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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

BUSINESS AND LABOR

Tourist industry vital and it pays well

Re: Idaho edition columnist D.F. Oliveria’s “We who value tranquility see tourists as a bad trip” item (Hot Potatoes, May 6).

Oliveria should respect the true economic impact of tourists in our region. This year, tourists will make a significant contribution to our economy. At least $500 million will come into Spokane County in 1997.

It’s not only hotels and restaurants that benefit from visitor spending. Last year, tourists spent $119 million in retail establishments, $32 million in grocery stores and $46 million on recreation.

This money from outside our community helps pay for the services that each of us enjoy every day. Local tax receipts of nearly $8 million will go toward fire, police and other city services.

A common misconception is that visitor industry jobs are strictly minimum wage. In fact, earnings per hour in the travel and tourism industry are now equal to the average for all private industry sectors. Salaries in the transportation sector rank among the highest in the United States.

Minimum wage jobs in the visitor industry are important entry-level positions that provide employment for people who are semi-skilled, unskilled, young or who want to work part time. A skilled food server, for example, can earn $12-$20 per hour. More than 7,800 people in Spokane can thank the visitor industry for their paychecks.

We are fortunate to live in a region with excellent convention facilities, tremendous natural beauty, rich history and culture. I’m proud to be part of an industry that provides positive economic impact and allows us to share this great place with the rest of the world. Hartly Kruger, president and general manager Spokane Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

Couple should seek reparations

I hope the Nortons (“Businesses blindly blame us,” Your Turn, May 14) have engaged an attorney. Anyone who ever damaged my credit would have an opportunity to play a generous part in funding my retirement.

It is especially arrogant for a merchant to legislate his own laws regarding responsibility for checks stolen in the mail, without any regard for his failure to obtain identification from a stranger cashing a check. Ben Harney Spokane

THE MEDIA

Bad news triumphs over good again

It has not gone unnoticed that the local media have again done what they always do: focus on the negative.

While newspaper and television reporters rushed to sensationalize the unfortunate vandalism incident at a “South Side middle school,” they failed to recognize wonderful achievements of our young people.

During the day on Monday, TV news was at the school to highlight damaged student art, but then failed to follow up with some positive coverage. Where were the media that evening, when Sacajawea seventh and eighth graders put on a fine display of artistic and musical talent?

Indoors, a vast array of artwork was set to the backdrop of the school orchestra. Outdoors, the scene was enlivened by the band playing everything from music of the ‘40s to music from current Disney films. In the distance, on the south wall of the Manito post office, the nearly completed stamp mural, designed and painted by Sacajawea artists, could be seen.

It should not be overlooked by the press or public that many of these same students had proudly represented their school over the weekend in the Junior Lilac parade. They were too busy, too dedicated and too tired to engage in vandalism.

So, to them, their teachers and families, let us give credit - and coverage - where it is due. Judy E. Stephens Spokane

Luncheon editorial too negative

I was disappointed by the negative, one-sided tone of your “Low-power lunch of oddly bitter fare” editorial of May 10.

You use terms like “cavernous,” “missing” and “troubled” to describe the gathering of 1,875 who raised a record $223,000. You chided the speaker for her negative message and laid blame for this at the feet of the organizers, who had little or no control over the content of Carrie Fisher’s speech.

You omit any reference to the thousands of volunteer hours put into the organization and execution of this magnificent event. You neglect to mention that this totally private effort has raised a net of over $750,000 in the five years of its existence.

I hope those thousands of volunteers upon whom we depend for this event and others like it were not insulted by your misplaced criticism. But then, they probably weren’t upset, since we’ve become quite accustomed to pointless barbs which frequently appear on the editorial page. James A. McDevitt Spokane

A certain inconsistency shows

I agree with Rosey M. Deal (“Cartoon sexist, repugnant,” Letters, May 15), who complains about sexism being accepted in one part of the paper while its editorially condemned in another. Says Deal, “The actions of The Review speak louder than any editorials it may write.”

Why, just last week the editorial board gingerly rebuked the Women Helping Women fund raiser for it’s sexist presentation by actress Carrie Fisher. Contrast that position with the story by staff writer Kelly McBride on Fisher’s performance. The headline described the event as hilarious, and McBride opens her piece with the casual statement, “Carrie Fisher bashed men …” Later in McBride’s piece, Fisher is quoted as remarking about men, “Aren’t they cute? They have it easier than we do.”

