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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


No short-cuts to losing weight

Re: Jaime Tobias Neeley’s great article “exercise, eat right, it’s the best way.”

Not only is exercise and eating right the best way, it’s the only way to take charge of our weight and how we look. Unfortunately, through the combined efforts of the pharmaceutical companies and the diet industry, people have been lead to believe that there are short-cuts to losing weight, and managing our weight and how we look.

Every research study ever done on the effects of quick, easy short-cuts to weight loss show that over 90 percent of the weight is regained within a year from ending the quick, short, easy weight loss program.

Why do people continue to invest their money, time, and energy in these programs? Because they are sold a bill of goods that their weight problems are genetic or bio-chemical in nature. This is a myth, but it is an easy sell to people who don’t want to work at the poor choices they make regarding food and the hard work it takes to change how we deal with food and, ultimately, how one takes care of one’s self. Dick Silk Spokane

Americans obsessed with weight

The latest news on Fen-Phen highlights the ongoing American obsession with weight. Where we accept considerable variation in height as being normal, your weight must be a certain amount based on your height or you are underweight or worse yet, fat! This makes no allowance for weight variation based on body type and causes considerable health problems in people trying to attain their “ideal” weight.

Striving to be “normal” has caused people to poison themselves with homemade protein drinks and go on diets with fewer daily calories than prisoners in concentration camps received. One of the major goals of women is still to lose weight and young girls often start dieting before they start puberty. While most weight hysteria is among women, companies have decided to stop ignoring the other half of the market and prey on the insecurities of men, too.

I know many people are dying to tell me how dangerous being overweight is and how all the studies say so. What is not being said is that most studies of the risks of being overweight were conducted by drug companies on people who were dieting. On the other hand, there is considerable evidence that rapid weight loss and the syndrome of yo-yo dieting cause considerable damage to the body, including the heart.

While much is said on losing weight for health reasons, the truth is that most people lose weight for social reasons, often doing themselves much harm in the process and not becoming one iota happier. Tom L. LaBolle Spokane


Maybe robots could fight the wars

George Carpenter’s response to the sexual scandals currently rocking the military is typically biased. To “cure” the problem, remove women and gays.

At my best guestimate, that would reduce the military personnel by about 10 percent, which leaves a question: How does Carpenter come by his figures of men being victims of sexism and generally offensive behavior at greater rates than women? Since women and gays do not have that large of a representation in the overall military, has Carpenter ever considered that straight men are just as capable of victimizing each other?

Perhaps the military brass need to dispense with all human personnel and build an army of robots to do the fighting instead. Joan A. Harman Coeur d’Alene

Narrow view reduces pride

In response to George Carpenter’s letter of Sept. 23 I ask, what does gender or sexual orientation have to do with protecting America’s freedom? To eliminate women or others from the military would deplete our already diminishing military.

According to the U.S. Department of Defense, more than 250,000 military personnel were seriously injured in Vietnam alone. Who do you think would take care of the wounded soldiers, drive the trucks with needed supplies to the fighting, work the mail or counsel the many frightened young soldiers? None of these jobs are specific to gender or how one conducts themselves on their free time. Carpenter makes a judgment based on a few individuals who have made poor choices and the media ran with it to sell a story.

Individuals volunteer for the military in good faith and out of a sense of commitment to their country. It is individuals like Carpenter who decrease the pride of America because of a narrow point of view. His interpretation of “all men created equal” is good only as long as they are all men created exactly alike. We have fought hard for the freedom for all in America. Let’s not let the prejudice views of people like Carpenter make the efforts of those who serve be in vain. Terry L. Hoover, first lieutenant, U.S. Army Reserves, Spokane SCHOOL MATTERS

Copy of tests can be had

Liz Mostad and others who would like to see the fourth-grade test and/or the new Washington state standards for fourth, seventh and 10th grades can request a free copy of one or both from Partnership for Learning, 1215 Fourth Ave., Suite 1020, Seattle, WA 98161-1007; (800) 550-5437.

Let’s hope The Spokesman-Review prints Spokanearea school-by-school results of the fourth-grade test, as a Seattle newspaper did last week. Don R. Peters Spokane

School doing best they can

Doug Clark’s column of Sept. 21 was right on target. I couldn’t have said it better.

