Friday, March 9, 2001 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Northwest Voices

Letters to the editor

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Leadership future

Double, triplestandards appliedto Judy Nicastro

Editor, The Times:

Your editorial "Judy must be joking" (Times, March 7) regarding Seattle City Councilwoman Judy Nicastro's mulling a mayoral run was insulting and patronizing. It is not your pointing out her lack of public-service experience that bothers me; that may very well be a valid criticism.

What really irks me is the condescending and patronizing manner in which you so easily dismiss her. This is very apparent as you compare her qualifications to Seattle City Councilman Jim Compton's qualifications. Both have little experience in public office but Compton has been a TV personality and he is 20 years older than Nicastro - which in your estimation makes him much more qualified.

Oh please! You may as well just say "know your place, little lady," pat her on the head and send her back to her seat. Your editorial page supported George W. Bush for president despite his huge lack of public-service experience.

This editorial reeks of ageism, sexism and liberal baiting. The toy-box and tricycle analogies you use are extremely offensive. Painting Nicastro as some kind of representative to the liberal fringe is absurd. If The Times believes that supporting tenants' rights and living wages for hardworking Seattleites are now outsider, progressive issues, then I believe you are out of touch with reality.

-- Barbara Wilson, Seattle

Avert disaster

What this city needs is a mayor, not a CEO. The last few years of Paul Schell's tenure have proven that, time and time again.

Choosing a reactionary such as City Attorney Mark Sidran would be yet another unmitigated disaster, dooming this city to ever-increasing turmoil. I still remember his actions in calling out 12 squad cars and shutting down the Aurora Bridge when three peaceful Greenpeace protesters used parachute lines to hang from it in protest of fishing trawlers. The overreaction then and subsequent waste of taxpayer dollars would only increase.

Nicastro, on the other hand, has proven herself an insightful and capable politician, wise beyond her years. To those of us who deal with politics on a daily basis, she and Greg Nickels are the only serious candidates currently announced in this race.

-- Will Affleck-Asch, secretary, 43rd District Democrats, Seattle

Boys Club refrain

Congratulations! You are absolutely right - Judy Nicastro is young, relatively unseasoned and not a member of the Old Boys Club! That is the big negative, especially in The Seattle Times' view.

To many of us "regular people," the Old Boys Club is the reason this city is disintegrating. We have an Old Boys Club mayor, city attorney, police chief. Compton and Nickels - members of the Old Boys Club.

Time to start thinking, Seattle Times, not just touting the Old Boy candidates.

No, I do not plan to vote for Nicastro, but I also will not vote for the same old hackneyed Old Boys Club candidates.

-- Linda Williamson, Seattle

Leadership present

Enough Schell

I heard Mayor Schell's angry and indignant response to the outcry over the injuries and death at the Mardi Gras celebration. He's had enough of this? ("Indignant Schell answers critics," Times, March 2).

The citizens of this city are the ones who should say they have had enough. Enough of a lack of police action when it is clearly called for, enough of having unruly thugs go unchecked and unpunished when they run through the streets of Seattle, beating people and shooting off handguns.

Certainly, the parents of the beaten and dead 20-year-old Kristopher Kime have had enough; or the other victims of violence and their families have had enough.

Certainly, the storeowners whose property was damaged have had enough. Both the mayor and Chief of Police Gil Kerlikowske should be standing forward and taking their due criticism for an outrageous death and an egregious paucity of police response. Once again, Seattle police were caught unprepared and the citizens paid for it - in once case, one with his life.

Maybe we need to have police from cities such as New York, Chicago or Los Angeles train the Seattle Police Department. The Seattle response seems to be either to close down celebrations or to stand by while chaos reigns. As a Seattle citizen, I think we deserve better than that.

-- Nancy Lerner, Seattle

Police once-removed

I was always under the impression that the purpose of police was "to protect and to serve." From what I could ascertain of the recent Mardi Gras parties in Pioneer Square, the Seattle police did neither. Where was the "protection" for the countless numbers of people beaten for no apparent reason? Where was the "protection" for the owners of the overturned cars or the businesses that had their establishments damaged and looted?

And how is anyone "served" by the police when, under orders from their superiors, they observe these crimes from afar, only to step in after it is truly out of control? What message is sent to these and other law breakers? What message is sent to the citizens of Seattle?

Restraint of police action in this manner is inexcusable. Those in charge, the mayor, City Council, and police chief, need to apologize to the citizens of Seattle, for they have truly embarrassed their city - again.

-- Dave Berkompas, Mill Creek

Define 'job'

I was disturbed by a post-Mardi Gras interview with Paul Schell wherein he indicated he had gone home to bed, leaving his subordinates in the Pioneer Square area as his "eyes and ears." He stated emphatically that he is not the chief of police and it was not his job to be present. Hardly a "once more unto the breach" sound bite.

The question must be asked of Schell, "What is your job?" Or perhaps, more generally, "What is your understanding of the responsibilities of leadership?" His posture during this unspeakable tragedy trumpets his ignorance and indifference.

Any elected executive official in our government has the chief responsibility to protect our citizenry. Even in this most "politically correct" of cities, our mayor should be the one to put ne'er-do-wells on public notice that mayhem will not be tolerated under any circumstances, and then allow his police force to use whatever means are necessary to protect our community.

It is an outrage that Schell will not accept the mantle of leadership we have bestowed upon him and, if need be, take the personal and political consequences of taking an unequivocal stand in the interest of maintaining order.

-- Michael Ramage, Seattle

Quake relief


I would like to take a moment to thank the police and fire departments, utility workers, and all other public servants who went immediately to work after last Wednesday's earthquake.

I'm sure most, if not all, of these people, were just as worried about homes and loved ones as the rest of us, yet remained to help keep streets clear, fix broken water and gas lines, put out fires, help the injured and close potentially dangerous roads and buildings. I for one am grateful and wanted to express my appreciation for them all.

-- Nancy Phillips, Seattle

Lost: one crystal ball

Scientists are predicting global warming, increasing CO2 levels, melting polar ice, etc. These are events that historically happen every 10,000 to 50,000 years or so. Every year, there are thousands of earthquakes in the U.S., yet these same scientists cannot predict where, when, or the magnitude.

Am I missing something here?

-- Bill Riley, Moses Lake


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