February 16, 1995 in City

Letters To The Editor

 
Tags:Letters

SPOKANE MATTERS

Project victim of bureaucratic folly

After spending five months and nearly $18,000 in an effort to obtain a building permit, I am saddened to report that we must abandon our plans to build our new building within Spokane County. I refuse to spend any more time or money on such a futile process. Ours is just a small, six-employee company trying to grow.

I find it absolutely absurd that one must spend so much time and money just to find out if a building permit is even obtainable. It’s more difficult to obtain a building permit in Spokane County than it is to get on welfare, which takes three to four weeks.

The bureaucratic hoops certainly protect the jobs of the employees at the Public Works Department. Showing arrogant attitudes, ineptness and indifference, many of the employees there do not serve the public, only themselves. While I’m sure there are many well-meaning, knowledgeable and hard-working people within the building department, I only met a few who actually cared.

A recent Spokesman-Review article stated that building permits were off 62 percent for 1994. I find the percentage stunning. The county has created an expensive permit system that is choking growth. A system which feeds on creating difficulties rather than solving problems is unacceptable to all taxpaying citizens.

I’m not alone in my disdain for such an impacted system. I have talked with many builders who agree. I am only alone in speaking out. You see, I do not have to build here. I feel sorry, though, for those who do. Roland C. Lamarche, president Goldenwest Manufacturing, Inc.

No library charges for students

What’s the big deal! Let students who attend school in the city but live in the county use the public library facilities at no cost.

We want our children to be well-educated, contributing members of our society, so forget the new rules making school children from the county pay a fee to use the city library. Use some common sense and reasonable judgment on this issue.

I am sure it will equal out when we allow county children to use city libraries and city children to use county libraries. Verl M. Giese Spokane

Approach incorporation carefully

I want to compliment Managing Editor Chris Peck for his fine, informative, intelligent and thought-provoking column of Feb. 5 regarding Valley incorporation.

For over a year, about 32 dedicated, public-spirited citizens elected by the people of Spokane County have had numerous public hearings and meetings to try to find a solution to the problems we have as a result of tremendous growth taking place in our county. They are our freeholders.

Isn’t it fair that we exercise some patience in allowing them to complete their work? When through, they will make recommendations to the people, who will be asked to discuss the proposals and vote on them.

Each new city in the Valley proposal has been for a smaller city. Each has thus put more potential pressure on homeowners and businesses within the proposed incorporation area to be faced with higher and higher taxes. People planning to buy or sell their homes won’t know what to plan on regarding their taxes. Smallbusiness people face stiffer competition day by day from an ever-increasing number of larger businesses.

Then there are the problems facing Central Valley School District residents. For lack of room, children are being bused from various parts of the district to another. We will soon be called upon to vote on another school bond issue to try and solve the problems. How much increase in taxes will that mean?

Let’s take time to think, evaluate and analyze all the consequences before we vote again on incorporation. Maurice B. Cauchon Spokane

Hope Nethercutt praise leads to funds

I was very pleased to see the Feb. 3 letter from Rep. George Nethercutt praising the Martin Luther King Jr. Family Outreach Center. It is a much-needed facility in this community.

As Rep. Nethercutt stated, it is nongovernmental and locally administered but it has for many years, although not every year, received federal funds through community development block grants administered through the East Central Neighborhood Center (formally through the Community Development Board). These federal dollars are spread very thinly to cover programs for child care, alcohol treatment, adult illiteracy and a host of other deserving nongovernmental social services. There is never enough money to adequately tackle the problems these facilities combat, but without federal dollars, we could well be facing a crisis in some areas of social service in our community.

I hope, with Rep. Nethercutt’s support, we will see an increase in community development dollars in the budget Congress will approve in the next few months. Pam Behring Spokane

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS

Liberals have done much that’s good

I read with interest John Webster’s editorial and D.G. Quinton’s Feb. 3 letter headed “Liberals have ruined the country.”

I am the liberal from Bonners Ferry, may be the only one in the county. I tilt more to the center than to the left.

Why is it, when we disagree with the conservatives or hit upon the truth, we are called whiners and bellyachers? We also are entitled to our opinions - or would Rush and the boys like to shut us up for good?

You’ve already stated all of the bad things the liberals have done. Here’s some of the good things they’ve done: Social Security, railroad retirement, unemployment benefits, workman’s compensation, letting labor unions organize, Medicare. I haven’t seen any conservatives back away from Social Security or Medicare.

