Thursday, June 3, 2004

Commentary

Letters

City should save landmarks

Spokane Preservation Advocates, a local nonprofit group with over 500 members, is extremely concerned about the future of the Rookery Block.

This group of three historic buildings has an active demolition permit, taken out by the current owner. His plan is to replace these structures with a surface parking lot.

These three landmarks -- the Merton, Mohawk and Rookery -- are right in the center of downtown
, bounded by Riverside, Sprague and Howard. They are critical to the expansion of an interesting and attractive downtown, whereas a parking lot would only detract.

SPA says “No!” to more surface parking. We encourage Mayor West and the Spokane City Council to create solutions to save and restore this group of landmarks.

As noted in a recent Spokesman-Review editorial, one cannot build historic buildings. Once gone, they're gone forever.

Lori Nicol

president, Spokane Preservation Advocates

School uniforms a smart idea

School uniforms would bring kids together without regard to religion or monetary status. I think that the kids in school would be more comfortable without the fear of being harassed or bullied by their fellow classmates. School uniforms would follow the dress code; therefore sexual innuendoes would be kept to a minimum.

I strongly agree with having school uniforms. Not only do they save time in the morning getting ready, but also to parents who can't afford to buy their kids new clothes every school year. So you do have the freedom of speech and the freedom to express yourself; use it somewhere else.

School is about learning, not who has the latest fashion. If students want to express their individuality, they can always add on to their uniforms. Why should it matter what you wear?

Kristal Lewis

SpokaneBishops should pay for sins

In regard to Brian Ernst's Roundtable article on May 28th:

Why is it that the laity has to pay for the sins and crimes of the fathers? Why did the hierarchy ignore the suffering of the victims in favor of its sinful, criminal priests? Why didn't the hierarchy acknowledge the “sins and crimes” of the offending priests, have them arrested at the time of their crime and fired from ever being a priest again?

Had this been done at the time of the offenses, none of this would be happening today. There has been no accountability from the bishops across this country.

The answer to the question, “Who will pay for the sins a few priests,” is the bishops. Every bishop in this country should resign because they have failed the victims, families, laity and priests. They have failed to do God's work.

Everything is secret and the laity is kept in the dark. The laity must demand to know the true assets of this diocese. No more secrets. Without the victims coming out, we would still be in the dark about the criminal activities of our so-called holy men. Let's stop blaming the victims and get this church cleaned up!

Valerie Pember

ColvilleIf the diocese goes broke, so be it

Brian Ernst appears to advocate that due to the potentially disastrous effect of pending sex-abuse lawsuits on the finances of the Spokane Catholic Diocese we should give the church a pass and let this issue fade away -- for the good of the local parochial schools and other good works that the Catholic Diocese provides to the local community, and to avoid a potential economic impact to the secular population if the church is no longer able to provide such services.

I find this argument hollow, at best. Given the role that these few priests were allowed to play out in the community, holding themselves out to be men of God and role models for the very children that they abused; and given the role that the church has played in hiding these abusers over the years, I would suggest that the diocese be held fully culpable for the crimes of these men to the very highest extent of the law: common law, mind you, not canon law.

If the coffers of the Spokane Diocese run dry over these offenses, so be it. Let Bishop Skylstad sell indulgences to pay the bills as the church has done in the past.

Reid Grossmann

ColbertChurch leadership sticks to script

In response to Brian Ernst's guest column of May 28:

When will the meaningless verbiage from the leadership of the Catholic Church and its naive supporters end?

When answering questions about the abuse crisis, or the systemic cover-up that accompanied the abuse of children by clergy, they seem to be following the same scripted responses.

They (the bishops and other hierarchy) have been speaking as if they have one eye on their lawyers to make sure that they are speaking the way their attorneys want them to, as they attempt to “put this crisis behind them.”

Why can't these moral leaders give answers to our questions concerning the abuse and its cover-up that are not compromised by mental reservations and an unethical avoidance to the simple truth?

The current financial and ministry problems facing the church today, Mr. Ernst, are not the fault of the victims! Abuse of children is, after all, a crime, and those who aid and abet the abusers are just as guilty.

Terry Corrigan

SpokaneGay rights, religion shouldn't mix

First off I'd like to say that the article, “Gays denied communion at Mass” was very well written. It showed both sides of the event equally, although it was brief. Mike Colias made the story short and to the point without fancy add-ins. The article was pleasant.

In Romans 1:24-27 it says God punished people by making them have lust for others of the same sex. With this as reference, homosexuals are shown as “ungodly.” I agree with the decision the priest made. I think that gay rights should not interfere with religion. They are two different things.

The Bible cannot be changed to say “gays are OK;” church members can't vote to let gays in the church -- it's just the way religion works.

If the Rainbow Sash members were allowed into the church many problems would derive from that. People would stop believing what they read in the Bible and all organized religion would fall apart. The moral teachings of the church would be looked down upon, as Cardinal Francis George said.

I'm not “anti-gay,” I just don't think that gay rights and religion should intertwine.

Matt Dirks

MeadDouglas' life is quite a story

Thank you for “A warrior's tale,” which detailed the courage and bravery of those World War II veterans who gave the ultimate sacrifice in defense of their country and their comrades who lived to tell about it.

Lim limt (thank you) for featuring elder Glen Douglas who was pictured wearing his war bonnet of eagle feathers and colorful decorative regalia at the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., this past Memorial Day weekend.

Glen has had quite an emotional and dangerous journey on Mother Earth and we are proud to know him and call him our elder and relation.

