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Letters for August 28, 2022

Health vs. politics and selfishness

Listening to your doctors is key to safety! They take an oath to do no harm.

Epidemiologists have proven the vaccine to be relatively safe with high protection for immunity!

Governor Inslee mandating vaccines is for people’s safety only! It is not political! Those at risk, or with medical or religious reasons would be given free choice not to have the vaccine! So no, this is not government dictatorship. You do have free choice here.

An example of some conspiracy theories supporting false information: Fox News and all of their people have taken the vaccine, and yet we hear newscasters proclaim “everyone should get the COVID vaccines” one week, and then exclaiming “they are unsafe” the next! Sean Hannity, for example.

George Washington even mandated vaccines for smallpox! Maybe a bit of old fashioned common sense is needed, here. However, common sense seems to me missing by many. There really is, nor will there ever be, a vaccine for stupid!

The unvaccinated are filling ICU beds and overwhelming hospitals and putting medical staff at risk. You may never get COVID, however, you can be a carrier infecting many! Even the vaccinated can be carriers.

Even some pro-lifers have thrown COVID death fears under the bus, killing many – a bit of an oxymoron – preventing and violating one’s right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to stay well!

Sally Jeffries

Spokane Valley

Insured whether or not we want it

With the passing of the “Long-Term Services and Supports (LTSS) Trust Act” in Washington, We the People are no longer free to choose if long-term care insurance is a service we want. This law requires people who are employed in Washington to either purchase a private long-term care policy or be forced to pay into the state program.

Aside from this being an egregious example of government ignoring the will of the people, the program misses the mark by miles. Out of the gate, the program is underfunded by $15 billion. The State Actuary of Washington reports that the program won’t raise enough money to pay the promised benefit, leading to further payroll tax increases.

It’s clear that the majority of citizens do not support this forced state health care plan. In a 2019 advisory vote, Washingtonians voted 63% to 37% to repeal the law, yet Olympia is moving forward with the program anyway.

This law is a clear violation of the people’s wishes and an obvious workaround for enacting an income tax, which is against the Washington state Constitution. This Machiavellian “Long-Term Services and Supports (LTSS) Trust Act” act must be repealed.

Brayden Hedenstrom


Calls for insurrection?

Sue Lani Madsen and the spokesperson for WPC (Washington Policy Center) in separate opinion pieces expressed ideas that I found troubling. Do they intend to support insurrectionists?

Madsen [“For many, vaccination mandate is a step too far”, Aug. 19] began by describing the Boston Tea Party as a popular protest against the British king. She then went on to describe our governor as “King” Inslee. Far less subtly, WPC [“City must appeal judge’s ruling on labor talks”, Aug. 20], unhappy with a judge’s decision, basically called the judge incompetent, uninformed, biased, and political.

These attacks on those in positions of public trust can weaken confidence in government institutions, institutions that are essential to the survival of our great nation. Such attacks also may fan the flames of budding insurrectionists.

Attacking the person rather than focusing on the issues suggests the writers lack confidence in their own arguments. To adapt the often-cited advice to lawyers: When the facts support you, pound the facts; when the law supports you, pound the law; if neither the facts nor the law support you, pound the judge or governor. How about some grown-up discussions of the issues without childlike personal vilification?

Howard Glass


Go their own way

Those parents who are so adamantly opposed to wearing masks in school should heed Shawn Vestal’s excellent suggestion and home school their children (“Home school perfect solution to avoid masking,” Aug. 20); after all, they apparently know more than the best scientific minds in the country.

Ted Wert


Take action now

Thanks for the clear picture of the delta variant’s power of transmission, infecting of new groups, and causing record hospitalizations.

Respecting the power of this variant, we can strike back with getting vaccinated, wearing masks, and asking President Biden (202-456-1111) to lead the efforts necessary to end this pandemic with universal vaccine access. This means more than shipping our extra doses, it means sharing the technology and formula to manufacture enough vaccine for the billions who have no access.

Otherwise, save the headline of surging cases, hospitalizations, and deaths, replacing “delta” with the name of the next dangerous variant.

Willie Dickerson


A better use

I read in your paper that the city of Spokane has a huge chunk of money left over from the stimulus package. And that people are trying to convince the city of Spokane to spend it on bike lanes.

I think that is an invalid use of taxpayers’ money that was meant to be used for all of the people not just the few who ride bikes. My suggestion would be to create a small business incubator which would provide long-term continuing benefit to the taxpaying citizens of Spokane, provide a continuing tax base for Spokane and actually use the money for its intended purpose.

Bob Malone


A helpful retrospective

Unfortunately, some groups disparage those who shield us from bad people. For the men and women in Blue - take heart. You unselfishly serve a noble profession. Most of us respect your courage and commitment. In time, your critics will honor you as well.

Case in point. In the ‘70s, our military members were called baby killers. Activists spit on fellow Americans in uniform. College students burnt military training offices. Individuals desecrated our flag, reacting to highly publicized evils of a few soldiers. Soldiers, who dishonored the tens of thousands who served heroically.