The best economic times in this nation were in the 1960s, for the dollar earned and what that dollar would buy. That’s also when the labor unions were the strongest and the Democrats were in power. There are the facts, Mr. Quinton.

I agree about President Hoover. He was a victim of the times. President Truman admired him a great deal and he served a very important post in the Truman administration.

President Eisenhower warned in his farewell address that if we go too far left or too far right, the people will have no say; only the government will. I sincerely hope we don’t go too far to the right this time. I don’t want to go back to the Joe McCarthy days. Ernest Loewen Bonners Ferry, Idaho

Why have a surgeon general?

These last few days, the talking heads of the media have been filling in a good bit of their allotted time by chewing over the nomination of Dr. Henry Foster to the vacant post of surgeon general.

One thing this observer has not seen addressed is the question of just why we have a surgeon general. Thinking back over my 70-plus years, I can’t remember any surgeon general doing anything for me. Can anyone? During the frequent periods when the post has been vacant or filled with a nonentity, the sun has continued to rise in the East.

This seems to me to be one of those many, many government situations where what may or may not have been a good idea at the time later assumed a life of its own and continued on forever because no politician - in this case, any president - can find it in themselves to just say, “Hey, we don’t need you any more. The job has disappeared.” H.B. Porter Kennewick

Nazis would’ve like Foster, except

I find it appalling that Dr. Henry Foster is even a consideration for surgeon general. Fifty years ago in Nazi Germany, his policies and practices would have made him elite, but his race and color would have made him a victim. Worse yet, some of the people who hound the rest of us to never forget the Holocaust want him in power.

The mystery to me is, what happened to the American brain and its ability to think? Margaret Schuster Spokane

Religious right doesn’t get it

What is it with all the negative misinformation concerning Dr. Henry Foster’s appointment? I am absolutely appalled that the “religious right,” Christians or whatever they want to call themselves so they feel good, is getting involved in politics.

This is America, where we have a constitution that stipulates the separation of church and state. The founders did this for a reason; the pilgrims were fleeing religious persecution of any type.

Now, you so-clled visionaries are striving for exactly that, religious persecution.

If you want a dogmatic, theological concept to rule your narrow world, then go live in some archaic Third World nation where you belong. You hypocrites cause America to be the judgmental, divisive and discriminatory “melting pot” that it is today. Wake up! Show more love, concern and understanding. N.G. Hannon Spokane

Retiree benefits misjudged

For too long, federal retirees have been burdened by an undeserved image based on stories by reporters, columnists, politicians and other critics who have contributed to serious threats to cut our cost-of-living adjustments and other work-related retirement benefits.

Myth: Cut in cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) are necessary to reduce the national debt.

Fact: Cuts in COLAs do more to reinforce the deficit than to reduce it.

Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund (CSRDF), like Social Security, is a trust fund made up of contributions from federal employees and the federal government as employer. The trust fund is required by law to invest in government securities which are in turn used to finance the deficit and pay for government programs.

Fact: Cutting COLAs increases the national debt in that cutting COLAs reduces outlays from the CSRDF. Since the assets of the fund can only be invested in government securities, the federal government is actually purchasing more securities to finance the deficit and pay for government programs and services. However, in doing so the government increases the national debt since there is a corresponding increase in the interest owed on the government securities that are purchased from the assets of the dedicated trust. Bob Elmore National Association of Retired Federal Employees, Spokane

Federal Reserve serves only select few

Sure it’s a good thing, balancing the federal budget. But doing so will not diminish the national debt to remove deficits. It will just slow the rate of growth.

What if GOP tax cuts do stimulate the economy? The Federal Reserve will just have to raise the rates again - if what they say has anything to do with what they mean - to slow economic growth and protect us from inflation. This last rate increase came because unemployment was - get this - too low?

Raising the prime lending rate also increases debt interest. Americans ought to ask, who are these guys and why are they not answerable to anyone?

The answer is simply this: they are bankers. Not just bankers, but those who control their own interest lending rates, arbitrarily, based on perceived possibilities, as in the possible threat of inflation, not the reality. Policies - policies that favor the very rich and banks and international investors and step in the face of those tying to get ahead, buying houses, raising families - are made on what “might” and what “may” happen.

If we want to change anything to improve the lot of everyone, we ought to begin with the Federal Reserve debt system. The federal budget could be liberated if current and all future debt interest payments were made with U.S. notes, paper funny money, indeed, like Federal Reserve notes, but without the interest attached.

Arbitrary interest rate control favors the few. Congress should decide such things. The members of Congress, at least, are elected. J.C. Ellefson Chelan, Wash.

