Letters To The Editor
Get better plan for sports complex
Re: proposed alcohol sales at NorthPointe Sports Complex
Not long ago, when Spokane’s three municipal golf courses were being played beyond capacity, the city was able to provide relief by building a fourth course. Now, it seems the city’s 29 adult softball fields can no longer keep up with demand. Completing the softball complex at NorthPointe would seem appropriate. What has been provided for golfers should be provided for softball enthusiasts, but not at any price.
Financing of this proposed complex is based partly on revenues generated by the sale of alcoholic beverages on site in the amount of $100,000 per year.
Assume this complex would be used for softball 100 days annually. Each day of operation, the park must sell $1,000 worth of alcoholic beverages. Assuming the price for each beverage is $2.50, 400 alcoholic beverages would have to be sold daily. Is that what we really want?
Perhaps we can take a cue from golfers who had their greens fees raised to help pay for that new golf course. Let softball lovers help finance facilities that allow them to practice their avocation. Impose a user fee at all city softball fields. I’m sure the true enthusiasts will be willing to share the expense.
Build the complex at NorthPointe, but only if a way can be found to provide proper funding, without the sale of alcoholic beverages.
It should be remembered that this facility’s purpose is to promote adult softball, not alcohol consumption. Darrell Wagenman Spokane
Downtown fetish self-limiting
In the back of my mind there is one nagging question: Will the day ever come when city officials decide that the city as a whole is more important than the downtown core?
In the same vein, when will the taxpayers, citywide, be more important than the business taxpayers of the downtown core? Only when the entire city and its taxpayers take precedence over one small area will it be guaranteed there will be enough funds for road repair and all the other necessities involved with city life.
After all, if the majority of the streets are just one huge, destructive pothole, how will anyone be able to reach downtown to be awed by its beauty and many wonders that make it comparable to all of the truly large cities in our country? Marlene Brazington Spokane
City tree policy requires work
“Don’t go out on a limb” (March 16) urges people to “cautiously evaluate whether they need a new tree or want a new tree.”
First, trees can be knocked down in an ice storm and we could have another some day - although no one I know can remember having one before.
In evaluating other pros and cons of planting trees, the article gives a nod to “shade or beauty” but then elaborates on the cons: trees are messy, need work, attract insects, can become diseased, etc. The writer does not show (nor presumably do the city officials she talked to) any awareness of one of the principal recommendations made by the urban planners the City Council hired for advice on how to make Spokane more livable: to wit, plant more trees.
The city should plant trees on public land and private property owners should be encouraged to do so. But presently city officials are penalizing owners of trees by asking them to pay extra to have leaves, needles and branches hauled away.
Trees should be recognized as community assets. William P. Safranek Spokane
SCHOOLS AND EDUCATION
We don’t need junior highs
Re: The March 16 article about junior high schools. I have always said that having a separate school for seventh, eighth and ninth graders is a very bad move. It is better with eight grades in one school and then graduating to high school. This way, students are better prepared because they can take care of themselves.
When they go into another school for three grades, they think they are in high school and act and dress accordingly. It will be such a short while for them to feel free like they do in high school.
If they were to attend one school until eighth grade and then graduated to high school, all the middle schools could be used as extras, since schools seem to be in short supply. Katherine Flores Chewelah, Wash.
Seniors can and should help out
Who would’ve ever thought this 80-plus-year-old lady would be playing in pan of paste with a classroom of firstgraders and loving it? The article in the Sunday Parade section, “Ten things to do to make our schools better,” prompted me to write.
I urge retirees to get involved with the school system by just listening to children read or reading to them. Those little darlings stand in line to have their chance to sit with a grandma or grandpa and show off their reading skills or to receive assistance with sounding out words, or helping make a dinosaur with strips of newspaper pasted onto a balloon.
Your concern and assistance for them only takes an hour any day of the week or every day, whatever you choose.
