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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.

They like Ike, Aug. 17, 1956

The editorial board, no fan of Harry Truman, had this to say about the Democratic platform put together at the national convention in Chicago.

“It is notable that the Democratic platform has nothing in it referring to the high taxes, rising public debt, interference with public affairs, betrayal of foreign countries and rampant corruption that characterized the last Democratic administration, headed by Harry Truman.

“The Republican platform committee now is drawing up its prospectus, preparatory to the party’s San Francisco convention next week. A spokesman for the committee has said the party will plump for a strong civil rights plank, and perhaps will include a promise to send arms to Israel.”

The editorial concluded that voters ultimately will “express their opinion on the kind of government the Eisenhower administration has provided in the last four years in full confidence that they will get the same of government during the next four.”

Police blues, Aug. 17, 1986

Problems at the Spokane Police Department aren’t new, as this S-R editorial shows.

“A problem with the impending budget crisis is festering in Spokane city government. The problem lies in the administration of the city’s Police Department, and city officials cannot afford to ignore it.

“Already, the problem has cost the city $195,000 in its settlement of a former policewoman’s sexual-harassment claim, and there’s the potential that a former undercover detective’s lawsuit against the city in connection with his cocaine addiction may cost even more.”

It continued: “There has been a pattern to the departmental difficulties arising from Chief Robert Panther’s approach to his job. He set the stage for what was to come when he told a reporter in September 1981 how he dealt with controversy in his first year on the job. ‘You hope that it will go away,’ he said. ‘Sometimes it does go away very nicely by itself; sometimes, it does not.’ ”

Defensible space, Aug. 19, 1996

The S-R editorial board urged personal responsibility to limit wildfire damage.

“After the 1987 Hangman Hills fire and the 1991 firestorm, a committee of experts prepared a set of fire-prevention recommendations. Most have been implemented, and for that Spokane County commissioners deserve a salute. But the most effective step has still not been taken. It’s the creation of buffer zones.”

The editorial continued: “You don’t have to wait until a fire starts to create buffers capable of stopping it. And a fire line doesn’t have to be a strip of bulldozed dirt. It can be a well-watered lawn, landscaped with deciduous shrubs. However, out on the metropolitan area’s growing fringe, people want big lots with plenty of trees to hide the neighbors from view. The trees tend to be highly flammable pines. The commuters who occupy big suburban lots often don’t have time, or tools, to clear the brush or thin the trees. In spring the underbrush grows, in summer it turns to straw, and all year long the pines drop carpets of fuel for disaster.”

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