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Monday, March 22, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 A.M.
Letters to the editor
One track mind
A dim view brightens when trip is unobstructed
Editor, The Times:
I don't accept editorial writer Joni Balter's argument about the monorail blocking views downtown ("Monorail's stark reality beginning to sink in," Times editorial column, March 18). This city rolls over when high-rises or block-long-square condos are built that eliminate entire streets of views downtown. How about the Convention Center with its Pike Street sky bridge and wall of concrete that eliminated views from Capitol Hill?
I find it ironic that Washington Mutual complains about the impact of the monorail outside its windows when it will build a high-rise that will eliminate views from the lobby and memorial gardens of Benaroya Hall across the street. All of these high-rise enterprises are profit-driven and close down at night, leaving vacant dark zones throughout downtown.
So what that we have some pillars downtown to support a rail that is for the public to get downtown. Walk a couple feet to the left or right and you get your view back not down the street glancing as you cross an intersection between walls of concrete.
Leave the car at home, walk or bus to your monorail connection and come on downtown. We won't need those 600 parking spaces but if we did, you can count on additional underground parking lots to provide more revenue for a new high-rise.
People in Vancouver, B.C., said it right when referring to the similar debate regarding their Skytrain: "We hated the idea, we did everything to keep it from getting built, and now we love it."
After first telling me how beautiful our region is, out-of-town visitors next complain about how difficult it is to get around, and then ask why we don't have a mass-transportation system like their hometown.
Haven't any of these monorail naysayers ever built or remodeled a home? The phrase "on time and on budget" is an exception, not the rule. And what big local public projects have been built without controversy or some sort of conflict? People complained about the stadiums, the new Seattle Library, Gas Works Park ... the list goes on and on.
Just get over it and build the monorail. And while we're at it, let's look into expanding the system. I am sure the complaining will die down when people can travel on time, every time from Ballard to Bellevue, from Seattle to SeaTac, and West Seattle to ...
Encounter on a train
Wow. I never thought I'd see the day. Joni Balter thinking and speaking out like Tim Eyman.
Balter wonders if rogue rail agencies ought to face a revote if the size, scope, route and cost of rail lines change significantly after voter approval. But the state Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that it's OK for Sound Transit to lie to voters and doesn't have to live up to promises. Why should the Seattle Monorail Authority be any different?
Seattle is forever stuck with the monorail because the voters approved it once; no matter what it turns out to be, no matter where it goes, no matter what it costs, no matter if nobody uses it.
I can see it now. Joni and Tim joining forces to return sanity to Puget Sound transportation projects. I'm looking forward to it.
I don't know if it is just Seattle, or if every city is full of those willing to sit back and complain about living in the city. In case you haven't noticed, Seattle is a big city. Large public works like public transportation and stadiums are part of living in the city.
Honestly, if you don't like paying for these projects, move to the Eastside.
The monorail team is doing the best it can with what it has. The monorail will increase density, increase property values and make going downtown a lot easier.
The naysayers and do-nothings will jump on board when the near-silent monorail whisks through their neighborhood above the traffic. Rise above it all!
Concede the need
What Seattle voted for was to fulfill a need, not fancy, nor fun. We need alternative options to surface streets. We need cleaner options than dirty diesel buses filling the streets. We need to start building infrastructure to support our continual increase in density. That's what we voted for three times, I might add.
If you didn't think it was going to require difficult choices to build the first leg of a modern transportation system right through the middle of a major metropolitan city, then you weren't thinking clearly. Vancouver, B.C., had the guts to get it done and they love their system. But then they pay more than lip service to their visions.
As for the group attempting to start a revote campaign, it only figures that someone with a virulent strain of Seattle Syndrome would take a shot. It is, after all, the time when we really need backbone from our elected leadership. The time when the fever of the syndrome grips them and strips the steeliness right out of them and they wilt into the corner, instead of standing up for an important vision.
I will be watching very closely how the City Council and Mayor Greg Nickels proceed on this issue and supporting every decision they make toward completing this much-needed asset.
Where the girls are
It was heartening that The Times gave coverage to the NCAA Division II Western Regional basketball championship last Monday evening. It was disheartening that the editorial, "Evergreen hoop dreams" (March 16) which rightly commended Gonzaga, UW, and EWU for qualifying for the 64-team NCAA Division I playoffs neglected to concurrently commend Seattle Pacific's women for advancing to the Division II Elite Eight.
Indeed, it would have been entirely in order to note that Western Washington University women also advanced to the Division II round of 32.
Big-school men's basketball is not the only example of "Evergreen hoop dreams" with "Washington teams loaded with home-grown Washington talent." Wouldn't it be appropriate to recognize editorially those in our midst who truly fit the label?
Whittled down to size
I see where Sen. John Kerry claims that several world leaders told him they want George Bush defeated but Kerry would not give any names because of privacy considerations ("Spain's new leader labels Iraq 'a fiasco,' gives backing to Kerry," News, March 18).
This statement demonstrates that Kerry has the presidential timber of a toothpick! Perhaps he would be better suited as a gossip columnist for the National Enquirer.
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