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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

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

GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT

Act’s requirements distorted

Members of the American Planning Association, Inland Empire Section, are concerned with several “articles” - actually paid advertisements - produced by the Spokane Home Builders Association and the Spokane Association of Realtors and published in the Sunday real estate insert.

As professional planners dedicated to serving the public interest, we are troubled to see inaccurate information about Growth Management Act requirements.

The two most glaring examples are the assertions that the act encourages “mixed-use zoning” and “higher density in all in-fill developments.”

Mixing land uses and requiring higher densities are not encouraged by the act. Other communities have used these tools to manage growth, but Spokane County residents will decide how to manage growth here.

The Growth Management Act allows jurisdictions to plan for future growth and avoid negative impacts such as air and water pollution, traffic congestion and loss of rural landscapes. These planning decisions are not easy and will require a thoughtful, deliberate process. The American Planning Association encourages participation by all interested groups and individuals. The dissemination of inaccurate information only clouds the issues and diminishes the ability to make sound decisions about the future of our communities.

To have your say in the process, contact either the county or your city’s planning department. Susan Winchel, director American Planning Association, Inland Empire Section, Spokane

Get the facts on impacts

This is in reply to “Too-tight growth boundaries limit home ownership” by Al Haslebacher (guest column, Feb. 1):

I can appreciate the fact that he speaks for the Home Builders Association in Spokane. I contend, to be fair to the many folks who are concerned about the Growth Management Act, sprawl, land use and livable communities, that they investigate the alternatives they could have other than sprawl development. I urge the public to contact the Energy Outreach Center, 503 W. Fourth, Olympia 98501 or call (360)-943-4595 to order the 85-page booklet, “Redevelopment for Livable Communities.”

This publication is highly informative and it provides the reader with easy-to-understand information about the impacts of growth on Washington state. Mark G. Momb Spokane

Businesses don’t need city wisdom

The “wisest” plan by city planning and engineering director Phil Williams halting Clinkerdagger restaurant’s move to the Salty’s site overlooking the falls seems to be yet another example of the axiom that bureaucrats are promoted to at least one step above their level of competency.

This “wisest” type of planning is a reason businesses have been, and continue to be, driven out of downtown Spokane. Ray O’Keefe Spokane

YOUTH

Awards accentuate the positive

Every day there are stories of kids committing a variety of criminal acts, from skipping school to first-degree murder.

It sometimes seems the media focus on the negative acts of youths. Many times, the media fail to report the positive ways kids are getting involved with schools and the community. The Chase Youth Awards pick up where the media may leave off.

For the past nine years, the Chase Youth Awards have recognized youths in the areas of citizenship, community service, courage, creativity, entrepreneurship, environmental concerns, leadership and personal achievement, plus the Spirit of Jim Chase group award.

This is to be the Chase Youth Awards’ 10th year of acknowledging youths, and this year they are doing things a little differently. There will be two age divisions. The Youth Division will encompass kids in grades K-6 and the Teen Division will include students in grades 7-12. Also, the new Jim Chase Memorial Award will be presented to an outstanding adult who has worked to improve the lives of youths in our community.

If you know of a youth or an adult who has made positive changes in schools or the community, please obtain a nomination form and nominate him or her for the Chase Youth Awards. Nomination forms are available at City Hall, public libraries and local schools or by calling the Chase Youth Commission, 625-6440.

Let’s start recognizing youths for their achievements, not their delinquent behavior. Michele Blevins Spokane

SPOKANE MATTERS

Right idea, wrong solution

Well, our esteemed mayor and City Council have done it again refused to allow citizens to vote on what we want for our city.

With businesses downtown closing on a regular basis and boarded-up stores everywhere, one has to wonder why new businesses would want to settle here. A larger Nordstrom store will not give more people the money to trade here.

What the powers that be can’t seem to understand is that times have changed everywhere. Malls that offer everything one could need or want, not to mention free parking, are here to stay and downtowns are out.

What is needed to rejuvenate downtown Spokane is affordable housing and law enforcement on the streets. I remember when Spokane had no empty stores and citizens were not afraid to walk our streets. And those who lived downtown spent their money downtown. M.M. Fisher Spokane

Project about community’s soul

Where does David Sabey live? In Spokane? I think not. He lives in Seattle.

