Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Opinions from past add perspective

Editor’s note: Looking Back reviews opinions published in The Spokesman-Review during this week in history.

March 29, 1946: An S-R editorial noted: “The salary of the governor of Washington – $6,000 per annum – is ‘ridiculous’ compensation for so important and responsible an office. Governor Wallgren is right in so terming such a penurious stipend and in his declared purpose to recommend an increase in pay for all elective offices.”

The pay for governor hadn’t changed since 1907, and, according to, the 1946 salary works out to $79,400 in today’s dollars. The current pay is $166,891.

The editorial concluded: “They (the public) will not care to increase pay of officials dominated by the notion that their job is to ‘spend and spend, tax and tax, elect and elect.’ ”

March 29, 1956: An editorial criticized the existence of street-level crossings of railroad tracks in downtown Spokane, noting several accidents at the Great Northern Railway tracks across Howard Street and Mallon Avenue.

It noted: “Having grade crossings on a principal street of a business section is a condition few cities ever would permit for very long, yet Spokane has shown unusual patience while waiting for it to be remedied.”

The Great Northern Railway Depot was demolished in preparation for Expo ’74, though the Clocktower remains as a reminder of what Riverfront Park replaced.

March 30, 1966: An editorial questioned the need for a “certificate of need” when hospitals adopt new technology, such as magnetic resonance imagers.

It noted: “For two years, Spokane hospitals have been haggling with each other and with government regulators over a coveted ‘certificate of need’ for the single MRI that DSHS, in all its wisdom, has said Spokane should have for hospital inpatients.”

It continued: “Like CAT scanners, MRIs are expensive, costing around $2 million apiece. Each time one is installed, the hospital or office that installed it has to raise fees to pay for it. However, the American people and their physicians repeatedly have concluded that better medical care is preferable to cheap medical care.”

March 31, 1986: An editorial bemoaned a state Supreme Court ruling that spread liability for drunken driving to businesses that throw parties and to the venues that host them.

“Responsibility for drunkenness rests most appropriately on the shoulders of the drunk. A host may make liquor available but it is the province of guests, knowing whether they soon will have to drive somewhere, to decide whether to consume.

“This decision continues an unhealthy shift in the legal responsibility for personal misconduct – away from individuals to whom responsibility rightly belongs, and onto third parties who have little real control over an individual’s choices.

“One probable result of the Supreme Court’s decision is a disappearance of alcoholic beverages from company parties and business gatherings.”