way home we both lost their card which contained their email addresses, I don't know how but we did and we have felt terrible about this ever since...
Why indeed. Apparently because the mayor and city council are more concerned about developers desires than those of the citizens and visitors to this city of Seattle. Are they getting their palms greased? Perhaps. It sure seems that way. I was driving back from Portland this last Sunday. Seeing the Space Needle just made me feel like I am finally home again from that long drive known locally as the slog. The very idea that the city council and the mayor WANT to have bigger buildings is bad enough. I understand the need of commerce and expansion, but to do so with no concern whatsoever for the people of this region, not just Seattle, is just plain deplorable! Again, the people here get what they are given, not what they want. Or need for that matter. I feel very strongly their goal is just too much and the people need to speak out against the height and blockage of our icon that is the Space Needle. Other cities have spires, Las Vegas, Dallas and others. But NONE of them resemble the Space Needle. That was Bagley Wright’s goal. To create a place to see from afar and to visit up close that is uniquely Seattle. I can’t imagine how he would feel if he were alive today. He passed not so long ago. Perhaps the council and mayor were just waiting for his passing to pounce on this opportunity. I’m sure they’d have one hell of a fight if he were here today!
PLEASE DON'T BLOCK THE VIEW!
Rita Martinez Seattle, WA
We assume she's referring to the Space Needle Corporation's recent campaign aimed at preventing new development in South Lake Union from blocking views of the Needle. But we'd like to point you, Rita, to a much more elegant solution than preventing development, which we reported on last week: "Build Additional Space Needles," the newest campaign to save your Space Needley views! Check out this rendering by KOMO News of our fair city with two dozen additional Space Needles—unforgettable! This is urban design at its best.
Meanwhile, as I was typing this, the Space Needle folks struck again, sending out a press release with the newest prong of their view-saving campaign: a one-minute radio ad. "Once our views are gone, we'll never get them back," it warns. Listen here!
UPDATE: Gold star comment of the day goes to MacCrocodile in the comments on this post:
Just yesterday, I went to the Space Needle with some friends from out of town. It was terrifying. I couldn't see the Space Needle from inside the gift shop. Of course I blacked out, and when I came to, I would have been completely disoriented except that I was outside and laying on the ground, looking up at the Space Needle.
When I tell Seattle folk that I'm a recent transplant from the Deep South, one of two general reactions typically occur. The first is an empathetic nod and a pat on the shoulder with "Yeah, man, me too. Don't all these passive-aggressive West Coast pricks drive you mad?" And the second, more common reaction is a disparaging forced smile and a slight eye twitch, carefully concealed immediately thereafter, as if to say "Now that I know I'm speaking with ignorance manifested, I'll try to keep my composure until I can find a way to evade deep conversation."
As I drove across the country a few months ago with nothing but the shit I could fit in my tiny car on my way west, I got to see and study the social climates of some of the USA's most defining cities—New York, D.C., Chicago—but what stands out to me still is the time I spent in Milwaukee.
One toothless laborer I met in a bar there boasted that Milwaukee is "among the top three most segregated cities in America," and indeed, my aimless walks around the city's various neighborhoods revealed abrupt shifts in culture every few blocks. The wealthy (almost entirely white) folks lived in small mansions looking over the city's (almost entirely nonwhite) slums. At the risk of sounding like a liberal arts student, I thought "Christ, this place is an embodiment of our entire nation's social and racial situation."
The northwest, though, is different. I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I got here, because if you say "Seattle" in most of the South, folks tend to look at you like you said "Cambodia," so far removed is its progressive culture.
The truth is, what I've found here is hardly any different than hellish Milwaukee. The west coast is no less racist than the rural parts of the Carolinas; it's just better at pretending to not be racist.
I would like to know if someone at The Stranger is working on an article about the $25 bicycle tax that is being proposed by Representative Judy Clibborn. If possible I would like to talk to the person that is writing that article and if not I would like to talk to a reporter who would consider writing such an article. I read the SLOG post by Dominic Holden on the subject and while it addresses some aspects of what this tax would do there are some more specifics that I think are important.
