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Letters To The Editor


Library view has real value

I read with some frustration letters to the editor that seem greatly opposed to a public library with a view and very much in favor of river front development.

While an architecture student at the University of Idaho, I had the opportunity to meet with one of the chief designers for the Spokane Public Library. We were told that the spectacular view of the falls was a key factor in the design of that library.

I am dismayed by those who see no value in such rare scenery as is afforded by a public building. Many of these individuals seem to demonstrate that making a buck is of greater importance to the people of Spokane than the natural wealth of these surroundings. Such individuals would send those who wish to enjoy such beauty onto the narrow sidewalk of a bridge with heavy traffic. One of the main purposes behind the library was to get people in off the streets.

Some may prefer to do their reading in a damp cellar illuminated by a single lightbulb. I hope the majority can visualize the advantage of illuminating their minds through a combination of reading books and inspirational scenery. Otherwise, it would seem prudent to hire a library patrol that would prevent people from gazing through those windows when they were supposed to be reading.

Those still wanting the view could be encouraged to rent apartment space on the waterfront. Elmer C. Jorgensen Cheney

Different strokes for different folks

In answer to Michael Tobin’s question (Letters, May 15) as to how businesses get different deals from the city of Spokane, it’s like this: Each city planner seems to use a different rule book.

In my own case, I had to submit a shoreline permit application to build a home near the Spokane River. The process took five months and cost $375 in additional fees.

The man who built a house 10 feet from mine paid no additional fees, was not held up in his construction and did not have to file a shoreline application. Why? Because two different planners handled the permits.

To add insult to injury, the city will not refund my $375 or collect the fee from the other builder.

I suggest the Ronalds go back to City Hall and submit their plans to a different planner. They might get their project approved with the other rule book. Ron Blank Spokane

Come to terms with value of sums

It may be that the “bit” in Mike Prager’s May 21 article, “Bond deals: City gets a bit, dealers get a lot,” is even less than he realized.

It appears that the city’s “expert” in finance, Pete Fortin, is computing the value of these transactions in nominal rather than in present value dollars. Present value equalizes cash flows that occur in different periods. An annual cash payment over 15 years from today is worth less than if the total of payments was paid today. That is because the payment received today can be invested and earn interest, and the interest earned can be reinvested, etc.

It’s customary to view all cash flows that do not occur in the same period in terms of their present value. This is computed by dividing the future cash flows by a present worth factor. If the $3.4 million taxpayers will receive in equal annual interest payments over 15 years is brought back into present terms at the rate of 7 percent, it would be worth a little over $2 million. Though paying $3 million to earn $2 million sounds like the type of investment our brilliant leaders might make, it’s not one I would be too proud of.

To the editors and reporters of The SpokesmanReview, I suggest that if you are going to report on financial transactions, that you also report these in terms of their net present value. Any other representation is meaningless and deceiving to the public. Michael T. Griswold Spokane

Here’s another lawsuit city can buy

After learning in The Spokesman-Review that the city of Spokane condoned the purchase of a civil rights lawsuit by City Manager Roger Crum from my father, Grover Marks, I would like to make public that I have for sale a human rights and a crime against humanity lawsuit.

I am firm at $9 million for nine years of legal maneuvering. I will run articles in the New York Times and the Washington Post and other major publications.

City Attorney James Sloane outsmarted himself. I thank him for taking out the weakest link in the civil rights federal lawsuit against the city of Spokane and Spokane County.

For sale: One $40 million lawsuit, nine years old in excellent shape and blessed by the District Court, Superior Court, Court of Appeals and Washington State Supreme Court. Punitive damages will be included: Riverfront Park, Indian Canyon Golf Course, People’s Park, the Carrousel and let’s not forget the new Gypsy coliseum. James Marks II Spokane


Publicizing article bad idea

Historically, schools of journalism in this country have taught their students that freedom of the press requires a corresponding level of responsibility. Sadly, the responsibility notion seems to be dropping out of the American consciousness these day, and on May 12, The Spokesman-Review took a giant step in leading the way.

Just when the paranoid rhetoric of Waco and Ruby Ridge started to ebb a bit, The Spokesman-Review managed to fan the flames by dragging out a story concocted by Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Texas), arguably the No. 1 congressional ally of the National Rifle Association.

Amazingly, the story said that Stockman called the Waco siege a “Clinton plot” (your headline). He recently co-sponsored a bill which would make assault rifle ownership legal again.

What really concerns me is that the article in question appeared in “Guns and Ammo”! Running a lead article that appeared in a magazine of questionable scholarship was ill-advised and will certainly fan the flames of hatred to a new level of intensity. We just don’t need that now. What we need in a free society is a free press which engages in responsible journalism. Bruce Mitchell Spokane

Group less angry than some think

Glad to hear Staff writer Jim Kershner (May 20) talk about the John Birch Society, since it gives us a chance to clear up some misconceptions.

We rant about that four-letter word, “Constitution,” the freedom it gives us and the threats against it. Remember when it was OK to be a watchdog or a whistleblower?

We don’t do bombs. Our battle is educational. We don’t hate Jews or anyone else. And we pay taxes, too.

Conspiracy? You decide. But please have Jim read some more to get the facts straight. Dave Robinson Colville, Wash.

Travel agents’ word not enough

In reference to “Travel agents warning of dubious offer” (May 21), The Spokesman-Review has done it again. It has printed another one-sided story without gathering all the facts first.

