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Opinion >  Letters

Letters for April 24, 2022

April 24, 2022 Updated Mon., April 25, 2022 at 9:06 a.m.

Bringing salmon back

In the April 14 edition, Ben Stuckart wrote that removing the Snake River dams will bring back the salmon (“Dams that drive salmon to extinction cannot be called ‘green’ ”). Sounds great! However, there is something that greatly disturbs me.

From the mid-1950s to the mid-’90s, I lived southeast of Seattle. This is an area of streams and small rivers. When I moved there, salmon were abundant. After spawning, the banks were covered with salmon carcasses. The salmon then started to disappear. The cry was, “Get rid of the dams, that will bring the salmon back!” But there were no dams on those streams. It had to be something else.

Before living there, I lived near the Oregon Coast. The only sea lions I would see were at the Sea Lion Caves. Now, there are sea lions on almost every sand spit and rock outcrop. This was brought on by laws to protect both sea lions and orcas. Both sea lions and orcas are prime predators of salmon. Could it be that there is a connection?

Bob Bristow


American narrative

In his column published in The Spokesman-Review on April 18, syndicated columnist Leonard Pitts characterizes Republicans as “a clear and present danger” and blames them exclusively for “destroying any sense of the common American narrative” or a “common American identity.”

In April 2008, then-candidate Obama referred to small town voters in Pennsylvania and the Midwest as bitter and clinging to “guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment” “as a way to explain their frustration.” At a fundraising event in September 2016, Secretary Clinton, who was then running as the Democrat presidential nominee, said that half of Donald Trump’s supporters were a basket of deplorables who were racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic and Islamophobic. The next day she said she regretted saying it was only half.

Are these the statements of people seeking to create a “common American narrative” or spoiling for a fight?

Mike Wolfe


Thank you, Dr. Varner

As the world watches the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, I was amazed to see Dr. Varner risk his life to help the Ukrainian people. At the same time, I was annoyed to see Dr. Susan Alexander’s letter on March 25 criticizing Dr. Varner’s efforts in Ukraine and Poland. His excellent rebuttal (April 8) to her article clearly laid out his plans in Ukraine and what he actually accomplished.

When is it ever OK for a doctor to criticize another doctor on a public forum, especially when she didn’t have all the facts? We need more compassionate doctors like Dr. Varner willing to step up in crisis situations around the world.

Carol Petersen


Consider a change

How much longer must we suffer with the mindless mutterings of Sue Lani Madsen? It’s obvious that “Rulingpen” has never met a fallacy she didn’t like. Her stock and trade mostly consist of circular reasoning, question begging and straw man arguments.

When Rulingpen isn’t engaged in the reckless fallacy regurgitation, she grabs right-wing (sometime extreme right-wing) talking points, dresses them up in a cheap suit and somehow seems to claim some kind of original thought.

Rulingpen can’t seem to muster a modicum of research or reach fact-based conclusions. She simply marches on with misinformation, falsehoods, obfuscation and sometimes flat-out lies. The sex-ed legislation? Right out of the right-wing playbook. Election fraud? Same thing. Ditto for the mask-wearing and vaccine diatribes and the silliness of attacking the work of the Office of Minority and Women Business Enterprise. I guess it must have been a slow news day for that one.

And of course, Rulingpen never ever looks at the abject hypocrisy and lunacy of the modern day Republican Party and their hell-bent effort to destroy our democratic republic.

The Spokesman-Review and its readers really deserve better than this. Please consider a change.

J.E. Hill

Kettle Falls

Salmon and steelhead extinction

Seventy years ago, Washington’s two senators convinced a reluctant Congress and presidential opposition to fund the construction of the four lower Snake River dams. Their justification was not only to bring the prosperity of a seaport in Lewiston, but, more urgently, the cold war need for hydropower to fuel Hanford and the aluminum industry.

Today, those justifications have proven to be empty and regrettable promises. Conditions have changed:

• Renewable power and conservation are replacing hydropower.

• Hanford is a mothballed, toxic mess.

• The NW aluminum industry is gone.

• Lewiston is less prosperous than it was in the 1960s.

• Climate change is impacting every aspect of our lives.

• Treaty obligations are in jeopardy of being violated.

• Snake River salmon and steelhead are near extinction.

These dams are obsolete relics of the cold war and 20th-century pork-barrel politics.

We need our current Senators Murray and Cantwell to provide leadership and correct these mistakes on the Snake. It may not be easy, but there are viable options to replace whatever marginal benefits the dams may provide.

On April 26, Chris Wood, president and CEO of Trout Unlimited, will be speaking at Gonzaga University on the urgency to prevent the extinction of the salmon and the alternatives for the marginal power, transportation and irrigation that the dams provide. Register for the event at:

For the salmon and steelhead there are no alternatives. The fish need a living, flowing river.

