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Education a smart investment

In his May 22 letter, Thomas Hanley stated that taxpayers don’t owe college students anything in the form of college aid. He wrote, “The real question to be addressed is, should federal funds, taxpayers’ money, be used to support citizens’ educational pursuits?”

I assume that Hanley never attended a public school, that if he has children, that none of his children attend or attended a public school, and that his parents and grandparents never attended a public school. How lucky for him that he and his family have been able to attend private schools, thereby sparing us taxpayers the burden of funding his education.

Hanley resides in Post Falls. Approximately 10 percent of the money for Idaho public schools comes from the federal government. But, I assume, he will be relieved to know that in 2008-2009 only Utah spent less than Idaho on its public schools.

Thomas Jefferson stated, “An educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people.” Though I have no children, I willingly pay my taxes to support public schools, and support continued federal aid for college students. Education is vital for the common good.

Kathryn Lee


Parents key to education

I spent 30 years teaching math in high school. Thirty-four more years have gone by. During the ’50s and ’60s, there was no serious discussion about education being underfunded. From the ’70s on, the parental roar that more money should be spent has been getting louder.

No matter how much more money one throws at the problem of quality, acceptable change will not occur. For those who think otherwise, tell me precisely how you would use more money to effect desired change. If the system passes students from one grade to the next, regardless of concepts learned, isn’t it reasonable to expect dropouts?

I have, over time, watched satisfied, supportive parents turn into parents who think their progeny can do no wrong, always believe what their kids tell them, and want to fight the educational system to prove their kids have rights.

We have gone from having a school for kids who couldn’t adjust to the regular program, to setting up a school for kids who couldn’t adjust to either of those programs, just to make graduation statistics look better.

In my mind, the solutions must happen from the top down. Change will not happen if parents fight the system.

Gene Sivertson


Why sell booze at all?

One of the most salient questions facing Washington voters last year was whether liquor should be handled by the state or private enterprise. The real question should have been not who is going to sell it, but should it be sold at all?

Consider: Between one-third and two-fifths of Americans are alcoholics. Many more are alcohol-dependent. Alcohol consumption plays a leading role in traffic accidents, pedestrian fatalities, business crimes, bankruptcy, family abuse and breakup, juvenile delinquency, illness stemming from intoxication, robbery, murders, and every other form of crime. It pulls down social groups and destroys self-respect.

It also provides hundreds of thousands of jobs to liquor, beer and wine manufacturers and casino/nightclub employees, who exploit the public and enable death and destruction by their employment.

Which is to be preferred? I believe the answer is obvious.

Victor E. Buksbazen


Gay marriage not the same

I oppose same-sex marriage but not for religious reasons. We know men and women are fundamentally different. That is why we are referred to by different terms; men and women, males and females, sisters and brothers. While men and women can have equal rights, no law can make us the same. So it is with committed relationships. Committed same-sex and heterosexual couples may have equal rights but no law can make the relationships equal or the same.

In his excellent article, “Understanding the Differences between Men and Women,” Dr. Michael Conner says that these differences in areas such as problem-solving, thinking, sensitivity, “can profoundly influence how we form and maintain relationships” ranging “from work and friendships to marriage and parenting.”

Therefore, when children are involved, because of these major differences even loving same-sex parents cannot provide the same quality of life for their children as nurturing heterosexual parents can. Both mothers and fathers are vital.

No law can make same-sex unions and heterosexual marriage fundamentally the same and, therefore, to define both types of relationships as marriage is flawed. Some things are just inherently different, and regardless of how much you want to make them equal, you cannot.

Gretchen McDevitt


Ban Native American mascots

I was happy to hear that Oregon has banned the use of Native Americans as mascots. Native American mascots are an atrocious example of modern day colonialism and continuing cultural appropriation. These mascots encourage young white and other non-Native students to view Native people and cultures as a historical commodity as opposed to living and breathing humans who have experienced generations of trauma due to the forceful colonizing of their land. Native mascots are wildly dehumanizing, and it is past the time when they should have gone quietly into the night.

When I was a North Central High School student, the Indian mascot was explained away by administrators and those in power as honoring and respecting the Spokane Tribe. I bought into this argument then, but five years after graduating I feel a deep sense of shame for the Indian head on the back of my letterman’s jacket. As a white person, I have no right to that image.

