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Letters To The Editor

Fri., Oct. 10, 1997


Keep it up; Things can get worse

There seems to be no communication between the bluegrass growers and smoke sufferers. There is a proverb that says you should be careful what you wish for, since your wish may be granted.

Clean air is only one rain away, whereas clean water cannot be legislated into being. As the farmers alter their crops to eliminate grass, they choose alternative crops. The most profitable crop in the Spokane Valley is development and septic tanks. Outside of that area, no-till wheat is preferred. The bluegrass went to Idaho, the wheat to Washington - and the smoke continues.

I see a time not far away when drain fields contaminate the aquifer and the air has no Washington bluegrass smoke. “SOS” will stand for spend on sewers. I wonder if Patty Hoffman will be its chairperson? Bert J. Scholz Colfax, Wash.

You can run but you can’t win

I was born on a farm in Eastern Washington. My father has been a farmer all of his life and has never burned his fields.

Several years ago, I developed severe asthma. Each grass burning season I fight to stay out of the hospital. The grass growers told me if I wasn’t tough enough to tolerate their smoke, I should just leave town. This year I did.

I left my husband, my children, my home and my job for four weeks. The financial loss was significant but the emotional strain was worse. The time I missed with my family and friends can never be replaced.

I was forced to leave my home so a handful of grass growers could maximize their profits at our family’s expense.

Now, after all of this, I return to find that the grass growers plan to continue burning into October. Always before they agreed to stop by the end of September. But this year, they say they just didn’t get finished. So after four weeks of exile I return only to find that my life is still at risk.

If I die, will the grass growers apologize to my family? Will they offer to compensate my family for my loss?

Or will they just chalk it up as a “cost of doing business,” and light another match? Patty I. Woerhle Spokane

Breathing vs. profit - no contest

The Jacklins and the seed growers are kidding themselves if they think they can produce a cost-benefit study that convinces the citizens of Spokane that grass burning is worth the price we pay.

The Washington State University study they criticized was, in fact, an extremely conservative estimate of the real cost of grass burning. It did not include the cost to the thousands of people who, like my wife, are confined indoors on beautiful August and September days because their lungs do not tolerate the grass growers’ smoke.

The WSU calculations included the cost of asthma medication but did not include the suffering of asthmatics who, like a close friend of mine, have to work just to breathe on any day that the seed growers decide to set fire to their fields.

There is something fundamentally wrong about even measuring a person’s right to breathe against the profits of grass burners. Jonathan Swift wrote a satire about a king who ordered a study on the capacity of the human lungs so that he could tax the air his subjects breathed. How far away from that absurdity are we, really, with the exchange of our right to breathe clean air for the profits of grass growers? Bill L. Stimson Spokane

Same ol’, same ol’ for how long?

After speaking with Gov. Gary Locke’s aide and new Department of Ecology Director Tom Fitzsimmons, I am still outraged at the lack of positive and reassuring response regarding the vicious and relentless field burning.

How many more serious health problems and even imminent deaths will continue until a drastic and humane approach is arrived at? Promises made and promises broken! So, what else is new?

My gratitude goes to the farmers who care enough for their own families and their neighbors not to burn. Virginia K. Cory Spokane


Observations more true of Republicans

Foster Cline (“Democrat advances big brotherism,” Letters, Oct. 1) sounds absolutely hysterical and makes no sense. Yes, in this last election the voters did elect a few more Democrats than they did in 1994. But, they were not electing Democrats right and left. Democrats remain a decided minority and therefore have extreme difficulty advancing their versions of big bother and big government. Cline would have been more accurate if he had said Republican instead.

Alan Keyes and J.C. Watts hold up a solitary black man, “Johnny” Johnson, as a fellow who managed to make it without the benefits of liberalism, affirmative action and victimology (Opinion, Oct. 1). However, while they were lauding this fellow, it seems a point was lost; Johnson was a pioneering liberal, civil rights activist and an affirmative action proponent. A man just as much a victim of racism as others.

