May 15, 1995 in Nation/World

Letters To The Editor



Laws, rules being applied unfairly

Someone, please explain how the owners of Cavanaugh’s Inn at the Park were able to build right up to the river bank, when all other restaurants and hotels can’t get any closer than 50 feet. And why the owners of Cyrus O’Leary’s and Rocky Rococo’s restaurants were able to build on one of the busiest sidewalks in town. But the Ronalds aren’t able to build on their private property.

I thought Spokane was still part of America, where all people are created equal and all the laws are applied equally.

I wonder what C.I. Shenanigans or the Sheraton would have built, had they been able to build right to the river bank, or how many seats every restaurant that borders a public sidewalk could add if they were given most of the sidewalk in front of their restaurant to build on.

The main objection to the Ronalds’ plan seems to be that the completed project would block the view from the library. Silly me, I thought a library is where people go to read, study and gather information. If people using the library want a view, they have only to walk two minutes to the Monroe Street Bridge to enjoy a spectacular view. And thank goodness they don’t have to walk along that narrow stretch in front of Cyrus O’Leary’s to get there.

Let’s use the library for what it was intended. Let’s apply building ordinances the same way for all. And let’s wish the Ronalds luck with their venture. The deck certainly seems to be stacked against them. Michael E. Tobin Spokane

Quit discouraging the good guys

What will happen to today’s youths? Does the city of Spokane care?

We all complain about the violence and trouble our teens get into, but every time someone in our city cares about our youths and tries to start a youth center, they get so much garbage from the city government that it’s just not worth it.

This newspaper ran a front page story about a center for gay teens which is partially funded by taxpayers’ money. This is great. But what about our straight teens? Don’t they deserve a chance to have a place to discover themselves, too?

It’s about time for the City Council to stop putting roadblocks in front of citizens like Mr. Lipe and do something to save our kids. Because if we don’t, nobody will.

Councilmembers, think about our future. We need a place for our teens. Barbara Hersey Spokane

Think of the kids, plan ahead

I support Bob Lipe in his struggle for a teen center in the West Central neighborhood.

When I was between 11 and 15 years old, I lived in a community that had a youth center for youngsters of all ages. It worked. My personal vision is that we can make one work in the West Central neighborhood. It may spark enough community interest that we could have pilot centers around town.

All of us are affected by our children and the havoc they create. If we don’t have kids of our own, there are nieces, nephews, grandkids and our neighbors.

All of the major investments in Spokane have been for adults by adults, especially in the downtown area. What about the kids?

If Spokane were to have a real youth center with enough backing, maybe our kids could become more involved. Business owners, employees and shoppers have kids. We need a good central location downtown to meet up with our kids. This could very possibly weed out the loitering, if the kids could have a place to go sit and have a cola, play pool or shoot hoops.

On weekends they could have dances, go hiking, skating, horseback riding, etc. Centralizing our youth and exposing them to our city center may also get them involved in their community.

Our future will truly be in our kids’ hands. When our kids fill our positions, they will be running their city. Let’s give them a good start. If career parents are dumping their kids on society to raise, then society had better get a plan. Laurie McCullough Spokane

City bureaucrats strike again

A task force and many citizens have worked diligently on the Manito-Cannon Hill Specific Plan (Man-Can Plan) since 1991. Following the City Planning Commission’s recommended approval of the plan in April 1993, the City Council voted unanimously to adopt the Man-Can Plan with the amendment regarding the reduction of density in the historic Cannon Addition neighborhood. That vote was on April 25, 1994.

The City Council action memo of April 25, 1994 concluded, “Included in the motion is direction to city staff to prepare the necessary findings and ordinances to implement this decision.”

City Council has issued may ambiguous statements, but the above action and instructions were precisely stated after due legal process according to the comprehensive plan.

Instead, one year later city staff returns without having implemented the decision, but with a revised Man-Can Plan that excludes the historic Cannon Addition.

Who’s running City Hall? Is it our elected representatives on the City Council, or is it City Council level 2, also known as city staff? Has the latter developed collective amnesia in the rarefied atmosphere of their plush surroundings overlooking the Spokane River?

