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Letters To The Editor

GAMBLING

Counterproductive hype on a roll

As administrators struggling to find legal and socially appropriate ways to raise revenues to support charitable programs aimed at developmentally disabled infants and toddlers, and single-parent children, we were appalled by “Slot spots on a roll” (May 17).

The article promoted slot machine play at the six tribal casinos surrounding Spokane. Staff Writer Jim Kershner’s basic message, delivered on behalf of the tribes, was: There’s big time slot playing available; it may not be legal but here’s a complete description and a map.

The article didn’t report that nonprofit bingo games set up to support Spokane charities are suffering due to slot machines that are illegal under state law.

The article didn’t say that Washington state tribes must sign negotiated compacts with the state to have level III gambling, nor did it say that these tribes are noncompacted, or that 18 compacts do exist in Washington, and none include slot machines.

More than $100 million was spent in these facilities last year. As much of this money left Spokane, less money was spent in charity bingo halls and on other entertainment. There was a corresponding loss of city and county tax revenues.

Kershner attempted to say that the Idaho machines are approved as pulltab machines. However, pulltabs are sold for a set price, while on these machines you can bet up to eight levels, making them a true slot machine.

Never has The Spokesman-Review run a map of Spokane County showing the bingo halls, giving each one’s schedule and phone number. Dick Boysen and Donald N. Kaufman Spokane Guilds’ School and Big Brothers & Sisters

LAW AND JUSTICE

Executions degrade all society

“Life in prison shouldn’t be a riot” (Opinion, May 19) by Rowland Nethaway, a senior editor of the Waco, Texas, Tribune-Herald, seems to me to be what is wrong with the thinking in this country, or maybe just the media for showing it.

“The porno videotape of mass murderer Richard Speck taking drugs and living it up in prison makes a piercing argument for the death penalty,” writes Nethaway.

I object to his suggesting the death penalty is “good for what ails us,” because I believe it makes us all accomplices to murder and is very damning to our national spirit and well-being.

For Nethaway to be offended by the video showing Speck “living it up” in prison without noting who Speck is, what he did and how he mocks society, is ludicrous. That video shouldn’t be used to justify the death penalty, since the making of the video mocks society and offends our senses, as Speck obviously intended.

World War II was about cruelty, deprivation, inhumane, brutal behavior within our human family. Everyday, prisoners are being raped in prison and deprived of their freedom and right of association. But they are human beings and they form a social structure inside an inhumane institution. Nethaway calls that a fun place to be just because Speck, in his deviant thought processes, said he was having fun?

A state sanctioned death, anywhere, makes us all accomplices to murder. Period. P. Joanne Peters Kellogg, Idaho

Tougher penalties for lethal driving

After reading about another tragic accident caused by an individual running a red light or speeding up at the amber light, something has to be done in this city to let all drivers know that we are serious about not tolerating this crime.

Why should this crime be treated any differently than assault with a gun? A car can be as deadly as a gun. When people disregard the law with a car, the results are often as deadly as if they had used a gun. The only difference is that innocent bystanders are injured or killed, not just the target of a bullet.

Even if no one is injured as a result of going through a red light, it should be treated as a felony. The driver should be treated no differently than if he or she was driving under the influence or has shot someone.

This would mean changing the law. Making the change is something we should demand of our elected officials.

I urge all readers who are as fed up with the senseless maiming and killing of innocent people in Spokane as I am to write their legislators asking for a change. Today it was someone else’s son or daughter or mother or father, but at the rate it’s going, your turn and my turn are coming.

My sympathy goes out to those families and friends affected by this most recent tragedy. Don Claridge Spokane

IN THE PUBLIC EYE

Glad to see fine teacher recognized

Congratulations to the Spokesman-Review and staff writer Eric Sorensen for the absolutely delightful article about Arden Johnson, a teacher in Endicott. In my 41 years of work in public education, I have never met a person so creative as Johnson. She certainly deserves the front-page honor. Good show. Donald C. Orlich, professor of education Washington State University, Pullman

SCHOOLS AND EDUCATION

Time out is time well spent

It is extremely bewildering to me that such a fuss is being made over a program that sounds essentially like it is designed to hold children accountable for their behavior.

