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Letters for March 17, 2023

Help care for our planet

The headline of the story on Cardinal Czerny was “Faith and climate change” (March 10). However, the point he emphasized most, repeating it in full, was “dialogue and politics are the only, only, only way out” of the looming climate crisis. He recalled the role universities played in the 1968 protests against the Vietnam War and at one point borrowed the word “revolution” from that time to describe the response needed today to reestablish harmony of human life in nature.

Spokane is actively working toward the harmony that Cardinal Czerny described: the city’s sustainability action plan and water conservation program, the restoration of Saltese Flats, the SpoCanopy urban tree planting program, the reintroduction of salmon in our rivers, the establishment of Gonzaga’s Center for Climate, Society and the Environment, new electric city and school buses come to mind.

It was a miracle that Spokane was able to put on Expo ’74, the first world’s fair dedicated to the environment. So many hoops to jump through and alliances to build, with little time and a shoestring budget. The planning for Expo+50 has begun, highlighting again Spokane’s global leadership on environmental stewardship to the benefit of everyone’s quality of life regardless of individual political views.

Faith communities can join universities and civic organizations to lead the response to Cardinal Czerny’s call to care for our living planet, our common home. Join the Hope for Creation Conference on April 22. See for more information.

John Wallingford


Chief Meidl should resign

First off, huge kudos to Shawn Vestal for his article about Spokane Police Chief Craig Meidl (“Probe: Meidl gave business leader special access,” March 8). That said, what the hell?

Our police chief is providing privileged information to local business owners and they in turn use this information in defamation campaigns (among other actions) against City Council members, particularly Councilwoman Betsy Wilkerson. To have a conservative radio station in Seattle spin this as an “African American politician refusing to help solve a murder” is so atrocious, racist, embarrassing and insulting.

What initiated this? Police Chief Meidl and his cronies. I am beyond disappointed in Chief Meidl. I’m disgusted. To betray Spokane in such a way, in my opinion, should require his immediate resignation. If he has any dignity, he will resign. Otherwise, Mayor Woodward should fire him.

Also, huge kudos to Bart Logue, police ombudsman, for his thorough and independent investigation. Also huge kudos to the Spokane City Council members. I had no idea of everything they have to deal with both internally and externally. I’ve complained to them but frankly, I don’t think I’ve ever said “thank you.” Well, thank you.

Please call for the resignation of Spokane Police Chief Craig Meidl. He’s an embarrassment to the fine city of Spokane.

Beverly Gibb


Brown helped unsheltered

Before new mudslinging begins over Camp Hope, take note that Lisa Brown was there for Spokane’s unsheltered young adults (18-25) way before Mayor Nadine Woodward was and way before Camp Hope ever came into existence.

Woodward was prepared to leave $4 million of Commerce money on the table as she didn’t want the shelter in Spokane. The Spokane Valley mayor did not want it in the Valley, a standoff in the name of regionalism. Woodward’s own people were too disorganized to apply for the grant money for it anyway and time had run out.

Brown wrote to Woodward, explained why there was plenty of need in Spokane itself and how this type of shelter, which sets young persons apart from the chronically homeless, can stop intergenerational homelessness in its tracks. She unilaterally extended the Commerce grant deadline for another month, not for Woodward but for Spokane’s young people. VOA stepped up to write and get the grant and then run the shelter, now located near Spokane Community College so young folks can get education and training while there.

Woodward has taken all the credit, of course. But she had little to do with it beyond talk. The real forward-thinking credit goes to Brown. She helped Spokane’s young people because she had vision, the opportunity and the connections to reach out to people who could get the shelter done, not simply flounder and give up.

Thank you, Lisa Brown, for making an important start for young adults rehousing in Spokane.

Katherine Corrick


Please support HB 5120

COVID-19 highlighted the mental health crisis in the United States and exposed our lack of resources to help individuals in our community. State representatives are discussing a bill that would better support people in the midst of a mental health crisis by creating 23-hour crisis centers while simultaneously alleviating crowded emergency departments.

Since 988 (the national suicide hotline) was unrolled in August , we have seen a surge in calls, texts and messages to these call centers.

But what happens after someone calls 988? The harsh reality is that as a society we do not have an adequate mental health safety net. If someone calls 988 with thoughts of hurting themselves or increased anxiety or perhaps in the middle of a manic episode, they are often given two options – create a safety plan with the counselor on the other end of the phone, or go to the emergency department. The counselor is also given limited resources on how they can help the caller, especially in the middle of the night or during the weekends. “Can this person keep themselves safe until Monday? Will sending them to a chaotic emergency department make this person’s symptoms worse? Do the police need to be involved?” What is missing is a new option.

HB 5120 will create a safe place to land for individuals seeking services amid a mental health crisis. HB 5120 has the potential to save lives and be foundational to cultivating a mature health care system in this country.

Whitney Hunt


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