Tuesday, December 14, 1999 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Malkin's Historical Crowbar Way Off Base

Special To The Times

MICHELLE Malkin's column last Tuesday ("The cattle in Seattle: You guys had it coming") was vindictive, mean and intemperate. No one - certainly no city - deserves the trashing Seattle received during the WTO protests nor the words Malkin trashed us with last week.

The crowbars of pseudo-intellectual anarchists from Eugene smashing our windows had nothing to do with stadiums. They sure as hell had nothing to do with respect for elections or due process or a coherent political philosophy or anything that might have required the use of a human brain.

Seattle did not deserve the political mistakes that gave those boneheads free rein downtown. But we certainly do not deserve Malkin's mean rewriting of history, which would give more importance to the boneheads than they deserve - especially so since her words denigrate the political efforts of all of us who fought the stadium battles. Those battles were fought in all good faith by people of good faith on both sides of the issues - and when our side took to the streets, our actions were legal and respectful, of people, of property and of political process.

Malkin said she lived three years in Seattle. That's a good reason for not knowing the very nonpolitical reason the Legislature passed the baseball-stadium legislation. It was the fall of 1995. Our side won the election. But the Mariners were in the playoffs. Even Citizens for More Important Things wanted the damn team to win - on the field. Their winning on the field also carried the Legislature. So it goes.

We subsequently fought the baseball-stadium legislation in the courts - and on the streets, gathering signatures, which the courts then threw out. If you have a problem with that, vote against state Supreme Court Justice Phil Talmadge when he's up for re-election. He wrote the opinion. And he doesn't pitch baseballs in the major leagues.

But, Malkin, please have your friends leave their crowbars in Eugene and keep your revision of history to yourself in Washington, D.C.

As for the Seahawks' new football stadium, quit your whining. The real destruction of property in Seattle will come this spring when the Kingdome is blown up. We tried to stop that at the ballot box, and we lost. It was a fair election. The people voted. The simple fact is, the people voted for that destruction. Applying the same standard you would have our Legislature live up to, that's an election the outcome of which you ought to respect. Nobody voted for - nobody asked - your buddies from Eugene to trash Seattle. Not McDonalds. Or Nordstrom. Or the Gap. Or Nike.

Try that question at the ballot box: "Shall a bunch of hooded cowards from Eugene, Ore., bearing some arcane anarchist political philosophy, be authorized to smash any window within reach, in the name of the politically oppressed of the world?"

Really, just how many votes will you get? Did these courageous political leaders - hiding under their black scarves - really help anybody? Were they really expressing any deeply held political beliefs beyond self-indulgence? Beyond contempt for the work and the property of others? Smashing Nike's windows while wearing Nike shoes, as one protester did, was clearly a thoughtful political statement. And you say we deserved this?

Does Seattle need a billion dollars' worth of stadiums to be "world class"? Do we need to host the Olympics or the WTO? I would agree with you that the answer to this is a simple "no."

A simple "no" - not one that strings together a bunch of unrelated items such as hosting the WTO and stadiums to indict the motives of an entire city's leadership.

However you may feel about the work of the WTO, whether you are for or against its existence, obviously, that work is important and at the center of the world's politics. In our city's hosting that meeting, mistakes were made, and broken windows will be fixed. But if those of us who work or live in Seattle were "the cattle who had it coming," surely your words were the refuse the bull left behind. ------------------------------- Chris Van Dyk is co-chair of Citizens for More Important Things.

Copyright (c) 1999 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.


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