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Letters for Nov. 12, 2023

Council voting without fully reading

The Nov. 6 article (“Bicycling sans-helmet) on requiring or not requiring the wearing of helmets for bike riders states that at least two of the Spokane council members, Betsy Wilkerson and Karen Stratton, did not know that the vote in October 2022 on municipal changes included the removal a helmet requirement. Do Wilkerson (who hopes to be elected city council leader) and Stratton, and perhaps other city council members, regularly not read what they are voting for or against? Perhaps Mr. Vestal could write an article how often our elected city leaders vote without fully reading what they are voting on.

Dennis Johnson


Bicycle helmets just good practice

I just read the article about the repeal of the bicycle helmet ordinance in Spokane (“Bicycling sans-helmets,” Nov. 6). This is a tough one. Helmets clearly prevent a lot of head and brain injuries. On the other hand, enforcement is a very low priority and it seems to be enforced in a discriminatory way.

I am 80 years old, an avid recreational road cyclist and former urban bicycle commuter, have ridden on public roads and multi-use trails for decades, and have worn a helmet for the past 50-plus years. All the while I was, until fairly recently, completely unaware whether they were legally required or not in places I rode. Wearing a helmet just makes good sense. In the Spokane Bicycle Club, of which I am a member, they are required on all rides.

Having said this, the city’s police department is apparently not able to enforce the traffic speed laws, even around parks and schools, so it is no surprise that bicycle helmet laws go largely unenforced. So I support the repeal of the legal requirement to wear a helmet, and urge the city to instead devote its resources to making the roads safer for bicyclists and pedestrians.

Don Barden


Spokane River and state legislation

Thank you for recent articles featuring the work of Spokane Riverkeeper (“Cleanup crew: Spokane Riverkeeper ramps up river floats to pick up trash,” Oct. 23; “More action needed to keep river on road to recovery,” Oct. 29). Both pieces highlighted the astonishing amount of pollutants and waste found in the Spokane River. The river is central to the community and needs to be treated as such. Cleaning it up, keeping it safe for human recreation and wildlife will take a combination of legislation, regulation and personal responsibility.

Fortunately, state legislators will have an opportunity to address single-use packaging through establishing extended producer responsibility for paper and packaging in the upcoming legislative session. A bill known as the Washington Recycling and Packaging Act that failed last year will be reintroduced in the upcoming session with some changes. This policy makes companies and manufacturers that make decisions around packaging financially responsible for managing materials at the end of their life rather than those costs falling to Washington residents. This can create incentives for companies to use less and produce more sustainable packaging options to begin with.

Similar models are in place in the European Union and Canada and four U.S. states have passed laws establishing packaging producer responsibility. Let’s treat the Spokane River with the respect and care it deserves and have fewer single use plastics contaminating it. Contact your elected state legislators and tell them you support extended producer responsibility, and you hope they will too.

Shenandoah Marr


EV fires and other hazards

While I guess that Madsen is no anti-EV Luddite, she clearly cherry-picked her “facts” in her screed on electric cars (“EV challenges no longer hypothetical in Fairfield,” Nov. 2).

The Tesla crash in Fairfield was highly unusual. It was not an “accident,” rather the result of the driver’s successful suicide – it was traveling very fast to end 7 feet up in a tree.

Electric vehicle fires are indeed different in type from petroleum-fueled vehicle fires and emergency responders will need to learn how to handle these fires. Reference materials are readily available. Gasoline-fueled vehicle fires are also dangerous.

A point which Madsen forgot to mention – gasoline vehicles are at least 10 times, perhaps as much as 60 times, more likely to be involved in a fire than electric cars. Tesla EV batteries are in a heavy box located low down between the wheels – very well protected.

A serious distortion was committed by comparing the weight, 1,400 pounds, of a 1993 Mini Cooper to a new electric version. Tsk, tsk. A 2023 gasoline Mini Cooper weighs a minimum of 2,712 pounds. A 2023 electric Mini is 3,144 pounds. So the real difference is 432 pounds, not 1,744. The average person would not notice the 400 pound difference should they be T-boned by either. And it is well known that Teslas protect passengers extremely well.

