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Crash should provoke caution

Regarding “County moves to make land enticing” (April 12):

In light of the recent crash in Virginia, and other incidents, it is possible that the government will now weigh land development around its air bases more heavily in any future decisions as to which ones to keep and which ones to close. It might be prudent, before allowing more development, to work with the other Washington first, and see if it might better our chances of keeping Fairchild Air Force Base if we discourage, not encourage, development in the area around it.

Chris Dallman

Airway Heights

Casino critics off the mark

While driving today, I was assaulted by a vitriolic opinion piece from the opponents of the Spokane Tribe Economic Project. I take issue on several points:

1. If your personal beliefs are anti-gaming, don’t participate! I don’t eat sushi, but I don’t sully the reputation of sushi restaurant owners. I just don’t participate. Same can be said for bars; I choose not to drink; therefore, I don’t frequent bars.

2. The Spokane Tribe is a good corporate citizen, and should be recognized as such. Members gladly give to charities and work to help their people be self-sufficient. Why the personal attacks on their character?

3. The other casinos they own are an hour away. That isn’t relevant to this discussion.

4. STEP creates an influx of 5,000 jobs, construction and full time, from private investment! We all celebrated, and rightfully so, when Caterpillar came to Spokane; how can we not celebrate this investment into our region?

Please visit the websites and to research this project before buying into the rhetoric that is being spread by a very vocal, well-funded few.

Sheri Johnson

Tri-Chair, Friends of STEP


Charen gets it all wrong

Columnist Mona Charen managed to get everything wrong in her diatribe against President Barack Obama (April 10).

First, she attacks him for saving the U.S. auto industry, and thousands of jobs, by bailing out General Motors and Chrysler, and putting us on even ground with our foreign competitors. Then she attacks his handling of the Gulf oil spill, an unmitigated disaster, for demanding that foreign-based BP Oil be responsible for cleaning up the mess, and compensating workers and business owners who had been harmed.

Next, she castigates him for suggesting the Supreme Court use caution in overturning a health care reform law that was passed by a duly-elected Congress.

She neglects to mention the pervasive lack of confidence in the court as being anything other than a politically motivated organization after its 5-4 (GOP-appointed majority) overruling, in the 2000 election, of the Florida Supreme Court decision to continue recounting ballots, and thus handing the presidency to George W. Bush.

That was followed by its ruling allowing unlimited corporate and special interest money to influence our elections.

Perhaps in her next column, Ms. Charen can get something right.

James W. Ramsey


Stick to city business

The idea of the City Council taking a position on gay marriage is puzzling. Responses such as Chris Miller’s (April 8) to Nancy McLaughlin’s comments on this issue are mind-boggling. McLaughlin simply said taking a position on same-sex marriage was inappropriate for the City Council. She is absolutely right.

The City Council has no authority or reason to take positions on issues of sexuality or marriage. That means that any position they have is simply personal opinion, and has nothing to do with their position in city government.

Where one stands on same-sex relationships is determined by one’s personal worldview and moral beliefs. It follows that those on the council who want to make this an issue are using their position to push personal agendas that are not only outside their authority, but seem clearly to be imposing moral beliefs on others. Isn’t this what is supposed to be unconstitutional?

It is the exact opposite of what Miller contends about McLaughlin. I suggest the council stick to city business. The pothole season is upon us. Maybe that should be a priority.

Jim Becker


Methanol could fuel cars

Your article in the April 9 paper “U.S. facing glut of natural gas” caught my attention. It stated that so much natural gas is being produced that prices are in a nosedive, and all storage facilities will soon be overflowing. This abundance can be turned to a great advantage: a clean-burning, high-octane auto fuel called methanol.

Natural gas is mostly methane. Methane can be readily converted (via a catalyst) to methanol. Many alternative fuels have suffered from high cost, unavailability or incompatibility with existing fuel systems. The article leads me to believe that methanol (made from methane) can avoid these cost and availability problems. Flex fuel systems have already solved the incompatibility issue.

