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Letters To The Editor

Sat., March 28, 1998


Browne’s Addition trees massacred

I was devastated to go by Coeur d’Alene Park and see the terrible job they did on the paths and the murder of the trees.

When does the condition of sidewalks have priority over trees in Browne’s Addition?

Everywhere you walk, look or drive in Browne’s Addition, trees have been taken away. How sad!

The company that destroys these beautiful trees has done a murderous job. Who gave the orders and who has the right to cut down trees for sidewalks? How absurd!

Now, the squirrels’ tree has been taken away. What are they to do? Will new trees be planted to replace all that have been removed?

Since Browne’s Addition has streets named for trees and they’re going by the wayside, I am so saddened by the turn of events. I was brought up in this neighborhood and I can’t remember trees ever being cut down for sidewalk replacement.

Is all this being done before our new law goes into effect that all landowners must obtain a permit and get a licensed and bonded arborist? How dreadful and devastating. Sara Caldwell Spokane

Dance performance a benchmark

On behalf of the members of the Inland Northwest Dance Association and the Spokane dance community, I thank the Spokane Sports, Entertainment and Arts Foundation for sponsoring the Universal Ballet of Korea’s presentation of “Swan Lake” (March 17 at the Opera House).

Without their backing, Spokane would never have been treated to this exceptional production. To quote Spokesman-Review staff writer Susan English, “This was a performance of a lifetime, one by which all other performances will be measured.” Janet M. Wilder Medical Lake


Elephants’ condition distressing

On Mar. 21, I took my son to the El Katif Shrine Circus at the Arena. What a thrill - the magic, the clowns, the acrobats.

If you saw the St. Patrick’s Day parade, you saw a young man marching and screaming about the situation of the circus elephants. He couldn’t have been more correct! They looked like an afternoon movie about a battered spouse. We were left gasping.

What could we do? We have enjoyed the circus every year, and I have since I was a child, but someone needs to do something. What can we do? Cecile M. Morin Spokane

Try to match Rasmussen’s dedication

I could not believe the Spokane Humane Society would let Diane Rasmussen leave after her 16 years of dedicated service (Spokesman-Review, March 21). I couldn’t work there for one hour.

My daughter and I went to the Humane Society to look for a cat she could take to college for company. I made the big mistake of going into a room with all the separate dog cages lining the room on both sides. I went about one-fourth of the way down the center walkway, looking into the sad, frightened, pleading faces of all those dogs, and I started to cry. I couldn’t stop for at least 30 minutes. I am still moved to tears thinking about it.

It’s not like I am an avid animal fan. We have had several of everything at one time or another, but I am compassionate.

Diane Rasmussen asked me if I was all right. I told her I didn’t know how she could work there. Didn’t the thought of all of the animals not finding homes and some being put to sleep break her heart?

She said she could work there because of the love and caring she had for the animals.

I pray that if the Spokane Humane Society cannot find a way to keep Rasmussen that it will be able to find someone else who has enough love and dedication to give 16 years of their life to doing the remarkable job she has done. Sherri L. Hyams Spokane

Vile act will get me to parade

Until now, I would not have given the Aryan Nations the time of day, much less go see their parade. I will now, out of sympathy for what some crazed individual who is far worse than an Aryan Nations person has done in the torture and mutilation of an animal having nothing to do with the Aryans’ beliefs.

To take out hatred of a person or group on an animal does not sit well with me, my family or friends who love animals. Such a cowardly act is that of a very low-life, scurrilous person - much lower than any Aryan Nation member.

I shall check the newspaper to see when the Aryans reschedule their parade. Robert Holmes Moses Lake


Back measure to raise minimum wage

Initiative 688 will raise Washington’s minimum wage to $5.90 in 1999 and to $6.50 in 2000, and will link the minimum wage to automatic increases every year to keep pace with inflation. Volunteers around the state are now collecting signatures to get I-688 on the November ballot.

