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Letters To The Editor


Vote positively - for Geraghty

A city and its citizens is like a family. Its members do not flourish in an atmosphere of acrimony and attack - both tend to wither and decay. To succeed, both must have strong, vibrant cores with leadership dedicated to preserving and enriching its basic values.

We have been given a marvelous opportunity to revitalize Spokane with a comprehensive downtown development which can create new economic and cultural energy for the city we love. We have a mayor who is providing quiet, steadfast leadership based on real expertise and honest collaborative workmanship.

I hope each of us will take time to step back from the political noise and recognize that attack and acrimony are not substitutes for honest debate, and that negative criticism should never be confused with real alternative solutions.

Keep our city strong and vital, and our government truly responsive to its citizenry by voting for Jack Geraghty on Nov. 4. Mari J. Clack Spokane

Build for people future, not cars

It was good to read publisher W. Stacey Cowles’ views on Spokane and the River Park Square project. His intentions for downtown seem to benefit all the community and we’re lucky to have him and the Downtown Action Committee working to keep Spokane vital.

I have some suggestions for the downtown development also, starting with the proposed Lincoln Street Bridge.

I know some reasons for the bridge are to improve traffic flow, thus reducing air pollution, and to create a beautiful new structure for the city. Contrarily, however, the river is more beautiful, and the size and elevation of the bridge elevates automobile status. It also creates substrata below the bridge for us apparently “sub” people of the community.

So, counter to old-fashioned planning, cars are not where it’s at. Pollutants and greenhouse effects are forcing us to find alternatives.

Build a downtown toward the future. Keep cars out, bring people in. Consider leaving the cars on the fringes. For example, park cars on the north side of the river and use foot bridges. To attract more people, including tourists, build beautiful gondolas to cross the river with its wonderful views.

For other sides of downtown, use attractive commuter shuttles like the ones in use for the Arena.

I know a lot of time and money has been spent for bridge plans, but the dinosaur has not been built yet. It will take a change of plans, but the plans will be for the future of the people downtown, rather than the future of cars downtown. Ronald B. Sharp Spokane

Exercise local control; Vote Geraghty

Again, Washington and Spokane voters are subjected to the familiar pressures of outside interests who assume local voters have neither the brains nor the right to do their own thinking and choose their own course.

With the ability to outspend, out-advertise, outdistort and outmanipulate the local folks, their influence becomes overwhelming.

The National Rifle Association is pouring two to three million dollars into the state to oppose a simple measure aimed at reducing gun accidents that often injure or kill children more than adults.

David Sabey and company of Seattle are pouring $30,000 into Spokane’s mayoral race. Often those who proclaim most loudly about democracy and free government are among the first to undercut it when their own special interests are at stake.

In this election, a greater issue than the referendums and candidates is raising its head: Can the citizens of Washington make decisions affecting only their own state without being swayed by external hype; and can the citizens of Spokane be entrusted with their own election without dictation from a Seattle crowd?

I choose to deny these would-be controllers of our destiny their gruesome victories by voting for Initiative 676 and for Mayor Jack Geraghty. I hope you will join me in keeping local control within our state and city. Gerald M. Ford Spokane

Geraghty empowered neighborhoods

As an active citizen in my neighborhood, I support the re-election of Mayor Jack Geraghty. His support of the neighborhood council program that he and others initiated when he first came to office has remained constant. This program is not another blue ribbon committee or special interest group. It’s an all-inclusive neighborhood-based advisory and advocacy council. It is you, me and our neighbors.

With Geraghty’s leadership, the people of Spokane have for the first time an advocate for neighborhoods and their participation in city issues and the resolution. Please join me and cast your vote for Geraghty. Martin B. Davis Spokane

Determined, steady leadership best

As an African-American raised and now residing in Spokane, I have seen many mayors come and go, including one African-American and two women. They all did an excellent job.

A successful and efficient city leadership must include all of the city’s residents, regardless of race, culture or socioeconomic status. There should be no 56 ambivalent questions and answers to this issue.

Mayor Jack Geraghty made a concerted effort to bring about racial and cultural solidarity when he instituted the Racial Equity Congress, held at the Spokane Convention Center on May 20. The event created an opportunity for all citizens to assemble together in unity and a strong determination to live and work in peace, understanding and harmony.

