Letters to the Editor

August 19, 2010 Published in the September 2010 issue of Seattle Met

Vital Stats

Vital Stats
We would like to thank Seattle Met for the comprehensive story about Highline Medical Center’s new ER (" Vital Signs, " August 2010). James Ross Gardner effectively captured the spirit and dedication of emergency physician Gregory Garcia and conveyed many of the benefits of our new ER.

However, there were some mischaracterizations of our organization’s finances and we would like to set the record straight. The comment that we have been “plagued by ledger books practically written in red ink” is far from accurate. We are proud to have had a positive margin every year for the past 25 years. Highline Medical Center is not a tax-supported hospital. All of our investments in improved services come from our operations and the philanthropic support of our community. Since the late 1990s we have built a new childbirth center, an inpatient medical/oncology unit, a surgery center, and a freestanding, state-of-the-art cancer center. Our strong financial position enabled us to be the first hospital in Washington State to qualify for HUD financing.

Despite the misstatements about our finances, the article did an effective job of portraying how vital our ER is to the community. As one of the busiest ERs in King County, we take great pride in our patient satisfaction. To reach the top one percent in patient satisfaction nationwide is a significant accomplishment that reflects our staff’s commitment to delivering high-quality, patient-focused care.
Mark Benedum, Chief Executive Officer, Highline Medical Center

Seattle Rankings
Love “7–13. We Look Good on Paper” (" 100 Reasons to Love Seattle, " July 2010). But you forgot that Seattle has the best overall economy in the nation (as of May 12, 2010, per economic-strength rankings by Policom Corporation), best overall place to start a new business (January 2009), and as a plus, although off the map, Mount Vernon just got the fifth-best place in the country to retire (yeah, I know).
Chris Jensvold
Las Vegas

Give It to Who Now?
What would happen if the American billionaires on the Forbes 400 list actually did put $600 billion into the charity pipeline, and what would be the best way to do it (" Give It Away Now, " August 2010)? Many charities spend the majority of the money they receive on advertising. So the money hitting the streets would be much smaller than the donation, if it were just donated through existing channels.

On the other hand it seems like it would be possible to donate the money in a way that would compel others to match some of the money, and to increase giving in the U.S. And one could imagine if these are billionaires giving, they would have a portfolio of charities. An interesting question is what the optimal portfolio of charitable giving would be.
Arnie Lund

Changing Times
Gripping and well-told story (" Fairview Fanny and the Angel of Death, " July 2010). This event took place in my South Seattle neighborhood, but I followed the events on the tiny screen of a netbook while I was living in Paris. The Times ’s excellent coverage made everything feel so immediate that I felt almost as if I was here in the ’hood, detouring around police road blocks and keeping an eye out for the perpetrator. Here’s to a new generation of outstanding coverage!

Huckabee Hubbub
What a horrific time that was (" Fairview Fanny and the Angel of Death, " July 2010). First Officer Brenton, and then four more killed. Four. Then shortly after Deputy Mundell was also killed. Six police ambushed and killed in less than two or three months. We as a community haven’t yet recovered from it and I welcome new laws or rules that come from these awful crimes.

One thing I will correct: Huckabee’s shot at election wasn’t damaged…it was destroyed. Blown to bits. I like the guy and am a conservative. He maybe could have survived this but his attitude after the murders buried him. According to an Associated Press report, Huckabee said the following at the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service: “What I fear is the hubbub of this case will make it so that not only in Arkansas, but in states across this country, these files won’t even get looked at.”

I took great offense to that. Our cries of ‘Why the hell was that animal here,’ etc., were not hubbub.
Kelly West

Dress for Way Less
I’m just not that impressed with the Great American Apparel Diet (" The No-Buy Zone, ” August 2010). I grew up in a third-world country—my parents’ work had us living in Africa—and we were lucky to go shopping once every four years. In the meantime, we wore clothing that my mother made for us. If we wore out our jeans before we were in the U.S. every four years, then…we didn’t have jeans.

As a young professional fresh out of college, I am struggling to make ends meet, especially as I pay off my college debts. I prefer to keep food on the table, gas in my Honda’s tank, and a roof over my head, than to spend money on clothing. So…when Sally made the comment about sweatshops producing apparel for super bargain stores, I wish she had clarified. Did she mean Walmart? Target? J.C. Penney? I realize that there are some stores that have better relationships with their overseas employees than others, but which ones?

I looked on her website to see what stores she recommended—I don’t want to exploit people!—but the stores she suggested were ones that I can’t afford to shop at with my current income. So now what? Do I buy my clothing at Target—I’m still wearing my wardrobe from a few years ago, by the way—and exploit people around the world? Or do I buy one pair of jeans from one of these suggested stores and not have clothes for a year that I can wear to work?

Sally, I know that your intentions are good, and I don’t want to slam you, but not everyone can buy $100 jeans or dresses that cost $250. That’s food for a month and a payment to Sallie Mae. In the meantime, I’m on a forced clothing diet of my own.

In the August issue (" Mudroom: Give It Away Now “), due to a typographical error we indicated $60 billion was half of $1.2 trillion. Half of $1.2 trillion is of course $600 billion. In the July issue (” Top Lawyers 2010 “) Gregg Rodgers was listed under the wrong area of practice; rather than labor and employment, Rodgers specializes in immigration. In the same issue (” Mudroom: Cash In on Me If You Can ") we referred to 20th Century Fox as 21st Century Fox.

Contact the Editors
Seattle Met wants to know what you think! Send raves and rants and corrections to [email protected], comment on articles at, or send snail mail to 1201 Western Ave, Ste 425, Seattle, Washington 98101. Letters to the editor are subject to editing. Please include address and daytime phone number.

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