Dismiss bungling leaders at polls
Opinion editor John Webster’s April 17 editorial regarding the lack of courage by many members of the state Legislature (“Gutless wonders make lame leaders”) was right on target.
It’s appalling that so many people elected to the Legislature fail to grasp their reason for being there: to lead. Too often, their overriding concern is to not take any stand that could possibly jeopardize their chance of being re-elected or elected to whatever office is next on their personal agenda. The result is that we’re being led by people who lack the courage to do what’s best for the state and its citizens.
A specific exception to what has all too often become the norm in Olympia is Sen. Eugene Prince, R-Thornton, chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee. His leadership and hard work forged a bipartisan coalition to halt further deterioration of the state’s crumbling transportation system.
Then, “leaders” of his own party - headed by Sen. Dan McDonald, R-Bellevue, and state GOP Chairman Dale Foreman - refused to allow him to present it to the full Senate. It was an unprecedented and cowardly action.
Motorists stuck in traffic jams and paying repair bills for damage caused by bad roads can thank them by voting against such “leaders” when they run for office again. G. Ed Sharman Spokane
Syrup tax logic sticky business
The article on SB 5737 (“Social service officials fear pop tax will spill over,” April 23), which reduces the pop syrup tax, represents only one view. As president-elect of the Washington Restaurant Association and owner of Senor Froggy Restaurants, I’d like to share my view.
This tax is wrong and this bill isn’t about social programs. It’s about fairness. What do soft drink sales have to do with the cause or solution of youth crime and violence? Why is my business targeted to pay a tax where there’s no connection to the problems?
Our industry recognizes the importance of the programs and doesn’t advocate cutting or eliminating of any of them. The bill is written to ensure that full funding will remain.
This tax is no small matter for a local chain like Senor Froggy. Since 1989, we have paid $67,741 in syrup tax, including $13,780 in 1996.
Is it fair that restaurants are singled out to pay this tax? Why not a tax on the sale of newspapers?
Carol Darby’s comments about legislators not always doing the right thing are well-taken. This is exactly how this tax was imposed - it just appeared without warning.
Comments by those who would benefit from the targeted funds raise an interesting question: Aren’t the programs good enough to stand up to general fund scrutiny? Most are, but some that aren’t may be taking money from successful and under-funded programs. Dave R. Hooke, president-elect Washington Restaurant Association, Spokane
We don’t need self-fulfilling prophecies
Re: “Aryans protest CdA summit against racism,” April 13:
I looked eagerly for news of the leadership gathering on building communities committed to human rights held the night before in Coeur d’Alene. I was appalled to see the story was illustrated with a picture of the Aryan Nations leader and dealt primarily with his arrest.
This illustrates perfectly the problem our North Idaho communities struggle with constantly. Inside that gathering were over 350 people, safe and hospitable to all - regardless of color, ethnicity or sexual orientation. Yet, a handful of protesters outside were the focus of the press coverage. The same people attended a human rights rally. The picture in the paper: 12 scowling skinheads protesting outside. Wouldn’t a gymnasium packed with citizens standing up for human rights have made an even better picture?
Please be fair in your coverage. The negative view of an area teeming with racism will keep good people away and attract bigots. If the image becomes the reality, perhaps you will finally photograph a handful of human rights advocates - protesting outside a room packed with Aryan skinheads. Brenda S. Hammond Sagle, Idaho
Price of tranquillity is eternal vigilance
A few weeks ago, I made a mistake. I wonder how many others did the same. I was caught up in making a living and being involved with the kids, and only took passing notice of the issue of Jet Skis on the Spokane River. I did not take the time to go to the hearing or even to write a letter.
I have now reaped what I have sown and will have to put up with the scream of Jet Skis in yet another place. I have all but been driven from the lakes by these things and never dreamed it would happen to the river. The walks and quiet bike rides my family and I enjoyed are a thing of the past. Wayne K. Stewart Otis Orchards
City downplays danger to water
I read interactive editor Doug Floyd’s April 10 “Bagpipes” column, “NIMBYism vs. City Hall,” concerning the 24-hour city vehicle maintenance facility the city is attempting to locate at Foothills Drive between Perry and Hamilton streets.
