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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Friday, October 18, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Opinion >  Editorial

Opinions from past provide perspective

Looking Back reviews opinions published in The Spokesman-Review during this week in history.

Street paving, Aug. 10, 1966

An editorial touted “civic upgrading” in the form of paving residential streets.

“The maintenance required is great, and even with the expenditure of considerable public money, the nearby residents are not well-served by unpaved streets. It has been a difficult problem to solve, but the extent to which local improvement districts have been created recently has brought about paving many miles of formerly dusty streets.”

It concluded: “Month by month Spokane is becoming a better place in which to live. At the present rate of progress the city will be a vastly different place in a few years, and the changes are predominantly for the better.”

Sunset laws, Aug. 14, 1976

On the campaign trail, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers touts the USA Act, which is designed to review various federal spending programs, rather than automatically reauthorize them. The S-R editorial board liked a similar idea 40 years ago.

An editorial noted that a bill called the Government Economy and Spending Reform Act of 1976 “has the the potential for saving substantial government spending by trimming the waste in federal bureaucracies. It provides for review of most federal programs every five years to the end of terminating those which do not successfully complete such a review and consolidating those with overlapping functions.”

The editorial went on to say: “Too many programs, launched to meet the needs of an earlier time, have been kept running without critical re-evaluation. We can ill afford to maintain such waste under the growing weight of taxation, inflation and the need to deal with newer problems.”

Tobacco suit, Aug. 14, 1996

The editorial board took note of a large civil judgment against the tobacco industry for being partially liable for the cancer incurred by a lifelong Lucky Strikes smoker.

“The plaintiff, Grady Carter, had considered himself a lucky man indeed, smoking from 1949 until his lung cancer diagnosis in 1991. “I liked to smoke,” he told the jury. He had ignored his wife and son when they gave him information about tobacco’s effects. He rebuffed his employer’s smoking-cessation classes. To avoid scoldings, he chose a doctor who smoked. He even predicted he’d beat the odds and escape disease. He was, in short, a one-man argument for smokers’ liability. Wisely he admitted liability.

“But Carter’s own liability does not absolve the industry of its wrongs. The jury was swayed by internal tobacco company documents that show the industry is fully aware its product is dangerous and addictive. Yet, the industry continues a big-lie promotional campaign, seeking profit from the same addictive property it pretends to deny.” It concluded: “The cost of more verdicts for the individual smokers is only a beginning. States and health insurance carriers are suing the industry to recover the billions spent on care of ailing smokers. The suits brandish evidence the industry deliberately aims marketing at the young to replace the people tobacco kills.”

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