No regional tourism for Valley
I was mildly amused reading Spokane Valley will secede from regional tourism endeavor. A community working together has a stronger voice than going it alone, but not in Spokane Valley.
Ben Wick’s comment to promote the Spokane Valley Mall at Christmas time was comic-strip worthy.
He meant it
Over the last week or two, President Biden has termed his political opponents as semi-fascists, a threat to the soul of the nation and in using the words of a Supreme Court decision that legitimized the jailing of dissidents during the Woodrow Wilson administration, “a clear and present danger.”
He later tried to claim he really didn’t mean it the way he said it. But he said it. He meant it. He knows he meant it. The over 80,000 new IRS agents know he meant it. A politicized Department of Justice under the partisan Merrick Garland knows he meant it. And the half of the country he tried to demonize, intimidate and silence know he meant it.
Rail upgrades a good solution
In response to “Murray/Inslee release Lower Snake River Dams Benefit Replacement Report” (The Spokesman-Review, Aug. 31):
Sen. Patty Murray and Gov. Jay Inslee’s Lower Snake River Dams Benefit Replacement Report is amazingly detailed and documented. The Navigation and Transportation section illustrates “that replacing the benefits provided by the LSRD is possible with the appropriate level of investment.”
Replacing navigation with rail offers the best solution. Rail upgrades can begin sooner than later. “Rail reinvestment improves speed and reliability of service, takes trucks off the road, saves taxpayers money and provides a more efficient transportation network overall,” according to “Solutionary Rail.”
Railroads run on clean renewable electricity in much of the world. Propelling trains with renewable power addresses one of the greatest challenges in reducing carbon emissions by replacing petroleum-based liquid fuels.
Regenerative locomotive braking found in all electric cars has applicability in the lower Snake agriculture corridor. A 100-car grain train could travel empty from Lewiston to the Camas Prairie and return loaded generating three times the energy it took to get there.
The Benefits Replacement Report recognizes increased maintenance costs of state and local roadways in southeast Washington and North Idaho if additional heavy trucks are needed to move commodities. Replacing loaded grain tucks with rail cars is the soundest solution.
People before profits
It’s hard to believe that in the age of COVID anyone would defend employer-based health insurance like Jake Mayson of Greater Spokane, Inc., did in his Sept. 2 letter to The Spokesman-Review. Certainly, as he says, “business owners and lawmakers alike” benefit. That’s because businesses get a tax break on health care benefits and lawmakers receive hefty campaign contributions from those businesses in exchange for maintaining an antiquated system originally designed to encourage worker loyalty when wages were frozen during World War II.
This represents about a $250 billion per year government subsidy that is over twice what is spent on ACA subsidies. It’s also true that healthy workers are more efficient, but when workers change or lose their jobs, they also lose their insurance. Workers often resist finding more suitable employment because maintaining their health insurance is so critical. Employers can’t hire older, more experienced workers because they increase employer premiums. Insurers also save money because employers must do much of the costly administrative work and they have access to a relatively healthy pool of beneficiaries keeping their profits high. This leaves the unemployed, underemployed, self-employed and small business workers stuck with individual policies with higher premiums, it is extremely disruptive for worker health and for society.
Again, it’s big business that benefits, not individuals! Eliminating private health insurance and converting to a national single-payer program like improved Medicare for All would guarantee high-quality health care for everyone, regardless of employment status, cut business expenses and would finally put people before profits.
Cris Currie, RN, retired
Why would President Biden bash MAGA supporters when he could have given a great campaign speech based on his and the Democratic Party’s accomplishments over the past 19 months, including promoting illegal immigration, failure to curb inflation, significantly increasing the national debt, executing a disgraceful exit from Afghanistan, providing illegal debt relief to students, implementing destruction of the fossil fuel industry, allowing shocking crime rate increases, destroying wealth of the country in a transition to green energy, increasing the lethality of the military by installing woke policies, promoting improved student test scores by locking students out of the classroom, ignoring the fentanyl crisis, and making good on his claim to unite the country?
Bashing MAGA supporters just won’t hide these accomplishments.