However, if Johnson should be recognized as a role model, it won’t be because his father put a spin on his slave status (a person born into slavery is still a slave). It will be because Johnson did rise up against adversity and made a successful life for himself. Joan E. Harman Coeur d’Alene

Thanks for safety event help

On Sept. 27, the Post Falls Fire District and Post Falls Ambulance and Rescue had their annual open house. We thank the following people and businesses for their contributions to this successful event.

Tidyman’s, for the use of the balloon castle, hot dog wagon and donation toward the food. To Post Falls Police Department and Central 911 dispatchers, for setting up a 911 booth to teach kids how to dial for help in an emergency. To Sandpoint Fire Department, for use of the children’s fire safety house. To Bremerton Fire Department, for use of the residential sprinkler trailer. To local news media, for covering the event. To the Post Falls schools that handed out our flyers to students.

Thanks, too, to the community for taking time on a Saturday to bring your children to the fire station.

Last but not least, thanks to our own co-workers and their families. Because of your participation we were able to provide valuable, life-saving education to approximately 800 people that day. Ramona L. Mobbs and Bryan M. Hanley Post Falls


Tell governor to reject casino

The Oct. 5 Our View editorial on gambling is very good but doesn’t quite tell it all. A casino that close to Spokane will draw women and men who ordinarily would not be able to go to the more distant ones. “Oh, I’ve got five bucks I can afford to gamble on,” and out they go. The five bucks disappear and they dig out more and more. Then, how are the children going to be fed?

If you think this won’t happen over and over again, you must still believe in Santa.

And do you want someone from Miami involved in a casino close to us? That’s where the big money will go. Anyone who doesn’t believe that is missing a lot of marbles.

I urge you to write Gov. Gary Locke and protest the casino. Alta Yates Mead


Spare believers the ignorant attacks

I thank staff cartoonist Milt Priggee and Opinion writer Jamie Tobias Neely. As a wacky literalist, I take Jesus at his word when he tells us Christians are blessed when we are hated because of him.

I would also like to address the root of Priggee and Neely’s criticism of Promise Keepers. Comparing Promise Keepers to Muslim women taking the veil is like leftist, feminist Andrea Dworkin comparing all sex between consenting, opposite-sex partners to rape. Someone must have poured vitriol in your inkwell, Priggee.

As for Neely, we wacky Christians fill out the political spectrum, and while I know it may seem a little wacky, we take literally the injunction to love our wives as Christ loved the church.

That’s a pretty tall order if one has actually read the Bible, which it appears Neely has not. I have read the Bible and take it quite seriously - literally, if you will.

I recall that Jesus never forced anyone to do anything, loved unconditionally and sacrificed ultimately. These are not the actions of a misogynist, they are the embodiment of good leadership. They are qualities that Promise Keepers hopes to promote in men throughout the world.

In the future, I suggest that The Spokesman-Review confine itself to printing things that amount to substantive criticism when criticism is warranted, rather than Priggee’s furious attacks, or in the case of Neely, ignorant diatribe. Michael Royal Spencer Spokane

Judge NOW by its inexplicable target

I read Beth Allen’s letter (Oct. 7) regarding editorial writer Dave Oliveria’s editorial on Promise Keepers with interest. To assume that Oliveria would set women back a thousand years seems a bit hysterical. And while she may be sick of his “rebuke of women,” I could never perceive such from his editorial.

In fact, I simply can’t grasp the whole National Organization for Women crowd’s supreme antagonism toward the Promise Keepers movement. This is a committed, caring group of men who are pointing fingers at no one but themselves and promising to be more supportive of their wives, children and friends. How can any feminist who wants a better environment for her sisters have a problem with that without sounding like a maladjusted, unreasoning, bitter harpy?

If these self-effacing, loving, solid guys in happily functioning relationships are as good as their wives tell us they are, why are the feminists so angry? The answer appears to be that no power base can be built by opposing something so obviously beneficial. Promise Keepers must be demonized before they can be mobilized against.