As the owner of a local bicycle shop this proposal concerns me greatly.
My main points of objection are:
1. That it is based on the false premise that the roads, highways and bridges are paid for primarily by gas and motor vehicle taxes. My research has found that the majority of the cost is borne by the general fund that all taxpayers contribute to. If we drove cars instead of bikes it would cost taxpayers more, not less.
2. The tax would be due only on sales from local bicycle stores. People buying bicycles from out of state who are already not paying our 9.5% sales tax would not have to pay this tax either. On a $500 bike this would amount to a total of about 14.5% in taxes that we would have to charge.
Two more reasons from Montlake Bicycle shop owner Neil Wechsler after the jump.
Hello and greetings to you and your company. I am Stuart Harris and I understand your company deals in sex toys and vibrator which am very interested in. If you do have them email me with the model or types that you have including with their prices range on them thank you
Best regards Stuart Harris
Truly, you can make just about anything out of recycled paper these days.
My daughter says that I recklessly put sriracha sauce on everything I eat. In your writing, I feel that you carelessly squirt the charge of racism on everything.
Not every social problem can be blamed on horrible racists running around being racist. After a while, the charge starts to seem forced... even lazy.
Yours very truly,
George Meyer Seattle
I carelessly squirted back a reply to Mr. Meyer asking for examples of my writing placing "the charge of racism on everything."
Mr. Meyer pointed me to two pieces I've written. First, as evidence of my reckless squirting, he cited "Asian Americans Wonder if Racism Persists on Rob McKenna's Campaign," about the reaction to a McKenna staffer tweeting that Asians needed to "shut up and drive." How could anyone think that telling an entire race of people to shut up is racist? Mr. Meyer doesn't, apparently. Second, he cited a piece in which I used the word racism once: "It's Not About the Stoners." Only a reckless squirter would recklessly link the drug war and racial bias.
Congratulations, the Stranger! You’ve somehow managed to hire Emily Nokes, a music writer that’s even dumber than Megan Selig. Kudos.
But why stop there? Why not take this aging teeny-bopping worthless scenester and make her the editor of the whole music department? What’s that? That’s exactly what you did? Well, once again you’re one step ahead of me and a million miles behind the times. Let’s start with some excerpts of her reviews in your October 10-16, 2012 issue, and I quote:
“aww” – from Wreckless Eric & Amy Rigby review
“Double aww!” – from same
“EEEEEEEH!” – from Naomi Punk review
Those quotes are taken out of context, but they are there nonetheless. To be fair to Emily here is another quote from the Naomi Punk review:
“…they take their time, unwinding with high airy vocals and oddly gratifying key changes that fade in and out as they please.”
Which isn’t bad, except she’s describing Naomi Punk, a band that does none of those things. If you go to Naomi Punk’s bandcamp site you get the privilege of hearing two cuts from their latest sold out LP The Feeling. The first one is entitled Voodoo Trust, a bland garagey drone that sounds like it was recorded with a set of cheap headphones plugged into a boombox. They do not take their time. The vocals are anything but airy as the singer whines out of key in the background. Fortunately his poor voice is buried beneath an uninspired derivative surf guitar lick that is repeated over and over until the key does in fact change. Once. To an equally uninspired and stale progression until the song finally ends as though the band just stopped playing for no good reason.
The other song entitled The Spell sounds remarkably similar to Voodoo Trust. So much so that it’s not worth mentioning any further.
She'll never see it because I wrote it on an internet. And Cindy doesn't want The Stranger on an internet. She would prefer the printed version, sent by courier, which she also used to send us this letter with an envelope. Here is the front:
Every year we get these sorts of letters, but this one's special:
To: Stranger Editorial control board Re: Complaint about profanity in Your “July 17, 2012 Endorsements for the August 7 Primary Election"
YOUR PROFANITY IN YOUR ENDORSEMENTS detracts, offends and renders your article far less effective. The strength of your article and recommendations arise from the specifics which you document. They have persuasive punch that the Seattle Times’ endorsements lack. But your profanity distracts, offends and shoots you in your collective feet.
it shows a poverty of language and thought which discredits the article - particularly amongst elderly people, residents of retirement homes who might otherwise follow your recommendations
Below is a copy of the article from which I have deleted your swearwords, and substituted words such as “fool”. I think it vastly improves the article
PLEASE publish a profanity free version - such as mine below, AND avoid profanity in your recommendations for the finals, This will greatly increase your audience, impact and influence.