In order for any city to thrive and prosper, its leaders have to embrace the needs and welfare of all its citizens, unconditionally. As a taxpayer, I prefer that my tax dollars be spent on any attempt at furthering better racial and cultural relations than being spent on repeatedly paving streets in affluent neighborhoods.

Someone has to start somewhere. Geraghty has been criticized as being soft-spoken and slow. This brings to memory the story of the tortoise and the hare. The hyperactive hare raced fast ahead and, feeling confident, fell asleep. The tortoise, moving along slowly, covered much ground and won the race.

We can run ahead in fear or we can walk together in faith. Doris M. Aaron Spokane

Dissatisfied aren’t all malcontents

I am incensed about the constant refrain that any who dare voice an honest opinion which differs from the status quo or from those of the downtown interests are naysayers and malcontents.

This is the good old U.S.A., where everyone is entitled to express their opinion and have it respected. This should be the land of majority rule, honestly assessed and reported. I don’t go about condemning the other side of issues by calling people names. I say what I believe and whatever the majority says, I try to live with or change, within the law.

I’m voting for John Talbott because I know he will respect the city charter and make every effort to give us back our right of initiative and referendum. Margaret Jean Leonard Spokane

Attila approach not what city needs

At the end of the article, “Streets and candidates opinions” (Oct. 29) there was a quote that says it all. If Talbott’s proposals are resisted, he said, as mayor, he’ll try to convince the public to put “pressure on other council members.”

Wow! What a leadership style. I believe it’s patterned after Attila the Hun - my way or no way. J.D. Ray Spokane

Street said more than billboard slogan

I recently drove by a re-election billboard on North Market Street with Jack Geraghty’s oversized face on it, with the slogan, “Keep Spokane moving forward.”

The irony of driving by this particular billboard on one of the worst, least-maintained city streets was almost too much. I can see it all now. If Geraghty has his way, we’ll all be driving covered wagons as we traverse our lousy streets to his multimillion-dollar local taxpayer and government-subsidized pet projects.

This election, let’s send him down the road; it will only be bumpier if we don’t. Dick Brauner Spokane

Geraghty’s leadership is working

The mayor’s race is more than a city issue, it’s a regional issue. As regional small business owners, we believe in this community.

Jack Geraghty’s positive outlook and leadership benefit the whole community as well as its heart, the city of Spokane. He is good for business and good business is good for our people. Jill A. and Doug J. Smith Buckeye Beans & Herbs. Inc., Spokane

Gilmore will be great council member

After my husband retired from the Air Force, the question that faced us after living in so many parts of the country was where to live. Our decision to retire in Spokane was not due to our ever being stationed here, but rather our vision of Spokane through the eyes of Judith Gilmore.

I envied the way Gilmore talked so positively about her city, the straightforward way she looked at Spokane’s problems and then tried to help solve them. I envied the rapport Gilmore has with the citizens in this community, regardless of their diversity. I watched her involvement and knowledge of government grow from work in her neighborhood community center to seeking a seat on the City Council, and I respect the hard work and dedication that Gilmore has given to this community that she loves.

As a new citizen here, I cannot begin to know all the complex issues facing Spokane. But I know Gilmore well and believe she has the vision, compassion, knowledge and work ethic to be a great City Council member. Karen K. Bell Spokane

Be smart and re-elect Geraghty

I hope Spokane voters are intelligent enough to realize the anti-Geraghty smear campaign is being produced in Seattle, thanks to David Sabey. Geraghty’s opponent, John Talbott, is being promoted by Margaret Leonard of past years. Be a smart voter and vote Geraghty for Spokane’s future. John Rodkey Spokane

Sabey money good as any millionaire’s

Thanks for your Oct. 30 article on David Sabey’s “stealth” funding of John Talbot’s campaign.

I found it perplexing, however, that the good paper characterized David Sabey as a “Seattle developer.” As far as I’m concerned, the fact that he is an outsider is irrelevant. Sabey has the same right to try to buy a Spokane election as any other self-serving multimillionaire, resident or not. George D. “Martin” Maloney Spokane

Advise keeping conservation futures

Spokane County voters will have an opportunity on Nov. 4 to send a definitive message to the County Commission: continue the conservation futures program.

