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Sat., April 21, 2012


Need museum of entertainment

Jim Kershner did his usual superb job of laying out a story that is important to Spokane in his profile of Mildred Bailey (April 1). Kershner noted an interesting fact: There were some weeks in the 1930s in which four of the top 10 popular songs in the country were sung by a Spokanite – either Mildred Bailey or Bing Crosby. It’s an amazing story.

I think Spokane is missing a bet by not offering tourists a museum on 20th-century entertainment, as seen from its local origins. Mildred Bailey’s story could represent the jazz and blues tradition. Bob Crosby, who sang with the Dorsey Brothers and whose own band, the Bobcats, was one of the major swing orchestras, could introduce the topic of Big Bands. Bing’s career pretty much covers the rest of 20th-century show business.

Bill Stimson


Screenings invade multiple ways

Years ago I worked for a security company under contract to Pan American World Airways to provide airport baggage security. About three years after they went out of business, I was diagnosed with cancer of the larynx, stage 3, with metastasis to the throat. I had to have my entire larynx removed, as a result of which I must now use an artificial larynx to speak.

I don’t know how much my work as a screener contributed to my condition, but I do know that the airline’s management admitted, before they went bankrupt, that they grossly underestimated the harmful effects of repeated X-ray exposure.

Backscatter technology doesn’t reduce the effect or protect passengers. It is simply a new way of invading the body, as well as the privacy of the traveling public. If anything, the risk is much greater.

Victor Buksbazen


Hospitality takes a hit

Recently, I attended the PNQ Volleyball Tournament at the Spokane Convention Center Exhibit Hall and came away knowing I would not vote to extend the tax in the upcoming election. Entering the facility, I was met with signs that stated “No water allowed.” Only water for the players was allowed inside. But they would be happy when you get inside to sell you a small bottle of water for $3.25. No outside food was allowed inside.

You could purchase overpriced food from the vendors inside, but with the variety of schedules depending on when the players would play, it made it very difficult to leave and eat elsewhere. You could not leave the parking facility without paying another $5 fee each time you returned. In my opinion this is not an example of welcome to my town. It is “Open your wallet, I’ve got you now.”

I overheard an out-of-town family (players come from all over the West Coast) say, “This sure leaves a bad taste in my mouth.” I agree.

I was actually embarrassed at Spokane’s lack of hospitality, and will definitely vote to reject the extension of the tax.

Jackie Clements


Save Jensen-Byrd

I’m upset about Washington State University’s decision to demolish the Jensen-Byrd warehouse and award a contract to a Texas firm to build new dorms, rather than allow successful Spokane developer Ron Wells to restore this historic gem to use.

WSU has been a shortsighted neighbor for a long time, and I’m tired of it. I still fondly remember the energy, excitement and potential of the wonderful farmers market that used to reside at Division and Riverside in the early 1990s, nearby the Jensen-Byrd building.

After several fantastic years, WSU shut that market down, saying that it had plans to develop the adjoining building that market coordinators had intended to utilize more fully. But, instead, the entire site has been vacant until the recent creation of Martin Luther King Jr. Way.

Then, six years ago, there was the Phoenix Project proposal, PhoenixProject083106.pdf, to create a multiuse venue at Jensen-Byrd for a farmers market, high-tech business incubator space, music, art, and video studios, a theater, auditorium and more. It would’ve been a huge asset for Spokane, but WSU had no interest in that, either.

It’s time for WSU to respect Spokane’s heritage and the community, rather than destroy it! Save the Jensen-Byrd!!

Sunni Mace


Working class ignored

The Republican Party controls the U.S. House of Representatives. Rep. Paul Ryan is the Republican House Budget Committee chairman. His budget plan has passed in the House.

The Urban Brookings Tax Policy Center finds that people earning more than $1 million a year would receive $265,000 apiece in new tax cuts, and that is not including the $129,000 that they will continue to receive if the Republicans extend President George W. Bush’s tax cuts, which is included in the plan. The Republicans’ plan also includes a “voucher plan” for Medicare recipients. It’s their way of thanking the American working class for all they did to make America strong.