Twenty years later, polls ranked the military as our most respected institution. Military men and women faithfully protected us, and many others around the world, from bad people. Former critics eventually honored our veterans. This metamorphosis occurred due to the diligence of a generation who, often without thanks, volunteered to serve.

I hope this retrospectively encourages today’s law enforcement professionals. I pray those who currently serve will stay the course. I urge individuals/movements who critique law enforcement to advocate for young men and women to become police officers. Results occur by those who serve far better than from those who protest and imagine.

Steve Blaska


What crisis?

A recent letter writer opines that we are in a “climate emergency” in which “The stakes are now officially life and death on a scale no generation has ever seen.” (“Humanity’s greatest threat,” David Camp, Aug. 18) Sounds pretty scary, right?

But the writer offers no proof for such an outrageous claim. Instead, he commits the logical fallacy of false cause, claiming that famines, civil wars and millions of deaths are caused by people driving monster trucks, ski boats, ATVs, snowmobiles, RVs, hot rods and Harleys, etc.

The fallacy of false cause is committed when a person incorrectly states that one thing causes another thing to happen, when in fact it does not. For example, a bluebird singing in Idaho does not cause an earthquake in California. Saying that it does falsely attributes the earthquake to the bluebird. Thus, it is a false cause.

The letter writer certainly has a right to his opinion, but opinions are quite different from facts. Unless he can present conclusive evidence that carbon dioxide-emitting vehicles contribute to famines, civil wars and millions of deaths, then we have no reason to wring our hands or change the way we live.

As Carl Sagan famously stated, “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” Up to now no one has been able to provide such evidence regarding any “climate emergency.”

But then, it has always been difficult to produce evidence for that which does not exist.

Monte Heil


Enough with the anti-masker parents

Wearing masks in school is the safe, science-backed choice. Do people not realize that insisting on no masks in school would likely lead to having to revert back to distance learning? Isn’t wearing a mask in school until COVID cases are under control again a much better alternative?

For what it’s worth, the number of adults I’ve heard complain about wearing a mask is dramatically higher than the number of children.

Furthermore, parents absolutely do have a choice: send your child to school with a mask or keep your child at home.

Brittany Adams

Spokane Valley

It won’t end until we’re all fighting it

I’d rather have a vaccine mandate than a mask mandate. And for those who are reluctant to get the shot because they don’t like being told to … get over it! This pandemic is not going to magically disappear until it runs out of people to infect.

Some people claim they’re afraid to have this new vaccination put into their body. I wonder just how healthy and pure their everyday diet is. If you think you don’t need to get immunized just because you wear a mask, you’re wrong. How long do you plan on doing that? This isn’t just another flu shot that you might not need. We are in the middle of a pandemic and it’s not going to get any better until more people get vaccinated.

So many COVID patients are filling up our hospitals that people who have a medical emergency might have to wait. If you haven’t been vaccinated by now, you know you are at risk and could get very sick. Don’t put it off, modern science and technology have come a long way. The few breakthrough cases of people who did get COVID caught it from someone who was not vaccinated. Maybe those who don’t want to get the shot for free should have to pay every time they get tested.

Look ahead to Thanksgiving and the coming holiday season. No one wants a repeat of last winter, with travel restrictions and limits on family gatherings.

Mindy Hart


Delta should remind us

The Aug. 22 article “Delta surge is leading…” does well to bring attention to the continued presence of COVID-19 in our community, but I think it is important to take a step back and consider the virus as a pandemic. After all, the delta variant sprang up halfway around the world eight months ago and we are only now beginning to experience its effects.

In the article, a major healthcare concern is how COVID-19 hospitalizations are affecting the ability to care for other patients. This is true worldwide. In low-income nations that juggle COVID-19 alongside other communicable diseases, there could be as many as 500,000 additional deaths from HIV and 700,000 from Malaria.

The U.S. may be the country with the most COVID-19 cases, but together the world has diagnosed more than 200 million. At the local level, containing the virus has a lot of moving parts, but at the international level, it means giving COVID-19 assistance.

As a volunteer with poverty reduction nonprofit The Borgen Project, I’m familiar with several ways providing international aid can benefit the U.S., and yet none seem more advantageous than the immediate benefit of reducing COVID-19 cases worldwide.

As long as the virus prevails in even one corner of the globe, we are all susceptible to new variants, adverse health effects, and hospitalizations. Our community is not safe until the world is.

Angela Basinger


Prop. One and indoor ventilation

“No unvented or open flame gas heater is permitted as the primary source of heating” is referenced in the article about the removal from the ballot of Prop. 1 (“Initiative to prevent ban on natural gas removed from ballot,” Aug. 27), and indicates that the proposition would have invalidated this portion of city building code.

“Unvented” is the key here; an unvented gas heater example would be your propane barbecue. Most of us are aware that it is unwise to burn your barbecue in enclosed spaces, as carbon monoxide created thus can kill. Your gas furnace and water heater are vented.

