Senator out to further deprive poor
House Bill 3901, a new welfare bill that is leaner and meaner than the original Senate Bill 5677 offered by Sen. Alex Deccio, R-Yakima, was voted upon two weeks ago. It is coming before the Senate for a vote any day now.
Sen. Deccio also flip-flopped two days ago on his agreement to schedule an unexpected hearing for the new HB 3901. Canceling a public hearing silences community concerns and ensures little or no press coverage.
These cuts that might sneak by unnoticed include the prohibition of food stamp waivers for poorer counties, which was in Sen. Deccio’s original bill. This means a loss of more than $48 million for Washington’s most depressed counties that rely on this money to support their ailing economies. Business people know that this would hurt not only the poor but also their businesses.
Thanks to the Washington Association of Churches’ lobbyists for keeping us informed the same day the news happens. Lois Murray Spokane
Beware of charter school bills
In November 1996, 64 percent of Washington’s voters rejected charter schools. Yet this session, several bills have been introduced on charter schools. Either the Republicans weren’t listening or they believe they know better than the people what they need.
The two main contenders are SB 5764 and HB 2019. Word is that one of these two bills will be tacked onto the appropriations bill currently under consideration. Both pose legal questions relative to citizen rights to representative governance, accountability and equal access.
Charter schools are being sold to the public as a means to circumvent the Goals 2000 boondoggle as well as a way to free schools of “burdensome” regulations. Charter schools established in any state taking Goals 2000 money - and Washington does - must comply with the mandates of Goals 2000. Included in the regulations charter schools will be free from are parental access and public disclosure - two very important accountability tools.
Charters will be run by nonprofit, private corporations with private boards of directors accessing taxpayer dollars, circumventing fiscal accountability to the public.
Charter schools are a very important piece of the Goals 2000 agenda as they use the authority of the people to move education beyond the authority of the people. It is important that parents and taxpayers understand that in the “total quality” concept of education, the mission of the school is to meet the needs of the ultimate customer of education - business. Lynn M. Stuter Nine Mile Falls
Urge action to restore ski resort
It should be obvious by now that Mt. Spokane Ski Corp. does not have the best interest of the ski resort in mind. Gregg Sowder, president of the corporation, has displayed little regard for the resort or the people who buy his season passes and daily lift tickets.
Closing the ski resort a month early will only breed resentment. The argument that sales weren’t there should be a red flag that something is wrong. Attendance would be there if the resort were run properly.
It is time for the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission to take action in this matter. Study Group 2000 has won its bid to operate the resort. Whether it’s through arbitration or judicial means, the matter must be resolved immediately. Sowder needs to understand that his tenure is over and it’s time to move on.
Mount Spokane State Park needs some tender loving care. With new management and the formation of the Friends of Mount Spokane, coupled with a citizendesigned master plan, Mount Spokane will again be the gem of eastern Washington’s parks.
Write to the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission and voice your opinion. Chic Burge Post Falls
PEOPLE IN SOCIETY
Some prefer shirk force to work force
I got a disturbing impression from the article on food stamp cuts (“End to food stamps draws near,” March 23). The impression is that recipients would rather lose their benefits than even make an attempt at work.
Nothing says it more clearly than the statement that virtually none of the recipients showed up at the employment office for a job search or work training program. One woman, who claims that expecting her to work is “ludicrous,” would find she isn’t the only 46-year-old depressed recovering alcoholic in the workplace. There are plenty of people working who are in that situation and worse.
I don’t mind paying taxes to help people in need, such as single moms or dads who are going through a rough period, or the elderly. I truly wish the recipients good luck in the future. I commend those who are looking for jobs and are striving to make their lives better.
The problem, I’m afraid, is the recipients who are more focused on jumping through hoops than on making a lasting improvement in their own financial security. Pam Martinez Coeur d’Alene
Help anchor the morally adrift
The question repeatedly raised by the news media about this apparent senseless (San Diego suicide) incident is why?
We tend to view this group suicide through the prejudice and bias of our own understanding of cultural norms. Yet history is filled with numerous examples of people who willingly gave up their lives for what they believed in.
