June 29, 1995 in City

Each Of Us Must Draw The Line

By The Spokesman-Review

A convicted tax cheater didn’t report to prison, then got snippy with a federal judge. The judge cited him for contempt. Way to go, U.S. District Judge Frem Nielsen. You set a limit.

An apartment owner downtown enforces some strict rules for the tenants living there. Mandatory chores, curfews, no alcohol consumption. Way to go, Jim Delegans. You set some limits.

Members of a household on Spokane’s South Hill were awakened by a drive-by shooting early Sunday morning. A young man with possible gang ties lives there. The neighbors in that area should begin work now to stop drug and gang activity in their block. Set a limit.

Those men and women with the courage to set limits deserve our support. It’s not easy drawing the line on unacceptable behavior anymore. Not in our personal, professional or public lives. But limitsetting is what it takes to raise good children, alleviate stress, keep order, save sanity and neighborhoods. It’s a useful skill to practice - but not always a popular one.

Ask Judge Nielsen. Convicted tax cheater Richard Peters shouted at Nielsen: “I don’t have to follow your orders.” Nielsen calmly said: “Well, we’ll see about that.” He set a contempt hearing for July 7. Peters sits in jail, waiting. It’s Nielsen’s court. And he has the right to set the limits of acceptable behavior.

Apartment co-owner Jim Delegans made some enemies, too, when he enforced strict rules in the renovated Commercial Building in downtown Spokane. The hope was the building would become a sober and clean haven for residents trying to piece their lives back together. Then, lawyers and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development said the rules violated civil rights. This week, though, HUD changed its mind. The rules are back. That’s great. Those who don’t like them can live elsewhere.

Families in the 300 block of West 19th Avenue were shattered to hear that bullets had peppered one neighbor’s residence in a driveby shooting. Police say an 18-year-old Crips gang member lives there. The boy denies he’s in a gang. Neighbors suspect drug activity in the home, too. They need to do what other neighborhoods have done: Monitor activity at the house. Take down license plate numbers. Feed information to the police.

Maybe the neighbors will find nothing is going on. But if something is, they could save their neighborhood by setting a limit on dangerous behavior. Go for it.

, DataTimes The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = Rebecca Nappi/For the editorial board

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