August 21, 1996 in City

Letters To The Editor

 
Tags:Letters

SPOKANE MATTERS

Naysayers, get out of the way

Several letter writers in recent weeks have decried the city’s attempt to tell people how their money would be spent if the proposed street bond is approved. The public has a right to have that information and in the past has made that abundantly clear.

A few years ago, the Arena was turned down in part because no one had any idea what it would look like, how big it would be or other details that would come out in the design. Yet, many used the excuse that they did not have enough information with which to make an informed decision. Information was then provided and the subsequent vote was positive.

Today, we have the opposite situation. Information is being provided and the naysayers - those who oppose anything their elected representatives propose - are taking the stand that the information being provided is, in some subversive fashion, a subliminal and perhaps illegal attempt to sway their vote. To that very few, I say, for Pete’s sake, make up you mind, but don’t drag the rest of the citizens through your muck while you try to do so.

Most of us are not interested in hearing all the reasons why not. Let’s hear the many reasons why to - which is what the city is trying to tell us - and get on with the responsibility of taking care of our own streets. Lee Campbell Spokane

Spokane - where the fun never ends

In April 1995, folks along Indiana got the news that the city was condemning parts of their property (between Dakota and a little past Hamilton) to widen, remove all on-street parking and pave the street. Crews are tearing out front yards there now.

Imagine my surprise when yesterday I drove past and saw one of the City Council’s signs extolling the fact that this street is to be improved if the taxpayers would just vote for the upcoming bond issue.

Not only is this an outright lie, but we haven’t even had a chance to say yea or nay.

Five dollars will get you $10 that if by some chance the gentry do vote to put themselves in the poorhouse by passing this ill-conceived bond measure, within one year someone will decide to put in gas heat or the cable or the phone company will find a reason to tear up the street and leave its usual dip in the pavement. Many arterials have been torn up by the city water department. What with its monthly “service” charge, it should have more than enough money to properly repair the damage it does. Charles E. McCollim Spokane

3RD LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT

Sparks’ conduct shows he’s unfit

As a resident and voter of the 3rd Legislative District, I was particularly interested to read Jim Lynch’s article, “Staking out territory” (Aug. 14).

What I find most appalling about Rep. Lonnie Sparks’ action is not so much that he paid a resident to place signs in her yard, but that he removed the previously placed signs of his opponent, Jeff Gombosky, who had garnered the support of the resident without having to offer financial compensation.

Also, Sparks did not notify Gombosky or return his signs. In my book, that is theft.

I’m certain I speak for many of my fellow 3rd District community members when I say that I do not want a representative who utilizes such unscrupulous campaign tactics. One can only assume that if elected, he would continue to use such tactics in his political dealings.

Furthermore, Sparks did not respond to the accusations satisfactorily but beat around the bush. Sparks merely used the interview as a pathetic opportunity to take potshots at his opponent.

I don’t see how stealing an opponent’s campaign signs represents his respect for private property. Nor do I see how Gombosky’s age is in any way relevant to this situation.

Any time a political candidate has the audacity to refer to his opponent as “that boy,” he deserves more than to be reprimanded.

I hope this article helped voters realize that as an unethical and rather pretentious candidate, Sparks cannot represent the people of the 3rd District. Kindra Perkins Spokane

Candidate’s tactic unseemly

It is alarming that local politics have gotten so fierce that a member of the state House of Representatives would resort to paying a woman to place his campaign advertisement in her yard.

A political candidate should work hard to communicate his or her message to the voters of the district by walking door to door to ask for support. We should expect that anyone who seeks the honor of representing our community will work hard to meet potential constituents by speaking to our local clubs and organizations. Support candidates who treat the voters with respect and don’t try to buy our support. James M. Powers Spokane

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS

Pundits became excess baggage

Perhaps the Republican convention television coverage ratings were poor because, like me, many viewers discovered that C-SPAN had gavel-to-gavel coverage without the arrogance, egotism and liberal bias of network and CNN newspeople and pundits.

It’s too bad that those watching network TV were not able to hear J.C. Watts’ inspiring speech (wouldn’t dare showcase a conservative black) or the enjoyable “singing senators” (heaven forbid that those mean-spirited Republicans should be shown having any fun).