On the battlefield, a soldier who sacrifices his own life to save his comrades is considered a hero. A suicide bomber on an Israeli bus is a terrorist. Early followers of the new radical religion that came to be known as Christianity freely surrendered their lives and became “martyrs.” Kamikaze pilots of the World War II were cursed by the Allies, and at the same time were heroes of the Rising Sun.
The death of these young men and women in San Diego is only the indicator of a much greater tragedy. The tragedy is that our society and, more specifically, our churches, failed to address their deepest needs, questions and doubts. This failure to make some sense out of the journey of life made them easy prey for anyone willing to give them some personal attention and offer some “hidden wisdom” that would make them part of the “in crowd.”
Every day we pass by people of all ages who are searching for the same answers as these young people. The great tragedy is that we never take our eyes off our own problems long enough to notice. James E. Mckenzie Elk
LAW AND JUSTICE
Don’t just disparage ailing system
Sarah Cutler (“Cause a death - no big deal,” Letters, March 24), now you know how precious the First Amendment to our Constitution is. I commend you.
Where else in this world could a person attack the justice system? I wonder if you’ll stop there.
You say a great injustice has been done; our trusted leaders have let all of us down. Your letter could be the very thing to start a whole process of change working.
You sound like you hope someone is listening. Someone is listening, Sarah. Many people are working to correct the very injustices you have so candidly stated. At least one person sent a copy of your letter to 10 of our elected officials. I hope others will do likewise. Your letter should alert every citizen.
Did you write in an attempt to make a difference or out of frustration? I think the latter may be true.
Let’s say your adversary is the justice system. And let’s say that you’ve given up on it. Who wins?
I encourage you to write to our elected officials concerning your grievance. Do research at the library and ask your social studies teacher questions. Find out what can be done to make the wrongs right. Don’t be put off. Read. Take your time. You’ll make mistakes and you’ll learn. Nothing worthwhile ever comes easy, as you know.
Your friend can no longer make a difference unless people like you and me take up the challenge, Sarah. Study and continue to make your voice heard against injustice. We all owe no less to our country and to your friend. Marvin Wayne Tyacke Post Falls
Bullying judges is not our way
Question: What do staff writer D.F.Oliveria (March 28 editorial), House Majority Whip Tom DeLay, R-Texas, and the rulers of China and most other dictatorships have in common?
Answer: They all believe judges should take orders from politicians about how to decide important cases.
The framers of the Constitution believed it vital to a lasting democracy that judges always be independent in making decisions. Giving self-serving, shortsighted politicians the power to dictate to our judiciary is the first step toward the loss of our liberties.
Now is to time to be wary. Conservatives in Congress and their pundit pals are making loud, intimidating noises about impeaching judges because some of those judges have made decisions offensive to the conservatives’ viewpoints and moral sensibilities.
The Constitution has never been what the people said it was. The creators of the Constitution were too much aware of the vagaries, whims, foibles and foolishness of human nature to make it easy for corporate interests, religious coalitions and pliable politicians to change these important laws merely on the whim of the crowd with the loudest voices and the most money.
Instead, in their wisdom, the founding fathers gave the job of interpreting our highest law to the judicial branch, just to keep Congress and the White House relatively honest.
If people really want constitutional change, the amendment process is there for them. Change shouldn’t come through the political intimidation of our judges. Russ Moritz Sandpoint
We go overboard with punishment
Re: George Britton’s March 16 letter concerning the three-strikes law and the death penalty:
Britton is concerned we are not really tough on crime. We have more people in prison than any nation in the world - about 1.5 million. Many of those people have hurt no one but themselves, as in conviction for drug abuse. And recently, we have seen people on death row released when DNA evidence has shown they were innocent.
Our justice system is run by fallible human beings, some of whom are thinking more about their career than about the truth.
If people guilty of the victimless crime of drug use were to be treated medically and rehabilitated, more money would be available to correct the correctional institutions, thereby keeping only the really violent individuals incarcerated.
We’re not tough on crime? Why are we one of only two developed nations in the world that has a death penalty? Helen Julian Naples, Idaho
GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
Greed is Clintons’ specialty
Overlooked in the fuss about the Clintons using the Lincoln bedroom as a bed and breakfast is that more serious breaches have occurred. One businessman, Roger Tamraz, gained access to the National Security Council with his $177,000 contribution to the Democratic National Committee.