I don’t understand this reference, as I’m sure the International Mechanical Code would surely guide, or override, city code and every power outage we are reminded not to use unvented appliances such as a BBQ to heat our homes. Also stated in this story “Bjelkengren ruled the initiative would have interfered with the newly creative administrative process.” I hope some administrators won’t get too creative. Perhaps “created” was intended?

Sally Hetland


Masks not the only rule

I don’t get it. All the screaming and yelling about “my rights” when it comes to wearing a mask or getting vaccinated. There are hundreds of “have to’s” in our society. This one is exceptionally important because it saves lives.

You have to have a license to drive a car, insurance to drive that car, stop at stop lights and signs, wear a seat belt, drive sober, pay taxes, pay utilities, go through TSA to board a plane, have a passport to travel out of the country, have vaccinations to travel to some countries, jury duty, no smoking in public places, a prescription to get medicines, license to marry, license for most professional jobs (even your hairdresser has to have a license), ID to buy liquor, sign up for selective service at 18.

I could go on and on so don’t cry “personal freedoms” to me. If you believed that, you wouldn’t do any of the “have to’s” required to stay safe and stay within the law. Your infringement argument doesn’t hold water. You might say those things don’t impact “my body or yours.” You wanna bet?

Ann Carlin


Smoky, not “hazy”

What I have been noticing is that the weather reports on the local TV stations and newspapers don’t seem to have made the transition to reporting consistently and effectively about our new yearly threat of wildfire smoke as the serious situation that it is.

For instance, they will say: “It will be hazy tomorrow,” rather than “It will be smoky air tomorrow, watch the Air Quality Index (AQI) to keep healthy.” Also, the AQI readings, if reported at all, are often wildly inaccurate.

Here’s an example: At 5 p.m., Aug. 20th, the PurpleAir AQI reading near me was 166 – “unhealthy for all.” Q6 reported the air was “good to moderate.” The EPA reading on the AirNow app was 92. The Weather Channel showed 63. The PurpleAir network is considered accurate and is real time. So why the huge disparities? If one relied on only the TV you would have thought the air was fine outside when, actually, it was “unhealthy for all.”

Everything I’ve read in medical articles says wildfire smoke is a serious health threat. Because the particles are very small, they get deep into your lungs and you can’t get them out. The effect is cumulative, like radiation, so the more you breath in the worse your lungs get.

Since months of wildfire smoke each year seems to be our new summer reality, shouldn’t the public get reliable, consistent, accurate data on the state of their air?

Dan Distelhorst


Lessons from 1918

The facts in this editorial are from a November 2017 Smithsonian Magazine article which recounts the history of the 1918 influenza pandemic. The pandemic lasted just 15 months, but it was the deadliest outbreak in human history. It killed 675,000 people in the USA and between 50 to 100 million worldwide. In the spring of 1918, there were enormous numbers of people infected, but mortality rates were similar to seasonal flu. By July, leaders thought the pandemic was ending, but the second deadly wave began in August.

As the second deadly wave began with a newly mutated virus, one physician wrote: “Patients start with what appears as ordinary influenza, but it develops into the most vicious type of pneumonia ever seen. Horrific symptoms included cyanosis, foamy blood coughed up from the lungs, and bleeding from the nose, ears, and even the eyes. It is only a matter of hours until death comes.” 195,000 Americans died in October 1918.

Fast forward to the COVID fourth wave in 2021. With this virus replicating and mutating, there is always the possibility that a COVID mutation could be as deadly as the 1918 influenza mutation. It is absolutely deplorable that 629,000 USA citizens have died from COVID. And we could easily reach the 675,000 deaths that occurred in 1918. The unvaccinated need to start caring for their country and their fellow citizens. Just get vaccinated, so we can reach herd immunity and end this devastating pandemic.

Carol Petersen


Mystery solved!

The photograph of Clark Gable training in a World War II gunnery turret (“How Spokane played a role in helping Clark Gable take on Hitler’s Luftwaffe,” Aug. 15, 2021) explains a peculiar structure still found today in Riverside State Park at the old Seven Mile Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Camp.

The structure is a double concrete track located near the northwest wall of the inner Seven Mile Canyon. The track has a peculiar J-shape, running several hundred yards, in some sections rising or tilting. The track seems made to run a vehicle with tires. The system of wooden struts between the concrete tracks must have supported a guide rail. Nearby is a concrete wall and berm, perhaps shielding operators.

I suspected an artillery piece ran on the tracks but I couldn’t understand the purpose of the odd shape. I never thought I would be able to identify the actual weapon. That is why the picture of Gable in a gunnery turret, which can both rotate and incline a gun barrel, is amazing. The photo shows the track must have been used to simulate shooting at targets from a moving plane.

The Seven Mile CCC Camp (circa 1935-1939) is marked by a kiosk near the Wilbur trailhead. Concrete foundations and walkways for some dozen buildings remain, including four barracks, mess hall, motor pool, infirmary and administration. The camp had flushing toilets, a sewage system, and a water tower on the bluff overlooking the river above the camp. Unfortunately, the park service senselessly destroyed the historic CCC water tower in June of this year.

Terence B. Allen


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