Right now, Washington has the lowest minimum wage on the West Coast and Spokane has poverty levels higher than the national average. This new wage would let us keep up with our neighbors and improve the living standards of minimum wage workers.

I-688 would allow people moving from welfare to work to be more able to actually live on the wages from their jobs. Most minimum wage workers are adults trying to support a family. Even with the last federal increase to the minimum wage, families trying to survive on minimum-wage jobs are well below the poverty line.

One common but false argument against higher wages is “prices will have to go up to cover the increased labor cost.” Businesses’ labor costs will increase. But they will benefit from pay raises to all the thousands minimum wage workers because demand for goods and services will increase; the economy will be stimulated. It’s a basic economic principle: people who have money can spend money.

People who want to help collect signatures should call 838-7870 to get petitions to circulate, Let’s raise the minimum wage! Elizabeth Moore, director Spokane Progressive Alliance


Law should be applied evenly

We need equal treatment for all law violators.

There have been recent stories about a $5 million fine levied against Thomas Stewart for illegal campaign contributions to the Republican Party. What he did was illegal and he should be penalized accordingly.

Yet, how does that fine compare with the penalties assessed against far more egregious and larger violations by the Washington Education Association and the National Education Association? And how have John Huang and other operatives of the Democratic National Committee been penalized for far larger transgressions?

Furthermore, Stewart was fined as an individual; shouldn’t the individuals at the WEA be fined, rather than the organization? In fact, as Cindy Omlin so eloquently detailed in her Street Level commentary (Roundtable, March 22), these unions were encouraged by our state officials to flout the law approved by a large majority of Washington voters. Thank you for printing her comments; we need much more awareness of this situation. Harold O. Hayes Liberty Lake


Cartoon designed to propagate hate

On March 21, The Spokesman-Review published a cartoon depicting a pope standing outside the walls and ash-belching smokestacks of a concentration camp. The caption read, “Ash Wednesday, Ash Thursday, Ash Friday …” On the garments of the pope was written, “WW II Vatican Silence.”

I find this cartoon disturbing for two reasons.

First, it is a gross distortion of the historical facts at issue in this controversy. During his lifetime, Pope Pius XII was universally praised for his efforts against the Nazis. Indeed, some Jewish authors credited him with saving hundreds of thousands of European Jews from the concentration camps. Although it is difficult to conduct diplomacy during wartime when one has no troops, some historians have recently begun to criticize the Pope’s efforts against the Nazis for being for being too cautious. Yet, even if one adopts this more critical stance and argues that different tactics might have been more successful, it is thoroughly inaccurate to suggest, as the cartoon does, that the papacy actually approved of what the Nazis did to the Jews.

My second concern is that all the characteristic features of neo-Nazi propaganda are eerily present in this cartoon: the member of the religious minority, in unmistakably religious dress, depicted with physical features grossly distorted; the religious rite (in this case Ash Wednesday) being belittled; the portrayal of the religious minority as duplicitous, devious, and guilty of betrayal; and the whole accusation founded on historical inaccuracies.

Exactly what is the difference between drawings such as this cartoon and those put out by the so-called Aryan hate groups? Douglas L. Kries Spokane

There was little Pope Pius could do

It would be most interesting if we could be told The Spokesman-Review’s motive in printing Steve Benson’s cartoon of March 21, “Ash Wednesday.” The nice thing about being judgmental is that we can wrap ourselves in a cloak of pseudomorality and declaim our condemnations without having a clue as to what we’re talking about.

Eugenio Pacelli, before becoming Pope Pius XII, served in the Vatican Department of State. He served as ambassador to Germany during the early Hitler regime. He was uniquely qualified to predict Hitler’s reaction to a Vatican condemnation. Popes are human, too, so he may have been mistaken, but he did what he thought best.