Besides it shows more skill and competence, and ,should be more fun to write without profanity. ,
And sure enough, Mr. Howe included a revised version of our endorsements with his superior word choices. Please compare our original endorsements to Howe's draft below:
In response to our recent story about the city's ban on women with mastectomies swimming topless in public pools, a reader writes:
I have been a swimmer for my entire life and want everyone to be able to get the same benefits. WITHIN REASON. The community centers need to try and accommodate conservative beliefs so that more people can use the facilities. It is great that their are times set aside for Muslim women to swim in accordance with their lifestyle. Other women with conservative backgrounds probably go at those times also. If Parks doesn't do that then those women can't swim. Conservative families who aren't comfortable at the center won't go and it won't be the women and children who make that decision. Jodi Jaecks shouldn't make that decision either.
There are public pools all over the city with different time slots. Jodi should reconsider spending her energy hassling with the parks department and use it to work on healing. I hope she does and I wish her the best.
Why are there no squirrels on Beacon Hill this spring? They were all over the place in years past. Am I just impatient? Is it too early for them? Or has something catastrophic wiped them all out? Ordinarily the golf course at Jefferson Park is a squirrel factory. It keeps the surrounding neighborhoods abundantly supplied with our cute bushy tailed nut chomping pests. So far this year I have not seen even one squirrel anywhere. What's up?
All right, squirrel nuts (see what I did there????): Now's your time to shine. Put your theories in the comments.
Good news! We got an actual, real letter in the actual, real mail! Let's just read what it says...
Click to enlarge.
For those who can't read print anymore thanks to rampant computer usage, here's a transcription:
Click to enlarge.
In reference to your Vol. 21, No. 18 issue—front page of Jan. 4-10, 2012, you spelled your own newspaper name wrong. It said The Starnger, instead of The Stranger. Since the main subject was on, "We Regret These Errors" I thought it should be corrected, too.
Sincerely yours, [Basically Illegible Signature]
P.S. This is my 1st time looking at your paper.
The cover in question is posted on the left. Turns out, dear first-time reader, you were right. It does say The Starnger. How embarrassing for us! We regret the error. In addition, it is not our 129th annual regrets issue, as the cover claims. It was only our 9th annual regrets issue. We regret that error, too. Further, I did not write about the "Iowa Primaries" on our website, as the cover indicates. I wrote about the Iowa caucuses. There were no Iowa primaries. That is an error we regret, as well.
I could promise that we'll try to be more accurate in the coming year, but, really, what's the point? We all know the parade of fuckups never ends at the good ol' Starnger.
When a male rapper calls another male rapper a bitch, and this is not uncommon, it is always in the spirit of mockery, and not camaraderie ("my nigga"). It's the same as a male rapper calling another a fag. Indeed, the very fact this is meant to express the extremely low regard one male rapper holds for another shows how low a regard they have for the rights of gays and women.
I commend Governor Gregoire on her support of same sex marriage. At the same time, I would like to express my disappointment in the isolation that further separates bisexuals and transgendered individuals as a result of her announcement of support for same sex marriage. Why not support Marriage Equality instead? Why not frame the words in a way that does not make the LGBT marriage campaign strictly for gays and lesbians? I am a bisexual woman and I am proud of who I am. I am with a wonderful man who is my best friend and who I one day look forward to marrying. At the same time, I am still a bisexual individual and it could be that I marry a woman. But this would NOT make me a lesbian, this would not qualify me under her speech. There are also my transgendered friends, who do not fall under the premises of her speech, who would not be considered nor consider themselves "same sex" as her support explicitly states. The move for same sex marriage is not just for gays and lesbians. There are bisexuals and transgendered/intersexual persons who want to get married too; or who are married, who have lives and relationships; hopes and dreams. We deserve to be included. By leaving us out of her speech, she relegates us to an invisible darkness; to shame and isolation; to pain and suffering. We deserve to be included in this. And as much as I support and love my gay and lesbian friends, our brothers and sisters, I love myself too. Please support MARRIAGE EQUALITY and not just same sex marriage or marriage for gays and lesbians.
