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Originally published Saturday, December 2, 2006 at 12:00 AM

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Letters to the editor

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

Things to do today

Enjoy the nightlife before the mayor turns out the lights

Editor, The Times:

Mayor Greg Nickels needs to listen to himself more. "We're going from a big small town to a big city," the mayor is quoted in "Nickels offers plan to regulate city nightclubs" [Times, Local News, Nov. 30].

While for some residents that transition may seem odd, it must be encouraged, not fought. The simple fact is that vibrant nightlife is part of a "big city." Ask residents of New York, Boston, Chicago, Rome, Paris ... the noise of nightlife is a natural part of city life, and even an enjoyable part.

The mayor argues that his proposed rules will affect only a few establishments; but his rules are so broadly written that they can be applied haphazardly, and for any minor offense.

The mayor is still smarting after Seattle residents slapped down his puritanical strip-club legislation, and now he's trying to run bars and restaurants out of business. Seattle restaurants already face the lowest profit margins in the nation.

A vibrant nightlife is key to a vibrant and safe city. Just ask long-time residents of Belltown or Pioneer Square if they prefer today's bar crowd or the crack dealers who used to swarm those streets at night.

— Evan Sutton, Seattle

Avoid the bar

Today in America, people get more worked up over flavored dip and hot coffee than world hunger ["Woman sues over lack of avocado in dip," News, Nov. 30]. In recent years, the number of ridiculous lawsuits has skyrocketed.

People have filed lawsuits against Starbucks for making its coffee too hot, and against online [educational] courses because failing students were told the course would be easy. These absurd lawsuits cost taxpayer dollars and cause more serious cases to take a back seat while the ludicrous ones are dealt with.

Most people filing lawsuits are simply looking for an easy way to cash in; instead, they end up draining the pocketbooks of their fellow taxpayers.

We need to learn to sort out our priorities. If people, like the woman who sued Kraft because its guacamole dip didn't have enough avocados, could focus their energy on issues like AIDs research, the world would be a much better place.

If we continue to fuss over petty points, how will we ever expect to sort out major global problems?

— Kailey Portsmouth, Bothell

Make plans with the kids

As "Change the future now" [The Reader's View, Nov. 25] implied, it really is the responsibility of all of us to stem the rise in violence.

Folks of all ages have to step up to the responsibility of ensuring the safety of our communities, malls, streets, avenues, highways, etc. Turning our heads and being afraid of the possible retribution only sinks us deeper into that need for 200-plus more police officers in the [Seattle] system.

Burying our heads in the diversions of "wonderful" technology won't get it done.

Thanks to Jessika Sutcliff for her letter. I hope we look past the fact that such a bright and intelligent letter was written by someone [as young] who should feel naturally protected from having to write the letter in the first place, and see that we are just not doing our job.

— W. Sunni Palatino-Ash, Bothell

Find a secluded spot

Regarding "As Americans change and age, visits to national parks decline" [Travel & Outdoors, Nov. 29]: The whole reason you have seen a fall in real camping is because the campgrounds have already sold out to RVs and campers, instead of saving some room for us real baby boomers who still believe in roughing it.

Yeah, we still have some of the modern amenities. But we are still tenters and no one ever has the room for us. There are not a lot of people who know what roughing it is all about.

I have trained my children to realize that you can live without all the high-tech items that are made today. They love it. My daughter can help me pitch a 4-room tent without a problem.

Let's bring this back! It takes only a few campgrounds to think about us tenters.

— Tracy Bivins, Wayland, Mich.

Dance to the classics

The Pacific Northwest Ballet's efforts in "Nutcracker" are laudable ["Nutcracker, a moving tradition," Northwest Life, Nov. 28]. The cast talents are undeniable, and the public, especially children, enjoy the show to the fullest. The stage decoration and costumes are breathtaking, and the music, of course, is beautiful and nostalgic.

It is a perfect, artful Christmas prelude.

However, please, do not call [this production] ballet. Anybody who has had exposure to a classical "Nutcracker" (for example, London's Royal Ballet) would find the PNB version to be very weak.

There is a lot of fun, celebration, beauty, colors, cuteness, joy and some pretty dancing. However, there is no high-quality, classical, intricate, delicate choreography of traditional, classical European ballet.

The [PNB's staging of the] boat scene substituted what was the most emotional and almost tragic duet of Clara and the Prince before her awakening. What is traditionally a deeply emotional and moving dance duet was reduced to Clara gracefully waving from the boat for approximately four minutes.

Thus, to prevent an unfair comparison and unnecessary confusion, I propose to call PNB's "Nutcracker" a dancing show loosely based on an actual ballet.

— Annette Sabath, Seattle

Get out of an argument

The monorail, Westlake Center, the Commons, light rail (back to the '70s), Disney's offer to rejuvenate Seattle Center, and on and on.

I've lived in or near Seattle for more than 50 years. I believe a community that can spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to come up with [the tourism slogans] "Metronatural" and "SayWA" and can argue to extinction all of the above and more, ill-deserves the title "Emerald City." "Squabble City" would be a much more realistic moniker, since "process" generally has led to disaster.

And now we find that "process" is to guide (misguide?) the changes at Seattle Center ["Seattle Center moves toward change," Local News, Nov. 30].

I've believed for years that Seattleites can argue longer about less than [people] anywhere else on the planet, and be guaranteed a result that pleases nobody.

Past experience predicts disaster for our somewhat faded center.

— C. Wight Reade, Seattle

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