My basic questions remains: Why would any group oppose stable, satisfying marriage relationships and the plethora of benefits society obtains from such? Anyone have an answer? Linda J. Mullin Hayden Lake, Idaho

How far does group’s acceptance go?

I note your front page article of Oct. 5 about the Promise Keepers’ “Sacred assembly of men.” As I watched some of this on TV, I heard frequent references to those who were included in the body of Christ and “messianic Jews” were often mentioned.

What about non-messianic Jews, as well as Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists and millions of others who prefer no religious labels but who quietly pursue their spiritual path in a way they feel is best for them? Are they also a part of Christ’s body, members of God’s worldwide family?

Also, what place do divorced people and gays have in the scheme of Promise Keepers? Could a single, divorced person and a beloved pet constitute a family? Could two gay people who live together in love and support be a family? Is there perhaps a more inclusive definition that we could come up with as to who are members of Christ’s body and what constitutes a family? Thomas E. Durst Spokane

Here’s a good word for good men

After all the publicity about Promise Keepers, I want to pay tribute to all the millions of men who, every day, without any hype, continue to be good husbands and fathers.

These men treat all women with respect - at home, on the job and socially. They are not afraid to show their love for their wives in many ways, including the trust that is explicit in sharing responsibilities with them.

The most admirable men don’t need to prove their manhood by declaring their wives subservient to them. They know that the best marriages are based on mutual respect and trust. Their children feel the effects of this atmosphere and profit from it every day. Marianne Connelly Spokane

It’s a real conspiracy, all right

Staff writer Jamie Tobias Neely asked, “What will these wacky, right-wing Promise Keepers think of next?” (Opinion, Oct. 3).

Well, let me tell you what they are thinking about.

They are thinking of ways to show their wives and their children how much they love them and how important they are. They are thinking of ways to show their families that nothing on Earth is more important than being a loving husband and father. They are thinking of ways to support their wives by shouldering more responsibilities around the home. These men are coming up with things to do with the kids so mom can have some time to herself.

Watch out for these Promise Keepers because they think it right to protect wives emotionally, physically and spiritually and that it is their duty to provide a safe and happy home.

And let the community beware because these men are thinking of ways to serve, to help and to be a friend, like that famous Promise Keeper did about 2,000 years ago.

These outrageous and dangerous thoughts are always about putting others first, giving rather than receiving, going the extra mile.

Yep! Better watch out for those wacky Promise Keepers because if they do the stuff they’re thinking about, this country won’t be the same. One can only imagine what life will be like in homes across America as these men act out their thoughts.

Hooray for the keepers of the promise! Emery R. Wold Spokane


Time to act in children’s behalf

God’s ways are often mysterious. But he did what the Idaho Department of Child Protective Services, her mother and everyone else involved in Rebekkah Pettit’s life couldn’t do - take her away from the abuse and torment that was her small, 3-1/2-month-old life.

It behooves that CPS agency to explain exactly why that child was returned to the abusive home. If CPS could not save this child, it cannot save others. And if we on the outside know what constitutes returning a child back to abusive parents, then maybe we can figure out a way to stop that from happening.

It is time for everyone to step in, look at the children in their lives, their neighborhoods, their schools and their day cares and wake up. Nobody is going to save these children but us, because they can’t save themselves from the mean big people who are killing children with their bare hands. Michae’l E. Alegria Spokane

Please return my daughter’s wallet

My husband and I brought our 12-year-old daughter Michele to the “big city” of Spokane for a weekend trip. While shopping at the downtown Nordstrom Rack, Michele decided to spend her hard-earned baby-sitting money on some shoes. While trying them on, she put her wallet down and created the perfect opportunity for someone to take it. She has learned a valuable lesson but her faith in people has been terribly tested. She, being the nice, kind persons that she is, decided that this person must have needed the money more than she.

I urge that person to do the right thing now and put the wallet in a mailbox, so she can have her identification back. Help restore her faith in people. Maureen M. Frix Richland

Tags: Letters

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