On top of all this the House failed to remove tax breaks that America’s national and multinational corporations receive that would help reduce the federal deficit. Does Big Oil really need tax breaks when gasoline continues to rise? Does corporate America really need tax breaks to ship American jobs overseas? I don’t think so.

Republicans need to be reminded that it is the working class that makes America strong, that creating jobs is the most effective way to reduce the deficit.

Lawrence Schuchart


Land swap for casino

The current issue surrounding the proposed Spokane Tribe’s casino, Fairchild Air Force Base (FAFB), Spokane International Airport (SIA) and any development within the flight patterns of FAFB and SIA should be a decision that’s very difficult to arrive at. The facilities in question are far more important to Spokane, the Inland Northwest and the safety of our nation than is the casino. Local governments have not been good stewards protecting these areas. Our county government was guilty of allowing a child-care facility within a dangerous flight zone.

Will we be able to save FAFB? Will we save the SIA or will it be downgraded to a simple regional field? We need development but it needs to be controlled, especially around this area in question.

I personally would like to see the tribe build their casino, but not at this proposed site. Perhaps county, state, federal excess land would be available and make a straight-across swap for the now proposed site. A site that would be better suited rather than within the flight patterns of military and commercial aircraft.

George Britton


Warming is cyclical

Amy Goodman (April 13) uses March U.S. national temperature averages to justify her agenda about global warming, and then to criticize Republicans, although she does criticize the president as well. But, there are problems with her facts.

She uses regional averages that, in the case of the continental United States, were above normal. Iowa was the warmest above-average place on Earth. She did not mention that the most significant below-average temperature was also in the United States: Alaska. Hawaii was near average. Hot spots are normal; it was just our turn last month.

She also fails to mention that the global average temperatures for January and February were cooler than the 30-year average by about the same degree as was March’s increase.

I don’t deny global warming, but from my research, I see it as a historic natural cycle. But I would not disregard inconvenient facts to the contrary, especially if I was a nationally syndicated columnist.

Daniel Cole


Negligent on gambling taxes

I read with total disgust that $507,000 in unpaid gambling taxes are owed to the city of Spokane Valley. It was two years ago that I warned a city administrator that this debacle could happen if local law enforcement investigators did not conduct random audits on these gambling establishments.

As a former Seattle-area detective, I was tasked with conducting these gambling audits of gambling establishments on a quarterly basis to make absolutely sure that proper taxes were being paid to the city, and also to ascertain that pull tab operations were in compliance and that patrons were not being cheated by games being pulled too early so that big prizes would not be paid out.

Violations in these two areas could lead to fines, closure and/or loss of license. It should be noted that a certain number of law enforcement positions are mandated to be paid by these taxes. It appears that local audits were not being performed by local law enforcement, or that city administrators do not have a clue as to the importance of this audit.

The city has an obligation to explain the negligence of this issue to the citizens of Spokane Valley.

John G. Kallas

Spokane Valley

President violates oath

Oath of Office for the Supreme Court:

I, (name), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me as (title) under the Constitution and laws of the United States. So help me God.

Oath of Office as taken by President Barack Obama:

I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of the President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

I hope the members of the Supreme Court honor their oaths of office. The president has not.

Michele Robinson


Stamp out public unions

You are to be commended for daring to call attention to the “unrealistic and unreasonable prepayments into Postal Service pension and retiree funds” that were imposed under a union contract, having the force of law, that requires pre-funding of retiree benefits for 70 years into the future from only five years of USPS earnings.

A key problem with public sector employees unions is that in negotiating union agreements the interests of the union are represented on one side by union officials, and on the management side by legislators that owe their election to union donations to their election campaigns.

There was a reason that President Franklin D. Roosevelt was opposed to government employee unions. The people that must pay the bill are under-represented, and get shafted.

Leonard C. Johnson

Moscow, Idaho

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