I don’t understand the media giving the Cooks so much attention and completely ignoring the many students and their parents who understood and complied with the school district, which was truly in a bind and doing the best they could. Wanita F. Cary Spokane

Why are some more equal?

The Sept. 19 portrayal of Chelsea Clinton’s first days at Stanford and Tiffany Cook’s first days in the sixth grade at Woodridge Elementary is reminiscent of the contrast coverage of Princess Diana and Mother Teresa.

While the commander in chief’s “first daughter” is escorted to her latest private school at taxpayers’ expense, the president and first lady can fly back to their public housing, the White House, on Air Force One. Meanwhile, a taxpaying, active-duty military family fights to keep their daughter at a public school near their newly purchased home.

Since two classrooms remain empty at Woodridge but “there is no room at the school,” perhaps another teacher could be hired to accommodate the children that must be bussed.

District spending increased by $18 million the past two years despite decreased overall enrollment. Though not one dollar was allotted for instructional materials, the 1997-1998 budget allots an increase of over $3 million in state and federal monies for experimental, social programs. Capital outlay, repair to buildings, has been reduced by almost $4 million these past two years. According to District 81 school board candidate Joanne McCann, “At this rate our schools will soon be in the same condition as our roads.”

While the village is helping to raise Chelsea, perhaps the citizens of Spokane could help Tiffany. The next school board meeting could be interesting. We hear a lot about equity and equality. It appears that some are more equal than others - depending on whether you are a privacy-seeking celebrity or a cloistered child. Raymond R. Kuhn Spokane

Lucky for Tiffany her mom cares

Doug Clark’s Sept. 21 commentary belongs in the trash can. Clark claims that Tiffany’s mother has done her daughter a “horrible disservice.” How? By fighting for the school of their choice. It is bad enough that liberal politicians don’t want anyone to have a choice between public and private school options, but worse yet that a taxpayer can’t even get the public school of their choice. No matter that the parents bought a house for which they pay the taxes for the school in their community.

So far, Tiffany has probably learned the following lessons: 1) a bureaucrat will determine when, where, and how you are educated; 2) pay your taxes and shut up; 3) it is self-centered to want your own needs and desires met; 4) never question authority figures (the “experts” know what’s best for everyone; and 5) you can’t fight the education establishment (or City Hall).

Luckily, Tiffany has learned something good: She has a mother who cares a great deal for her and will go to battle for her, a mother who is trying to provide some semblance of stability for a child (of a military family) who already frequently experiences the challenges of moving, making new friends and starting over in a new school.

Clark’s schooling taught him not to question authority and to trust the experts. Mr. Clark, go to the head of the class. Janice M. Moerschel Spokane


Initiative will cost plenty

No matter how much we may dislike a right, it takes a constitutional amendment - not a ballot initiative - to change the Bill of Rights. If the Initiative 676 gunowner registration initiative passes this November, it will cause expensive lawsuits against the state and those cities and counties which choose to enforce its unconstitutional requirements. This just happened to the Brady Law, parts of which were struck down by the Supreme Court this summer.

Repeating a mistake, and then wasting more tax dollars to argue about it in court, is simply stupid. We should spend our tax dollars on police instead of lawyers. Richard L. Hartman Spokane

Support Initiative 676

The rhetoric about Initiative 676 is confusing. Is the initiative an attempt to strip citizens of our right to bear arms, or is it a common-sense measure to increase the chances that arms are used responsibly? After studying the initiative, I am supporting 676. The measures promoted in this initiative would have saved the life of my 7-year-old cousin, who was accidentally shot and killed by her 12-year-old brother as he was handling what he thought was their father’s unloaded gun. The potential for more tragedies of this type is real: more than 1.2 million elementary-aged, latch-key children have access to guns in their homes (Journal of the American Medical Association, 1990).

If citizens read the entire initiative, they may be amazed that its tenets are not already law because they are such common sense. If I-676 passes, handgun owners will be required to obtain training in the safe operation, handling and storage of handguns. It will also ensure that all handguns sold or transferred in Washington state have a trigger-locking device.

