All�s fair in war and elections

By Steven Zwerin, , Seattle

When I first read the JTNews article on readers? favorites for 2005 (?The best of everything,? Jan. 6) I was grateful, as I learned about a number of restaurants, businesses, and other service providers that had been heartily endorsed by my fellow Jewish Washingtonians. That excellent service provides a well-deserved testimonial of the quality work done by each of those who were selected as the readers? favorites, and surely provides these these businesses with a potential infusion of new customers.

However, one aspect of the article was inappropriate and completely unwarranted. You referred to photographer Dani Weiss with the following statement: ?We sense some ballot stuffing, but the clear winner is the prolific Dani Weiss…? I recognize that the statement was made with an attempt to inject some levity into the article, but I believe it was a major disservice to Ms. Weiss and all of her past, present and future customers.

This poor attempt at levity essentially negated the accolades Ms. Weiss had received by virtue of being selected as JTNews readers? favorite photographer. I found the ?ballot stuffing? comment offensive because I can personally vouch for Ms. Weiss as being quite deserving of the ?readers? favorite? honor.

Five years ago, when my wife and I were planning our wedding, we met with a number of photographers. Because wedding photos are so critical for providing memories of that special day, as well as commemorating the event for generations to come, we made our photographer selection very carefully.

All of the photographers we met with did good work, as was evident in their photos. However, one stood apart from the rest when it came to the intangibles of understanding what it was that we wanted our wedding photos to represent. Ms. Weiss listened to us very carefully, took careful notes of what our vision was for the day?s photos, and took great measures to satisfy each of our concerns. What was supposed to be a one-hour initial meeting stretched out to three, as the three of us quickly became friends.

Minda and I had no doubt that Ms. Weiss was the right photographer for our wedding and she certainly did not disappoint. The quality of her photography was excellent, but equally important, she had clearly listened to us and provided all of the types of shots we had wanted. Even after our wedding, we have maintained a close relationship with Ms. Weiss, who has become a good friend.

I believe the JTNews owes an apology to Ms. Weiss, or even a retraction, for the statement made about her. None of the other recipients of the JTNews readers? favorites had to endure insults of ?ballot stuffing? or other thinly veiled and unwarranted criticism. Certainly, all of the recipients were deemed worthy of the honor they received. Ms. Weiss should have been among them, without the addition of the harmful comment.

Steven Zwerin




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