Since 1994, the county has collected a minimal amount in property taxes each year and leveraged it to purchase undeveloped land to keep it in its natural state. The revenue is restricted from being used for anything else.

The commission has put the matter on the upcoming ballot as an advisory measure. The advice from the citizens should be loud and clear: Continue this effort to preserve lands that are critical to maintaining this area’s quality of life for the voters and for our children. G.E. Sharman Spokane


Barlow best qualified for school board

Washington taxpayers have made a considerable investment in restructuring the public schools’ academic program. An astronomical amount of time, effort and planning by qualified people from business, university faculties and public school districts was devoted to creating a program that will meet the children’s needs.

On Tuesday, District 81 voters will elect a new school board member. Don Barlow’s experience as an educator, public school administrator and his involvement and service throughout our community make him the person to help implement the new academic programs. Barlow has supported public school education and opposes school vouchers because of the harm their adoption would do to public education.

I was a teacher and coach for 37 years in the public schools. I know Barlow. I know he is the best candidate for the school board position 1. Ken E. Pelo Spokane

McCann challenges status quo

Having attended several school board candidate forums and listened to both Don Barlow end Joanne McCann, I’m impressed with their individual accomplishments. Their candidacies represent a power struggle between those in control and those who want a say in their public schools, since almost 60 percent of our property taxes go to support state and local schools.

At the last forum, I asked McCann why she read her answers. She replied, “There’s less chance of being misquoted.”

At that same gathering, McCann was falsely accused of representing Evergreen Freedom Foundation, when she previously announced to the local school board of a pending class action suit. The Public Disclosure Commission recommended an investigation by Attorney General Christine Gregoire.

Having received substantial Washington Education Association contributions, Gregoire returned donations and in February 1997 filed suit against the WEA. On June 25, EFF became co-plaintiffs with Teachers for a Responsible Union in a historic lawsuit against WEA, NEA, the regional affiliates and 15 representative local districts.

According to a recent articles in The Spokesman-Review and a July 31 article in the Wall Street Journal, more than $43 million has been taken from the 65,000 WEA members. This is plundering teachers’ paychecks for political purposes without teachers’ consent.

Founding father John Adams said, “Corruption in elections is the greatest enemy of freedom.”

A vote for McCann can help encourage teacher professionalism, children’s opportunity for quality education, a listening ear for public input and a future full of hope. Donna R. Kuhn Spokane

Remember, McCann can

The fur is flying this last week before the school board elections.

A local talk show host who “studied the education issues for the last 24 hours” mercilessly attacked Joanne McCann after receiving pertinent “information” from certain school employees of District 81. Such threatening issues as McCann having home-schooled her granddaughter for the first two weeks of the school year.

Many kids can’t read or compute and are falling through the cracks, but certain staff members at Libby Center not only send erroneous statements (“I thought she was my friend; she taught my children”), but coach her opponent. Our superintendent sees no conflict of interest. Children come home from school having been warned about that “McCann lady who will make kids learn phonics.” No exploitation there.

On page 8 of the Serving on Your Local School Board: a Guide for Candidates from the Washington State School Directors Association, it states:

“It is important to remember that a provision of the Public Disclosure Law prohibits the use of facilities of any public agency from being used directly or indirectly to assist any campaign for or against any candidate or ballot proposition. Thus school board candidates must make a complete separation between campaign activities and the school district.” Enough said.

“Supporting parents rights and responsibilities as primary educators of their children … and supporting teachers as professional providers of academic instruction” is McCann’s platform. Perhaps that is why she was honored in the “Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers” in 1990.

Remember, Spokane, McCann can! Lynda K. Kuhn Spokane


Backers overstate savings

Major errors have been made in comments about Referendum 47, including the editorial endorsement by The Spokesman-Review. Here are the misconceptions and the facts:

R-47 will lower state school taxes. Fact: One part of R-47 will make permanent the 4.7 reduction in the state school levy. This reduction has been in place for two years, so state school taxes won’t be reduced, they’ll remain at their current level.

R-47 will prevent major increases in individual assessments and limit the increase to a maximum of 15 percent per year. Assessed value will be leveled over four years. Fact: This is partially true. If the market value of a property increases between 15 and 60 percent, the assessed value can increase only 15 percent for that year. It can go up another 15 percent each year until the assessed value reaches market value. If the market value increases more than 60 percent, the assessed value can go up 25 percent of the increase and continue in future years until the market value is reached. Taxes will still go up based upon increased assessed values, just not as sharply.