According to the Wall Street Journal, Gerald Ford was ignored by all three networks, ABC snubbed George Bush and CBS did not bother to show the video tribute to Ronald Reagan. Instead, network and CNN viewers were treated to roving reporters desperately trying to stir up controversy, to Clinton advisers hired to act as reporters, to interviews with anyone who might even hint at divisiveness within the party, and to snide comments by anchors and panelists who think they are more important than what was actually going on during the convention.

The unity, optimism and progressive message of the Republican convention were dismissed by the networks and CNN as “packaging” unworthy of full coverage. It’s funny that the only “angry white male” there turned out to be Ted Koppel. Mary Jane Fahland Deer Park

Infomercials serve a purpose

Staff writer Rebecca Nappi derides the modern political convention as “fake” (“Conventions have lost sight of purpose,” “From both sides,” Aug. 16). She pines for the good old days when conventions were “unrehearsed, unprogrammed, spontaneous!”

Let’s look at the good old days. Yes, several thousand people crowded the convention hall, but in fact the convention was controlled by perhaps fewer than 50 power brokers. These were delegation chairmen, governors and political operatives.

In smoke-filled back rooms, they would trade a delegation’s vote for the promise of an appointment or appropriation. Then they’d tell their delegation how to vote. Perhaps fewer than 50 people on each side chose the candidates the rest of us could choose between.

Unfiltered television broadcasts of the conventions exposed the process. In democratic fashion, we reacted. State by state, local party by local party, the people changed our way of doing business.

A primary system evolved that compelled candidates to go out and meet the voters, empowering the people at the expense of a relative handful of party insiders.

This leaves modern conventions with the important job, as Nappi labels it, of being “infomercials.” Nappi intends the term to be derisive, but I find it wholesome.

What’s wrong with an infomercial where the American people can, unfiltered by reporters, see each party put its best foot forward? We know the speechmakers are trying to impress us. So, is anybody applying for a job? We still get to compare the cast of characters each party puts forth as its leadership. R.W. Kuhling Spokane

GOP staged snow job in San Diego

I am astonished that people such as commentator Cal Thomas (“Opinion,” Aug. 15) are so blind as to show sympathy for the GOP during its convention in San Diego. Republicans have sunk to an all-time low, and I hope Americans aren’t fooled by the absurdity of this convention.

Thomas condemned the media, claiming viewers were misled about the GOP. I congratulate the media for emphasizing the fact that the event was highly scripted and that many speakers didn’t accurately represent their party.

The GOP carefully reviewed the remarks of its orators to ensure that topics and comments wouldn’t spark controversy. Numerous issues were neglected in the moderate speeches, due to the GOP’s conservative attitudes.

In order to paint a compassionate image for Republicans, the convention featured women and speakers of various races telling stories of the common American. What garbage! And House Speaker Newt Gingrich couldn’t be banished, so he appeared 30 minutes before prime time. Coincidence?

Contradicting most of the convention’s presenters, the Republican platform calls for outlawing abortion, for ending affirmative action and for anti-immigration legislation. These proposals are severe and discriminatory.

Republicans are merely hiding their agenda, fearing that voters might recognize the conservative platform, which is nearly identical to that used in Houston in 1992. Americans must look under the facade of this convention and see that when voting this fall, the Republican Party in San Diego was the same as that in Houston - the party of hard-right, Buchananlike politics. Brian Wellman Chewelah, Wash.

Republicans ahead of their time

Now, let’s see if I have this straight.

According to many Republicans, unwanted fetuses are to be protected at any cost but they’re entirely on their own as soon as they’re born. They have no need to learn to read as early as they’re able, and if they ever see Big Bird at all, he should be selling them war toys. They should continue on to a dreary public education with underpaid teachers and live in a treeless country where art is defined by new cars and stuffed dead animals.

Science is a waste of money, since the transistor has already been invented. And Pat Robertson’s version of Jesus is all the hope anybody needs.

If these unwanted fetuses grow up to be gay, which fatherless children stand a pretty good chance of doing, or prostitutes or drug dealers, they should either die of AIDS or spend their trivial little lives inside the lucrative, billion-dollar prison industry.

No one should live past retirement age because the compassionate Republicans don’t like to see people endure the misery of being too old to work, with their retirement funds appropriated by their employers or through erosion of the dollar. That assumes they can live through an unlimited street supply of assault weapons and that they’re able to find an occupation to retire from in the first place, without addressing the questions of computer automation and corporate downsizing.