Many scientists have done extensive research into methanol, including 1994 Nobel Chemistry Prize winner George Olaf. Aware of numerous advantages of methanol, he co-authored a book called “Beyond Oil and Gas: The Methanol Economy.” I hope your staff and readership will do a little Googling and get acquainted with his work, and the advantages of methanol.

Is there an entrepreneur in the wings who can convert the surplus of methane into an auto fuel that will benefit the economy and environment?

Justin Bell


Long, strange trip for boomer

Label me a baby boomer. Heck, yes. In the “old days,” it could have been “the girl.” I boomed through the ’60s with a few bumps in my road, like having to strip down to my bra and panties to get a job as a stewardess for Pacific Southwest Airlines. Weighed and measured like a piece of meat. Got the job.

Another job requirement: single only, no married ladies allowed. And no men. When men were hired later, only Asian men were hired. This was circa 1967 thru 1969. Don’t get me started on what it was like being a secretary in the ’70s. One hint: the coffee wars.

Now retired, I enjoy hiking, rafting and traveling. And my husband makes and brings me my coffee.

Claudia Trautmann

Otis Orchards

Goodman omits details

Amy Goodman (April 6) did not mention the following information from the Daily White Plains in her column:

• “A hatchet appeared in the crack between the door and hallway … an officer was able to pull the weapon out of the man’s hands.”

• “As officers were backing away from Chamberlain, police said he turned towards an officer with a knife in his hand, prompting the officer to shoot two rounds from his revolver, which knocked Chamberlain to the ground.”

• “Chamberlain collapsed on the ground and ‘continued to slash away at officers’ who tried to give him CPR and then he attempted to cut his own throat …”

• “Once the knife was taken away from Chamberlain, emergency medical responders tended to him …”

• “Chamberlain was known to the department before his fatal encounter with officers …”

• “… the officer is an eight-year veteran of the department who has never before fired his gun in the line of duty.”

By leaving out this information, she is able to slant the story. Goodman, a liberal progressive (meaning she is far left), has won many awards for her investigative reporting. I hope they were based on all the facts and unbiased, unlike this article.

Karen Lindstrom

Otis Orchards

Health care a government duty

As a former registered nurse previously denied health insurance or affordable premiums, I am keenly interested in positive changes to America’s health care delivery, affordability and accessibility.

Uninsured college students, underemployed, unemployed, self-employed, widowed, and those earning enough to pay bills but unable to afford health insurance are among nearly 50 million Americans who lack affordable health care coverage or care. What we have is health care rationing, with approximately 45,000 Americans dying yearly as a result. The United States ranks 46th in infant mortality, 28th in longevity, and has the most expensive health care.

The current health care system is not the answer. It is, for many, unaffordable. Nor do I believe it is the responsibility of business alone, if at all, to provide health care coverage to all Americans; it is the responsibility of a sane and civilized government. Serious study of various systems of other nations paired with American creativity and innovation can remedy this.

Fair, affordable, universal health care should be a citizens’ and government priority.

Kathy Heinzen

Bayview, Idaho

League’s role clarified

The April 12 editorial (“Initiative process needs improvement”), which mentions the League of Women Voters, contains an inaccuracy and incomplete information.

The current proposed changes to the city of Spokane’s initiative process that are outlined in the editorial are not “recommendations from the League of Women Voters.” For the most part, the changes were first proposed by a City Council member in 2009.

The League was asked by the City Council in 2009 to select, convene and facilitate a diverse task force of up to 15 citizens (not League members) to discuss and to try to come to consensus on the changes proposed at that time (Ordinance 34510). Task force selection was by advertising and by application of interested citizens.

With a short timeline, four intense meetings were held. There was little consensus among the task force members. The League duly reported the results to the council, noting where there was agreement among the members of the task force, and where there were areas of conflict. The League has not reviewed the initiative procedures, and has taken no position, in favor or against, any of the proposed changes.

Ann Murphy

League of Women Voters & I&R Task Force Lead



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