We need better housing options
Regardless of how you may feel about the results of the election, it’s clear that we all as a society have much work to do. Why not start off by addressing one of the most urgent issues right here at home, housing?
As winter arrives, there are still many members of our community who are either struggling to find housing they can afford, or struggling to afford the housing they already have. Combine that with a worldwide pandemic and an economic recession, and I believe we can all recognize how little it would take for us to be searching for shelter ourselves.
There are many things that can and should be done to offer better and more affordable housing to the community members of Spokane. One thing we should do is update the Growth Management Act.
The Growth Management Act was first adopted in Washington state in 1990. Its purpose is to coordinate growth across the state in order to best maximize sustainable economic and environmental development. It is primarily defined by a set of principles that counties and cities must incorporate while doing land use planning. This year we have an opportunity to expand those principles to account for environmental justice, climate change and housing affordability.
Each of these are crises of their own that deserve more attention than they get. Join me in calling upon our state representatives and senators, especially those in the 3rd (looking at you, Andy Billig, Marcus Riccelli and Timm Ormsby) to update the GMA this year.
Follow common sense
The virus is roaring back. Wow, who knew this would happen? Well, anyone who understands how virus bugs work. Does the common flu go away? Nope.
So, we destroy our economy, drive people to substance and domestic abuse and even suicide, in the idiotic notion that if we hide from this horrible virus it will disappear. We open things up, it comes roaring back. Now Gov. Jay Inslee is warning about shutting down the economy again. Great.
The virus will become quiet … until we open things back up again. Meanwhile, our favorite restaurants continue to close, people lose jobs, their homes, their hope, and our children become more and more psychotic as they are prevented from social contact with their peers.
At some point, we will have a vaccine that will reduce the chances of an infection. It might happen soon, but it also might be years from now. Until that time will we continue to destroy the quality of our lives?
Why don’t we emulate countries like Sweden? Keep businesses open. Keep schools open. Let the virus run its course, but counsel those most susceptible, the old and the immune deficient, to stay home and wear the mask when they must go out. Joe Biden says he will follow the science. He should just follow common sense rather than platitudes.
Dealing with monopolies
A (Nov. 10) article was headlined “Google ad costs, not its alleged monopoly, irks businesses.” I had to read it to decide if it was the headline writer or the business people who were the most clueless. It ends up being a little of both. Kids, it’s the monopoly position that lets them charge that much and to decide how to order searches. Both are reasons to break up the organization. In the same way, there’s not a single abuse of power that is justification for breaking up Amazon. Those are all symptoms.
What people forget is that it’s not illegal to become a monopoly. What’s illegal is using your monopoly position to protect that position and restrain competition. Those two, and the other billionaire boys club top tech companies, quite clearly seem to violate the law. Mango Mussolini might have used the wrong reasons to start the investigations, but I hope the more legitimate administration to come keeps looking at them.
Playing a child’s game
I heard an interview of a participant in the pro-Trump parade in Washington, D.C. When asked about the term “conspiracy theorist,” this person said that it’s a pejorative term the media use to describe people smart enough to connect the dots.
We all remember the story of Winnie the Pooh and Piglet hunting woozles in the Hundred-Acre Wood. They see tracks in the snow. Since they are hunting woozles, they assume the tracks were left by these mysterious animals. They follow the tracks around a tree and find that more woozles have joined the first. After several times around the tree, the number of woozles they are following has multiplied so greatly that they panic and run home. For those conspiracy theorists now becoming fearful of the woozle threat, let me assure you, there are no woozles in the Hundred-Acre Wood.
It also occurs to me that connect-the-dots is a game children play. Adult life requires more nuanced understanding. Remember, there are no woozles.
What will you do?
The people who Made America Great are mostly gone now. They endured the Great Depression, fought and won World War II and built this country’s infrastructure from coast to coast. They suffered personal sacrifices and gave their very lives to earn the well-deserved title of the Greatest Generation.
If the leaders of that generation had asked people to wear a mask, or avoid crowds, or skip a holiday to save lives – what do you think they would have done? It seems that each generation that followed has produced only progressively more self-centered individuals consumed with pursuing the almighty dollar and personal comfort, regardless of benefit or detriment to their fellow Americans or the world.
