Initiative 676 is unconstitutional. I refer readers to the Washington State Constitution, Article 1, Section 24, “Right to Bear Arms: The right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself, or the state, shall not be impaired, but nothing in this section shall be construed as authorizing individuals or corporations to organize, maintain or employe an armed body of men.”
If any backers of Initiative 676 feel it is constitutional, I would like to read your reasoning in this newspaper. Please, no bogus arguments about safety. Firearms accidents have been declining for years.
Paul G. Murray Jr. Newport, Wash.
Casinos should be legal statewide
I have never been to a casino. I doubt that I ever will go to one. But I want casinos to be legal throughout Washington state.
I believe that America is special because of the freedom that its citizens enjoy. Freedom, of course, means putting up with those ideas and practices that you disagree with. Freedom means nothing if it is only freedom for practices that are considered normal and proper by mainstream America. Freedom is being able to make a choice that others consider wrong.
Everyone should have the freedom to go to a casino, even if I never will.
Because some people abuse gambling is no reason to outlaw casinos. Everything is abused in a free society, from free speech to consuming liquor. Some people go overboard. Some people harm others.
But because some people are irresponsible is no reason to take away rights from everybody. Bad choices by individuals are simply the price that we must all live with, if we are to ever live freely.
Pornography. Firearms. Alcohol. Casinos. Even if these things are repulsive to some, they must be tolerated and legal.
I refuse to live in a government-censored cage because some citizens cannot control themselves.
The spirit of individual freedom must be kept alive. One of the first steps in achieving that freedom is to legalize casinos throughout Washington. Dave M. Anthony Spokane
Street cleaning effort wasteful
The city of Spokane complains of being short on funds for street repair. These complaints are unfounded.
For instance: On three successive days, at Heroy and I streets, we had two street washers, two street sweepers, one pickup with two men and a dump truck with one man. They were doing the same streets on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Nonsense, to say the least! Mismanagement of manpower and funds is very evident.
It rained hard on Saturday night, to add to this lunacy.
I pray this nonsense was not compounded in other areas. Merlin J. Jespersen Spokane
Offense taken too easily
I am appalled that Guy Thomas (“Racial insensitivity flourishing,” Letters, June 28) should assume that the statement by the young lady was for his benefit. At her age, “in her late 20s,” might she not like the music of Snoop Doggy Dog?
I am in my 50s and was brought up to believe that all people are the same regardless of race, religion or color. Why should Thomas not ask the young lady if she really liked Snoop Doggy Dog, instead of making an assumption that because he is black, he would have something in common with Snoop Doggy Dog? Communication goes a long way in understanding people.
I was told to never make assumptions, but I can only assume that Thomas has the same racial insensitivity he talks about. Is this not a type of racism, also? When people stop making assumptions, maybe things will start getting better.
It would be nice if the young lady reads the Roundtable page. Then, we might get her response to these letters.
I say, let’s all pray that all people have the patience and understanding to believe that racism will end by everyone believing that all people are equal. Tom E. Boyd Spokane
Black man’s story revealing
The Spokesman-Review’s June 27 interpretation of the story of Will Barron’s 30-year career as maitre d’ at the Spokane Club is another example of how we whites fail to see the racism that still surrounds us.
The nice story made it sound as though hard work can conquer all, and that making white people feel important is something blacks just naturally want to do. It’s our disgraceful culture of racism in action.
Why else would a black man in Spokane have to work 18 hours a day at three jobs just to afford a house, during a time when it was unheard of for white families to hold more than one job? No one can fault Barron for doing what he had to do to survive. But surely, white Spokane should acknowledge that we have done him wrong. Why was the Spokane Club one of the few places to hire blacks? Why isn’t the newspaper asking these questions?
The club’s purpose is to make white men feel as superior as possible. Coincidently, that is the purpose of racism, and the reason why blacks have always been given the jobs few whites would tolerate.
No, racism is not explicit policy, and individuals may have acted without policy guidance, but these are lame excuses accepted only by whites. Since Barron had to practically give away his million-dollar services to Spokane, perhaps Spokane should now pay the back wages he and others deserve. A million dollars might be an appropriate gesture. Cris M. Currie Mead
Bias in death penalty opposition?
Interesting, all those letters to this newspaper crying out for sparing the life of a white racist who killed almost 200 men, women and children. Yet, I’ve seen no letters begging for mercy for the black man who killed two white women here in Spokane.
It makes me wonder exactly what creed those letter writers are actually supporting. Teresa T. Keene Spokane
PEOPLE IN SOCIETY
Apology for slavery important
I agree with Donna Britt’s column about an apology to blacks for slavery.
Most Americans find it hard to apologize for a mistake, and one of the many polls taken on the subject found that some 46 percent of Americans don’t believe an apology to blacks is necessary.
When questioned on the issue, several people wanted to know why. They all said an apology wouldn’t change anything. The House majority leader even scoffed at the idea, saying it would do nothing for children. America has finally apologized to Japanese Americans for their unfair incarceration during World War II, to Native Americans for broken treaties and to blacks for the infamous Tuskegee experiment. Sometimes it takes a while, but America has shown it can apologize for its mistakes.
I disagree with those who say an apology is unnecessary. An apology would do two things. A sincere apology wouldn’t admit responsibility for slavery, or change anything, as no one alive today is responsible for slavery. It would recognize and express sorrow that such a horrible thing ever existed in the United States.
To err is human and to apologize for an error is also human. An apology to blacks for slavery would be balm and dressing in our salad bowl of a society. Wallace R. Baucom Colville, Wash.
EWU situation misrepresented
As president of the faculty union at Eastern Washington University, I take issue with Tom McArthur’s views (“EWU top-heavy and badly led,” Letters, June 18).
McArthur, as the classified staff union president, should know that, since 1995, “shared governance” between faculty and administration only covers curriculum issues through the academic senate.
Faculty working conditions and compensation are covered by a contract between the administration and the United Faculty of EWU.
UFE recognizes that EWU’s long-term future as a strong, vibrant university lies in its commitment to its junior faculty. To safeguard the continued employment of such valuable faculty during this period of declining state support, UFE has negotiated with the administration measures to specifically address continued employment of these tenure-track faculty members.
These measures include for the 1997-98 academic year: suspension of the faculty merit program ($800-$1,000 per person), allowing flexibility for faculty to switch to crucial non-teaching positions (e.g. advising) temporarily and for senior administrators giving up state-funded 3 percent cost-of-living increase by commensurate reduction in work. This agreement was ratified by a 94 percent positive vote by the UFE membership.
UFE remains dedicated to making this agreement work in the best interests of its members, other faculty members and the university. Jeff A. Corkill, president United Faculty of Eastern, EWU, Cheney
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