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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Letters To The Editor

PEOPLE IN SOCIETY

Mascots a defining issue for Colville

Re: “Mascot tussle bedevils officials,” Aug. 18:

Our choices and decisions define us. The community of Colville now faces a defining moment. The elected representatives of the Colville Confederated Tribes, the Colville Business Council, has made a request to end the community’s use of “Indians” and “Warriors” as school mascots. Their request was made to the Colville School District School Board, the elected body which represents the Colville community in this government-to-government issue.

Some argue the mascots should not be changed because the Indian has been honored through their use. But it is for the people who have lived in this land for some 500 generations to decide whether they have been honored by being mascots over the past five generations.

Others suggest that because there are differences of opinion in the native community, we don’t need to change. But opinions differ in the Colville community, too. And memories of CHS graduates need not be diminished because the mascot has changed.

Supposedly, it will cost $147,000 to change at the high school. Surely, this community is creative and resourceful enough to reduce that figure substantially.

In the end, and most importantly, the decision will define the Colville community. Is ours a community too self-centered to honor the request of people trying to uphold their dignity? Will our decision add to the negative images of the Inland Northwest? Or, is this an honorable community, with enough self-confidence to fulfill their request and move forward together to a new century of sharing and understanding? Dennis A. Reichelt Upper Columbia Human Rights Coalition, Colville, Wash.

Bad traditions are just that

The Spokesman-Review has been all over the map dealing with racial matters in the region. Staff writer John Craig’s Aug. 18 mascot article reveals the Review’s wobbly effort.

The Spokesman-Review has climbed that hill of tradition. On this hill our youths can find economic, religious and racial oppression. In the case of the mascot, the adults in our communities may be assuring our youths of continuing the traditions of hatred.

Your first clue to the tradition of racial hatred is found in the comfort with the Colville alumnis’ vote to keep the mascot. Duh, what do you suppose the vote would have been by the cotton states to abolish slavery? The Civil War, in part, was waged because of the greed of slaveholders who, claiming slaves were their private property, that the government needed to pay them just compensation for the taking of their private property. Wow!

Clue No. 2 is Craig’s observation that Colville High students are being asked “to quit being Indians.” Duh. Colville School District has got to be nearly 98 percent non-Indian.

Consider the Colville district’s cowardice and meanness with thoughts. From Dr. Martin of Bellingham on this subject in that community: “A more genuine leadership from the board would seek to instruct the parents, teachers, and students about cultural and intellectual fallacies with regard to the use of Indians as mascots…

An inquisitive mind might ask what is unique about the role of American Indians in the mythology of the United States that makes them so popular as stereotypes but so unpopular as real people? H. Lou Stone Inchelium, Wash.

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS

Need no rationale for wealth transfer

Andy Kelly (“GOP still comforting the comfortable,” Letters, Aug. 9) has the same affinity for the big lie method that is typical of socialist enthusiasts for income redistribution.

Kelly suggests that tax cuts in the balanced budget plan are unfairly distributed because people who “need it the least” get the most. (When did anyone’s need become an entitlement to the results of anyone else’s productive effort?) With respect to the “GOP tax package”: the package was shaped at least as much, or more, by the Clinton administration. It insisted on extending the income tax reduction to people who pay no federal income tax. This is not a tax cut. It’s welfare disguised by a lie!

The Washington Post data Kelly cites are probably flawed because liberal politicians typically inflate actual incomes when discussing tax reduction. They add 20 percent for assumed underreporting, add the rental value of owned homes, etc. So, the reported distribution of tax cuts seems reasonably fair. After all, Internal Revenue Service data (1993) indicate that people with incomes in the top 5 percent paid 47.3 percent of the total income taxes. The same IRS data says people in the bottom 50 percent income group paid 4.8 percent of the taxes in 1993. So their fair share of the reduction should be about 5 percent, right?

I’m not in either of those income groups. My tax cut is zero. Don’t tell me about fair. If Kelly really is the “average voter,” I despair for our republic. Larry L. Morrison Harrison, Idaho

Middle class whiners don’t understand

I was glad to see Hal Dixon’s letter putting Andy Kelly in his place (“Tax cut money is taxpayers’ money,” Letters, Aug. 17). The idea that anyone would be against tax cuts for people just because they are wealthy is unthinkable.

It’s good to see a person who understands that his labor is worth less than 1 percent of the labor of a CEO of a Fortune 500 Company. These people need those $100,000 tax breaks to pay for their kid’s $80,000 tuition at Harvard or Yale, not to mention their child’s BMW maintenance and their own yacht moorage.

The fact that tax freedom day for the wealthiest 1 percent is much earlier now than it was in the 1970s is not a reason to keep it from getting even earlier.

There are middle class whiners out there who claim they deserve tax breaks just because their tax freedom day keeps getting later and later. Tax cuts for the wealthy require decreased federal spending. Just because decreased federal spending leads to increased property taxes, gas taxes, recreation fees, and local sales taxes, these middle class freeloaders think they have the right to speak up about the unfairness of tax breaks.

If any of the middle class wants a tax break, let them donate $100,000 to the Republican Party, just like everyone else does. Paul N. Valanoff Moscow, Idaho

Government eroding all our freedoms

Can you believe it? We now have religious guidelines for federal civilian workers. You may do this, but you better not do that.

Seems to me there’s a statement in the Constitution preventing the federal government from dictating religious observances, or is the Constitution an outmoded scrap of paper?

Some people cheer the government’s meddling in America’s smoking habits, not realizing something they enjoy may be the next government taboo. (President Clinton privately smokes cigars.) Many citizens now presume that guns leap from drawers and shoot people. Why, those guns are as evil as leaf blowers and barbecues (at least in California).

According to the Environmental Protection Agency and some very vocal so-called authorities on the subject, the grass growers in our area irresponsibly pollute the air, causing those with asthma to suffer. On the other hand, when there is an accidental burning, such as a lightningcaused fire (which, surprise, also burns grass) no one talks about how asthmatics suffer. We hear nary a whisper about what pollutants our blessed incinerator spews into the atmosphere.

For many years the government has longed to relieve us of our cars and cram us all into buses, but Americans, lovers of cars, have been too independent to give their cars up. The name, Spokane Transit Authority, is no accident.

Thousands of restrictions and regulations now tie us up like legendary Gulliver. Do we value freedom enough to shout stop or will we simply turn over and mutter, “Put the shackles on my feet, too.” Luella J. Dow Cheney, Wash.

OTHER TOPICS

Our Generation - less is not more

When The Spokesman-Review created the Our Generation section several years ago,I was excited about the idea. I had recently started high school and was increasingly interested in the news.

Our Generation started as a weekly section of the paper with at least two full pages of articles pertaining to teen issues, interests and events. Many of these were written by area students and a syndicated column would most likely be included each week.

Recently, I have been less than impressed by the paper’s efforts to keep this section alive. Besides the weekly movie review, which is rarely worth my time to read, Our Generation has been reduced to barely a page, and even then, large type and double spacing are use to fill the space surrounding a central picture.

Spokane is a decent-sized city with well over 10,000 high school students. Many of these students are writers and have something worth reading. Perhaps The SpokesmanReview should allow some of these voices to be heard. The opinions and views may not always be what our parents wish to hear, but it is the voice of our generation that deserves a chance. Ryan M. Patterson Spokane

Nice the bear was cared for, anyway

Re: the article about the bear sleeping in Riverfront Park.

How grievous that the plight of the bear received so much attention, while the fact that a homeless man and his son, who were also sleeping in Riverfront Park, was merely mentioned as an aside. I suppose a bear is much more valuable than a boy. Kristy L. Smith Spokane

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