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Letters To The Editor


Kindness in action impressive

While sitting at my desk Sunday morning at the Davenport Hotel, watching the bitter cold wind whipping everything into a frenzy, I observed a man approaching the hotel from the west. He was struggling to keep a ragged tarp over his ears and body to keep warm.

My first thought was to wonder what I could give him to help. When he reached my window directly adjacent to the hotel on Sprague Avenue, a gentleman in a white car pulled to the curb and extended a dark blue bundle to the man. He drove away without seeing the look of wonder and joy on the man’s face as he pulled the warm hat on over his ears, the tarp around his shoulders, and smiled as he passed me.

While I was wondering what I could do, this man in the white car knew what to do. I would like to thank him for loving and caring enough to reach out to someone in need. Evelyn Conant Spokane

When a kid’s in trouble, act

Where were you, Spokane, when the preschool boy rode his bicycle out into rush hour traffic at Freya Street by the freeway?

Did you watch as he rode out into the street beside bumper-to-bumper traffic? Did you gasp as he pulled into the Conoco gas station and his little bike tipped over, inches from rushing traffic? But it wasn’t your child, so why risk getting involved?

Where were you, Spokane, when the group of 10 12-year-old boys were fighting on that same Freya Street corner during rush hour? Did you watch as the attacking boy hit the other boy in the face again and again? Did you see blood on the boy’s face? See his swollen and bloody ear as he was held on the ground and socked in the head? Did you stop to help defuse the situation?

No, you didn’t want to get involved.

We as adults have a responsibility to become involved. Children need to grow up in a safe environment. They need to know that adults will not allow anyone’s child to be a victim.

Don’t waste your time blaming indifferent parents, disintegrating values, drugs or poverty. Don’t think expanding the prison system to warehouse our children is the only answer.

The next time you see a child at risk, stop. Even if someone else has already stopped, don’t drive on by. Try to make a difference. Because next time, it might be too late when the police arrive. Ginger Ninde Medical Lake

Rose Kennedy’s life anachronistic

My friends and I have been discussing the passing of Rose Kennedy, and what she meant to America. Certainly, she represents the end of an era. But it’s an era for which I, for one, do not mourn.

The Kennedy women have enjoyed social status, prestige and great wealth, but they also have always “known their duty,” which was usually to look the other way while their husbands collected beautiful movie stars as if they were hunting trophies.

I find it interesting that John Kennedy Jr. is always referred to as the “heir to the dynasty.” Caroline Kennedy Schlossman has displayed far greater intelligence and creativity, yet she stays behind the scenes.

It would be a wonderful thing if this country could evolve to the point at which men were more than collectors and women were more than long-suffering wives or trophies or the power behind the throne.

Wealth and prestige-through-marriage are nothing compared to self-respect and personal achievement. And though Rose Kennedy lived to be 104, I do not envy her a single one of those years. Her greatest regret was that her father never allowed her to attend college. Stephanie Brush Coeur d’Alene


Allegation not proof or reason to hide

This is in response to Luis Cerna’s Feb. 10 letter stating that because of the allegations of sexual harassment against him, Gov. Mike Lowry should step down as governor during the investigation.

The key word is “allegation.” An allegation is not an indictment. It is only a person saying that you did something, often with no proof to back up the statement.

That’s what the investigation is for - to ascertain the facts for further action.

People across this country bear false witness against their neighbors every day, and for reasons other than truth and justice.

Mr. Cerna, I could say anything I want about you. Should you then quit your job and go home and hide in your house until an investigation proves that I am lying through my teeth? Suppose I’ve only said what I’ve said about you because I didn’t like what your dog was doing in my front yard?

To Mr. Cerna and anybody else who believes that the punishment should start at the mere allegation that somebody did a bad thing, and that everything that anybody says is the gospel truth: I’ve got some oceanfront property I would like to sell you, sight unseen, without investigation. Oh, and just because it’s got an address in Montana - don’t worry, I wouldn’t fib ya, pal. Mike Zimmer Coeur d’Alene


It’s a personal and medical matter

Dr. Henry Foster, the man President Clinton has chosen to become surgeon general, is being criticized because, as an obstetrician, he may have done 700 therapeutic abortions. This, next to the thousands of healthy babies he has delivered.

Abortion is a woman’s choice as well as a doctor’s. A woman chooses whether she’ll have it done. Whatever her choice, she is stuck with it all of her life. A doctor chooses whether he’ll perform this procedure and he is equally stuck with his choice.