According to the report, a good time was had by all and a record amount of money was raised.

I agree with you, Deal. Let’s treat everyone with respect, both on the editorial page and in the rest of the paper. And let’s not forget, sexism cuts both ways. J. Andy James Colville

Airlift story needs clarifying

In response to the May 12 article, “Beacon in the night,” by staff writer Kevin Blocker, I would like to set the record straight concerning the transport from Elioka Lake.

Doing our job safely is foremost in the minds of all the dedicated professionals at Northwest MedStar. No heroics were performed that night, just good common sense.

I was misquoted about fog on the night in question. Actually, it was raining heavily. The prevailing visibility and cloud ceiling were within our limits to launch a helicopter when the call came in, so we did.

The landing zone was in a depression, surrounded by low hills. When I tried to take off on the return trip to the hospital, I realized that because of the local topography and the dark night with virtually no ambient light source, I had no ground reference. So, I landed the helicopter and conferred with my flight crew.

It was Flight Nurse Davis Sewell’s idea to send the ambulance down the road as ground reference. We did not actually follow the ambulance down the road between two hills. That would have been foolhardy. What I actually did was use the headlights of the ambulance to illuminate the surrounding area to ensure adequate terrain clearance and as a visual reference point to maintain ground contact until I had climbed high enough to see the lights of Spokane.

The entire transition from takeoff to cruise probably lasted no more than 30 seconds.

We do not routinely fly into or out of any landing zone obscured by fog and we never launch into known weather that is below our established minimum requirements for ceiling and visibility. Charles E. Booth MedStar Helicopter, Spokane

Report on Junior Livestock Show

We attended the recent Junior Livestock Show in Spokane and saw the 4-H and National FFA Organization kids show their animals. They all did a wonderful job.

More than 600 youths were there. They spent months getting their animals ready for this show, with a lot of hard work. And they put in many hours of hard work once they got to the show.

Where is The Spokesman-Review when this show is going on? Why can’t you report the good things the youths of today are doing? A lot of these children will be our leaders of tomorrow. A little positive news might help people instead of always hearing the negative. The coverage by the TV stations was not much better. Helen N. Mays LaCrosse, Wash.

Editor’s note: This year’s Junior Livestock show was the subject of a May 5 feature story and a photo on page 1 on May 9.

Cartoon critic’s letter revealing

This is in response to Rosey Deal’s letter (“Cartoon sexist, repugnant,” May 15).

Deal claims that she knows what ‘non-sequitur’ means, and it shouldn’t be allowed in the paper where young people can read it.

A non sequitur is not something bad or dirty. It simply means that a conclusion does not follow from the premises of an argument.

Perhaps Deal should consult her dictionary before she embarrasses herself or others. Darcy L. Brixey Spokane

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS

Popular wisdom may prove unwise

We are hearing more and more about balancing the budget. How come we never hear about who the beneficiaries of this drastic procedure will be?

It’s apparent that it won’t be the welfare community or the thousands of government employees who service it. Most certainly it won’t be the Social Security community, whose federally deducted deposits to a trust fund already have been pilfered, double-taxed and fraudulently misused to finance foreign governments and foolhardy military adventures around the world.

Pause a minute and contemplate the word “bankruptcy.” Admit that, prior to the total demise of a company or individual, creditors demand that the debtor show a good faith effort to cut expenses. So, the balanced budget amendment is not for you, not for me, but for the $5.5 trillion dollars worth of creditors around the world.

Also, there is a belief in the witchcraft of trillion-dollar economists that the sound alone of a balanced budget amendment will comfort our creditors, never mind whether it gets the vote or not. They have a hunch it will stabilize the high dollar so their little nations can dump their sweatshop output on our economy. A much as that might be a temporary benefit, the concomitant bugaboo of incalculable inflation that hides in the dark unknown of multi-trillion dollar debt is something to think about for us all - not just the bureaucrats, but everybody on the government payroll. George B. Valentine Sr. Rathdrum

Today’s Republicans have strayed

The Republican Party prides itself on being the party of Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt. In a May 10 front page story, Rep. Helen Chenoweth quotes Teddy Roosevelt to support her political position.