Hey, it sounds like a platform to me. Let’s put the Republicans in office again in another four or five decades and see how it works. Jim McDonald Spokane

I challenge pro-life politicians

I recently watched several right-wing politicians express their views on the abortion issue. These gentlemen stated that abortion should be banned because they fervently believe that life begins at the time of conception.

I couldn’t help thinking about an argument which I’ve never heard anyone address before.

I propose that all politicians who are willing to make abortion a political issue be forced to enact the laws necessary to provide the unborn fetus with the same status and human rights currently afforded to born children. Then, upon passing these laws, all parents, regardless of moral position on this issue, would be able to, upon conception, file for the proposed $500 tax break these unborn “children” deserve.

Furthermore, once these laws are enacted, those unfortunate enough to be on welfare would be able to collect benefits for their fetuses.

Why not take this a little further? Once the fetus is given the same status as born children, parents should also be allowed to apply for conception certificates similar to the birth certificates used to identify their offspring. Consequently, the parents would be able to obtain Social Security numbers for them. The new laws also would enable parents to purchase hefty insurance policies for their fetuses, just like those they now have for the rest of their children.

Until these politicians are willing to address and resolve such “trivial” issues, they should set their moral stands and views aside and keep the abortion issue out of the political arena. Michael D. Sciortino Spokane

Was it an about-face or just two-faced?

How sweet it is. The GOP convention is over. The theme was a big tent that would hold us all. What a tent meeting it was.

Millionaires displayed tender compassion for the poor and deep concern for AIDS victims. Suddenly, they were even defending Social Security, welfare and Medicare.

Passions were high and tears flowed as we were taken down the sawdust trail. I kept wondering who was the real Elmer Gantry and concluded all the speakers could qualify.

It’s amazing how they can flip-flop on the need for the balanced budget. After two years of an intense campaign for the balanced budget to justify Draconian reductions in welfare, Medicaid, funds for AIDS, etc., they now want to unbalance the budget further to finance a 15 percent tax cut. Isn’t this a blatant attempt to buy votes? A least Clinton has reduced the annual deficit from $290 billion under Bush to $117 billion this fiscal year.

These are the people who fought the arrival of the progressive income tax years ago. They’re still at it. Their goal is a national sales tax. If one introduces enough exemptions and deductions, reduces rates dramatically as in a “flat tax,” the revenue loss will be enormous. This means big deficits or a national sales tax.

In the late 1960s when they were promoting a 25 percent income tax, the revenue loss could only have been made up with a 25 percent national sales tax. The ugly attack on the IRS is part of this campaign. Reed Hansen Pullman

OTHER TOPICS

Church doesn’t prescribe how to vote

Regarding the vitriolic letter by Carlton Gladder (“Keep religion out of politics,” Aug. 15): My, my, my! Painting all Christians with the same brush would be like saying all Americans are white supremacists or racists. That, of course, is not true.

Our God, his Word and true Christianity need no finite defense, so I won’t elaborate on this except to say most of our church leaders urge us to vote, not how to vote.

Perhaps a little American history would be appropriate. I vote, but I don’t have the kind of religion I can park outside the polls. Those who believe we should could possibly be wrong. Sylvia Brummett Deer Park

Help veterans groups protect flag

Instead of castigating veterans organizations for “doing nothing while our flag is desecrated,” George A. Paccerelli (“Official authorizes a travesty,” letters, Aug. 19) could join their effort to protect the focal point of our loyalty - our nation, not our political entities.

That means joining the Citizens’ Flag Alliance, which was formed to coordinate their resources in defense of the flag. Most of our people favor the flag amendment. Our greatest present need is to persuade our elected representatives to listen to their constituents. We need to concentrate on that, not on preaching to each other. Ben Harney Spokane

Homes could be self-protecting

With fires a yearly threat to folks in the country, I wonder why homeowners don’t build outdoor sprinkler systems into their fire-prevention strategy.

Roof sprinklers, coupled with sprinklers mounted on trees, could be fed by a pump that draws collected rainwater from a buried tank. Water flowing down the roof could be routed, via rain gutters and downspouts, back into the collection tank for reuse.

Wouldn’t insurance companies reduce premiums for this, just like they do for homes that have fire extinguishers? A homeowner faced with mandatory evacuation could turn on a sprinkler system and leave safely, knowing his house has a better chance of surviving the firestorm. Larry Treffry Spokane

Correction

The “Your view” cartoon on Tuesday’s Roundtable page was credited to the wrong artist. It is the work of Tadashi Osborne.


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