Children who act out in the classroom infringe upon the rights of the majority to receive an education in a reasonably safe, productive learning environment. By removing them from class to enter another phase of learning for eight minutes or even 28 minutes doesn’t sound overly punitive.

Establishing limits for children and providing a swift, orderly process for those who cannot or will not abide by them should be applauded, not scorned. M.B. Keith Colbert

Wrong parents talking lawsuit

As a teacher and a parent of a child in a public school, I applaud the use of think time as a tool to shape appropriate behavior. It baffles me as to why schools have to focus 90 percent of their energy on a small segment of the school population which chooses to misbehave.

If anyone should be filing a lawsuit against schools, it should be the parents of children who desire an education. It’s their rights that are getting stepped on. The time and energy due these students is stripped away and given to the one or two children in the classroom who have behavioral problems. The majority of the students suffer in order to protect the rights of the minority who cause the problems.

Mitch Parker, an attorney affiliated with the Western Center for Law and Religious Freedoms, felt think time was a violation of children’s rights. He was quoted as saying the way to bring order and respect to the classroom is to have smaller class sizes.

I say the way to bring order and respect to the classroom is to teach some parents how to be parents.

If kids learn proper behavior at home, order and respect in the classroom will follow. Steven L. Bland Elk

Problem stems from poor parenting

Six-year-olds beating babies, children and guns, and children making bombs. What more do the adults in this world need to hear before they realize that children are out of control?

We would like to hear what kind of children the Parkers, Joneses and their fellow critics have raised. We would venture to guess their children have already experienced think time.

What about the rights of the 29 or so other children whose education is interrupted while the teacher has to deal with one problem child?

In our neighborhood, situated a half block from Regal Elementary and Shaw, parents would be shocked and embarrassed at what we see and hear during the school year. No child is perfect. Disciplinary problems are not what the teacher did in the classroom, but what the parents didn’t do at home. Darlene Lockert & Leatha Lorentzen Spokane

Put serious students’ rights first

The article “Think time may violate student rights, board told,” (Region, May 23) demonstrates again how common sense is being overruled by fear - fear of violating the rights of misbehaving students.

My question: What about the rights of students who are in class to learn? Should those students’ education suffer because school districts lack the authority to maintain order in the classroom?

It’s time to make education our top priority. Let’s stop coddling troublemakers. How about focusing on personal responsibility instead of personal rights?

Perhaps fear is the appropriate emotion. I know I’m sure afraid of what goes on in the classroom today. Diane Delanoy Cusick, Wash.

Why hinder orderly education?

A May 23 article says sending a child to “think time” for “too long” violates the child’s rights and parents will be “monitoring” think time. The average think time is eight minutes.

I have lived long enough to observe that newborn human children are not civilized beings. They scream and become angry if their needs are not immediately met. They would kill to fill their desires if they were able. I don’t understand why parents would want to hinder efforts at their own children’s education and civilization. This brings to mind some questions:

What does the word “teacher” mean? How is a teacher to control inappropriate behavior in the classroom?

What about the rest of the students’ rights to a complete, useful education? What about each student’s right to an equal share of the teacher’s attention and expertise?

What about my right to have my tax dollars used effectively to educate my children? What about the teachers’ rights to work in a non-hostile, nonthreatening environment?

What about the disruptive student’s right to be correctly trained and educated?

These people are children. The reason children have adults to care for and educate them is because they are too young and inexperienced in life to run their own lives. If children were small adults, they wouldn’t need parents and teachers. Cris Carver Spangle

Attorney should let it be

Reputable attorneys should pull Spokane attorney Bill Parker aside and tell him to cool his jets. His statement in your May 23 issue that “think time” violations will be pursued legally, “no matter how infinitesimal the violation of constitutional rights is,” dishonors his profession. This kind of irresponsible litigation overcrowds our judicial system and impedes resolution of matters of substance. We all pay the price through taxation and frustration.