We appreciate his giving us a very liberal estimate of the number of tax dollars needed to rebuild downtown. But as for telling us whether or not spending this money is in Spokane’s interest, he’d better keep his mouth shut.

Of course he thinks rebuilding downtown is a bad idea. He banks off the fact that River Park Square and the surrounding downtown area are suffering.

As for the Cowles family, sure, maybe it owns much of River Park Square and other downtown businesses, but the Cowleses have lived here for a very long time. They helped create Spokane and all of its charm. They have a lot of pride in Spokane. Thank God they do, for pride is what will drive Spokane citizens to embrace the new downtown project.

Downtown is a celebration of a city’s heritage and its hopes for the future. It’s not just a shopping mall. We don’t go downtown simply to buy clothes but also to wear clothes. We don’t go downtown simply to look at fashion through a window but also to create fashion.

Downtown is where people come together to express their differences and similarities. We need downtown. Otherwise, we separate ourselves from one another and from other neighboring cities and counties. To abandon downtown is to abandon what makes us whole, our inner soul. For just as it’s true that the soul keeps a person alive, downtown is what will keep our city alive.

Please, have some pride. Support downtown Spokane. Kathryn J. Julyan Spokane

Special interest answers won’t do

So we have another brilliantly conceived project, River Park Square, voted on by our City Council. In its infinite wisdom, the council has told us taxpayers that it knows what’s best for us.

The fact that no real public debate, let alone a vote, is being allowed on what is essentially an overall vision for the future of our downtown should cause all citizens concern.

One has to wonder what is behind the smoke screen of the Clinkerdagger decision - more proof that there is no overall policy on our downtown area. It can be argued that it is criminal to allow a powerful special interest group to dictate public policy - especially if that policy is a vision from the 1970s and ‘80s and involves funneling even more traffic through our downtown corridor.

Citizens ought to sit down and envision what our city will look like in the year 2000 and beyond. Catering to shortsighted special interest groups will serve only to further divide our position and make it more difficult to reach consensus. We need to ensure that the animosity and fiscal costs created by other projects, such as the waste-to-energy plant, do not happen in this instance. Olaf Berg Spokane

Make project a real gift

Most would agree that Spokane would benefit from extensive improvements to its city center.

It is how our officious City Council allowed a Pecksniffian few to have their way that is raising the hackles of informed citizens. It is incredible how easily this deal to make over the parking garage of the irreproachable Cowleses with taxpayer money crept to unanimous incipience. They knew their plans for our city didn’t have a prayer as a referendum in which all the sordid details would have to be spelled out completely.

So these schemers in Beemers instead succeeded in turning our city government into a true aristocracy, while each and every council member marched in lock step to the cadence of the Cowleses.

If their concern for our downtown is genuine and not based on improved property values for their many downtown buildings, why doesn’t this bunch of phony philanthropists donate their dubious dilapidation and write it off next April? C.J. Porter Spokane

Downtown needs more people

Spending considerable sums on various downtown projects will not do the job until there are many more people living in the downtown area.

Almost everywhere there is a parking lot in the core area there used to be an apartment house, rooming house or hotel that catered to low-income and elderly residents. Also, there were many eating places, clothing stores and other retail establishments that these people used.

I have noticed other cities of comparable size having the same demise of their core areas. Carl Diana Spokane

One way or another, we pay

It’s no wonder our streets cannot be fixed so they are safe to drive on when the city spends all our tax dollars on downtown.

I understand two people went to San Francisco to get cheaper loans for the downtown revitalization project. The city hired Coopers and Lybrand for a financial feasibility study and is paying the Downtown Spokane Partnership $200,000 a year from parking meters.

It is almost certain that we, the taxpayers, will be making up the money the garage falls short. I don’t believe many people will want to pay $1.50 an hour to park downtown. And if merchants stamp tickets, everyone will pay more for merchandise.

When someone cannot handle their own finances, how can we expect them to know how to handle taxpayers’ money? E.D. Boxer Spokane

People’s preference doesn’t count

What’s going on with Spokane city government these days? Lately, it appears these people have adopted the attitude of whatever we want, we get - regardless of what the taxpaying public wants.