R-47 will not provide the tax relief advertised by its proponents. Sandee Buss Spokane

Fair system will be ruined

For years, county assessors and the state Department of Revenue have worked toward equalization of property values and the equalization of property taxes.

Referendum 47 will destroy this system. It’s now fair and equitable for you and me as property owners.

Admittedly, there are still areas that need attention. Nonprofit organization exemptions, Farm Open Space and Timberlands Act, Historic Property Act - there always are special interest groups that believe they should receive a tax break. When that happens, their tax burden is shifted to homeowners.

We should not legislate for the people what they should be doing for themselves.

If you’re not happy with increased property taxes, vote no for special levies and bond issues. If you’re unhappy how taxing districts spend your money, attend budget meetings and question why.

It’s a simple matter of all citizens becoming involved in our government - many, many citizens raising our voices about how much money should be spent and where.

We’ve become a society that requires much of our government, but we whine when we have to pay. Some would rather sit on their duff and allow laws to act for them, rather than make their own decisions.

Let’s not muddy up our property tax laws. Get out and vote no on Referendum 47. George Britton Spokane


Training requirement unworkable

The drafters of I-676 didn’t give us time to comply if the initiative passes. Was this an oversight?

This is an unfunded mandate. Before the fees start to come in, the state must start the program, set up times and places, find the instructors and what else? The timetable gives the state one year to licence all of the people who must complete the course to legally possess a handgun.

I thought about the older or nonmobile people who couldn’t make it to a test site and because of that would be outside the law. Consider also that the course was set with the children in mind. Why, then, can’t we as parents teach our children handgun safety? I don’t think the drafters thought about safety, only registration.

This is bad law. Vote no. Gary B. Hughes Spokane

Keep priorities straight

The Constitution is the standard by which our laws are judged, not vice-versa.

Vote no on Initiative 676! Gloria McMeekin Colfax, Wash.

Law won’t stop forgetfulness

If I have a loaded weapon when a burglar enters my house, I would not contemplate challenging him to a wrestling match. Nor would I ask him to hold up for a minute while I look for the key to my trigger mechanism.

Suppose we have a person who is so irresponsible that he leaves a loaded weapon where children have access to it. Why do we assume he would be any more responsible about locking the weapon? Ben Harney Spokane

Measure is ignorant meddling

Initiative 676 is going to magically produce handgun safety by requiring the sale of a trigger lock with each sale of a handgun. Sure. What planet were these people brought up on?

Is a trigger lock a talisman against stupidity? Never mind that every major gun manufacturer warns against putting a trigger lock on a loaded weapon for fear of unintentionally discharging the gun while fiddling with the trigger lock.

I especially enjoyed the naivete expressed in this newspaper some months ago in the coverage of an Oregon man who apparently had shot his wife to death in bed because he had a loaded pistol underneath his pillow. The reporter piously noted, “He didn’t own a trigger lock.” Is a trigger lock expected to leap onto the trigger guard of its own accord? Any person stupid enough to keep a loaded pistol under his pillow is hardly likely to use the trigger lock mandated in the sale when he purchased the firearm.

The trigger lock mandate, one of the least onerous provisions of this initiative, will save no lives that common sense won’t. I-676 isn’t about children’s safety. It’s about Bill Gates and others, who probably don’t know a muzzle from a handgrip and certainly wouldn’t have a clue about how to teach handgun safety, wanting to outlaw what they don’t understand. Dennis M. Senter Colbert

Join law officers who oppose 676

Proponents of Initiative 676 claim that it is a “safety” measure that will save lives. The truth is that I-676 could actually cost more lives than it saves. That’s why 80 percent of the state’s law enforcement officers are opposed to this ill-conceived initiative.

Under current state law, a woman being abused or stalked can receive an emergency exemption from the waiting period to acquire a handgun for self-defense. If I-676 passes, that emergency exemption will be voided and our sheriff and police chiefs will be prohibited from helping that woman get a handgun during a very critical time.

Furthermore, the retroactive provisions of this initiative require not only every person who currently owns a handgun, but every spouse and adult household member living with handgun owners to pass a government test or attend an eight-hour class and register with the state.