Cutting art fund false economy

I commend legislators for the immense responsibility they take on administrating taxpayers’ funds. The vision to create lasting legislation that promotes the wholeness of society is left out in the cold with the attitudes purveyed by Rep. Cathy McMorris, Rep. Larry Crouse and Sen. Bob McCaslin.

The one-half of 1 percent art fund is a minuscule amount of the overall state construction budget. To try and terminate a program that brings a variety of visual expressions to our schools and public buildings is ignoring the big picture. We cannot be bean counters without vision. We cannot offer our children a vision of life without art. It is the art that Crouse refers to as “stuff” which he understands so little, and it is in that attitude that we lose benefit of our government’s purpose. That purpose is to protect and enhance a full spectrum of society’s expressions.

These thoughts are from a voting taxpayer. David Govedare Chewelah, Wash.

HUMANS AND THE ANIMALS

People the screw-up among creatures

This is in regard to the dog that was killed by a pack of coyotes, and the statement that “something should be done” (Spokesman-Review, Feb. 3).

The dog was an animal, subject to the rules of the animal kingdom. The fact that this dog was specifically loved by human beings does not render it more valuable than any other animal, and it is a mean human spirit which asks for vengeance in the form of exile. There is a mentality in the United States that truly values only those species that have been domesticated. To love a dog or cat, which loves back, does not render one an animal lover.

If we could reason with undomesticated animals, it would be a difficult job to impress them with ourselves, since the animals we’ve created send out carbon monoxide, which chokes, and since we methodically destroy animals’ homes. We have done a sorry job of utilizing the reason and compassion that is supposed to set us apart from animals.

If we are to justify our continued expansion into animals’ territory, we must use thought and love, rather than our base lust for possession and power. The destruction of vast plant and animal life, as well as the pollution we are apparently willing to breathe, simple goes to prove that we are not mature enough to handle the technologies we’ve achieved.

We are 6-year olds driving a dump truck. Jodi Miller Spokane

Wolves, taxpayers are fellow victims

Two wolves dead in Idaho in one week. One, near Priest River, was the victim of a deadly cyanide explosive device meant for a coyote. It was killed by Animal Damage Control (ADC), a federal agency. The other, released days earlier as part of the wolf reintroduction program in Central Idaho, was shot by someone who ostensibly spotted it from the road feeding on a calf.

Why did ADC use the lethal M-44, which is prohibited by EPA and Fish and Wildlife Service in territory where verified wolf sightings have recently occurred?

In Central Idaho, has it been determined whether the calf was alive when the wolf happened upon it? If the calf was already dead, killing the wolf was illegal.

The irony of the wolf reintroduction effort in Central Idaho is that killing an introduced wolf is legal under the “experimental nonessential” provision of the program as long as it’s caught in the act of killing livestock. It was inevitable that this policy would lead to the questionable circumstance mentioned above and to at least one dead.

Wolves are moving into Idaho on their own and naturally occurring wolves are provided full protection. How are people in Central Idaho going to know whether they’re taking aim at a naturally occurring, protected wolf or at an introduced wolf?

It’s ironic that one arm of the government is spending millions to bring wolves back to Central Idaho, though they’re already there, while another agency is illegally killing naturally occurring wolves in the Panhandle - all at taxpayers’ expense.

Good luck, wolves! Liz Sedler Sandpoint

Let humaneness come first

Dog rescue troubling? Why?

Rosemary Hart (Letters, Feb. 13), are you really glad the pet was rescued? I don’t believe so, as your concern was not for the suffering animal but for money. Your letter states you saw numerous rescue vehicles but you were not sure of exactly how many and the cost involved.

It surprises me you did not bother to check the cost before you wrote your letter. It would have given you more reason to elaborate on the “waste.” Was it necessary for Fire Chief Williams to tell the cost, as he only aggravated citizens like yourself concerned with how your money is being spent.

I am told the $300 rope can be used again.

The fire chief and all those involved, in my opinion, did a great job and I know I am not alone in this sentiment. Were it your pet, Rosemary, I wonder if you would feel the same. I sincerely doubt you are a concerned pet owner. What would you have done? Watch it die without even trying to get help?

Gail Mackey, as director of SpokAnimal CARE, sees much horror in her job. Being the compassionate person she is in not fining the owners, Mackie correctly stated they surely had learned a lesson. I know I would have. There are times the law needs to be bent.

We are very fortunate in Spokane to have people who care for animals. You need educating about man’s best friend. We do not put a price tag on our beloved pets. Mary Cosentini Spokane

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