January 16, 1998 in City

Letters To The Editor

 

GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT

Don’t foist ‘monstrous box’ on us

Re: What appears as total dissatisfaction with the prospect of having a monstrous box called Wal-Mart move literally into the back yards of a residential area on the north side of Spokane.

Traffic generated on both Highway 2 and Highway 395 is burdensome now. While we do not oppose Wal-Mart, the heavy duty air pollution, lights, noise and traffic will really be extreme if rezoning is approved. I understand Wal-Mart’s commitment to the bottom line, the dollars generated (it is a multi-billion dollar amount), but it should not be allowed to destroy a residential area, all to be sacrificed on the altar of greed.

With already more than enough of this type of retailer, I surely hope the hearing examiner will make an appropriate decision and decline this rezoning effort in favor of area residents. What is the point of zoning if it can be changed at the mere request of a huge corporation with unlimited funds, and turn a deaf ear to the individual voter and citizen?

As an individual, I should be able to make a choice without a large corporation saying they know what my wishes are and what is best for me. There are many other sites that wouldn’t be intrusive on personal lives. I suggest Wal-Mart find one and execute a deal.

Marilyn W. Jorgensen Spokane

Residential area also was farms once

Re: Those who oppose Wal-Mart’s development on Newport Highway.

I imagine these are the same people who live in the housing areas across the highway. I have lived in the Spokane area for 34 years. I remember when the houses they live in did not exist. Newport Highway used to be two lanes and was at one time a gravel road. I also remember when the exact area they live in was a vast land of trees, farms and wildlife, much more than there is now.

Imagine, if you will, the original residents of that area opposing their housing development. Imagine if they boo-hooed about increased traffic.

Try as they may to resist, progress is in their back yard. Just take a look south of Newport Highway. It’s already there.

Tom D. Gibson Spokane

SPOKANE MATTERS

Nomination succumbed to politics

City Council members Orville Barnes, Roberta Greene, Phyllis Holmes and Jeff Colliton voted to deny Mayor John Talbott’s nomination for mayor pro tem, ostensibly because Cherie Rodgers was “inexperienced.” They failed to support their reasons with a rational explanation, probably because they don’t have one.

Statesmen make decisions based on what they deem to be in the best interests of the people they serve. Politicians make decisions based on what they believe is best for themselves. Talbott will be sorely challenged if he has a majority of politicians to deal with for four years.

Sheila Bong Spokane

Multilingual signs not needed

In response to J.P. Mendoza’s Jan. 11 letter, “Airport exhibits provincialism,” regarding the signs at the airport.

I think the key to the sign problem is, “Where am I?”

The airport is located in Spokane, Wash., United States of America. English is the language spoken here. If you are visiting here, have someone help you with it. If you live here, learn it.

S.D. Reynolds Spokane

MEDICAL CARE

Movie scene evoked telling response

This last weekend, I spent a highly enjoyable couple of hours viewing the Jack Nicholson film, “As Good as it Gets.” In one scene, the mother of a severely asthmatic son was describing the niggardly treatment he had received at a local emergency room during many of his attacks because her HMO plan did not allow for the sophisticated series of tests apparently required for his condition. She was talking to a sympathetic doctor who replied to her four-letter-word-laced description of the HMO with the comment, “That sounds like an HMO’s technical definition.”

At that point, something very interesting and unusual happened in the packed theater audience: they soundly applauded. I had never experienced such an emotional demonstration of feelings from movie patrons before this. If they had been in the Opera House, they probably would have given the scene a standing ovation.

What had been a very humorous atmosphere became a moment of serious social comment. This should really tell HMOs something. The public’s perception of their service standards is decidedly negative.

Whether in the real world this uncaring, callous image is factually true is not really relevant, since it is public attitude and perception that could wind up biting the HMOs where it is perceived that their heart lies - in the pocketbook.

Charles M. Morris Spokane

BUSINESS AND LABOR

Don’t fall for myths, scare tactics

Fred Glienna (Roundtable, Jan. 11) would have us believe that money and power conspire to keep current high school graduates “uneducated.” Otherwise, educated and skilled employees and citizens would threaten those in elected positions, those who hold wealth and those who earn a profit.

However, in supporting his theory, he fails to identify one individual or organization espousing this mission. The culprit must be the boogie man hiding under your bed or in your closet.