City staff condescendingly bestows its legislative decisions upon the citizens, while totally disregarding City Council actions and instructions. Who’s in charge?

The citizens educate themselves, maintain interest, sometimes for years, regarding a particular issue. They then are further frustrated by delays, machinations, hoop jumping, bureaucratese and empire building by city staff.

Then the media anguish over the supposed apathy of voters.

Try experience and cynicism. Rita Elise Vennen Spokane


Adoptive parents were in the wrong

I am responding to the three persons whose letters appeared on May 8 regarding Baby Jessica and Baby Richard.

If the adoptive parents had relinquished custody of these children when the birth fathers first asked for their children, none of the court battles or psychological trauma would have taken place.

If John Webster’s new adoption laws were in effect at the time, these fathers would have still been given their children because they requested the return of their children well within the six-month period.

Adoptive parents who keep these children must not be rewarded for keeping children they have no rights to.

As for sealed records and secrecy, 27 years ago I gave a child up for adoption, assured of anonymity and sealed records. This child has just recently connected with my family and we are all very happy about it.

Whose right is it to keep the adoptives of this nation in the dark for all their lives?

If you haven’t been there, don’t propose laws on a subject you know nothing about. Sharon White Spokane

Bottom line: Abortion is legal

In response to Jill C. Simmons’ letter of May 11, the answer to all of her “is it because” questions is: Because, Ms. Simmons, in this country abortion, as reprehensible as it may be, is a legal, medical procedure allowed by law. I believe gunning people down is still against the law in this country.

Instead of spewing hate about Planned Parenthood or doctors who perform abortions, why don’t you spend your time trying to change the law of the land?

Oh, by the way, Ms. Simmons, how many unwanted but not aborted babies have you adopted into your home lately? Vicki Webster Spokane

Hunting homicides not accidents

Add to the increasing madness of our times the recent acquittal of the Idaho shooter who killed a hunter. The shooter violated the foremost rule of hunting: Absolutely, positively identify the target before shooting.

This rule includes verifying that he is indeed aiming at his intended target, not a hallucination self-induced by a lifetime in the suburbs reading hook and bullet articles which far too often equate manhood (or womanhood) with making the kill. No amount of hunter orange clothing or laws requiring its use can replace the awesome personal responsibility one accepts when handling a deadly weapon.

Clearly, this was a case of involuntary manslaughter. No true hunter’s peers could conclude otherwise. No truly reasonable person could. But a jury did.

There must be consequences for those who commit hunting homicides. They are really not accidents but lethal gross negligence. Jail time may not be appropriate. Restitution to the victim’s family definitely is. At the very least, for the safety of others, such shooters should never be allowed afield again with a weapon and should be required to relate their tragic misjudgment to hunter safety classes.

If the jury acquitted the shooter in this case because Idaho law does not allow for these appropriate consequences, then the law must be changed.

Otherwise, the message is that you can kill human beings with impunity so long as you make it look like a hunting “accident.” Mike A. Beckwith Coeur d’Alene

Death penalty trend lamentable

In response to Ivan Brewer’s letter of May 11 about increasing violence, we are far, far, less violent now than in centuries past. This does not mean that we don’t have a lot of work in front of us in our quest for peace and safety.

I do have one question to pose to Mr. Brewer and other death penalty proponents:

What kind of example does state-sponsored murder set in our goal towards a less violent society? By imposing the death penalty, not to mention chain gangs in Alabama and renewed calls for paddling, we are only reverting to our barbaric past, not moving toward a more peaceful future. Carol May Spokane


Indian critic fooling himself

Chuck Cleis’ letter of May 11 (“No sympathy for Indian whining”) reeks of the white Anglo-Saxon male’s entitlement attitude, historically known as manifest destiny. The letter represents the age-old, divide-and-conquer mentality brought from the Roman age.

Unfortunately, Chuck operates on the misconception that our people shared the same philosophy, which is untrue. He seems to believe technology was the culprit that conquered our nations and that our tribal nations fought to conquer and own the prime resources.

Yes, there was battle. However, the act of counting coup, which involved descending upon the enemy and making contact, signified the ultimate act of courage - unlike the European concept of taking lives unnecessarily.