Spokane city staff members have been working for over two years to locate this facility around and on top of two city water wells. These wells are two of eight that supply drinking water to the city. These two wells supply water to an area which includes Sacred Heart Medical Center and the Shadle Park water storage tower. This problem is a citywide problem, not a neighborhood problem.
The Foothills and Hamilton location already has pollution underground near the wells. This was stated in an environmental report on this location. City staff state this pollution is about 10 feet below ground, while the one-source aquifer is about 80 feet down, so, therefore, it is not a problem - yet.
There are many serious reasons why this facility must not be at this location.
I sincerely request that Floyd obtain the true, serious facts regarding this maintenance facility being located at Foothills and Hamilton and then publish another article that presents the city staff proposal as it should be presented. Do not obtain your facts from city staff people, since they either don’t understand the risk or don’t care. Robert M. Moran Spokane
Keep downtown moving ahead
I applaud Judge Kathleen O’Connor’s decision regarding the lawsuit involving the River Park Square project.
I am a senior citizen and lifelong Spokane area resident. I have been a registered voter and have enjoyed the privilege of voting for many years. I vote for a mayor and a City Council to make decisions for me regarding the way the city is run and where my tax money goes. I don’t feel I need to vote again on every decision they make.
I never saw a petition against River Park Square to sign and I was appalled that the opposition was given so much funding by the Sabey Corp.
I have enjoyed the downtown area for many years. The shopping, theaters, the Opera House! There were many against the Expo ‘74 world’s fair, but look at all we have as a result. I enjoy Riverfront Park. I enjoy the skywalks, the new bus building and the view of the falls from the new library. The new arena is beautiful. The ride on the trolley with a grandchild is great fun.
What’s wrong with change and spending money to improve and beautify? I hope Steve Eugster has enjoyed all the money he has made as a lawyer filing lawsuits against the City Council’s decisions. But haven’t we heard enough from him and his kind? Marjorie R. Van Voorhis Spokane
Looking forward to revitalization
As our traditional spring community events, the Lilac Festival and Bloomsday, draw near, I can’t help thinking how much more this city will have to offer visitors and residents alike when the downtown redevelopment project is complete.
Those of us who welcome the prospect of a lively city center are anxious for construction to begin on River Park Square.
I hope lawsuits filed by those who oppose the project won’t kill the deal and destroy our opportunity to build a bright future for our community. Let’s hope that by Bloomsday 1998, when again thousands of people will visit this city, we can point to the progress that’s being made toward a revitalized downtown Spokane. Eleanor A. Andersen Spokane
Please, no more privatization
An April 13 “Perspective” item, “Civil service and the city” by James Kirschbaum and Carl Lawton, discussed a request for privatization from the city administrative staff. These stories amaze me because The Spokesman-Review has done a wonderful job chronicling the horrors of privatization at Hanford. Maybe city administrators don’t read the paper.
I would like to see discussion focus on the ineptness of administrators. Why not study the money Spokane would save if city administrators were to become suddenly competent at planning? How about a study on administrators’ knowledge of the areas they supervise?
Studies reveal that taxpayers are happy with the delivery of government service. It is government policy-making and planning that anger and frustrate taxpayers. These hallways are patrolled by Spokane’s vaunted city administrators. A gardener does not make policy. A road worker does not plan road repairs. Maybe they should.
Privatization is an excuse for poor management. Many contractors don’t care about the quality of their work, only if they make a profit. There is nothing wrong with making a profit, but it should not come from doing shoddy work.
Unfortunately, shoddy is how many government projects end up. Then it’s up to classified staff employees to keep it working or fix it so it works properly. This is the reality of privatization. Thomas L. McArthur Spokane
IN THE PAPER
Give top spot to good news
How appalling that you would give top billing to a group of “bored” teenagers running around the Spokane Valley, planting bombs because they didn’t have anything better to do, while at the bottom of the same page there was an article about how “Top students know how to celebrate.”
Why not give the main headline to the young people who are contributing to the community in a positive way and know how to constructively use their time? The other story should have been buried on the inside. Julie Arlyne Spokane
Priggee connected and so succeeded
Thank you for printing a few letters in defense of staff cartoonist Milt Priggee regarding his cartoon about the Idaho children.
A while back, you printed my letter defending Priggee and gave it the headline, “Priggee just doing his job.” I wonder when your readers will understand what a political cartoon is. The artist is not necessarily taking sides. He’s trying to make readers think about a certain issue. When he makes the reader glad or mad, he has done his job.