Luckily, any person reading the story will realize the only segment of the travel industry complaining about Jetaway/NU-Concepts in Travel are the conventional travel agencies. They are nervous and have every right to be.

The rest of the industry, the vendors, are not complaining about Jetaway/NU-Concepts in Travel. The cruise lines, airlines, hotels, car rental companies, resorts, etc., are welcoming NCT with open arms. Why? Because we are producing travel and that is the bottom line. Volume is king.

I recommend every reader wait until you have read the rest of the story before you come to a conclusion about the opportunity of the ‘90s. It will open your eyes. Jeff Soukup Co-owner, Cruises of the Seas, Spokane


Christian right assumptions lacking

Conservative Republicans who want to promote Judeo-Christian values have only done about half their homework. Their claim that “students of history realize our government was founded on Judeo-Christian principles - the Ten Commandments and the laws of God,” is only partially true.

Our government/nation was also “conceived in liberty” - a right they propose to take away from others who do not agree with their agendas. As far as “all men are crated equal,” well, maybe they need to re-read “Animal Farm.” As I recall, all the animals started out equal - at least until the pigs decided they were more equal.

America, land of opportunity, was also supposed to guarantee its citizens freedom from religious persecution. Not all Americans are of the Judeo-Christian faith. How do conservatives respond to this? By acting very unChrist-like. After all, doesn’t being Christian mean to act as Christ did? To me, this means to act kind and caring, not superior and judgmental.

Whether or not you believe Jesus of Nazareth was the son of God or just a man, I cannot believe he would appreciate his name being used to describe people who profess to instill their very un-Christ-like values in others.

Maybe it’s time for the rigid right to examine its own values, before tackling others’ values. Gail Cory-Betz Newport, Wash.

Government a tool of Satan

After reading “from both sides” (May 19) I feel compelled to ask John Webster a few questions. You started out by stating that Jesus was not a Republican. Are you implying he was a Democrat? Have you met every one of his followers and asked them if they have forgotten that his approach benefits from civil liberties.

Jesus did say the poor would always be with us. But he asked the church to care for them; he didn’t institute a governmental body to enforce that this get done.

In your list of history’s ugliest abuses, you forgot to add Nero’s persecution of Christians, in which they were fed to lions for sport and regularly burned at stakes so he could have light for his dinner parties.

Why did this come about? Because Satan hates Christians and uses governmental bodies to persecute and make life very uncomfortable for those who would follow Jesus Christ.

Granted, Christ never wanted to save mankind through politics. But what is it about a Christian that makes him unfit for service to his country as well as his God?

Politics not only crawls with conspicuous Christians, it also crawls with people who want to break down the family unit, eliminate absolutes and make sure a Christian will be silenced and have no impact on shaping the country that he also inhabits. Paige Marshall Post Falls

Latest contract not even for real

D.F. Oliveria’s editorial of May 19 claims the Christian Coalition’s contract is for every citizen. Well, it is not for me.

Oliveria insinuates that so-called hypersensitive liberals police our public displays of faith, how we raise and educate our families and are constantly demanding more tax dollars. Garbage. This is public discourse at its worst.

Education is a lifelong process and giving children a broad-based view of the world is not just the responsibility of schools. You also are the educator of your children.

As far as our national debt being caused by liberals, let me remind Oliveria that we outspent the now defunct and bankrupt Soviet Union through military buildup to win the Cold War.

According to the Common Agenda Coalition, even today, military spending amounts to four times what the government spends on housing, education, job training, community development and the environment combined.

Oliveria also blames liberals for the subculture of dependent poor people. Fiscal policy making has been unbalanced since 1980, making programs like welfare only seem like a failure.

We have the highest rate of violent crime in the world. One might consider that this so-called God-loving nation that follows the teachings of Judeo-Christian beliefs is the largest and most profitable nation on the planet with the selling of weapons. I wonder what Christ would think?

When your leaders are corrupt, your public will follow. Tim Adair Spokane

‘Absolutist attitude’ potential threat

D.F. Oliveria’s editorial of May 19, in which he quotes William Wilberforce as stating that “Christ must be at the heart of social progress,” may reveal more about the Christian right than he intended.

Wilberforce indeed was instrumental in the abolition of the British slave trade. But he also referred to Hinduism as “an abomination” and stated that Christianizing India was “that greatest of all causes, for I place it before abolition.”

It is just this absolutist attitude that should concern the public about The Christian Coalition’s Contract With American Families. It seems a subterfuge by which a narrow, self-righteous set of religious beliefs can be foisted upon the rest of us. Fritz Blackwell Pullman

Military already cut too much

S.S. Howze of Sagle advocates more money for Columbia River dams and less for military spending (Letters, May 12).

I would like to remind Howze that defense budgets have steadily dropped since 1989. They’ve been cut back so much that troops are underpaid and overloaded with work.

While the money has vanished, our military has been tasked again and again to protect vital interests worldwide. Last year alone, troops were sent to Iraq and Haiti. Then there’s Bosnia and North Korea to worry about.

Howze’s assertion that America faces “no credible conventional military threat” simply doesn’t wash. It’s a big world out there. Just because the Cold War is over doesn’t mean we aren’t in need of B-2 bombers.

Republicans and Democrats alike have sought large defense budgets. This is particularly the case when a major weapon system or military base comprises a large portion of the lawmakers’ constituents.

Finally, I am all for modernizing the Columbia dams, but why do so many people pick the military budget as the scapegoat? I’m sure we can all think of other areas where the government could trim a few dollars. Quite a few, actually. Andrew S. Biscoe Post Falls

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