I am a 15-year-old Native American female who can attest to the fact that our ancestral cultural values are still alive and will continue through the next generations. Yes, I do use electricity and eat at McDonald’s. But I also have the option of eating deer meat, roots and salmon, and practicing traditional ways.

This ability to survive may very well be the reason why Chuck Cleis makes his uninformed, foolish generalizations. How sad. Chuck’s statement, “The white man’s biggest mistake was not crushing the tribes militarily” leads one to believe that he is angry that our people have survived and were not completely annihilated. From that perspective, you, Chuck, are the true victim of your own self-deception, historical misinformation and rationalization.

Now, who’s whining? Twa-le Abrahamson Spokane

Ignorance put on display

Chuck Cleis’ (May 11) letter about American Indians shows great ignorance.

There were great civilizations on this continent well over 500 years ago. Ones with powerful and effective medical technology as well as highly cultivated vegetation. The Indians who concentrated on hunting and gathering had a sophisticated understanding of the seasons, geography and the different foods both provide.

We didn’t use every part of an animal out of mere necessity, but because just about everything has a use.

Europeans didn’t conquer us with their military tactics. In fact, they seemed to know close to nothing about guerrilla warfare, which we had down quite well. What wiped us out wasn’t the guns, though they didn’t help us. What really hurt us were all the diseases brought over. These decimated our populations. And disease, such as smallpox, certainly was used militarily against us.

Before belittling us, learn a little about our diverse and sophisticated cultures, including our forms of government, in which women had always played an instrumental role. The U.S. government and Constitution were directly fashioned after the Iroquois league, whose territory was vast and had scores of representatives. Europeans didn’t implement democracy until studying Indian cultures.

At least our ancestors managed to secure some land and therefore part of our souls for us by making treaties with the government. Because of this, we are very grateful and fortunate.

Chuck, it isn’t just us complaining about the environment. Several other highly intelligent people are, too. We cannot overlook the condition of Mother Nature. Melissa Campobasso Airway Heights

White man also advanced barbarism

Chuck Cleis’ letter of May 11 characterized Sofie Leonard as whining about Native American victimhood. I believe that Ms. Leonard is correct in her understated assessment that “living has gotten too complicated” and that life is not lived in proportion as it was by our American ancestors.

Mr. Cleis is correct in stating that the white man brought technology and scale to the “monstrous characteristics” of people. From the deliberate near extinction of one of God’s magnificent creatures, the buffalo, to the planned extinction of God’s chosen people in the Holocaust, to the surgical efficiency with which 20 million American children have been killed in the womb, certainly, the white man has shown himself to be preeminent in the technology and scale of evil. Paul Unger Spokane

Letter deserved no space

I can’t believe that you would even consider printing a letter that was so far off base and so totally full of hate and bias as the letter from Chuck Cleis (May 11). I think that letters should contribute to greater knowledge or understanding on a different point of view. Thoughts such as these drag all of our society a little lower on the dignity scale.

Maybe I missed something, but to print a letter that is so totally devoid of any redeeming value is irresponsible at best. Dick McInerney Spokane


Firm should use alternative methods

Frank Bartel’s column of May 7 discussed the new United Physicians of Washington, a health insurance company just formed. This company pledges to provide quality health care at competitive prices, maintain traditional physician-patient relationships and preserve private practice in the community.

These are all good, sound sensible goals but one needs to know their true definition of quality health care.

To truly be quality health care, it must include alternative or complementary and nutritional medicine, which is experiencing excellent and sometimes fabulous results but is not being given the proper recognition or publicity.

There is a growing trend of combining alternative and orthodox medicine, using the best of either or both in combinations. Many doctors gain a new pride and satisfaction when they see the results.

If this new company has intentions in this direction, great! If not, it will be impossible to fulfill the first pledge, to provide quality health care at competitive prices.

Sometimes orthodox medicine has a hard time shedding the egos, bias, power and self-interest to make this move.

There must be some good reasons why we in this country are so high on the hit list cost-wise, and very low on the list health-wise, compared to other parts of the world. Let’s reverse this. Bob Hardesty Spangle, Wash.

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