The bureaucracy created by I-676 would be logistically impossible to implement. Tens of thousands of gun owners and spouses would become criminals on Jan. 1, 1999, with their property subject to confiscation, if it passes.

Please join me in voting no on I-676. Rep. Larry Sheahan chairman, House Law and Justice Committee, Rosalia, Wash.


Why spoil a good system?

I would like to ask the supporters of Initiative 678 what the difference is between dental hygiene services and what my dental office does during my twice-yearly checkups.

I like seeing my dental hygienist. She polishes away the coffee stain, scrapes on my teeth and lectures me about flossing.

Then I see my dentist, who again lectures me about flossing, reviews what I am doing at home and checks my teeth and mouth.

They work well together and I would hate to see that change.

Dental hygiene services are part of all dental services. I can’t imagine having to go to two different offices. I would have hated to have to schedule my family for their cleanings at one office and their exams at another and I know most mothers today have a much more hectic schedule than I did.

Having my teeth cleaned is more than a cosmetic service. I would want the best care for my family. Everyone in my dentist’s office stresses the importance of prevention, not just the hygienist.

I choose to vote for the dental team and against Initiative 678. Ann H. Krempasky Spokane

Hygienist restrictions unnecessary

Voters really can do themselves a favor by voting yes on Initiative 678. This bill would allow dental hygienists to continue their capable service but remove the restrictions of having to work only under supervision of a dentist, even after years of successful service.

You may be surprised to know that hygienists have more training for the treatments they are licensed to perform than the dentists who supervise them. Did you also know competition for acceptance into the dental hygienists’ program for the limited number of openings means that only the top applicants are accepted for initial training?

Finally, did you know hygienists must pass state-supervised exams after graduating from their rigorous program before being licensed, just like lawyers’ and nurses’ state boards? I learned this by attending Washington State Dental Disciplinary Board hearings and Washington State Legislative hearings conducted on the subject.

I-678 would mean more flexible scheduling for patients, lower the cost through bypassing dentists’ fees and leave more time for your dentist to tend to the work he does so well, without the extra duty of supervising people who are professionals themselves.

For more accessible dental care, vote yes on I-678. Ida Mae Culler Spokane


No valid basis for I-677 protections

Washington voters are being asked to pass Initiative 677, which will give special rights to homosexuals. Homosexuality is a chosen lifestyle, and therefore shouldn’t qualify for special rights.

Promoters claim the initiative is necessary because persons can be fired because of sexual orientation. However, there is no crisis of job discrimination based on sexuality in Washington. Rather, this initiative would place a great burden on employers by creating a new protected class based on changeable behavior. And once such regulations are forced on private sector businesses, it will open the door wide to behavior-based preferences to any group.

Vote no on I-677. Marilyn Lawson Spokane

Flexibility for whom?

Interactive editor Doug Floyd, writing for the editorial board in the Oct. 30 Spokesman-Review, asserts that “HJR 4209 offers flexibility.” To be sure, but for whom?

As in so many of the propositions on which we are asked to vote, ranging from medical use of marijuana through gun control to anti-discrimination initiatives, the devil is in the details.

HJR 4209 seems to forbid loans to other than private owners and to be limited to existing structures, but developers are scarcely public and existing structures may be very recent indeed.

Floyd ought to look again at the proposed flexibility and, while doing so remember that an assertion is evidence only of opinion, nothing more. Donald M. Barnes Spokane


Elect Pope mayor of Springdale

If the citizens of Springdale want a better place to live, their only choice is Floyd Pope. He will listen.

Pope is a public accountant for W.J. Reilly & Associates. He holds a degree in accounting and business administration. He has been a Washington state notary for 32 years. He owned and operated a business in the Spokane Valley for seven years and has owned and operated the Springdale grocery for 12 years.

Pope has served as president and treasurer of the Springdale Chamber of Commerce. He has been on the council for eight years. As a member of the Community Action Team Advisory Board, Pope will continue working to help bring us a new community center that will benefit all citizens of Springdale and the surrounding area.

He will continue working with Olympia to map out and revamp the water system. Water is critical to town growth. The infrastructure of the water lines is in terrible shape, and many need to be redone. Pope will seek funding for a water system overhaul.

