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Letters for Sunday, June 9, 2024

Move homeless to politicians’ neighborhoods

A modest proposal …

It’s my understanding that Mayor Lisa Brown wants to scatter the homeless around Spokane in various neighborhoods in either small houses or apartment complexes on one-house lots. If this is the case, I would like to propose that the city do a pilot project to try this in the neighborhoods of the mayor and the City Council members.

This would give our governing members firsthand information on whether this would be a viable alternative to the Trent Avenue homeless center. Granted, the Trent shelter is not perfect, but it is helping about 300 of our homeless people until a better solution is achieved.

Do members of the community agree with this proposal?

Joanne Bovey


They deserve respect, not suspicion and prejudice

Editor’s note: Michael Baumgartner spent time in Syria as a Kerr Scholar from the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations.

As a Tunisian American who recently moved to Spokane, I was appalled to read Michael Baumgartner’s claim in The Spokesman-Review that he overheard four Syrians who had crossed the southern border illegally, speaking Arabic and planning to travel to Washington state.

Having lived in New York City, I know firsthand the immense diversity and complexity of Arabic dialects. One winter night in Manhattan, my Iraqi roommate and I had just finished cooking dinner. As we ate, she turned to me and said, “Bil3afya.” In Iraqi Arabic, it means “bon appetite,” while in Tunisian Arabic, it condemns someone to the fiery pits of hell. We laughed at the confusion, highlighting the intricacies of Arabic even among native speakers.

Yet Baumgartner, who spent only a year in Iraq, claims to have overheard and understood a conversation in Syrian Arabic. This is implausible and reveals a lack of understanding of the linguistic complexities involved. Americans often struggle to differentiate southern accents, so how could Baumgartner, who hasn’t been immersed in an Arabic-speaking environment since his time as an economics officer in Baghdad, accurately interpret the Syrian dialect?

Baumgartner’s unfounded statements are misleading and villainize Arabs, increasing fear in our district. Targeting Syrians, he attacks vulnerable refugees who enrich Spokane’s culture. They deserve respect, not suspicion and prejudice.

His comments undermine empathy and understanding. How can he run for office in a district with a significant Syrian population while making statements that undermine their contributions? Fear-mongering and xenophobia have no place in our community.

Jenna Dhahbi Fliesen


Salmon seem to thrive with dams in place

Fishery managers from Oregon and Washington have added an additional 11 days of chinook fishing, through Tuesday, from Tongue Point to Bonneville Dam, after several other extensions due to plentiful fish. Seems like the salmon are still thriving , as 2023 was also above average, while the dams still remain in place.

Steve Hintyesz


Please support Brandi Peetz

Leadership is cultivated from one’s deep commitment and love for the community and the people that call it their home. Representative candidate Brandi Peetz continues to give of herself year after year in efforts to make Eastern Washington a place that we can not only be proud of but also call home.

I have had the continued honor of standing at Brandi Peetz’s side as her coach, teacher and friend through high school, serving with Blessings Under the Bridge, and her eight years on Spokane Valley’s City Council. I am deeply proud of her grit, integrity and passion for her community. I fully support her next chapter as she seeks to serve our 4th District State Representative Position 2 with honor.

Kelly Kiki


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