Harvey Morrison


Protect free and fair elections

In his book “On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons From the Twentieth Century,” Yale professor Timothy Snyder quotes a novel by David Lodge saying … “you don’t know when you make love for the last time that you are making love for the last time. Voting is like that.”

It happened in Nazi Germany in the 1930s, Czechosolvakia in the 1940s, and Russia in 1990. The party that won took away meaningful free elections and imposed its tyrannical will on its people. Could we be next?

Republicans are trying. In several states they are passing legislation to make it harder to register and vote, gerrymandering districts to guarantee Republicans win, and proposing they can overturn the vote if they don’t like the outcome. Not to mention Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 election including the attack on the Capitol. That failed “test run” will pale in comparison to what he and Republicans are planning for 2022 and 2024.

Cathy McMorris Rodgers is on this team. She supported a lawsuit by Texas’ attorney general that sought to challenge the presidential election results. She also initially said she would object to election results in Congress, then changed her mind after running for her life Jan. 6. She is also the lone representative from Washington state who voted against the commission to investigate that attack, and has stood mute on continued claims the election was stolen. The 5th District, Washington state and the protection of free and fair elections deserves better.

Sterling Leibenguth


Thoughts on his ‘advice’ and taxpayer obligation

Yes, the surge in illegal drug deaths is horrifying BUT getting/using illegal drugs is a personal choice. Users know the dangers but prefer to indulge.

And Gebelhoff (“Where is the outrage over teen overdose deaths?,” April 19) wants more money/time teaching kids the dangers of drugs when they don’t know what’s in them, etc.? Would that be the schools’ responsibility since they have so much “free time” to add yet another class?

As far as “getting their hands on prescription opioids, getting fake pills laced with fentanyl,” etc., still amounts to a user’s choice to get illegal drugs.

“Parents should be screaming?” Remember, when you want the government to do more, in reality it’s the taxpayers who are paying more to create new programs/treatment/funding. Weren’t needle exchange sites such a great use of our money?

Good thing taxpayers have deep pockets to pay for these programs to counter bad choices!

And don’t forget, we might get to pay for drug strips so users/sellers can make sure their illegal drugs are “safe!”

Nothing like taxpayers paying for dealers to make a safe profit!

Rosanne Anderson


Bipartisan Innovation Act

The unspeakable carnage unfolding in Ukraine right now, needs our urgent attention and action but it also has highlighted the inherent failure of off-shoring manufacturing jobs to countries like China and Russia. America has stopped making aluminum, steel, and all the other goods needed to keep our people working and the economy growing. This is why it is so important for Congress to come together and pass the Bipartisan Innovation Act.

This act will allow billions of dollars to be spent here at home creating living wage jobs with benefits, manufacturing the critical components that will keep our nation secure, and competitive, while returning prosperity to our middle class. We need legislation that has trade enforcement protection that will level the playing field for American manufacturers and provide funds to train the next generation of American workers. Investing in STEM education and workforce development will ensure that we can produce semiconductors, advanced batteries, and the other vital goods we need, as we transition to a green economy and once again outproduce foreign competition. We can fix supply chain issues and lower costs of goods by investing in modern responsible American manufacturing.

Returning American manufacturing can benchmark clean manufacturing for the globe with safe U.S. factories, livable wages, health care, and retirement for employees and security for our nation. Please contact your representatives today and urge them to pass the Bipartisan Innovation Act.

Ted Cummings


Fire/EMS levy request

Pay attention to the details of the proposed Spokane EMS Levy. Go to the county website and look up the property tax details for your home or the place you rent. The levy currently collects about $9.4 million annually representing a current rate of $0.36/$1,000 valuation. The new levy will increase the rate back to 50 cents/$1,000, which was approved six years ago based on the lower property values at that time. The proposal to go back to a 50 cents/$1,000 rate, which will increase tax revenue to $13.1 million based on current property values – a tax increase of $3.7 million annually (39% increase).

Carefully read Greg Mason’s excellent S-R article published last Sunday. Only 16% of the fire/EMS budget is covered by the levy. Most of the funding (78%) comes from the city’s general fund. Neither the mayor nor the fire chief guaranteed that the additional $3.7 million levy funding would result in a corresponding increase in the fire/EMS budget. So, we are left to guess what additional (if any) EMS capabilities we get by agreeing to this levy increase. We also do not know how much the general fund contribution to fire/EMS will decrease to fund other, unknown programs.

Fire/EMS needs a supplemental levy, but there should be clarity on how the increased funding is used and why it must increase to the maximum rate of 50 cents/$1,000. Perhaps if this April ballot proposition fails, the city will ask for a more reasonable increase, with clearly articulated results on an August or November ballot.

Steve Blaska


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