This issue may be discussed in public forums. It’s essential to present facts rather than alarmist “what ifs” which are so useful for obfuscation.

Bernard Gale Sheldon


Monaghan statue should be removed

I am a junior at the Community School. I was researching the history of Spokane and think the Monaghan statue should be removed and donated to a suitable museum. I believe that the statue represents a racist view of Pacific Islanders that contributes to antiquated beliefs about the event. The word “savages” should never be used to describe a race of people. I think the terms it uses to describe the Pacific Islanders are derogatory, and people shouldn’t have to walk by it on the street.

Ahanu Lezard-Perez


WSU head coach Dickert

Just need to say that Cougs football coach Dickert just doesn’t have the attitude for not only a Power Five coach but a D1 coach. He’s very friendly and speaks well, but his staff and players aren’t his big buddies.

College football collectively represents funding for the entire university and aids in enrollment. To be a good coach, you’re pretty much alone at the top. Two former dynamic men who had “it” were John Wooden and Bobby Knight. They knew how to lead by coaching hard principles. I know you don’t find those type any more, but the methods are still there. It takes a true wizard make them.

I’ll admit I was all for Dickert to let his coaches coach. Now I see he forgot to lay down the tough line for success down the road. It’s a sad time when a lot of fans turn off the game early. Next will probably come a large drop in donations. Go Cougs!

Len Williams


Pro-Palestine demonstrations ignored

There is a horrible conflict going on in Israel and Palestine now, but there has been practically no mention of demonstrations against it in our local newspaper. I was proud to have taken part in a rally Nov. 4 in downtown Spokane, along with several hundred activists, protesting against the genocide of Palestinian people being waged by Israel; hundreds of deaths and thousands of terrible injuries inflicted on innocent children and other noncombatants as Israel bombs crush hospitals and schools and homes.

I heard that there were huge demonstrations in our country and all over the world, and I expected to see articles in The Spokesman-Review reporting on the protests. I was sadly disappointed, and I had to turn to Google to find, among other things, that the protest in Washington, D.C., was the largest pro-Palestine mobilization in U.S. history with more than 300,000 people! No mention in the S-R.

Israel aims to render Gaza unlivable to force the Gazans to flee. This has been their plan all along: Israel wants all the land and none of the indigenous people. And the United States is complicit with the plan. At this point, our diplomats are urging a humanitarian “pause” in the fighting. What is urgently needed instead is a ceasefire and an insistence by the countries of the world that Israel and the Palestinians must come together on a political solution that allows for freedom and respect and guaranteed human rights for all people in the region.

Jennifer L. Calvert

Spokane Valley

Israel-Hamas conflict

Between lefty-liberals’ sometime solidarity with Palestinians, and right-wing nut jobs’ undercurrent of anti-Semitism, the people of Israel can’t catch a break. Israelis are somehow supposed to follow the parameters of Acceptable War according to the Geneva Convention whilst battling an entrenched, suicidal, Army of God.

Israel is fighting its “post-9/11” battle in a densely populated area of their own country. They are dealing with a highly mobile enemy that hides in miles of tunnels bored beneath hospitals, schools and apartment buildings. An enemy whose shown no compunction at using captive Israeli civilians, as well as thousands of Palestinians as human shields.

The world expresses varied outrage at the government of Israel and the Israeli Defense Forces for every noncombatant injured or killed in the bombardment of Gaza, even though Hamas, and its shadowy backers alone are to blame for this war.

That Israel has an ugly and unfortunate history of relocating Muslims living in territory it wishes to claim for Jewish settlers can’t be denied. But the wholesale slaughter of innocent Israelis on Oct. 7, and the taking of hundreds of hostages was a move beyond “ordinary conflict” in the region.

To expect Israelis to accede to Hamas’ demands with good faith and reason as these child-murdering terrorists hold innocent men, women and children for barter is like cutting off someone’s fingers and expecting them to be grateful that you left them their thumb.

Jennifer Adams


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