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Letters for Oct. 29, 2023

House Republicans

Since Newt Gingrich, every Republican speaker of the House has left the office in disgrace or frustration. The latest, Kevin McCarthy, had the job for less than nine months. His sin? Reaching across the aisle to the people who represent the other half of the country to pass a budget.

When the mud-wrestling to replace him settled, they’d chosen a man who holds some of the most extreme views on abortion and gay rights, and who still denies the results of the 2020 presidential election – a cornerstone of our very democracy. The extremists in his party celebrated while the moderates held their noses and voted yes because they’d been embarrassing themselves for weeks and just wanted it behind them. Give the job to anyone; just quit asking them about it. And don’t ask the new guy about Jan. 6.

Any chance Speaker Johnson will reach across the aisle in the next three weeks, or should we just expect another shutdown?

Say what you will about Cathy McMorris Rodgers, but hers is one of the hands raising the flag on this ship of fools. The (R) after her name gives her party the tiny majority that brought this tragicomedy to life, and that (R) compels her to toe the party line or be branded a traitor – she’s voted for every nominee her party has put forward so far.

Her reasons might sound good to her, but her actions are devastating to our country. All in the name of partisan politics.

Michael McGarr


Street cleaning

Here is my yearly Letter to the Editor about the streets. A few days ago, the sweepers came through for the first time this year. The gravel from last winter was still on the streets. But, without any notice or schedule, taxpayer money was wasted. My block had seven cars parked, and the block east of me had eight cars parked. Sweepers are unable to clean the gravel and debris to the curb when cars are in the way. Other cities have signs posted in neighborhoods when cleaning each month will be, and cars will be ticketed. Why not Spokane? Of course, Spokane only has once a year cleaning, not once a month. But that makes it more important for curb to curb cleaning.

How about next spring the city come out with a schedule, and broadcast it on the TV news and in the newspaper daily when neighborhoods will get cleaned, and cars will be ticketed, so that years of debris/dirt/gravel buildup gets cleaned, and the thousands of junk cars get ticketed and moved? Our gutters are like Miracle Grow for weeds. This is evident driving anywhere in town with 2-3 foot weeds growing along the curbs. The looks and bumpy/cratered conditions of our streets are embarrassing.

Richard Trerise


Realtors for Lisa Brown

Not all Spokane Realtors support the current mayor. However, the recent campaign advertising may give the impression they do.

In my 25 years serving the community as a professional Realtor, the Spokane Association of Realtors was, for me, an organization that provided professional training and support services that assisted me in my practice. Additionally, it provided access to the Multiple Listing Service with information regarding properties for sale, and a secure lock box system so I could assist my clients through the real estate transaction process. It never got this political.

It is also important to note that the decision by the Spokane Association of Realtors to endorse any candidate, let alone contribute huge amounts of money to their campaign, is not made by the Spokane Realtors at large, but only by a few members of a Government Affairs Committee. This committee, in recent years, has been overtaken by a very small group of individuals who have a particular agenda. Their agenda is not shared by me, nor do I believe it is shared by many professional realtors of our community.

John Orr


Debates done well are good for the city

In the latest KSPS-TV televised debate, current and previous City Hall Spokesman-Review reporters put questions to the City Council candidates for my former Northwest District.

While our mailboxes fill with campaign flyers, this tremendous public service instead allows voters the opportunity to decide for themselves by watching just even a few minutes of the debate.

The questions were on target: Budget priorities, public safety, how to improve neighborhoods and solutions to Spokane’s current problems.

Only one candidate, Kitty Klitzke, answered those questions with a clear understanding of the job and offered solutions.

During the debate, we learned Klitzke strongly supports fully funding public safety. She wants to bring back our police neighborhood resource officers and traffic patrols. She wants to hire more police and firefighters to reduce runaway overtime costs.

Before becoming a candidate, Klitzke worked to pass the city’s Complete Streets ordinance to make sure Spokane builds sidewalks and bike lanes in places that make sense. She also worked collaboratively to win voter approval for our new Central City Line bus line.

