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Letters for Nov. 2, 2023

Support Central Valley School Board

I have known Cindy McMullen for over half my life. I met her when I was a young lawyer. She was a judge. I was always impressed with her evenhanded and fair demeanor. Years later, when I switched careers and became a high school teacher, I became reacquainted with her as a Central Valley School District board member. Again, I was impressed with her ability to weigh issues and arrive at a fair and considered decision. I was also struck with her true dedication to, and caring for, our district’s students. She takes the time to help out with student events (e.g., spending hours helping with debate judging and presenting awards to deserving students) and she is known by district employees.

During my teaching tenure in the Central Valley School District, I have also become well acquainted with Debra Long and Dr. Keith Clark. They both share Cindy McMullen’s dedication, caring and attention to both the details of the job and, most important, to the well-being and education of our students.

As a team, McMullin, Long and Clark have served our district with distinction and honor, and we have all benefited from their work.

I am proud to support each of them for re-election to the Central Valley School Board.

David Smith


Wilkerson best choice for council president

Who is the best candidate for the next Spokane City Council president? If you are wondering who would be, then it is imperative to know what the job entails. Here is what it is not. It is not a “learn as you go” position. Nor can the council president direct city staff, such as police, fire and utilities. And the council president does not “supervise” other council members.

The council president job is one that requires a thorough understanding of city functions, the budget and the legislative process. It demands a deliberative, collaborative presence and knowledge of best practices to address the issues challenging our city.

Betsy Wilkerson is that person. She has served on the council and understands how our local government works. She knows how to work within that system to get things done.

Betsy has been an influential voice in many of the council’s deliberations and accomplishments. She approaches each piece of legislation with an eye toward sustainable funding and what is best for the entire community. Whether relating to police contracts, homeless and housing issues, or equity and diversity, she brings her unique perspective and knowledge to every discussion. She voted with the entire council to approve a police contract with one of the most competitive wage and benefit packages in the state.

Please join us in voting for Betsy Wilkerson for Spokane City Council president. She is the best candidate for the job.

Karen Stratton

City Council member, District 3

Lori Kinnear

City Council President


Trent shelter doesn’t work

I find it so frustrating to hear Mayor Woodward say that she has made it more difficult to be homeless, as if it is easy to be homeless and that is a solution to it (“Homelessness, safety and spending: Who will voters choose to lead Spokane for the next four years?,” Oct. 8).

She praises the Trent Resource and Assistance Center shelter, which does not appear to be a success. I have to wonder how many people realize that the TRAC shelter still does not have indoor plumbing. We are heading into another winter, and for a second-year residents of TRAC will have to use porta potties and outside sinks to wash hands, as well as outdoor showers. The lack of indoor plumbing creates a hotbed for diseases, such as flu and COVID this time of year. Imagine being in a warehouse with 350 other people. I can’t imagine having to live in these conditions.

I also wonder if people realize that the city is paying $21,000 a month to rent this facility from a financial supporter of Mayor Woodward.

There is not an easy answer to homelessness, however, those who are homeless should still be treated with dignity. Catholic Charities has shown with the Catalyst Project that “housing first” works. Housing first programs provide housing first, and then provide services and have been found to be successful. Large shelters are just holding cells that do not treat people with dignity.

Carla Gish


Measure 1 doesn’t measure up

After reading Greer Bacon’s letter (Oct. 15) urging voter support for Measure 1, to raise money to build two new jails for Spokane County, one might feel inspired to agree.

Until you read the next letter that same day from John Roskelley taking an opposing viewpoint, using his experience as an elected official to make his case.

Roskelley, a fiscal conservative when he served as a county commissioner, calls out the hubris of proponents who have fashioned a sprawling, expensive plan to upgrade jail facilities while trying to make it also appear progressive.

The measure would increase sales taxes 0.2% for 30 years, generating $1.7 billion.

Thanks to the Al French maxim – Give Us the Money and Don’t Worry – Measure 1 will raise $600 million to be distributed to local governments for “public safety” options. Though those options aren’t identified, it’s assumed civic leaders will find ways to spend that cash.

Roskelley contends the revenue is twice what’s needed for jail upgrades.

The unnecessary 0.1%, Roskelley points out, will allow local elected officials to cover budget shortfalls instead of requiring the new safety programs to be funded based on true need and merit.

A better, modern jail is worth supporting. But Measure 1 was originally hatched without identifying in the ballot title that it was for a new jail. It took a lawsuit to force the county to clearly tell voters what its main goal was.

Tom Sowa


Spokane needs to re-elect Woodward

After a successful career in TV broadcasting, Nadine Woodward chose to dedicate her time, energy and talent as mayor of Spokane. There are vast differences between Mayor Woodward and her opponent in the mayor’s race and those differences make it clear that we must re-elect Nadine Woodward as our mayor.

I know firsthand that Nadine Woodward’s heart and soul are invested in the success of Spokane. To her, being our mayor is the most important job she has had. She supports law enforcement and is supported by them as well. Her focus is on public safety and achieving success for all of Spokane’s residents, including the homeless.

Mayor Woodward knows Spokane, its people and its issues. She established a Violent Crimes Task Force to combat our increasing crime issues. She established emphasis patrols in the downtown area. I believe that without her efforts, Camp Hope would still exist. She favors a humane approach to our homeless problems at the same time requiring accountability and stewardship of public funds.

Her opponent has a record of being soft on crime and an appetite for increased taxes. She is not what Spokane needs.

I voted for Nadine Woodward as mayor and I hope you will vote for her as well.

Jim McDevitt

Former U.S. attorney and former Spokane law enforcement director


Vote for best Mead School Board candidates

Mead School District, along with many others across the region, state and country, is at a crossroads. The school board can continue to focus on policies that have made Mead one of the premier school districts in the state; or your vote can result in a school board focusing on policies chasing radical right-wing conspiracy rabbit holes.

Please support Denny Denholm, Jaime Stacy and David Knagg and a school board that has the best interests of all students, parents and the community at heart.

Don’t let Mead become MAGA-Mead.

Bill Wagstaff


We can reduce chronic diseases

I wanted to commend The Spokesman-Review for the recent coverage of Tom Mueller’s new book, “How to Make a Killing.” Oftentimes, media coverage is one-sided, favoring only the information big food, big health care and big pharma promotes and supports.

I was pleasantly surprised by the article written by Amanda Sullender, covering the Northwest Passages book series event, suggesting the possibility of alternative options to treating and even preventing chronic disease.

As nephrologist Dr. Katherine Tuttle from Providence shared, “There is no excuse for the number of people that we have on dialysis in this country or in the world.” It is also encouraging to hear a physician in standard care practice suggesting preventative and lifestyle approaches to address our chronic health care crisis.

It would have been wonderful to have also seen some additional tangible takeaways for the readers, besides the biased “plant-based” dietary dogma.

It doesn’t have to be plants versus meat versus paleo versus keto versus vegan, etc. Most people today would simply do well to start by avoiding/reducing refined sugar, flour and vegetable seed oils. Eat real food. Food without labels, processing or packaging.

Granted, in today’s modern world of constant food availability, it is not easy, but it is possible. It is possible to avoid diabetes, the biggest risk factor for dialysis and the biggest cause of escalating medical costs.

We can empower ourselves as consumers and I applaud The Spokesman-Review for starting the conversation.

Amy Love


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