What’s more, it appears that Chinese nationals have gained the administration’s ear by directing similar contributions. Perhaps such activities had no influence on the Clinton administration’s granting most favored nation trading status to China. But I remember Clinton castigating George Bush in 1992 for being too soft on China’s human rights abuses. Now, it appears that Clinton surpasses even Bush in toadying up to Chinese dictators.
Nothing, it appears, speaks as loudly and clearly as cash.
The unifying theme of this administration is an instinct for the green. Except for the allegations of sexual impropriety made by Paula Jones, money has been the fundamental underpinning of every scandal in this administration, and, indeed, of the Clintons’ past scandals.
I wouldn’t mind this as much if the Clintons and their liberal cronies weren’t once in the habit of scolding us about the 1980s being the “greed decade.”
On the topic of greed, this administration speaks with the authority of experience. Norman Nelson Colbert
Seems as though anything goes
Is there any evil America will not tolerate in the White House? Here are some of the matters the media have raised, and the public response:
Draft dodging: Forgive it. We are at peace now.
Travelgate: That’s Washington, D.C., for you.
Whitewater: You can’t make a Watergate out of that.
The demise of Vince Foster and others: Unbelievable.
Stolen FBI files: Sure, the FBI is in trouble.
Campaign lies: Liar, liar, your pants are on fire.
Criminal fund raising: They refunded some of it. Besides, they had to keep the Republicans from starving the babies that escaped abortion.
Treason: Oh well, it’s horrible how they used to execute traitors at sunrise. Let’s back up and talk about just printing plenty of money.
Outrage: What is that? Earl D. Hunter Coeur d’Alene
Sensitivity syndrome a nonentity
In the article, “Bug spray left woman with health problems, suit says” (March 15), Susan Wall claims to have developed multiple medical problems after her kitchen was treated for pests three years ago by Sprague Pest Control.
Wall’s alleged sensitivity to a wide range of products is described as having been “studied intensely in recent years by medical researchers” and is often labeled “multiple chemical sensitivity” or “total allergy syndrome.”
While it’s true these conditions have been studied intensely, to date, no properly conducted and controlled study has proven that these symptoms are caused by exposures to any chemicals. In fact, research results indicate they are not. Medical organizations that have reviewed the literature, such as the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, the Council of Scientific Affairs of the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, have concluded that the “multiple chemical sensitivity” condition doesn’t exist as a clinical entity.
It’s important to note, however, that people such as Wall do have symptoms and deserve appropriate evaluation and treatment.
Wall has claimed that the applicator did not “consider the toxic effects of chemicals it sprayed.” On the contrary, it appears the applicator used a product known to be safe and effective when used appropriately.
Dursban (chlorpyrifos) had to go through hundreds of studies prior and subsequent to registration for use with the Environmental Protection Agency. This particular product has been used safely for over 30 years in millions of homes. Coreen A. Robbins, Ph.D., C.I.H. certified industrial hygienist, Redmond, Wash.
Foundation help appreciated
I want to call attention to an organization that, unfortunately, fails to receive the recognition or public awareness it clearly deserves. Foundation Northwest, which is based in Spokane, is dedicated to the advancement and improvement of the community and people in the surrounding area.
With great generosity, Foundation Northwest has for years enriched the lives of many individuals. Now, the foundation has been gracious enough to bestow upon the Carpenters, Millwrights and Piledrivers Apprenticeship Program a most appreciated and substantial financial gift.
This will make possible the continued training of qualified craftspersons to fill the needs of the many ongoing major construction projects in the area.
Benefits to this community from the foundation could never be accurately counted or adequately appreciated. So many of them go unnoticed because benefits to individuals are so different to each person that they defy measure.
I know the value of the benefits to the individuals involved in our programs. All of us affiliated shall remain eternally grateful.
We extend our deepest appreciation to Foundation Northwest. May it continue to do the great deeds for others it has done for us. And may it receive the recognition it richly deserves. William H. Kenny, program coordinator Spokane
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