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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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The Spokesman-Review

No winners with recall

I am appalled at the excitement and glee shown by the anti-mayoral group upon learning that their recall was reality. It should have been a somber moment for everyone in the community as no one “won.” “Bringing down” someone isn’t something to celebrate with a party atmosphere. The vigilante-like action by The Spokesman-Review and Shannon Sullivan and crew casts a disparaging cloud over the entire city of Spokane. Would there have been nearly as much self-righteous outcry for his removal had he simply been doing a poor job in office?

While being responsible for the recalling of a mayor may make individuals and institutions feel very powerful, their motivation for this battle may be just as morally suspect as the mayor’s actions that caused his demise.

Cynthia Marlette

Coeur d’Alene

Recall was unjust

I am so glad to say I live in Medical Lake and not Spokane. I would be ashamed to say I lived in a city where one self-righteous woman who wanted her 15 minutes of fame, and news media that couldn’t resist a juicy story, true or not, could convict a man without a trial.

In my opinion the vociferous indignation of that woman and the news people, who just might have a skeleton or two in their closets, did more to embarrass Spokane than Jim West could ever do.

I’ve never met Jim West, but I find it most sad and shameful that he, or any other citizen, could be thrown into the pit and verbally stoned without due process.

Carol Bordeaux

Medical Lake

S-R coverage ruined West

Well Spokane, you did it again. You fell head over heels for the allegations printed in the Cowles fish wrap.

The only thing missing from the front page was the true story and pictures of the party at the Cowles’ place celebrating this victory of “freedom of the press” Cowles style.

Shannon Sullivan may think she is a heroine but she is a dupe of the Cowles. It was their fish wrap that created the “sting” to get Mayor West but they didn’t have the guts to step up and file the recall themselves, did they?

Dennis Hession on TV Tuesday was so happy I thought he would wet his pants.

West did some stupid things, but the incessant barrage from the S-R did him in, not Shannon Sullivan. I only hope the Cowles cannot claim a tax deduction for their actions.

Be careful what you ask for, you may get it.

Don Collings

Spokane Valley

Hession had an agenda

It is very interesting to see the man who led the charge for the mayor’s demise, along with The S-R, now “wants” the six-figure mayoral position. It is amazing what the taste of power does to a person. I first respected Dennis when he first took his council position, but he has rapidly changed to a new person. When at first he was just leading the charge against the mayor we all thought he was doing it for principles and didn’t need nor want the job since he has a profitable practice. I guess that isn’t the case and it should be considered a “conflict of interest” issue with this whole mess.

Mel Silva


Seat belt enforcement saves lives

As the Washington State Patrol district commander in Spokane, I wanted to respond to The Spokesman- Review’s Dec. 7 editorial entitled “WSP idea good, execution isn’t.”

The ultimate goals of the WSP are to save lives, reduce injuries, and increase public safety. Through October of this year, we have had 533 deaths in Washington state due to traffic collisions. These fatal collisions are of great concern to the WSP. Seat belt usage can significantly affect whether an occupant survives or becomes another deadly statistic. Studies have shown that properly wearing a seat belt can reduce your chance of being killed in a collision by 50-70 percent.

Seat belt usage is currently at 95 percent in the state but as long as there are still lives being lost on our roadways, we still have work to do. We need to reach those 5 percent who do not wear their seat belts and who have not been impacted by previous education and enforcement efforts. Most citizens understand the importance of wearing a seat belt and do a great job being safe.

Capt. Jeffrey M. Otis

Washington State Patrol, Spokane

Rookery Block no pigeon coop

Spokane is the economic center for a large region extending across four states and two Canadian provinces. It helps to look the part. One of Spokane’s virtues is its almost-intact downtown. What would be better for our economy: showing potential employees and visiting venture capitalists a prosperous and bustling downtown, or a streetscape that looks like a gap-toothed grin?

Spokane has been very fortunate. Where other downtowns like San Jose’s were devastated by “urban renewal” that left nothing but parking lots, enlightened developers here have turned Bert Caldwell’s “pigeon coops” (“Historic preservation, yes, but at what price?” Dec. 4) into valuable assets like the Holley-Mason and Fernwell buildings. More so than parking lots, they provide places to work and play, add to the tax base, and build value for other downtown investors.