Let’s back our school system and help these precious children have successful, happy lives. If they can’t read, their future will be bleak. Merle Rush Spokane
West ‘blew it,’ big time
I wasn’t surprised when Sen. James E. West, R-6th District, didn’t return my call to his Olympia office. It was the morning after he blew it for Eastern Washington, as well as his own political future.
I just had to know why he did not grab the moment and show the whole state that Eastern Washington is a significant factor in state government. The form letter that came in reply to my questions had no answers to questions like: If the Kingdome is some $170 million in the red and the sports teams that play there soon won’t, isn’t that a big hit for King County and our state to take?
Or: You really think the people of the 6th District or, for that matter, people living in the state of Washington, are too stupid to vote one way or another on working with Paul Allen to build a stadium that retires the Kingdome debt, keeps the Seahawks competitive and could one day even pay for itself? Have a better plan?
I had to know why Sen. West didn’t say “Let the people vote.” It was 10-10 with only his voice to hear. It was a nobrainer. He couldn’t have had it any sweeter! Who couldn’t love him? But West dropped the ball and exposed the kind of leader he isn’t. Mike Houck Spokane
Urge rejection of HB 1746
As shown by the recent admission by the Liggett Tobacco Co., the tobacco industry is using every means it can come up with to keep tobacco in the hands of youths.
In this state, it is trying to pull a fast one on health programs under the guise of holding youths accountable for possession of tobacco. Legislators are being tricked into thinking they would be helping tobacco control by supporting this measure when the opposite is true.
House Bill 1746 is backed by the tobacco cartel. It would undermine the present youth tobacco access law. The bill would penalize minors while reducing sanctions against those who sell tobacco to kids repeatedly. The state’s community-based tobacco prevention program would be gutted.
Use your phone, the mail and any other method to let your legislators in Olympia know that you don’t like HB 1746. Ask that they vote against it. Steve McIntosh, president Spokane unit, American Cancer Society
IN THE PAPER
Columns belong under the big top
I believe columnist Doug Clark’s articles are a class A clown act. I can’t believe he gets paid to write. Why doesn’t The Spokesman-Review hire a real reporter to write intelligent news articles that readers will enjoy and learn from? J.M. McCarthy Spokane
Why populate ‘People’ with trash?
I rarely read the “People” segment in your newspaper. Compiler Rick Bonino seems to think that the only things of interest about people are those that are illegal, immoral or, at best, inane.
The “headliner” in the March 20 column, “Her killer material isn’t the stand-up type,” however, crossed the line from the vaguely distasteful to the downright disturbing.
In the lead item, Kathy Griffin, an actress I’ve never heard of, whose chief claim to fame seems to be that she is a supporting player in the struggling sitcom, “Suddenly Susan,” feels compelled to share her fascination with serial killers in general and Lyle Menendez in particular. “He’s smart and he’s sexy, and I love that he killed his parents who molested him. I’m into all molestation victims killing their parents.”
Surely there are people more worthy of the “People” column. People who are living lives of character and integrity. People who have something interesting, uplifting or challenging to say. People who speak to that which is highest and best in us.
Please, Bonino, there are some people who don’t even really merit their 15 seconds of fame. Please use better judgment next time. Sandy King Spokane
LAW AND JUSTICE
Appalling, what is and isn’t legal
I decided recently to check out some prices on ear piercing. At the first place I went to, they stated their price and asked my age.
“I’m 15,” I said, not knowing it mattered. The clerk regretfully informed me they couldn’t pierce my ears because, as a minor, I would need a parent there to sign a waiver. Three other places I asked said the same thing.
I went home offended because of this outrageous example of age discrimination. After all, a tiny hole in your ear has never proven to be life-threatening.
I complained to my mom about this ridiculous, offensive law. She rolled her eyes and asked, “They wouldn’t let you pierce your ears? If you were 16, you could go to Planned Parenthood and get an abortion without my consent or knowledge, but you cannot get your ears pierced?”