I am tired of hearing about accidents that could have been easily avoided if society would have the courage to impose safety measures on gun owners, as we do on drivers of automobiles. I am tired of hearing that there is nothing we do, that accidents happen. There is something we can do. We can support Initiative 676. Lu K. Brown Spokane

Handgun safety license good plan

Recent letters to the editor on Initiative 676 have been concerned with the cost of licensing handguns.

Currently, a concealed-pistol license is obtained at $60 for five years. This license is held by about 250,000 handgun owners in Washington state, approximately two-thirds of the current handgun owners. There is no training needed to carry a concealed weapon and there has been no complaint about the cost or the processing of the license.

The handgun safety license, at $25 every five years, would piggyback onto the CPL for those individuals currently licensed; it would not be an additional cost. However, all handgun owners would be required to receive training in safe handling and storage of their handgun.

The cost of the handgun safety license would be borne by individuals who choose to possess handguns, not by the general public. Sounds good to me. Pamela C. Behring Spokane


Option tax includes all vehicle fuel

On Sept. 19 a letter writer suggested that the local option fuel tax would exempt heavy trucks because they burn diesel, not gasoline. Not true!

The local option tax will be imposed on all types of motor vehicle fuel, which includes both gasoline and diesel.

Those trucks get as few as four miles per gallon in some instances, which means they burn a lot of fuel and thus pay a proportionate amount of taxes. Additionally, certain classes of construction trucks pay as much as $45,000 in licensing fees, which finds its way back into the public budget at various levels.

One of the best reasons for a fuel tax increase to fund street and road improvements is that it is an equitable means of funding. All who use private vehicles pay based on how much they drive.

Referring to the proposal as a “gas tax increase” is simply a misnomer and a convenient way to say what is really an increase in motor vehicle taxes. Ken Dunham, executive director Inland Northwest Associated General Contractors, Spokane

Make bicycles safer for kids

Stop and think about lives that are being needlessly wasted. Kids on bicycles without prominent reflectors are less likely to be seen until too late.

For serious reasons of responsibility, all bicycles should have 6-inch reflectors front and rear, at least. At night, particularly, they may then be seen sooner by fast-moving 3,000-pound cars that catch up to bicyclists in seconds.

Please, write to your city, county and state officials and demand new laws that make more sense to save lives of fragile beings that have little defense against more than a ton of steel. Princess Diana died and the world wept. Somebody’s little princess or prince will die and a family will drown in tears - unnoticed beyond a line in the obituary column.

Death is the final solution unless serious preventive solutions are enacted. Folks, it will not happen until you speak up. Some child somewhere may live unhurt because of an ounce of prevention. Lester L. Smith Spokane

Practice conservative managament

If you were a member of Jesse James’ band and were asked what you did, you wouldn’t say, “Well, I’m a desperado!” You would say, “I’m in finances.” or “I work with trains.”

If you were a public or private utility district placing liens on rental properties for a skipped renter’s water, and were asked what you did, you wouldn’t say, “Well, we force housing providers to pay for stolen water because we don’t want to.” You would say, “We provide a necessary product at the lowest cost.”

Since 1902, public and private utility districts like Modern Electric, Vera Water and Power, and Inland Power as well as our city of Spokane have been allowed to put a lien on our rental property if the tenant does not pay their utility bill.

As property owners and business managers we are carrying the water for renters who skip paying their utility bill. We are also carrying water for utility districts. This amounts to a public taking. We receive no benefits, except knowing we are providing welfare for some public and private utility districts.

Last year PUC entities said their rates would have to be raised if they had to “carry their own water.” Helloooo! Practice conservative business management policies. Screen your applicants. Engage in responsible collection methods, just like we do!

A utility that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul. James P. Mahoney, president Inland Empire Rental Association, Spokane

Justice on uneven keel

I was recently dismayed at the absurdity of arresting a homeless man for sexual battery and felony assault of a minor on a public beach and then releasing him on his own recognizance.

But, not to worry. All is not lost. I just read that a man was sentenced to five days in jail and fined $845 for killing a fish.

Finally, some justice! Keith D. Cotter Harrison, Idaho

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