If voters are still undecided, I encourage them to watch even a part of the debate on the public TV broadcast or online. We need informed and effective leaders at City Hall and hats off to the journalists for participating in this important public service.

Candace Mumm


Vote for labor-endorsed candidates

This past year, we have seen a dramatic rise in American workers striking for better wages and benefits. Working class Americans, our middle class, have been in steady decline for decades. The erosion of a healthy middle class has produced predictable results of homelessness, substance abuse, crime and domestic violence. In tandem with that financial decline, America has experienced a steady stream of propaganda and misinformation injected into our political process by social media, leading to increased anxiety and fear in a significant proportion of the population.

Voters should remember that if we want healthy communities, we need a healthy middle class. Supporting candidates that are endorsed by organized labor will ensure that we support education, science, economic and social justice, and rule of law. Our democracy is threatened by candidates that promote misinformation and lies about elections, book bans, bigotry, hate and actively oppose support for education, affordable housing and higher wages. Families with financial security and good healthcare insurance is the best strategy to fight social ills, including crime and addiction.

Candidates that support unions understand this is how we build up the middle class. Good people care about others, good people care about their community and country and understand that working together, or being united is how we all prosper. Scabs and CEOs are motivated by greed and self-interest, so don’t vote like a CEO or a scab! I am using the Spokane Regional Labor Council website and voting for the labor endorsed candidates.

Ted Cummings


Consequences of 2023 city election

While “chaos caucus” Republicans beholden to Trump are showing us they cannot govern nationally, Republicans are also waging a multi-million-dollar local campaign to control Spokane’s City Council and perpetuate the regime of a failed mayor, Nadine Woodward. Given their track record, how should Spokane voters react?

First, they should look at the record. After four years of Woodward, visible homeless has increased. She sued the state, failed to apply for available grants to reduce homelessness, saw numerous city hall employees flee her chaotic administration, and offered a budget-busting, “take-it-or leave it” shelter deal to the City Council, a former trucking warehouse lacking indoor bathrooms owned by a wealthy and litigious ally, Larry Stone. She explained her warehouse choice as a means to make homelessness “less comfortable.” She has also prayed in public with a white supremacist pastor, Matt Shea, at a Christian nationalist rally.

Meanwhile, the National Association of Realtors and others linked to Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers’ money machine have poured nearly $3 million in “independent expenditures” into the mayoral and city council president campaigns of Woodward and Republican Kim Plese.

Spokane is a “blue” (or at least purple) city, which chose Joe Biden for president in 2020 and rejected McMorris Rodgers (who won in the rest of the 5th Congressional District). We must defend our values by electing Lisa Brown as mayor, Betsy Wilkerson as City Council president, plus other progressives. We can then stop demonizing the homeless and work together for humane and achievable solutions.

Karen Dorn Steele


Support for Measure 1

Opponents of Measure 1 have much to say about the rights of criminals. But anybody that has been a victim of crime knows that consequences for breaking the law are important and necessary to ensure that there is safety for everyone in a community.

My question to opponents of Measure 1 is where is their plan for safer communities?”

Where is their funding stream for safe streets?

How do they plan to implement Smart Justice?

How will they fund the programs needed to help parolees stabilize and re-enter society?

And most importantly – how will justice to the victims of crime be delivered?

Let me ask again, where is the plan to deliver justice for the families, the elderly, the beaten, the robbed and the raped in Spokane?

The answer lies in the space between fair sentences and no consequences. That’s what Measure #1 will provide.

Measure 1 serves us all. A yes vote funds programs and services and ensures safety – both inside and outside of a building that is synonymous with consequences for breaking the law.

Measure 1 funds safety.

We cannot succumb to the paralysis of analysis. It’s time to do what’s right and vote yes. It’s time to fund justice – and safety – for all.

Jennifer Thomas


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