Figured I'd clean out my voicemail, what with the end of the year approaching and all. Turns out I missed an important call:
Received Sunday, Dec. 4 at 1:55 p.m.
Yes, I was reading your article at The Stranger, saying that the wealthiest of this state pay no income tax. NO ONE IN THIS STATE PAYS INCOME TAX! Are you guys in that paper that much of a big fucking idiot you can’t get your story straight? Or are you just trying to rabble rouse a bunch of idiots—idiot kids—and brain dead stoners who have no clue about anything that’s going on in this state. You seriously have got some serious issues. Why don’t you try printing the truth for once instead of this communist propaganda?
Time for a poll!
What should we try printing in the new year instead of communist propaganda?
After reading Brendan Kiley's "Jesus Saves," I have a handful of concerns with how the question of marijuana legalization is being handled both in the press and in the public. First, I believe in marijuana legalization—primarily for reasons of individual freedoms and the ability of governments to collect reasonable taxes. What I take issue with is the dialogue centered around the potential for reduced crime rates and, as "Jesus Saves" highlights, reduced crime rates for the African-American community.
My concern is that we are blindly accepting the assumption that current marijuana industrialists (whether growers, distributors, or dealers) will legalize their black-market businesses after the fall of marijuana's prohibition. The story goes that once marijuana trade is legalized the majority of members of the black market will have good paying, reputable jobs to tend to without the fear of imprisonment. Unfortunately, that idea seems far fetched.
In the United States, about 23% of all cyclists are women (which is based on Census data about commutes). In fact, the number of women who commute by bicycle has decreased from from 33% of all bike trips in 2001 to 24% in 2009 (this is from the American Community Survey, which is conducted by the Census Bureau). For comparison, 55% of all bicycle trips in the Netherlands is by women, and 49% in Germany.
The above data about the US is especially striking if you consider that bike trips are up significantly during the same period of time (2001 to 2009), which indicates that many more men are taking to the streets by bike but women are not.
There's something different about the United States. And it's infrastructure. Studies across all sorts of disciplines show that women are more risk-averse, and indeed, concerns about riding in traffic are overwhelmingly the reason women cite for not riding their bikes. Women also have different travel patterns: they perform the vast majority (77%) of all "serve passenger" trips (hauling people, usually children, around), engage in more "trip chaining," and run more errands, like grocery shopping. They also drive fewer miles to their commutes (this is all based on the 2009 National Household Transportation Survey).
And where have we invested in segregated bicycle lanes? Along recreational corridors, that don't lead to schools, daycare centers, grocery stores, or major employment centers. In other words, the safest bicycle facilities have been installed where few women really want or need to go.
On my voice mail just now: "Hi, Dominic, my name is Adam Miller, I am with PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Tomorrow in Seattle, two PETA activists wearing lettuce bikinis are going to be handing out free soy jerky at the 3rd Avenue electric vehicle charging station. The demonstration is in order to remind people that the best way to help the environment is to go vegan.... I just wanted to find out if this is something you'd like to cover in The Stranger."
Well, Is This Something We Should Cover in The Stranger?
Hot tipper Sarah Anne Lloyd just sent me this photo:
Come to think of it, I probably deserve having Occupy Seattle telling me "fuck you" for all those times I suggested they stop directing their anger at supporters who have constructive criticism and instead focus on their true opposition.
I just started doing this the other day: All you do is take all those pre-paid envelopes from all those credit-card offers from Chase, Bank of America, etc., and send them back empty. Or full of junk mail (costs them more!). Or with a note about what you think about the foreclosure crisis and the taxpayer-finance bailouts and their practices in general. Or with something even heavier, to cost them more!
This man has some good ideas, and his tie looks like it's about to have an interesting interaction with his throw pillow. LET'S DO THIS!