First, they pledge millions of public dollars to help fund a downtown development, the River Park Square project, which will greatly benefit a private party - Nordstrom. Maybe a benefit from this project will be improved streets. Since almost every street in this town is falling apart, we will have to repair them so we can drive to our wonderful new downtown.

Secondly, the city now says it wants the Salty’s restaurant site for the Lincoln Street bridge project. Didn’t Clinkerdagger announce plans to remodel and relocate there a few months ago? Why didn’t the city let Clinkerdagger know back then that it wanted the site?

Clinkerdagger, which by the way is one of Spokane’s most successful and long-standing restaurants, has spent several thousand dollars remodeling and now is being told to put its plans on hold. Perhaps if Clinkerdagger were relocating to a sacred downtown spot, the city would have no problems. Christy L. Heitstuman Spokane

OTHER TOPICS

God’s voice is everywhere

In reference to the Jan. 23 article concerning my ordination to the priesthood, I wish to clarify a misunderstanding. The article stated that I didn’t “remember a call from God.”

My entire life has been in response to God’s voice, in whatever form that has taken. I hear God speak to me in Scripture and through the voices of others - the poor, the lonely, the sick and the disenfranchised, as well through the living saints of the church.

I believe that each of us is called to God to become unique in the universe. Each of our lives is the unfolding discovery of what that means. As we receive the gift of life from God, we give back the varied gifts of our existence.

As we keep God-centered in our community, we speak the words of Christ to the world from the reality of our relationship to God. As part of this community, I serve God in his church, in his name and through his grace. Being a priest isn’t being set apart over a community; it’s being set at the heart of the community. My priesthood is but a symbol of the priesthood of all others. The Rev. Marj Denniston Coeur d’Alene

Who paid for that cup of coffee?

When Lloyd Bentsen was a senator from Texas before he was appointed secretary of the Treasury by President Clinton, he had three known major sources of income: his salary as senator, his large ranch in southern Texas and his weekly breakfast with lobbyists who each paid him $10,000 for the privilege of meeting with him. It was not disclosed whether he paid for the breakfasts out of the $10,000 “donation” or whether the lobbyists paid for their breakfasts.

If you think that is abuse of political power, compare it with this information released from White House documents disclosed by the Federal Election Commission, via the Wall Street Journal on Jan. 27.

On May 1, 1996, a small group of businessmen came to have coffee with President Clinton and Democratic National Committee officials in the White House. On May 8, four of them each gave $100,000 to the Democratic National Committee. One of the guests gave only $15,000 and not until July 3. He may not be invited again. The names of all are in the Wall Street Journal.

This in spite of it being illegal to solicit political funds in government buildings. We all know who paid for this coffee - we taxpayers. Earnest A. Sprow Spokane

Racism anathema to Christianity

It’s not fair to link white supremacy with Christianity as is the case with the America’s Promise Ministries (“Olympics bomb probe looks at NW trio,” Jan. 26). The philosophy of hatred toward race and skin color associated with the APM is flat-out contrary to the Word of God.

Nowhere in the Bible does it state that the color of a person’s skin or race gives that person either credit or disfavor with God. In Acts 17:26, it says that God “made of one blood all nations of men.” Furthermore, Jesus Christ, who in the flesh was born an Israelite, tells us to “love your enemies, bless them that curse you” (Matt. 5:44).

Christ’s sacrifice is available to all men and women, regardless of race or skin color. Hate doesn’t come from God. It’s unfair to identify hatred with God. Sam Kaufman Grandview, Wash.

Raise penalties for poaching

Re: “Poachers must pay a higher price,” Jan. 22:

I agree that poachers are getting off the hook too easily. Illegal killing of big-game animals whose numbers are in decline deserves a harsher penalty than a $1,000 fine. Higher fines or longer jail sentances are reasonable things to demand of lawbreaking poachers.

If the states of Idaho and Washington continue to enforce current penalities rather than stiffer ones, the big-game animal population will continue to decline. Games sportsmen should be allowed a fair, legal chance at these animals before it is too late and there are none left to hunt. Stephanie Pearson Cheney

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