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Opinions from past provide perspective

Looking Back reviews opinions published in The Spokesman-Review during this week in history.

Poverty, July 5, 1966: An S-R editorial headlined “Antipoverty task has no ending” began:

“Sargent Shriver, director of the federal antipoverty program, said recently poverty in the United States can be eliminated in 10 years. He indicated that we, as a nation, have all the necessary means of accomplishing this goal, including the money, the requirement for which he estimated $30 billion to $40 billion.”

It went on to say: “If Mr. Shriver’s statement were to be taken on faith, two questions would remain. One is whether the definition of poverty 10 years from now would remain what it is today. The other concerns the philosophic fact that whoever is on the bottom of the economic ladder is likely to consider himself poor, merely by reason of being less well off than those above him.”

Consolidation, July 6, 1986: Two issues spurred an S-R editorial on renewing efforts to improve the structure of local government. One was a spat over how to divvy up money from the state aquifer protection program. The other was the inaction of city and county officials over a proposal to build a waste-to-energy plant.

“For some time, change was in the wind. Some Spokane Valley residents mounted a drive to incorporate a city there, the Spokane City Council began exploring annexation options, business interests lined up behind a home-rule charter and Spokane County Commissioner Grant Peterson boldly called for consolidation of city and county government.”

The editorial concluded: “Ask about the need for city-county consolidation, and officials on both sides are quick to offer a list of ways in which they cooperate now, such as law enforcement and the health district. But those are the easy issues. In fact, city-county cooperation is most likely to break down at those times when it is needed most – when issues affecting the well-being of all the region’s residents are at stake. It is time to resume talking in earnest about how to solve that problem.”

Gay rights, July 7, 1996: An editorial was pleased with the decision of the Idaho Citizens Alliance to drop its second attempt to pass an anti-gay rights initiative. It noted:

“It would have been dead on arrival. Even if the ICA had succeeded in gathering enough signatures to place the measure on the November ballot, its cause was lost weeks ago. In June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a Colorado case involving a similar amendment that states cannot pass laws permitting discrimination against homosexuals.”

It concluded: “Idahoans dodged a bullet in 1994. If the ICA’s original initiative had been approved, gay activists would have targeted Idaho, like Colorado, for a nationwide boycott. A boycott of Colorado tourism cost that state about $40 million in convention business. Also, the media would have held up the initiative, repeatedly, as an example, along with the militia presence and Aryan Nations headquarters, that Idaho supported bigotry.”


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