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Originally published May 5, 2008 at 12:00 AM | Page modified May 5, 2008 at 11:45 AM

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Letters to the editor

A sampling of readers' letters, faxes and e-mail.

Regional flavor

Maple Leaf preserves with just a hint of vaporized wood

Editor, The Times:

Concerning Maple Leaf Community/Waldo Woods ["Saving Waldo Woods: a test of Seattle leadership" [Times editorial, May 1]: Many City Council and County Council representatives chide the city for allowing virtually unfettered development when it comes to the blight the density craze has inflicted. Waldo Woods in Maple Leaf is the most glaring example and a flaw in the mayor's plan to add density. But neither the City Council nor the mayor will step in to help prevent bad development.

Blame the City Council, Department of Planning and Development, the Mayor's Office, Design Review Board and the developer for planning another overly dense crop of town homes. Additionally, blame the Camp Fire Puget Sound organization for its greed in aiding this sort of development. Without regard to a small forest that it neglected, Camp Fire has ignored suitable development alternatives, to get a bigger price tag on its property.

You'd think, given the fine history and future of Camp Fire and its leaders like Gary Locke, that it could support the needs and desires of its neighbors as well as the forest it has enjoyed and taken pride in for its many years of ownership by being a better steward of what gets left behind for the rest of us.

— Dan Dittmann, Maple Leaf resident, Seattle

Mélange of muscles

It was with some shock that I read "Connect the dots to save Orcas" [guest commentary, May 1]. Although it presented a valid reason to be concerned about whales and fish, it misrepresented the importance of the Lower Snake River dams.

The four relatively new dams (Ice Harbor, Lower Monumental, Little Goose and Lower Granite) produce roughly 3,000 megawatts, equivalent to three large coal or nuclear plants, or almost a fifth of all installed wind generation in the USA. Output from those dams could serve several Seattles; replacing them with new generation could cost billions.

In addition, the Lower Snake River dams provide crucial transportation to southeastern Washington and Western Idaho. Barges that pass through the locks at the dams carry tens of thousands of truckloads of grain and lumber products down the Snake every year and keep highway repair costs and pollution down.

Those are not "costly and outdated dams." They are crucial to continued success of the state and the nation, and it must be with great trepidation we consider breaching them.

— William Casey Harman, Seattle

Rich strain of decadence

Once again, taxpayers get stuck with a bad idea. Seattle wants to hire six park rangers to watch for drug dealers, illegal sex and graffiti painters, for $462,000 a year. ["Surveillance cameras installed in Seattle's Cal Anderson Park," Local News, April 22.] The rangers will look for illegal activity and then call the police, while the bad guys will have disappeared by the time the police arrive.

Why not just hire more policemen in the first place? Why does it cost so much to hire someone to walk around a park?

— Roger Zimbelman, Bellevue

Scandinavian bland

The Times asks what we think might be the result of light rail running through the MLK Corridor and along Rainier Avenue [comment invitation within "New light rail clears way for an MLK makeover," Local News, April 24]. My guess is Columbia City and the rest of the area will end up like Ballard.

Snoose Junction has become a neighborhood crawling with carbon-copy 30-somethings with large dogs, dressed as if going camping (the people, not the dogs), who buy pretty but uninspired meals, microbrews and cunning little black, $80 T-shirts at overhyped restaurants, bars and shops that change style and ownership faster than the weather. They all eventually begin to look exactly the same and offer the same goods and services and not a one offers anything anyone really needs from day to day. For those essential things, like toilet brushes or clothes-drying racks, Ballardites get in their cars and drive to Fred Meyer or Northgate.

What we have are cookie-cutter people, cookie-cutter town homes and condos, and cookie-cutter businesses. You could be in Capitol Hill, Latona, Roosevelt, or any other gentrified Seattle neighborhood.

Thanks, city planners and developers. You have brought homogenized suburbia to our charming inner city. Beware, Greenwood: You are next after Columbia City is assimilated.

— Mary Clayton, Seattle

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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