As a parent with children on both sides of the think time issue, I support educators and administrators’ efforts to meet the needs of both misbehaving students and the other 20-30 students in each class who are acting responsibly. I am frustrated when one or two out-of-control children disrupt the learning and usurp the resources of an entire classroom, especially when my children come to school ready to learn. Furthermore, I am relieved when a system is in place that keeps my ADHD child from disrupting his classmates’ learning opportunities.

Think time simply moves students out of an environment where they are not successful and gives them a chance to gain perspective in a new setting.

Consider the constitutional rights of students eager to learn, Parker, and of taxpayers whose rates have gone up to cover legal fees incurred through people more eager to make a buck than to solve a problem honorably, with community spirit. Theresa Power-Drutis Cheney

BUSINESS AND LABOR

Women deserve equal pay

Robert Bordeaux expressed the mentality of the male population in his letter (“Replace risk manager position,” May 17).

At $55,000 per year the county is paying Claude Cox for an inept job. Why not replace him with one public health nurse at the same salary?

What makes Bordeaux think three women should do one man’s job more cheaply? Men seem to be under the misconception that women are merely working as an extracurricular activity and shouldn’t be taken seriously or paid adequately. Boys, this is a fallacy.

Claude Cox wears Levis to work. Would any county resident be pleased seeing a health nurse wearing Levis during office hours? People want women to appear professional to be taken seriously.

Let’s do a reality check, Spokane. Wages for working women need to be equal to what men are receiving for doing the same job. If three nurses were paid one-third of Cox’s salary, they would each net approximately $1,222 per month, compared to Cox’s approximate $3,666. Once the average amount of rent ($500-plus) is deducted, then comes utilities, telephone, insurance, automobile expenses, food and perhaps day care, there doesn’t seem to be enough left to buy a bus pass.

Women get no financial breaks for being the weaker sex. Why should they have to settle for less for doing the same jobs as men, and doing their jobs with equal, if not greater, intelligence, ability and education than their male counterparts? Women have been forced into being breadwinners either by economics or circumstances and the cost of living isn’t going down. Linda Becker Veradale

OTHER TOPICS

Regulate the petroleum industry

This idea may appear asinine in the current climate of deregulation, but I suggest regulating the petroleum industry. Congress (PAC money, legalized bribery) shouldn’t do it, but a commission of leaders who cannot be influenced by the petroleum industry should.

It should be a commission similar to those that regulate public utilities. It would be compelled to allow a fair and acceptable profit for the petroleum industry, and that is all.

Given past history, you simply cannot trust the industry. For example, a few years ago, diesel oil cost much less than gasoline. When auto manufacturers brought out diesel cars, the price of diesel was jacked up to the price of gasoline, which left the manufactures holding the bag. If today’s cars average 20 miles per gallon and new models get 40 miles per gallon, the petroleum industry will simply double the price of gasoline and get away with it.

There is no way to stop this price gouging as there is currently no suitable alternative. Electric cars appear to be far in the future. There is no way to boycott the industry, and the industry knows it. Don Mac Naughton Loon Lake

Tridentine Mass never went away

Regarding “Bring Tridentine Mass back here” (May 21), I’m happy to say that we have the Tridentine Latin Mass in Spokane, as well as in Coeur d’Alene and Rathdrum close by, and have had it, uninterrupted.

The Roman Catholic clergy has not abandoned the teachings of 260 popes, including Pius XII. This Mass was promulgated by Pope St. Pius V, July 13, 1570, at the Council of Trent (hence, the name Tridentine). It is the only legal and valid mass. A priest may say no other, as certified in the front of every Catholic altar missal since that time.

This ancient mass is being offered throughout the world daily by the remnant Catholic faithful, a minority who hold to all the teachings of the church founded by Christ before he ascended into heaven. It is offered daily - this holy sacrifice - at Mount St. Michael in Spokane. Eileen L. Wilson Spokane



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