Mythology explains the unexplainable or misunderstood. Propaganda explains the lie or ignorance.

Our economy’s wealth and our society’s vitality depend on freedom and knowledge. Those who hold wealth know that it does not exist in isolation, that value and progress are generated through competent, motivated workers and citizens.

The public school system is the most important institution we have in our society to safeguard and build freedom, opportunity, knowledge and prosperity for all our citizens. The only way we will assure the public schools’ strength is to remain informed and involved with the schools.

Do you know anyone locally who uses their power or wealth to control and manipulate the public schools to keep graduates uneducated? I only know hard-working, dedicated educators, parents, community members and business persons who honestly want what is best for our young people and who tirelessly work each day to improve students’ learning.

Those who employ a boogie man want us to stop thinking and only react. Keep this threat in the darkness, where it belongs. The light must come from you and me.

Emmett H. Arndt Spokane

IN THE PUBLIC EYE

Cigar moment a poor picture choice

I am writing on behalf of the Tobacco Free Washington Coalition/Spokane County regarding the picture on the front page of the Jan. 3 Sports section. Ryan Leaf, all-star quarterback for the Washington State University Cougars, is shown smoking a cigar after playing in the Rose Bowl.

I can’t imagine this was the only picture taken by The Spokesman-Review of Leaf in his moments of glory or that he would like his many young fans and admirers to see him partaking of such a dangerous habit. This picture was printed just 24 hours after he announced his decision to enter the NFL draft and told the public he looks forward to working with youths and being a role model for others.

The photo caption implies a cigar is essentially a prop or symbol for a successful lifestyle. Cigar use is on the rise due to the recent number of famous figures promoting its social acceptance. The use of any tobacco products, including cigars, can be deadly and should not be portrayed as “fashionable.”

We ask that The Spokesman-Review use discretion the next time it puts the picture of a local hero in the paper. Could there have been another picture chosen without showing thousands of Ryan Leaf wannabes that celebrating means lighting up?

Marni Henderson, president

Tobacco Free Washington, Spokane

Cigar use sign of a loser

Re: Picture of the WSU quarterback striking a pose with a prop cigar. Pictures are worth a thousand words. What is the real meaning of this picture? Is this a picture of a loser? He sure wouldn’t be a winner if he was standing there with a cigar.

We didn’t see a picture of the Michigan quarterback with a cigar.

Kay Williams Spokane

Judge does not deserve such scrutiny

Re: “Judge has his own legal problems” (Jan. 10). Since when do the personal problems of a small town district court judge warrant front page space in The Spokesman-Review? This story took precedent over many stories of greater importance to the general public in Spokane?

Granted, Judge Chuck Baechler is an elected official, but what percentage of Inland Northwest residents have ever heard of him? He’s not a high-profile public figure, of statewide or national recognition. Why do I care that the dirty, personal laundry of an individual is made public on the front page of the area’s largest paper?

I know Baechler as a caring neighbor, great father to his three children and a person genuinely concerned with the well-being of others. I’ve heard from young people who have appeared before him, in court, who have nothing but the highest respect for him. He has a reputation of being fair and hard-working.

I’ve never been through a divorce but I know enough people who have to recognize that it takes a toll on all areas of one’s life for a period of time. I am glad that each of their personal life struggles during that time are not front-page news.

Your article failed to mention that Beachler’s term is up this fall. Was the underlying purpose of the story to damage him politically? I urge his constituents, friends and many supporters to consider the possibility. He deserves our support and his family deserves an apology from The Spokesman-Review.

Greg R. Matney

Diamond Lake, Wash.

PEOPLE AND ANIMALS

Rodeo sets poor example for children

A 1995 Wisconsin survey found that four out of five victims of domestic violence who had companion animals said their pets were also abused. Why then would a local child abuse prevention organization allow themselves to be connected with a practice that not only condones but celebrates animal mistreatment (ie. the rodeo that’s soon appearing at our Arena)?

Like those who abuse family members, the motivation behind a rodeo rider’s behavior is power and domination. In this case, it’s domination over animals. While some or all rodeo events require a certain level of skill and athletics, an animal suffers in each, whether it’s pain from wearing a tight strap for bronco riding or falling on their neck after being roped.