What business is it of ours to persecute a doctor for providing a safe and sanitary environment for such a procedure, or a woman for making what can only be her own personal choice?

I feel sorry for the doctors who can’t provide such an environment because of anti-abortionists who assault, injure and sometimes kill women and doctors at abortion clinics. From what I’ve seen, the candidate for surgeon general is a good doctor and very well qualified. What could be a better choice for surgeon general of the United States of America? Kris Herrick Spokane

It means a death and is wrong

Jan. 22 marked the 22nd anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade court decision that legalized abortion. It is a good time to ask why abortion was illegal before Roe vs. Wade. And why is it legal now?

The answer to the first question is easy. Abortion results in the death of an unborn baby. At the time, this was thought to be wrong.

The answer to the second question is more complex. You could say that it is legal now because the courts and our government have said so. You could also say it is legal because our views have changed. We are more tolerant.

Now ask yourself, is our government and court system really capable of passing legislation on an issue which involves morals and ethics? Does the tolerance level of our society dictate what is right and what is wrong? I don’t think so.

Morals and ethics are constant. What’s right is always right. What’s wrong is always wrong. Just because our courts and government have legalized abortion and just because a sizeable percentage of our population has accepted abortion doesn’t make it right. The fact remains that every abortion results in the death of a preborn baby, and that is still wrong. Richard A. Bodnar Spokane


Protection? Wages are lower here

Craig Gruenig (“Davis-Bacon protection still needed,” Letters, Feb. 6) tries to defend a policy that makes no sense.

I worked for a commercial landscape contractor down south who ran a union shop. Our laborers earned $19.96 per hour, minimum. But, on federally funded projects on which the Davis-Bacon Act kicked in, the bottom man was guaranteed $29.96 per hour - the prevailing wage.

Mr. Gruenig maintains that with the repeal of this act will come contractors from California bringing their own laborers, paying them less than our normal wages here in Spokane, leaving our workers out in the cold.

Why would a contractos bring $19.96-per-hour laborers when he could hire locally for, say, $12 per hour - a big savings to him and a boon for our laborers? Why would these same $19.96-per-hour laborers travel 1,000 miles to take a huge cut in pay? The answer is that they wouldn’t.

On the contrary, with the Davis-Bacon Act in force and the visiting contractor forced to pay prevailing wages, he would tend to bring his own experienced work force with him, ignoring our local laborers. Michael Wiman Spokane

Davis-Bacon windfall for a few

In his Feb. 6 letter (“Davis-Bacon protection still needed”), Craig Gruenig states Rep. Bacon authored the Davis-Bacon Act after a contractor brought workers from Alabama to work on a project in New York. He left out the fact these workers were black. The Davis-Bacon Act was passed to appease white union workers who wanted to keep blacks out of the work force.

In passing the Davis-Bacon Act, the government was enforcing job discrimination against minorities and others attempting to enter the work force.

Because of the way the prevailing wage is computed under the act, it is actually higher than most other wages in the area, and amounts to a subsidy for those workers lucky enough to receive the federal money. If workers were really concerned about wages at a federally funded job not being high enough, they could refuse to work until wages were raised. If skilled, competent and capable workers are willing to perform the job at the wage offered, it must not be too low.

Calling the Davis-Bacon Act obsolete implies it once served a useful purpose. It is not obsolete. It is, and always has been, a discriminatory form of welfare for those few workers lucky enough to be subsidized by the act. David H. Wordinger Medical Lake

We don’t need minimum wage law

Alas, ignorance abounds. Every economist agrees today that a “minimum wage” cannot raise the value of one’s worth in the marketplace.

All a mandatory wage law can do is make it more difficult for some people to get a start in life. We need to abolish most regulations, controls and wage laws if we wish to live in a free society. John Hodde Colville, Wash.

Deck stacked in big bankers’ favor

The Federal Reserve Act was passed by Congress in 1913, with the full support of the big bankers. The Federal Reserve operates as our central bank and, as we have seen lately, can raise interest rates any time it wants. With control over interest rates and the currency supply, it literally rules over our economy.

In 1921, the Council on Foreign Relations was founded with financial backing of the big bankers to promote their interests in government, business and the media. It was under David Rockefeller’s leadership that the Council on Foreign Relations began to dominate and control the federal government and the major news media. That’s why today when Mexico gets in trouble with the big banks, it comes to the U.S. government for help. Instead of Mexico and the big banks taking a $40 billion loss, the big bankers had CFR members Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw, President Clinton, House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan and many more tell us that the only solution was for us, the taxpayers, to bail out Mexico and the banks. It didn’t matter that it’s wrong, it’s stealing, it’s unconstitutional.