If you care about the future of Springdale, where you want your kids to grow up safe, then Pope is your man. He will deal in facts, not rumors, accusations or half truths.

Pope will listen to the people because he knows that it is the people who put him in the mayor’s seat. Linda L. Ritts Springdale

Arnold is responsive

Chewelah mayoral candidate Lew Arnold’s responses to voter inquiries are incisive and informative.

I don’t know if his opponent, Ron McCoy, shares this quality because I’ve never heard him answer a question. Mary R. McDonnell Chewelah, Wash.


Plow bad grazing bill under

Legislation moving through Congress, HR 2493, directs the government to “provide for uniform management of livestock grazing on federal lands.”

The bill promotes bargain-basement grazing permit fees to ranchers ($1.35 a month per cow and calf, or 6 sheep), but also expands the practice of subleasing that allows ranchers to lease their national forest grazing permit for more than it costs, then pocket the difference.

Livestock grazing is known to increase noxious weed spread, degrade water quality and fish and wildlife habitat. Eighty percent of Eastern Oregon and Washington range lands are in poor condition. In 11 western states, federally permitted grazing uses over 40 percent of the land base, impacts 90 threatened or endangered animal species but provides just .06 percent of jobs and .04 percent of total income - all for 3.5 percent of the total U.S. beef production.

Only 3 percent of U.S. beef producers have federal grazing permits. The program loses millions annually.

HR 2493 prevents the general public from overseeing federal range management (called “coordinated resource management”), and it converts the existing grazing privilege into a private property right. This means taxpayers could end up paying ranchers not to graze cows, even when reductions are necessary to protect fish and wildlife habitat. This bill makes livestock grazing the dominant use of public lands and it prevents you and me from being involved, even though we’re co-owners.

To express your opinion about this, write or call: Rep. George Nethercutt, 1527 Longworth HOB, Washington, DC 20515, (phone (206) 343-7340); or Sen. Patty Murray, 111 RSOB, Washington, DC 20510, (phone (202) 224-2621. T.J. Coleman Republic, Wash.

National debt’s not under control

Well, the annual figures are finally confirmed. The unified budget deficit for the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 1997 came in at $22.6 billion - the lowest deficit since 1974. But in that same 1997 fiscal year, the total public debt outstanding increased by over $188 billion.

If I made a charge card purchase of $22.60 and at the end of the month my statement shows an increase of $188 in charges, should I be concerned?

Obviously, the deficit figure does not give a true figure of our national economic health. The total public debt figure cannot be denied.

Incidentally, did you know that Congress quietly raised our debt limit on Aug. 7, 1997? We now have a new permanent debt ceiling of $5.95 trillion. They (Congress) couldn’t bear to raise it to $6 trillion. No matter; it will come. Richard T. Brown Spokane

Coyotes doing the best they can

The Coyote Liberation Front (CLF) has empowered me to present its side of the issue concerning your Oct. 23 article on urban coyotes.

The coyotes are howling over Colette Jacobs’ remarks that “they should be in their own habitat.” Well, duh! Maybe the coyotes should be over at the Waterford having tea? That used to be a lovely wooded area where Wiley and friends could hang out.

The CLF realizes that their recent sampling of nouvelle cuisine in the Rockwood area has some fat cats nervous, but claim that events spun out of control when their late summer migrations were thwarted by the erection of wooden barricades during the Grand Boulevard construction. Wiley has suggested that rather than calling out the city INS officials to deport his peaceable clan of rodent-eating friends, that the city erect fences all around the Rockwood area. This will have the added advantage of deterring hated autos as well as Canadian coyotes.

As soon as the coyotes can hop over Barnard’s barrier, (the concrete barrier at 29th and Pittsburg), they will head south. Of course that may take a while. Until then, Wiley suggests that the denizens of Rockwood get a life. Mary K. Singer Spokane

Global warming caused ice storm?

Re: Global warming, “From both sides” (Oct. 24).

Editorial writer D.F. Oliveria has it right on this one. However, staff writer Jamie Tobias Neely has me baffled.

If I understand her reasoning, global warming caused last year’s November ice storm. Hmmm. Or does she mean the ice storm caused global warming?

Must be the fault of the corporate incinerator operator who burned all the wet ice storm debris. Lyle T. Turner Ritzville

Tags: Letters