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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR  Wine & Spirits 2003

Freedom is utopia

The underlying assumption in William Dietrich's Pugetopia piece ("Playing for Keeps," Aug. 10) is that individualism is bad and we need a centralized leader to control us. There is another word for the individualism that Mr. Dietrich decries: Freedom.

What makes this country unique in this world is that we don't want to be centrally controlled. The people in the suburbs don't want to be told by urban dwellers in Seattle that they can't have a large, grassy back yard for their children. Likewise, the people in Seattle don't want to be told they have to live in large, suburban homes.

There is chaos in freedom, but there is individual pride and beauty as well. I would hope that all of us would not be so quick to dismiss freedom as a concept as Mr. Dietrich has done. Some people may describe centralized control with individualism quashed as utopia, but I have another word for it: Socialism.

— Mark Gouras

The (local) game of life

I hope the Pugetopia article you wrote wins an award! It sure won my applause. I marvel at how you nailed the defining issues and the ramifications of our past behavior. Using the game board and game cards to illustrate all the issues and obstacles we face today provided an undeniable cause and effect for the crossroad we are hopefully confronting.

Recently, Alan Mullaly spoke at the Eastside Leadership Conference. He spoke softly when he said, "We live in paradise." He paused and then repeated, "We live in paradise." He paused once again to allow those words to linger as if to say, "You need to decide what it is you really want."

It is not easy to find answers, as we long to protect what we have, while we at long last attempt to define a method to prevent another part of Boeing to escape from our midst. I still grieve the loss of Fredrick & Nelson and Boeing headquarters, while we grapple with whether to become competitive in the global marketplace or sit back and let the world pass us by.

I wish I had the perfect answer as to where those new leaders with vision are. The irony is many of those who have guided us in the past have either passed on or are living the life of leisure in their beachfront homes we are all striving to protect.

I'm concerned that Emmett Watson's words to nowhere continue to be the subliminal mantra for far too many shortsighted, selfish citizens.

Before it's too late, we need to hear from those who have the courage to stand up for our future and the generations to come, those who are inspired to build a strategic plan, i.e., for a rule of the majority for the "Common Good" for our beloved Pugetopia.

Isn't it ironic, Plato observed hundreds of years ago: Democracy . . . is a charming form of government, full of variety and disorder; and dispensing a sort of equality to equals and unequals alike.

Thank you again for the outstanding, thought-provoking series these past few months. I look forward to what's next on your list.

Suzanne P.J. Suther
Executive Director
Issaquah Chamber of Commerce

Help with pests

Valerie Easton's "Purging the Pests" (Plant Life, Aug. 3) rightly praises E.J. Hook and the Zoo staff for their enthusiastic use of integrated pest management. Of course, one doesn't need an endless supply of elephant dung to create healthy habitat. For more on E.J. as well as additional information on what gardeners can do to protect their community, check out "Audubon at Home: Gardening for Life in Seattle" (; available for free at Seattle Audubon, 8050 35th Ave. N.E.).

Daniel G. Drais
Associate director
Seattle Audubon

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