I disagree with some of Priggee’s cartoons. Others, I agree with, while still others are hilarious. Don’t let him get discouraged by printing too many negative letters. Most of his work is greatly appreciated. Larry E. Clark Spokane
Help? Thanks but no thanks
Please, editor Chris Peck, don’t help us any more! Your paper has done enough to “help” North Idaho by digging up every sensationalistic scrap of activity by a tiny fragment of our population, the white supremacists, and splashing it all across your pages.
In your April 20 column you stated, “And we’re going to do more to help this region confront and overcome it’s image as a hate-filled, intolerant place.” If it weren’t for the free advertising you give these groups, our area might have an image we deserve - one of honest, hard-working, genuinely accepting people.
We were upset by staff cartoonist Milt Priggee’s tasteless cartoon about racist kids in North Idaho, but your piece was far worse. It was disgustingly patronizing and desperate in tone. Maybe North Idahoans are just a little closer to the earth and can smell the spin that you’re dishing out, and we don’t want it anymore. Rick & Mary Souza Coeur d’Alene
Pentium bias a disservice
Again I am astounded by the exclusiveness of your staff writers-Microsoft spokesmen.
In your article on laptops, you talk as though the only computers that warrant consideration are Pentium-based models. The only mention of Macintosh laptops is when you bring up one college that’s replacing all Macs with Pentium laptops.
Did you mention the National Institutes of Health offices that are replacing all Pentiums with Macs? No. Did you mention the numerous businesses that have replaced Pentium-based laptops with Macs? No.
Did you mention the colleges (over 12 at last count) that give large rebates to students who buy Mac laptops, but not for Pentium-based laptops? No. Why not?
If you did, you’d have to mention how those colleges and businesses reported far fewer problems with their new Macs. Or how communication and file exchanges went much more smoothly.
The latest Mac laptops are faster, more reliable, last longer on a battery charge, are more powerful, easier to use and are better for networking or remote communication than any Pentium-based laptop costing thousands more. (These claims have been verified numerous times even by PC magazines.) Yet according to your article, Mac laptops don’t even exist. Paul Lenoue Spokane
‘Cats rule’ story slanted, shoddy
As a former journalist and editor, I can honestly say that I have not read a more shoddy piece of slanted reporting than staff writer Virginia de Leon’s “No competition: Cats rule” (April 27). De Leon’s feminist viewpoint is clear from her opening line: “Forget men. Cats, some women say, make better company.” In reality, the “some” is actually one woman - Linda Swierczynski.
I might have accepted statistics or the results from a survey as validation for de Leon’s biased claim, but the only evidence she offers for her opinion is Swierczynski’s sexist remarks. According to de Leon’s logic, Swierczynski, who owns 50 cats, works at a racetrack and spends $1,300 every six weeks on cat food and litter, must represent all women everywhere.
Furthermore, regarding cats (and men), de Leon quotes Swierczynski as saying, “This is the kind of male you’d like to have … They’re a lot easier to raise. He’s handsome and he has a good attitude.”
While that may strike some as cute and funny, I find it offensive that de Leon chose these particular words to recapitulate the character of the International Cat Show. The last time I checked, reporters were supposed to present a balanced, unbiased viewpoint, not a slanted version of their own opinions. This is the kind of slanted reporting that misrepresents women, insults men and perverts the profession of journalism. Russ Sprinkle Cheney
Traditional sexual values still the best
Your IN Life feature on premarital chastity (April 27) will strike a good many people as a discussion of religious social deviants who have weird anti-sex hang-ups. For the countless people who buy into the dominant popular culture, anyone who believes sex belongs only in marriage is nothing but an uptight neurotic.
On the contrary, several recent empirical studies reveal that couples who live together before marriage have a 50 percent higher divorce rate than more traditional couples who save sex for marriage. To paraphrase Dr. Laura Schlessinger in her best-selling book, “Ten Stupid Things Women Do to Mess Up Their Lives,” for men, cohabitation is a convenience; for women, it’s an audition.
Behind the old-fashioned custom of saving sex for the wedding night, maybe there was considerable common sense based on generations of human experience. Maybe we’re not as enlightened and liberated as we like to think we are. Mitchel B. Finley Spokane