October 2, 1995 in City

Letters To The Editor

 
Tags:Letters

REFERENDUM 48

Referendum should reduce lawsuits

In the Sept. 22 article, “Property law: boon or doom,” Pierce County Executive and Referendum 48 opponent Doug Sutherland is quoted as saying that the referendum will increase lawsuits. Let me see if I have this straight. Referendum 48, officially known as the Private Property Regulatory Fairness Act, which is opposed by the lawyer lobby, will result in more lawsuits? Give me a break! I’ll believe that when I believe that coyotes give up lamb for Lent.

It doesn’t make sense that people will sue more than they do now if the government pays them for their loss when the use of their property is taken for the public’s benefit. Lawsuits to protect people’s inheritance, livelihoods, and investments in property have been raining on the courts like leaves falling in autumn for the past 20 years, ever since it became popular for government to take property for the public’s benefit by regulation instead of paying for it. Referendum 48 ought to reduce that number, not increase it.

Lucas vs. The Coastal Commission, Dolan vs. Tigard, and Sweet Homes vs. Babbit are just three of the hundreds of thousands of lawsuits about taking the use of property for the public’s benefit by regulation instead of confiscation and compensation, famous only because they recently reached the supreme court. As long as this practice continues, so will the lawsuits, because it violates one of the basic tenets of law - equity. It just isn’t fair. Doris Holznagel Spokane

Referendum protects civil rights

Opponents of Referendum 48 are mistaken about it requiring industry or anyone else to be paid for not polluting. Sec. 4(1)(b) of the referendum forbids such payment. The referendum won’t affect zoning or require a new bureaucracy, and the government can continue to take private lands for wetlands, fish and wildlife habitat, and buffer zones.

The main difference under Referendum 48 is that when those who benefit from taking the use of private land for some public use, the public will share in the cost of the benefits instead of the property owners having to bear the cost alone. That’s only fair.

Most important of all, Referendum 48 protects one of our most important civil rights. Even as we debate the issue, the government is taking the use of private property, without paying for it, leaving the owners with the taxes and potential liability on property they can no longer sell or rent for even a fraction of its former value. If the government can do that, what other individual rights can it ignore?

Send a message. Vote “approve” on Referendum 48. Tom Talkington Spokane

Referendum plugs some loopholes

Some people ask why we need Referendum 48, which requires the government to pay landowners if the use of their property is taken for wetlands, buffer zones or some other public benefit. Doesn’t the Constitution prevent the government from taking private property without “due process of law and just compensations?”

The Constitution does indeed, but in the last 20 years, governments from the Spokane municipal government on up have increasingly found a way to get around that. They have simply regulated some owners’ property to provide a public benefit, but left the owner stuck with the taxes and no payment for the reduced value of the property.

I’ve heard this compared with the abuse of another civil right guaranteed by the Constitution. The Fourteenth Amendment guarantees equal protection under the law for all citizens, but it took the Civil Rights Act many years later to eliminate legal discrimination in voting, schools and public places. Regulation of private property for public benefit without compensation can be compared to poll taxes and “literacy tests” for voting, separate but “equal” schools, and other such legal devices to avoid the Constitution for the benefit of some citizens at the expense of others.

It simply isn’t fair, and fairness, along with protection of the individual from the tyranny of government, is what this country is all about.

Vote “approve” on Referendum 48. David Troyke Spokane

DOWNTOWN SPOKANE

Movers and shakers full of bad ideas

As I read the Sept. 22 edition, I was seeking to read the news. That took all of five minutes. Then I came upon the article by Sir Chris of Puck.

What a bunch of sour grapes. This person must fancy himself as the Einstein of paper people. Did he call all 12,904 voters idiots? Sure sounds like it. How would he like to lose 12,904 subscribers? Bet the “brass” wouldn’t like that.

Let the uninformed, in his opinion, recall some of the recent moves by the supposed “movers and shakers” of our fair Hamlet. They closed Wall Street, installed easily stained bricks, took away 40 parking spots and want us to shop downtown. Which one owns the parking garages?

They endorsed the use of the “trolleys.” Subway sandwiches has made a commercial showing the driver telling the “patrons” he will be right back. Stops, eats his lunch, reboards the vehicle and resumes his appointed route. Sounds typical of our self-appointed regime.

Our $46,000,000.14 Coliseum seems to have cost $62,000,000.67. Of course, that’s just the first runthrough. It will probably be more.

Now they want to close Post Street, to enhance the holdings of the Cowles family, at the citizens’ expense. The two merchants they’re trying to coddle the favor of have expressed a desire to move to the shopping centers. Guess they too feel that being able to get there and park is on the minds of their patrons.

Remember Chris, when you call 12,904 (plus absentee voters) idiots, guess how many think the same of you? If you are mad at Spokane, try Seattle. They deserve the likes of you. Charles E. McCollim Spokane

Don’t throw out our heritage

I would like to comment on the remark made by Scott Lanes of the Community Action Committee in the Valley: “… The poor handmaiden being married to a handsome prince.” Downtown Spokane is Spokane. Why are we so quick to discard that from which we sprung.