If Wendell Reugh had redeveloped the Rookery Block himself, he would probably be selling it for $19.7 million, like Crescent Court – which sold for only $1.4 million when it was empty a few years ago. Instead, he chose not to invest.

Dennis Hession has found a way to ease the surprisingly balky Mr. Reugh into a sale that will turn one more pigeon coop into a valuable asset – directly benefiting the residents of the city, and the city’s budget.

Christopher M. Kelly


Outsourcing will ruin economy

Regarding “Second chances,” Dec. 4. I agree that Victor Luna and Josh Brown are worth saving and should get better chances than they do, even though my own 28-year-old son, who never saw the inside of a jail, is struggling to build a career here also. In fact, I believe the trend will get worse, everywhere, as more U.S. jobs go overseas and will continue to move offshore until more U.S. citizens get involved in legislation designed to halt that trend.

Philip J. Mulligan


Where’s our moral code?

The political cartoon in the Dec. 3 Spokesman-Review that depicts a group of armed men (apparently Middle Easterners) laughing hysterically at the notion that a U.S. ban on torture might persuade them to stop such actions magnifies a very disturbing school of thought I have heard enunciated often in recent months. The idea that we might as well use torture, secret prisons, violations of the Geneva Conventions and any number of laws because our “enemies” do, and because our not doing so won’t stop anyone else, is an absolute betrayal of our country’s historical ideology. By that line of reasoning I might as well and go out and mug little old ladies since my not doing so won’t stop others.

Aren’t we, as Americans, above that? Don’t we aspire to a higher moral code? I dread the day that the Golden Rule for international relations becomes “do unto others before they do unto you” or “as they might do, could do, dare to do.” How about “hurt first and hurt worst”? If this is where the United States is headed then our society is in a terrible state of decline.

Kevin P. Decker


State spending is senseless

Is something wrong with this picture? More than $300,000 given to enhance recreation areas, trails, ORV parks, etc. (“Outdoor projects approved,” Dec. 2). I thought the latest increase on gasoline tax was for road improvement and making a highway safer from earthquakes in Seattle. Does everyone speak with forked tongues?

The column to the far right of this announcement: $200,000 cut from child services (“State cuts funds to local programs”). So the big boys with their toys get more area to play in and the children (who can’t pick their parents) get their programs cut and maybe no toys. Just does not make common sense.

John B. Williamson


Stop CdA development

“A little neglect may breed mischief: for want of a nail the shoe was lost; for want of a shoe the horse was lost; and for want of a horse the rider was lost.” – Benjamin Franklin

It’s time to stop the land gobblers. Now is the time to stand up and make sure the people we have elected and appointed will do the job they are honor bound to uphold. Let’s stand together to make sure our city officials follow the Comprehensive Plan and assure that they don’t fall prey to the influence of the developers.

Is Coeur d’Alene your home or just a place to stay until the increasing traffic, the pollution, the overgrowth, and general ugliness compels you to search for a more remote, as yet untouched town? If Coeur d’Alene is just a pit stop, I hope you find your nirvana before Halko LLC gets there first! If Coeur d’Alene is your home, there is a way to fight the good fight. Please attend the planning and zoning meeting Dec. 13. If we stand together, we won’t lose the rider!

Melanie Ann Chun

Coeur d’Alene

Piping hot over lawsuit

I saw just a little red reading the story of Sam Buck, whom Starbucks forced to rename her small, hole-in-the-wall coffee shop (“‘Sambuck’s‘ ground down,” Dec. 2). After all, Sam Buck is her name. Shouldn’t a person have the right to use his or her name as the name of a business? And shouldn’t the “public” be to blame if “they” confuse similar sounding or appearing business names? I might notice the similarity, but I doubt I would confuse the two and walk into her business thinking it was another of thousands of Starbucks outlets.

David A. McChesney


Off-roading not destructive

After reading “Put brakes on off-highway vehicles in forests” (Nov. 24), I felt it wise to dispute some of the viewpoints used by anti-access individuals and groups spun off as fact.