It appears to me that these new Republicans are very selective when choosing their quotes. Here are some they seem to have missed when they derived their current policies:

” … corporations have become enthroned, and an era of corruption in high places will follow. The money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its rule by preying upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is in a few hands and the republic is destroyed.” President Abraham Lincoln wrote that, in a letter dated Nov. 21, 1864.

” … all contributions by corporations to any political committee or for any political purpose should be forbidden by law.” That was said by President Theodore Roosevelt, in a message to Congress in 1905.

I hope our Republican representatives will look a little more closely at the real roots of the Republican Party and return to them in their future actions. Paul N. Valanoff Moscow

Industry mining taxpayers’ wallets

The mining fee controversy (Roundtable, May 14) raises an interesting question: Shouldn’t mining on taxpayer-owned lands be handled just as it would be on privately owned lands?

If that were the case, there would be an auction or lease, with royalties paid during the mining. The difference between the two methods means that the mining industry is fleecing us by a royal amount. Walter A. Becker Pullman

ROADS AND RIGS

Truck criticisms inaccurate

In response to Edwin Weilep’s letter of May 2, “Curtail excessive truck weight,” he should get his facts straight before spouting off on matters of public policy affecting the livelihood of millions of people.

I have been driving truck professionally for approximately 20 years. For as long as I can remember, the legal gross weight limit for the average three-axle truck (his “tandem truck”) has been 46,000 pounds (34,000 per set of tandem axles and 12,000 per steering axle). For a five-axle combination (his semi), it’s been 80,000 pounds. Further, the federal government sets the minimum legal limits and the sates can set them higher on non-federal roads.

States are free to set lower weight restrictions for special road conditions, including spring thaw, weak bridges, limited visibility, etc., and they do set them lower. In fact, I have had to reduce loads below those standards many times due to weight restrictions.

Further, if the excessive weights of our trucks are the cause of our failing roads, why does Canada have so much better roads, yet their weight limits for the same trucks are 18.5 percent higher than here? Their roads are subject to far greater weather-related stress and/or damage.

Maybe the problem is the way we build our roads. We use the lowest bidder and are prohibited by federal law from even accepting a warranty, much less asking for one.

Also, the next time you bash a trucker, please remember that anything you purchase has been transported at least once by a trucker. Donald D. Jones Spokane

See what Iowa does - and do it

I have been reading with interest articles in The Spokesman-Review concerning the problem of making roads durable in Washington. I suggest that road engineers contact the Iowa’s highway department.

I was raised there. I’ve lived here for 30 years and go back to Iowa every few years. Its freeways must be concrete - I’m guessing, because they are white and hard-surfaced. Those roads don’t crack or buckle, don’t have potholes anywhere or pock marks from pothole repairs. Nor do they have the gouged-out tracks in the middle of each lane where the heavy trucks drive.

In some places, about every 10 feet or so, they have a bead of some sort of material covering, I’m assuming again, a seam. These are on some highways but not on freeways.

I’ve driven from Des Moines to Fort Dodge and over to Sioux City on freeways, and those roads are always the same. It amazes me that our roads are so consistently horrible, and Iowa with its extremely hot and extremely cold temperatures, can make roads that last forever. Someone should check this out. Jan A. Slama Spokane

OTHER TOPICS

AIDS lecture called for, not tolerance

In order to express tolerance, an essay in the May 13 Our Generation section ends with the father accepting the son’s homosexuality. Instead of maudlin sentimentality, perhaps the father should have told his son about AIDS, the disease that still ravages male homosexuals with no cure in sight.

Is God tolerant of homosexuality?

The word “sodomy” comes from the name of the biblical city Sodom, which God destroyed by fire. Adell M. Cook Spokane

Enhance recycling system

Spokane’s recycling system could be improved upon. I’ve noticed that each home has only one recycling bin for all the residents’ recycling needs. I feel that if we were to have specific bins for the separate recyclable products, such as bottles, cans and paper, it would save time for the disposal collectors and speed up the recycling process in the long run.

Spokane needs more advertisements for recycling. I don’t see recycling getting very much attention. Brittainy L. Buchanan Spokane

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