It’s no wonder that, since the Federal Reserve and the CFR have been managing our economy, we the taxpayers are $5 trillion in debt and pay hundreds of billions in interest to the big bankers. Steve Dunham Spokane


End rancher welfare rip-off

Rich Roesler’s Feb. 5 article about the Idaho Watersheds Project understates the severe degradation of public rangelands in the West. Apparently, abuse of public lands has become political policy.

The article credits Secretary of State Peter Cennarussa as saying “grazing leases are included in the property value of a ranch.” Such thinking leads ranchers to believe they own our public range lands and contributes to management problems on the ranges.

Ranch operators, many of which are multinational corporations, have enjoyed subsidized use of public lands for over a century. They’re reluctant to lose their special status. The fact is, the current system of rancher welfare has caused 60 percent of our public range land to be, in Bureau of Land Management terms, in “poor” condition.

Taxpayers should demand an accounting of the range allotment welfare system. While paying the 1974 equivalent of $1.71 per AUM, welfare ranchers contribute less than 3 percent of all meat production nationwide. This tiny minority controls vast amounts of public acreage and its members have come to believe they “own” these lands simply because they’re using them.

Cennarussa, the Idaho Cattle Association, Farm Bureau, and other pork barrel organizations continue to describe themselves in glowing terms: environmentalists, good stewards, benefiting schools, etc. Hogwash.

The Idaho Constitution says the state must “maximize” the income from range leases to benefit public schools. The Idaho Watersheds Project will increase revenue to our schools and keep those destructive cows off our land. A good deal for everybody - except the welfare ranchers who will lose their benefits. Ken Jackson Sandpoint

Forests: Taxpayers deserve say

With almost 75 percent of Shoshone County consisting of non-taxable public lands, maintaining roads and schools rests heavily on private landowners who represent only 25 percent of the area.

Failure to manage forests results in both potential fire fuels accumulating as well as economic devastation. Spokane residents know well the impact of failure to manage forests and the impact forest fires can have on communities. Yet environmental radicals still thwart every reasonable effort to manage or harvest timber. They even resist the harvest of fire salvage timber.

Shoshone County residents don’t want to see the forest and streams decimated. We’ll fight harder than anyone to keep our forests healthy. It isn’t just a place for recreation for us; we live and raise our children here. We’re very committed to protecting our future. But we also know trees grow and need to be cut.

Shoshone County residents appreciate having a senator who listens. Sen. Larry Craig’s plan to reasonably manage forests is prudent. Failure to manage diseased and/or firedamaged trees is ludicrous. Challenging every forest sale is a waste of taxpayers’ money and ultimately endangers our national forests.

Members of the Spokane-based Forest Watch, come to Shoshone County and hug all the trees you want. For us living here, it’s our way of life, our schools and our home. If you want Shoshone County preserved as a national park, you must be willing to pay for it. If you don’t want to pay taxes here, please don’t tell us how to manage our county’s resources. Robin Stanley Silverton

Bear’s enemies: industry, Craig

D.F. Olivera’s editorials condemning road closures to protect the Selkirk grizzly bear from extinction propose several alternatives.

Oliveria supports the reopening of public comment so that timber industries’ concerns can be addressed. The timber industry was provided ample opportunity to comment, and it did. However, after the public comment period ended, industry and representatives from Sen. Larry Craig’s office met with the Forest Service to forcefully impose their positions on the environmental process.

The decision to close roads was delayed. According to Forest Service regulations, the public comment period can only be extended by written requests submitted before the end of the comment period. Obviously these regulations don’t apply to industry. It’s equally evident Sen. Craig’s office can improperly interfere with the legal process.

Oliveria suggests that “Forest Service officials should take time to listen to a forest industry proposal that could create peaceful coexistence between man and grizzly bear.” Obviously, he’s never attended a timber rally or public hearing dealing with threatened or endangered species. Industry always opposes meaningful recovery measures for the bear. It uses the bear as a scapegoat by blaming the bear for job reductions.

Industry will continue to do everything possible to prevent grizzly bear recovery. It encourages irrational behavior. With few exceptions, grizzly bear deaths in the Selkirks stem from poaching.

Remember Cy, one of the few remaining reproducing females in the Selkirks? Cy was poached and her cubs left to starve last year not far from the proposed road closures. Cy’s tragic death is typical, not the exception. Charles Sheroke Coeur d’Alene

Tags: Letters