How must children growing up in this lifestyle feel when their parents tell them such practices are not really cruel, but their own eyes and hearts tell them otherwise. Such children are forced to go against their own basic feelings of love and respect for all life in order to keep their parents’ approval. I firmly believe that children have natural love for animals and this is a quality that needs to be nurtured and strengthened. Because of this, I can never support rodeos.

If you also feel this way, call the Children’s Home Society of Washington at 747-4174 and let them know you believe child protection and animal abuse do not go hand in hand. And, of course, skip the rodeo.

Sojourner-Love Spokane

Protest barbaric rodeo cruelty

It’s hard to believe in this day and age that the barbaric spectacle known as rodeo still exists, all because certain people believe such a ritual is necessary to prove humans are the more powerful species. Well, we have already proven that.

We have proven that we can capture, kill and poison every animal on the face of the Earth. It’s time for us to show what really makes us great and start showing some more compassion for the victims of this ugly so-called sport.

Sadly, some rodeo people go so far as to use the Bible to defend their practice with Genesis. However, they seem to overlook the passage in Ecclesiastes 3:19 which clearly states, “Yea, man and animals all have one breath so that a man hath no pre-eminence over a beast.” I can imagine that such a statement doesn’t sit well among the steer wrestlers and bull riders of our society.

True, a lot of the animals probably do end up at the slaughterhouse, which is all the more reason to let them live their last days in peace, away from the cattle prods and lassoes. It’s up to all of us, as lovers of animals, to let the rodeo know how we feel. Write letters, protest and demonstrate. It’s time Spokanites stood up for the animals for a change.

Kelly J. Tansy Spokane

It’s time to turn away from rodeos

India’s Mahatma Gandhi once said, “One can judge the moral progress of a nation by the way its animals are treated.” What would Gandhi think of us if he knew that the United States still has not shunned rodeo to the pages of history?

We would be shocked if someone treated our beloved cats and dogs the way animals are treated at the rodeo. Horses and cows feel pain. Anyone who has cared for either can tell you these animals respond affectionately to gentle treatment and show fear and distress when treated badly.

Until recently I have managed to ignore the rodeo and its treatment of animals, but no longer. Humans have made progress in relationships to others in our own species. It’s time we extend our empathy to the animals as well. To prohibit the archaic display of animal abuse that is present in rodeos in the name of sport and entertainment would be a huge step in the right direction.

Stephanie A. Swan Spokane

Unpublicized animals need homes, too

In this time of change and hard work at the Humane Society, let’s help out by being responsible pet owners, especially with all the new Christmas pets. Please spay and neuter as soon as age permits. A pet is a lifetime commitment through good and bad.

Response to the Newport puppy mill and the current huskies from Chewelah has been wonderful, but please remember that there are wonderful pets at the Humane Society, SpokAnimal CARE and the county shelter every day that need good homes, even though they are not the main focus of the media.

Jenny A. Hanson Spokane

OTHER TOPICS

Drug war is hell

Regarding the war on drugs, letter writers Nora Callahan (“Let’s get past hysteria, pandering,” Jan. 4) writes sensibly; Peter C. Dolina (“Drug war is wanted and needed,” Jan. 9) stands in stark contrast.

Dolina uses words like “destroy” and “kill,” definitely words of war. But do destruction and death seem like progress, and where does this decrepit logic lead? So we use our Air Force to destroy coca production in Columbia. Then we’ll have to go after Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and more. We can wreak incredible destruction across the whole region, kill masses of people and achieve nothing but greater profits for the drug cartels.

Of course there is heroin, methamphetamine, marijuana and all the other illegal drugs. We could end up destroying full time, and killing enough people to make the 100,000 we killed in Iraq in the name of our petroleum addiction look like peanuts. This war stuff can be habit-forming.

Dolina also argues for greater governmental efficiency. OK, going after the supply side isn’t as efficient as going after demand. Let’s drug-test every American and kill everyone with any trace of illegal drugs in their body. Would this get us closer to victory?

Chauvinism, hysteria and just-say-no stupidity are hallmarks of this war that has made organized crime perhaps too powerful to stop. Even if we find the wisdom to treat drug use as a health issue instead of a criminal issue, and finally make progress, it may come too late, thanks to the war on drugs.

Randall G. Clifford Spokane


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