Letters The Olympian Refused To Print

For a long time, my understanding was that The Olympian eventually printed every letter to the editor that they received (as long as it wasn't libelous or incoherent raving). If that was ever true, it isn't any more...

This book's intended for letters that The Olympian explicitly rejected, and that you think they should have printed. Please don't post letters that just haven't been printed yet, and that you wish they would hurry up and print... This book is for occasions when the paper's staff has told an author that they've got a letter and they are rejecting it.

To add an entry to a book, you choose book page from the list you get with the Create Content link on the left navigation menu, and then there's a pull down menu labeled "Parent:" on the page where you actually write the post. That lets you choose the book collection that you want your new post to be added to. (Unfortunately, new book pages apparently do not get shown on the front page, so if you want your new entry to be visible to anybody much, you also need to create a story entry announcing that the new book page exists...)


Density A Must for Olympia

Here's one of mine rejected; they told me it was too long. (Sorry I don't know how to get it in as a "book" entry).

Density A Must for Olympia

Density is not as simple as just building high rises in urban cores. For communities to function with density, the built environment must be designed with both humans and the outdoor environment in mind. This is what the term Smart Growth is all about. If we ignore the questions of where and how to accommodate more people living in our urban core, density could actually do more harm than good to our downtown.

Renowned urban activist Jane Jacobs wrote that in order for city parks to foster – not hinder – healthy urban communities they must be surrounded by the daily activities of human life – living, working and exchanging goods and services. She argued that expansive urban parks that don’t play a role in these everyday activities denigrate urban cores by fragmenting the organic patterns and conventions of city dwellers, and by providing an unwatched habitat for at-risk members of society to fester uncared for by the greater community.

With this in mind, sacrificing height and density for the far-reaching promise of converting the isthmus into an extension of an already generous park complex would not be wise. On the other hand, cradling Heritage Park and Percival Landing within beautiful structures that support the 24/7 lives of our citizens would sew these great parks deeper into the fabric of our downtown, nurturing a sense of safety, function, vibrancy, virtue and civic pride in and around them.

(235 Words; Submitted 8/24/2008)


getting it as a book entry

In order to submit your letter for entry into the book, what you can do is post it as a normal blog entry, and then a blog administrator can add it to the book.

Identify it (preferably in the body of the blog entry) as a letter that The Olympian refused to print, and request that it be added to the "letters The Olympian refused to print" collection.

The policy

as I have always known it is that letters are picked at random, sort of out of a hat, and then if they meet all of the requirements they are published. It is my understanding that they stop publishing letters about a certain topic after a certain number of letters has been published, though I don't know what that standard is.

Rejected Letters

I have had one or two letters rejected in the past, which felt really hurtful to me. After all, The Olympian is known for publishing pretty much anything (even, for example, letters that are espouse hatefulness between people and racism.) Of course, it's also possible, if not probable, that my letters may have felt hurtful to people at the paper.

Sooo... maybe I'll go look back and dig up those to add to this book.

I have noticed at least one particular common theme in letters that go unpublished. That is that many unpublished letters contain direct criticism of The Olympian itself.

So, I guess I can understand that people at the paper are worried about losing their jobs. Maybe that's part of the reason. No one likes to be criticized.

Though I think with the paper, it is important for the editorial staff to maintain a more objective viewpoint and a pro-active stance on promoting equality and a healthy society - and to not take criticism personally. It's really about policy - not personal opinion.

What Gets Printed

It's really astounding that The Olympian would reject a letter like the 2009 City Council Endorsement Letter from Sherri Goulet - meanwhile choosing to print some of the most heinous and vitriolic hateful and racist letters...

That's why I truly do think that The Olympian is doing harm to the community - and that it makes sense to vigorously and assertively draw attention to this, and oppose it.

The Olympian is characteristically partial to, and grants special privilege to, certain interests in the community. It's anti-democratic and oppressive to the extreme. All people deserve to have an equal voice in the community.

I also think that The Olympian could be imminently more successful if it were to adopt a democratic, humane and people friendly approach to its editorial policies and reporting practices.

Our society is tremendously harmful. I believe that there is no rational place for defending the status quo.

People are dying unnecessary deaths (resulting from hunger, starvation, war and disease,) species are going extinct (200 per day), the disparity in wealth between rich and poor is increasing exponentially... Our government is dominated by corporations.

People are suffering in the present moment. And much of it is totally unnecessary. How about social and economic (and distributive) justice? How about challenging the unjust status quo?

In my opinion, that's the direction that any sane and responsible public voice ought to go.