March 15, 2011 in Opinion


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The Spokesman-Review invites original letters of no more than 200 words on topics of public interest. Unfortunately, we don’t have space to publish all letters received, nor are we able to acknowledge their receipt. We accept no more than one letter a month from the same writer. Please include your daytime phone number and street address. The Spokesman-Review retains the nonexclusive right to archive and republish any material submitted for publication.

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WWP era worth repeat

I was glad to see one business in Spokane continues to rake in millions more all the time while everyone else is doing with much less in this recession. Good for them.

I recently heard that the Obama regime plans on cutting off the SNAP energy assistance programs. There are some 7,000-plus families in Spokane relying on the help.

I was wondering if Avista plans on rolling back the rates to when Washington Water Power owned the company and everyone could afford energy year-round.

I’d hate to see all these people have to move out of town because of the excessive, outrageous electric and gas taxes. Being such a generous company, I’m hoping they will do the right thing.

Robert Vincent


Utility bonuses blow fuse

It appears that the executive branch of Avista has no shame. The wages and bonuses they have reported were gained on the backs of many who have had a difficult time paying their utility bills without the 13 percent raise they requested lately.

To show an average bonus of $1,202,307 for the five of them is bad enough, but to do this with the economy as it is stinks. I question whether anyone is worth what these people are receiving.

How about doing things with the bonuses, and the raise of 13 percent seems like a reasonable idea.

Robert Whitcomb

Post Falls

A favor for bigotry?

After reading the recent Supreme Court ruling concerning the Westboro Baptist Church protests at military funerals, it seems to me that the court effectively struck down the whole concept of hate speech and hate crimes. Writing for the 8-1 majority, the chief justice stated that while the actions of the church are “certainly hurtful,” the government “cannot react to that pain by punishing the speaker.”

While the First Amendment has often been selectively applied, I would guess that the Aryan Nations defense attorneys are very pleased with this ruling.

Robert Mielbrecht


Pianist’s music carried far

Arnie Carruthers’ passing has resurrected fond memories, and his influence went well beyond the Northwest. As a pianist in the EWU Jazz Ensemble in the mid-’70s, I had the good fortune to be coached by Arnie while he was working on his master’s degree. What a privilege it was to sit next to him as he worked with the rhythm section.

I now live in Virginia and frequently perform in Washington, D.C. A fellow musician on a gig also knew Arnie. I was asked, “Did you ever hear him play with both hands?” I never did, and he mentioned that he had a recording from the late 1960s. He found the tape and loaned it to me.

Hearing the first few moments of the swing-era classic “Stompin at the Savoy” was an astonishing experience. I knew he was great with one hand, but to hear him with two was unforgettable.

I wish I could attend Arnie’s tribute on March 19. Ironically, I’ll be hosting world-class jazz clarinetist Eddie Daniels at Shenandoah University on that day. Somehow this seems fitting, since I wouldn’t be in this position without his inspiration.

Thanks, Arnie.

Robert Larson

Director of Jazz Studies, Shenandoah University

Stephens City, Va.

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