The viewpoint leaves the readers to believe that most off-road enthusiasts go out and tear up pristine, picturesque lands; however, this is largely untrue. Most off-roading is done on previously logged or mined zones within an existing road network. The definition of wilderness states that the land must have previously been untrampled by humans; wilderness does not, nor cannot, exist in these areas. The supposed “unauthorized and renegade routes” are unmapped, existing roads that were originally established by previous land uses, not created by an off-road user creating a new route.

The perpetuation of the term “noisy” needs to cease. Off-road vehicles manufactured and sold in today’s marketplace for general off-road use meet all federal noise regulations and are not “noisy.” Are there a few bad apples that don’t follow the rules? Yes, on both sides. Anti-access groups and individuals who burn up SUVs on dealers’ lots and homes in wooded areas to make their point and off-road users who stray off existing routes and forge their own routes.

Steve Christian

Spokane Valley

Public employees underappreciated

On Dec. 6 I read in the paper what Mr. Scott Spray had to say about government employees (“Public employees overpaid”). I do make a livable wage after having worked for the federal government for over 30 years. Most people would not think I am overpaid; I have more work to do than I can get done so sometimes I work and am paid with a thank you only. I am proud to serve our veterans. I wish my pay kept up with the inflation of fuel prices, taxes, insurance and the city utility bill. It does not. I can afford few extras. I live in a 100-year-old house in a neighborhood called “felony flats” and drive a 20-year-old automobile. I have no cell phone, RV or any other toys. I do have basic cable.

My sister-in-law has taught grade school for over 25 years. It is a lot harder to teach now than when I was a kid. There weren’t the fetal alcohol kids, the crack babies, the kids with ADHD all mainstreamed into regular school. One child can disrupt the whole class. Mr. Spray should look before he leaps. Maybe he is overpaid.

Michael R. Etten


Enough with the WASL

Local school districts blame the state. The state blames the feds (No Child Left Behind). The feds blame local districts because kids graduate with low skills.

So we spend millions, and countless hours, to administer the WASL. We fine-tune instruction and are now considering additional state dollars specifically to help remediate those not passing the first time. Will we offer a special summer WASL camp? Will they give up electives like drama, photography and such for special WASL remediation classes?

Several years back District 81 announced the lofty goal of 100 percent passing the WASL by 2013. Recently, OSPI announced guidelines which districts will spend additional resources trying to figure out how special education students (14 percent) will be assessed. Interesting link: aspx. Click “Guidelines …”. What Developmentally Appropriate WASL will earn them their diploma? Will 10th graders take the seventh grade WASL and get a “Certificate of Individual Achievement”? Or be held to a different standard on the regular WASL?

It seems the WASL tail is wagging the educational dog. I’m left wondering when we will get to the point where enough is enough. I encourage you to write your legislator. Let them know what you think. Woof, woof! Wag, wag!

Randy D. Thies


‘Merry Christmas’ not offensive

I am a longtime Spokane resident and feel rightfully so that this is one of the friendliest cities there is. This time of year seems to get me in a much more “Hi, how are you?” mood than normal and I find myself wishing everyone a “Merry Christmas.” It is hard for me to remember in the middle of my seasonal delirium that this is the PC generation and that I should be saying “Happy Holidays” so as not to offend anyone not of my beliefs.

So here I sit, asking for tolerance for my beliefs. I really mean no harm when I wish anyone a “Merry Christmas,” I just want to share my joy of the season with you. I also would like you to know that if you wish me a “Happy Hanukkah” or a “Joyful Kwanzaa” that I won’t take offense at that. Just do me this little favor. When you hear me offering my little bit of cheer to you please remember I am not offering you a slap in the face, it is actually a pat on the back.

Kenneth S. Lawson


BBB a valuable resource

I want to add another point of contact to check out contributions. The Better Business Bureau has an extensive list of information on solicitors. This list may be more comprehensive than the four sources listed in the Dec. 5 paper (“Protect yourself at donation time”), especially at the local level. The bureau system has some very stringent requirements, conditions and rules that are used to determine if the solicitation meets bureau standards. Again, these are on a local level as well as a national level.

The BBB office in Spokane covers all of eastern Washington, the Idaho panhandle and Montana. The local telephone number is 455-4200. Outside the local calling area call (800) 248-2356. You can also e-mail the bureau at

William J. Hiatt

Emeritus, BBB board of directors, Spokane

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