I would love to see Washington follow Oregon’s example and ban Native mascots. In the meantime, Spokane Public Schools should take action and ban North Central and other schools from appropriating Native Americans as mascots. It is long overdue.

Maggie Capwell


Parking tickets were heartless

Recently, my wife attended the memorial service for her friend and co-worker Sharlotte McGill. Sharlotte had been murdered by an unknown assailant on May 3 while strolling along a scenic pathway near her apartment. As expected, many mourners attended the service at the Spokane Club on West Riverside Avenue, and parking was scarce. However, my wife managed to find a spot and, after parking, put money into the meter. Even though she paid, she still received a $30 parking ticket.

Unfortunately, the city of Spokane saw this sad occasion as an opportunity to raise some revenue. It seems that someone had parked their car slightly out of the lines, and thus everyone else who parked next to them had to do the same. So despite the fact that all of the drivers had paid the meters, many were ticketed nonetheless for taking up two parking spaces.

I would like to thank the city of Spokane for having such a big heart on such a sad day.

Patrick M. Reeves


Problem: Too many people

I’ve seen concerns in letters to the editor about economic, environmental, social and political problems. These are problems that can be solved. We each have all the power to change the world.

Problem: Too many people, too few jobs. Solution: Have one child or no children. We create more laborers than the economic system creates jobs. In addition, automation removes jobs.

Problem: Killing species wholesale. Solution: Same as Solution 1. We create more people who take the land other species depend upon. Sorry tigers. Tough break.

Problem: Oil spills, ocean pollution, strip-mining, etc. Solution: Same as above. We create consumers. Want to go green? Want to save the rain forest, celebrities?

Problem: Starvation. Solution: Same as above. No matter what reasons exist for starvation, adding more people is insane and won’t help solve the problem.

Problem: Too much crowding. Solution: See above. Or put all of the people on Earth in Jacksonville, Fla., or the great state of Texas as the folks who think there is no population problem often say we could do, with space left over.

So there’s the solution to almost all of our problems. Nobody wants to talk about it. So quit whining.

Shelly Maclin


Vagrants darken impressions

“What’s with all the vagrants downtown?” That was one of the first things my 30-year-old son said to me as we greeted each other in Spokane. I had not seen him or his wife since they had last visited us a year ago in Oroville. This year we arranged to meet them in Spokane. Though they had visited many similar-sized cities in their over 3,000-mile drive from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, this was their first impression of Spokane after doing a quick walking tour while waiting for us to arrive.

It wasn’t a comment about the splendid falls or Riverfront Park, or the historic nature of downtown. Those eventually came out, but their first, and probably lasting impression of Spokane, will be the vagrants and ne’er-do-wells and panhandlers they saw along the way. Lately, I have noticed all the litter and graffiti.

I know it’s a complex problem with budget shortfalls and our need for compassion. Maybe there are already plans underway to help remedy this problem. But, if Spokane wants to maintain or dramatically increase its tourism dollars, something must be done.

Clyde Andrews

Oroville, Wash.

They didn’t fall, they died

On Memorial Day, you had “Faces of the Fallen” written boldly on the front page. Fallen is such a lame way to describe the unfortunate dead victims of our unnecessary invasion of a defenseless, sovereign country.

Here’s another unappetizing opinion which I consider fact: These brave young patriots were killed by Dick Cheney, George Bush, John Bolton, Colin Powell, Bill Kristol, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Condoleezza Rice and every cowardly congressman and -woman who supported going to war with Iraq.

Fallen? No! If you fall, you get back up! They are dead! And they’re never coming back.

I salute and mourn every soldier who served and died in Iraq and Afghanistan, and I thank and admire the ones who came back. Fallen? Come on, get real. Shame on The Spokesman-Review for sugarcoating such a horrific war crime.

Stanley R. Carpenter

Spokane Valley


Top stories in Opinion

Editorial: Washington state lawmakers scramble to keep public in the dark

State lawmakers want to create a legislative loophole in Washington’s Public Records Act. While it’s nice to see Democrats and Republicans working together for once, it’s just too bad that their agreement is that the public is the enemy. As The Spokesman-Review’s Olympia reporter Jim Camden explained Feb. 22, lawmakers could vote on a bill today responding to a court order that the people of Washington are entitled to review legislative records.