I lived through this time and remember it well. What gives you and Benson the wisdom to pass judgment more than 50 years later? Jews were not the only ones who died at Hitler’s hands. Gypsies, homosexuals and some Catholic priests were also victims. Who can say how many more might have been killed in response to a papal condemnation?

Who would have derived any benefit from such an act by the Vatican? Not so much as a single extra bullet would have been placed into the war effort against Hitler. As Stalin pointed out at Yalta, the pope has no regiments.

Is it too much to ask that only those without sin cast the first stone? Edward B. Keeley Spokane

Cartoon choice ‘detestable’

Ignorance and bigotry are the parents of malevolence and your publication of the cartoon in the March 21 paper is The Spokesman-Review in its true colors.

Your choice of that despicable cartoon is detestable. F.T. Westmeyer Coeur d’Alene


We’re seeing two sides of one coin

Why is it that we want to ask our grandparents about teen life in the 1990s, or teenagers about the realities of World War II or the Vietnam War? Similarly, why do we rush to the Bible to answer questions about biology or astrophysics?

The Bible cannot answer these questions any more than biochemists can answer (in scholarly detail) questions about how original scraps written in Aramaic, Greek and Hebrew became over centuries the King James Bible translated into English.

The sad part of this debate is when the mystery of God the creator is trivialized before the idols of creationism or evolutionary theory. The simple truth is that God creates. Heads is the incredible story of God’s good creation; tails is an intriguing account for the process of biological and natural diversity. The coin is God.

What 13-year-old boy or 65-year-old grandmother alike is not absolutely fascinated by “Nova” documentaries on the nutrition chains and mating habits of millions of species that live in the ocean waters or in the tropical forests? All of God’s creation commands our reverence, awe and desire to live more fully, more lovingly.

Whether liberal, conservative or in between, Jewish, Christian or agnostic, in God all are one. Likewise, whether in biblical theology, social philosophy or biological science, God reigns in goodness. Doug Demeo Spokane

Steinem good for a laugh, anyway

Concerning “feminist” Gloria Steinem’s pathetic and hilariously hypocritical defense of President Clinton’s sexual improprieties (“Redeeming qualities count big time,” March 25), she should be reminded of the old adage: Better to be thought a fool and remain silent, than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt. Kelly R. Murphy Spokane

Organizational diffusion scatters forces

My congratulations to Dr. Bill Robinson, president of Whitworth College, on his March 22 commentary, “Survival school.” However, the problem he so effectively presented is not exclusive to colleges and universities, although it does seem prevalent in nonprofit organizations more so than in for-profit ones. Some like to blame it on the lack of the profit incentive. No doubt this plays a part, but there is a more subtle and difficult cause.

In my observation, the splintering of responsibility and authority, as he explained it so well, leads to a severe breakdown of discipline with the accompanying rejection of hierarchical authority. Even some for-profit corporations saddled with strong boards or strong labor organizations have the problem.

A finite, well-established and respected chain of command accompanied by a well-thought-out, well-written and enforced set of policies, procedures, position descriptions and job descriptions will go a long way to alleviate the problem. We have to recognize that today’s government regulations will never permit us to solve it. Alleviation is the best we can hope for. Robert D. Spies Spokane

Explain the abortion rationale

After reading Patrica M. Carlson’s Mar. 19 letter, I would like someone to explain a few points on abortion to me, an adult male. Don’t tell me about the critical issues of female life or health, just discuss the concept of legality, morality and permissiveness.

First, I understand about people who have been arrested and tried for abandoning children. I’m aware of the public outrage and criminal proceedings against those involved with postpartum infanticide, intended or not.

Now my confusion. If it’s illegal to slay a child or just delivered infant, then why is it a woman’s legal prerogative to kill a viable fetus by partial birth or even third trimester abortion? Why does a matter of a few minutes or a few weeks make a difference?

Is it simply convenience, the ignominy or adoption, or gender selection? Somehow, I wonder. Tom Cubbage Deer Park, Wash.


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