I would imagine that if Mr. Lanes were on the East Coast and asked where he was from, he would say Spokane, not the Valley.

I think a more appropriate metaphor would be, “should a handsome prince discard the mother who bore him because she was getting a little old?” S.R. Kitterman Rockford, Wash.

POLITICS

Sterk can cut government to size

Are you fed up with oversized government and tax after tax? Mark Sterk as 4th District representative voted with the state House Republicans for a cut in the B&O; tax, along with other tax cuts, which would have relieved businesses greatly. Yet Gov. Mike Lowry vetoed it.

I want someone with experience to continue to keep government chopped down to size. I believe Mark Sterk will be a representative to bring further tax cuts and relief to overburdened businesses and families of the Spokane Valley.

Vote to retain Mark Sterk for state representative for the 4th District, GOP. Alan Allison Spokane

GOP has lost sight of its legacy

One wonders if the current version of the Grand Old Party is guided in any way by its legacy. Its first president, Abraham Lincoln, is known as the “Great Emancipator.” Talk about your basic affirmative action.

President Teddy Roosevelt helped set aside our favorite national parks, Yellowstone and Glacier. What grand environmental action. Our local brand of the GOP, Steve Hasson and Phil Harris, could learn much from past valuing of our land. Throwing out the officials who plan for the intelligent use of our land is not (the way to do it).

And Ike? He warned us about too much power residing in the military-industrial establishment. While taking away our arts endowments and public broadcasting entities, the things which civilize us, the GOP adds 20 Stealth bombers which the Pentagon does not want.

With so little of their work based in the principles of their party’s history, one wonders what our country’s future will be. One thing for sure, there will be another election, November 1996. Perhaps more of an informed and concerned electorate will turn out to vote. Richard V. Evans Spokane

OTHER TOPICS

Moose incident almost a tragedy

After reading the article Sept. 22 on the moose in Manito Park, and having been one of the park staff who knew about his presence, I had to write.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife was notified of his presence and we were told to leave him alone. The last thing he needed was the public converging on the park for a glimpse. Unfortunately, that’s what happened. Just minutes before the moose was tranquilized, a flood of cars and people poured into the park.

What wasn’t reported was the huge crowd of people running after the moose after it had been tranquilized. I watched and was both amazed and horrified. The moose headed for Grand Boulevard, stopped and headed around the backside of the hill with the public still in hot pursuit.

I was there when it dropped by the pond. I turned back in time to witness the circus this whole event turned into. People came running down the hill toward the moose. I and a number of others, even some with dogs, tried to keep the crowd back a safe distance, more for the safety of the moose rather than their safety.

I know few people realized how easily the outcome could have turned tragic. While I understand a moose isn’t something you see everyday, I’m saddened that thinking, intelligent beings allow their curiosity to blind common sense and respect for wildlife.

The Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife and others handled the situation great. Also, the men from Fire Station No. 9 (the “Loose Moose patrol,” a first for them, I know) and the police department’s help was appreciated. Mary Ellen Kerney Spokane

Cement not the same as concrete

It has come to my attention that most people, including professional people like news writers for both the paper and television, don’t know the difference between concrete and cement. There is a very unique difference between the two.

Cement is an ingredient used to produce concrete. Cement is made from about 60 percent lime, 25 percent silica, and 5 percent alumina. Iron and gypsum make up the rest of the materials. These materials go through a process consisting of three basic steps: 1) Crushing and grinding, 2) burning, and 3) finish grinding. When this is all done, it looks like fine gray powder.

People often misuse the words cement and concrete. A person may speak of a cement truck, but the truck is actually a concrete truck. A cement truck is just a semi with a round tank which contains the cement powder to be placed in the concrete plant for making the concrete.

Concrete is the finished product when you add water, cement, sand and gravel together, pour it into a driveway, sidewalk or patio, etc., have someone finish it and let it dry. If an 11-year old boy knows all of this, then I think professional news writers should know all of this.

What brought this up is the news last week that a little car hit the Acme Materials and Construction truck. The news people kept saying the car hit a cement truck, which was incorrect. It was actually a concrete truck. Juston P. Rouse University Elementary School, Spokane

Churches and charities need our help

Congratulations on your Sept. 25 editorial that focused more public attention on the much greater role churches and charities are being asked and expected to perform in serving the needs of our less fortunate citizens in our communities, because of continued decline of federal funding for social service.

By re-igniting the American spirit, we all must take the responsibility of contributing more of our time and financial resources to churches and charities, so they can try to meet the overwhelming social needs in our communities.

There are current laws that offer tremendous tax advantages to Americans that donate some of their assets to charities.

What we give to charities and share with our community will be returned tenfold. It’s our responsibility to take action. Stephen Joswick Spokane


Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email