If we hope to Make America Great Again, we will need a New Generation that cares about something other than themselves and heeds the words of John F. Kennedy – “Ask not what your county can do for you, but what you can do for your country!”. YOU (not your political idol or someone else) – what can and will YOU do?
Nero fiddled while Rome burned. Trump plays golf.
Time to update the law
I encourage all those concerned about the Dr. Lutz firing fiasco to email Sen. Andy Billig, Rep. Marcus Riccelli, and Rep. Timm Ormsby asking them to change the law regarding composition of county health district boards.
At present, it appears politicians must be a majority of board members and the rest can be any Tom, Dick or Mary with no medical expertise required of any of them.
If public accountability requires some politicians, at least the law should require any nonpolitical members to have medical backgrounds of some sort, to offset donor, economic and other pressures on the political members, giving health and safety a loud voice on the board.
It’s not just Spokane: The Chelan-Douglas County health board has been going through similar turmoil. It’s time to update the law.
Give him a chance
In 2016, I was shocked when Trump won the presidency. However, I was cautiously optimistic and decided to give him a chance.
That sentiment did not last long. The day after his inauguration, President Trump visited CIA headquarters and stood in front of the Memorial Wall to give a speech.
He immediately went off script and bragged about his landslide victory, the number of Time magazine covers featuring his face, the largest inaugural crowd ever. Shortly thereafter, Kellyanne Conway introduced us to “alternative facts,” Steve Bannon told the media to “keep its mouth shut” and Stephen Miller told us, “The powers of the president will not be questioned,” It was apparent we were in for a wild and crazy four years.
Now it is 2020. Despite all the legal theatrics, Joe Biden will be our next president. At least give him the benefit of a couple of weeks.
Politics vs. health
Yes … the COVID crisis is now worse than before. I’d like to remind everyone, this is exactly what health care professionals told us last spring it would be like.
So I find it so very interesting the disparity of views between politicians and the health care professionals regarding Gov. Inslee’s decisive action to protect people first.
It’s clear to me that Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Nadine Woodward and most of the other politicos aligned with the GOP are chiefly concerned about the economic effects and advocate the business-as-usual approach. They artfully sidestep addressing the real cost in human lives.
Health care workers, on the other hand, are unified in their approach to saving lives and trying to prevent the tragedy inflicted upon the loved ones left. At this current rate of spread, area hospitals are days away from overflow capacity. The need to make difficult sacrifices to prevent the spread of COVID is urgently upon us.
I hate the idea of people losing their jobs, but I hate the idea they are essentially held hostage to taking a real risk with their lives by elected officials more concerned with money than the lives of all their constituents. So the old playbook says attack the opposition, and that is what gets them reelected. Ask Donald Trump how that’s working for him.
Follow money or follow your empathy and concern for those who will be here long after all that glitters is gone.
Economies can be rebuilt; people cannot.
We’re closer to the left
It’s interesting that, Mr. Nordhagen’s Nov. 13 letter (“More relieved than elated”) states that we are “… largely a center right nation …” yet offers no evidence or data to support his conclusion. A look at how Americans have voted over the past 32 years contradicts this assumption while strongly suggesting that we are a center-left nation.
In seven of the past eight presidential elections, more Americans voted for the Democratic candidate than Republican nominee (yet the Democratic candidate only won the White House in five of those elections). It’s time to throw out the antiquated Electoral College, and doing what virtually every other free nation does: elect leaders by popular vote.
Nationally, Democratic candidates for both the House and Senate frequently have received more votes than their Republican opponents.
So how then have Republicans controlled the House for 20 of the past 32 years? The answer is simple: Our electoral process is flawed. The gerrymandering of congressional districts (which both parties are guilty of) protects incumbents while distorting the equality of representation.
In the 2016 elections, only five of Pennsylvania’s 18 congressional districts were won by Democratic candidates (28%), the balance (72%) by Republicans. Yet statewide Democratic candidates received almost 49% of the total votes cast, with Republicans collecting slightly over half (50.5%).
So one-half of voters elected 13 of the state’s 18 congressional representatives.
So Mr. Trump, you are correct – our elections are flawed, but not for the reasons you spew.