She informed me that the government considers ear piercing a surgical procedure, but they should consider an abortion a much more drastic surgical procedure. Also, if a girl gets injured during the process, her parents have to pay for any additional medical treatment, whether or not they knew of her pregnancy in the first place.
I can legally murder another human that lives inside of me and depends on me without my family knowing, but I cannot put a very nonpermanent tiny hole in my ear without my parent’s consent.
Washington state should reconsider the legal age of nonconsensual abortion or should change the ear piercing age. Kelly Brown Spokane
Death penalty arbitrariness revealed
The Spokane County prosecutor’s decision not to seek the death penalty in Joseph Andrews retrial exemplifies one of the many reasons to oppose capital punishment.
The death penalty, like a bolt of lightning, arbitrarily strikes some defendants and not others. A man may or may not be put to death based not so much on what he did but on subjective determinations by prosecutors and jurors. Life and death become matters of juror taste and prosecutorial strategy.
Such criteria might justify disparities in jail sentences, but death is different. George A. Critchlow Deer Park
GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
Fight down federal park fees
Beginning April 15, new fees mandated by Congress will be charged for a variety of public uses of public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management and Forest, National Park and Fish and Wildlife services.
We can express our opinion of these fees when approached for payment, particularly this summer, when some agencies will concentrate on education rather than fines. It is highly questionable that season passes to certain areas in exchange for volunteer work will outlast the experimental program, and it’s unlikely that fees will remain as low if the program is permanently implemented.
Perhaps I object mostly as a teacher. Will only parents above a certain income level be allowed to provide their children with an unforgettable experience on lands for which they already pay taxes? Will exposure to our wild lands become a thing of the past for many children, producing leaders with impaired values?
Call your local USFS, BLM, Fish and Wildlife or Park Service office and insist on a meeting in your area. If you aren’t affected by the current experimental program, you will be affected by the national program to follow if we allow it to be implemented.
Call your Congressman and insist that Congress reassess its spending priorities. Huge reductions in the budgets of agencies that care for public lands have occurred and more are planned. Sen. Slade Gorton, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior, has expressed his delight in the fee program. Isabelle Spohn Twisp, Wash.
Chenoweth approach still needs work
When Rep. Helen Chenoweth, new chairwoman of the House Forest Health Subcommittee, makes a point to support an argument, she tends to embellish the facts to give maximum drama and impact to validate her argument that jobs are sometimes more important than protecting wildlife and forests.
Chenoweth told a group at North Idaho College on March 15 that the spotted owl “threw 140,000 people out of work.”
A more modest figure was presented at the recent National Association for the Advancement of Science conference in Seattle by Dr. William Freundeberg of the University of Wisconsin. His figures show a loss of nearly 20,000 jobs due to spotted owl-related logging restrictions. His studies also concluded that timberrelated job loss was greatest in the 1950s and ‘60s, when there were few environmental regulations.
Mechanization and lack of restrictions led to overcutting. Freundeberg concludes: “Job losses ultimately have resulted not from excessive environmental protection of the last several years but from insufficient environmental protection over the last century or more.”
Perhaps Chenoweth, who promised after her reelection to be more mature and listen more, can learn that in the long term there could be a positive relationship between forest health and jobs. Buell Hollister Post Falls
Shipyard reuse plan transformed
The Long Beach Naval Shipyard, having been in the news recently, caused me to surf the Internet, where I found a web site that outlines what sounds like the original plan for the closed Naval Base.
It is interesting to note that after President Clinton had reportedly made at least two visits to Long Beach, the plans were changed and the Chinese communist company, Chinese Ocean Shipping Co., entered into a 10-year lease with the city of Long Beach for the entire facility. This was reported in The Spokesman-Review on March 9.
The agreement has now been put on hold by the secretary of the Navy, pending national security investigations. Anyone who wants to look at the original plans can find them at this World Wide Web address (long dash represents an underline character): http://cedar.ca.gov:80/military/current- reuse/longship.htm Frank Wright Otis Orchards