A few years ago, Glen gave a presentation at the Fort Colville Elementary School, and it was an honor to watch him -- dressed in his war bonnet of eagle feathers -- talk to the fifth grade about the importance of honoring, respecting, sharing and caring about all others that they know and will meet.

He spoke of respect for parents, elders, teachers, and the next seven generations. Glen spoke in a very humble and respectful way to those fifth-graders and as he has taught me -- they are our teachers too -- so important and so valuable to the future of our communities.

James Gordon Perkins

Colville, Wash.

Reduction in blends a good idea

The May 29 Our View editorial questioned the move to change some of the “boutique blends” to reduce the number of differing blends to meet summer driving requirements.

These changes, as I read it, were not an attempt to add to pollution, but rather to standardize where possible, to reduce the number of refining configurations required.

This would increase the number of possible suppliers for the modified fuels. The way it is, when making one blend that may be no better or worse than several other blends required in other states, one refinery can only meet one legally required blend.

Since in this country we are short of capacity to meet demand, I think it's a great idea and should be pursued.

As to why gas is 20 to 30 cents cheaper in Atlanta than in Spokane one large difference is certainly that the state gas tax is 23 cents in Washington and 7.5 cents in Georgia. That's 15.5 cents more for Washington, to begin with. Additionally the availability to pipeline delivery is far better in Georgia.

Kenneth W. Duncan

SpokaneMoose vandalism incomprehensible

It was with great sadness, when I opened the paper and was shocked to see “Moose down.” This was the most somber Memorial Day that I remember, but as I looked around at the beauty of Coeur d'Alene, the friendly people and nature unspoiled, I felt ever thankful that we have the brave men and women who protect this way of life for us.

Reading about the horror in Iraq, the bombing, and self-destruction by their own people, one wonders what are they thinking? Then to open the local paper and read about the destruction of art that was donated to help the people of our area makes me ask, what were you thinking?

If you have leftover energy, go donate blood, help a child learn to read, or a senior to have a warm meal. Or, best of all, help a veteran, or a National Guardsman's family when you have a choice do something good! But please tell us what were you thinking?

Shirley Miller

Coeur d'Alene

Beautification price tag too high

Although I support Mayor Jim West's desire to beautify Spokane's entryways, two-hundred and fifty grand is beyond what could be accomplished in order to convince visitors this isn't Newark.

Having owned a Seattle-area sign shop during the 1980s and given the parameters as outlined in The Spokesman-Review, I could manufacture a host of luminous monument-style welcome mats, install to code and provide landscaping for $50,000.

The price tag also includes design, a process that usually takes all of an hour given that most commercial artists “lift” ostensibly original ideas from the trades.

Computer Aided Design (CAD) also facilitates instantaneous specifications and much of what is required in the form of materials can be had on the cheap given that the sign industry is currently in the pits.

Whoever suggested a price tag of $250,000 must be a former Enron executive or Pentagon cost estimator.

The point being made here is that city officials need to investigate by consulting numerous professionals any given project outline previous to issuing a fixed proposal.

Obviously, someone is attempting to scam the taxpayer as $250,000 would better serve local residents by applying it to the 35-year-old con known as the north-south freeway.

Robert Glenn

SpokaneIntelligent people got taken in

Like many of your correspondents, I am a veteran. Unlike some of them, I don't think the experience qualifies me to pontificate about much other than mess hall food.

Instead of answers, my service left me with questions -- questions that have often troubled me since.

As an engineer in Italy in the mid-'40s, I had the opportunity of working with German and Italian prisoners of war.

I often wondered how such personable, artistic, intelligent people could have been taken in by fascism and Nazism. After witnessing the activities of this administration -- and some people's response to unprovoked invasions, draconian security measures, ethnic animosity and prison camp abuses -- I think I'm beginning to understand.

Frank Dalton

SpokaneBush too incompetent to continue

The gist of Bush's ad campaign has been this: He can thwart terrorists. How stupid does he think the American voter is?

His administration is a confederacy of dunces. Cheney and Rumsfeld have gotten us into Iraq by disregarding our own intelligence and trusting the tales of Ahmad Chalabi, who was in exile for 33 counts of bank fraud in Jordan.

Turns out, the CIA says, he was an agent of Iran who used him to convince Tweedles Dee and Dum that Iraq was an “imminent threat” to the United States.

So Bush and his handlers were duped into doing what Iran had failed at -- obliterating Iraq and opening its borders to terrorists.

In order to suppress the Chalabi story, Bush sicced Ashcroft on the press to spread the propaganda: Terrorists will strike soon. The Spokesman-Review took the bait and ran the headline: “FBI seeks seven terror suspects.” How dumb does Bush think we are? Six of these guys were already on the most wanted list since 2002.

It's not news! Ashcroft had no specifics. Homeland Security as well as police and firefighters were not notified. It was a dubious campaign stunt.

Vote out the incompetent slime.

Steve Masjoan

SpokaneLimit costs by withdrawing troops

All Americans support our troops in Iraq. We honor those who served there and those who have died there.

However, many Americans, and I am one, oppose the war. We believe that this administration has misled our country about the rationale for the war and has done an inexcusably inept job of managing the aftermath of the war.

We do not believe that our continued occupation of Iraq will produce a democratic government, lead to stability in the Middle East and reduce worldwide terrorism.

Therefore we believe that we should limit our costs (in lives and money) and get out of Iraq. Do those of you who have had loved ones killed there believe that quitting this failed occupation is dishonorable to them? It is not. Think of the lives of other service men and women who will be spared.

Philip Waring

Coeur d'AlenePhotos don't alter conviction

The decision by The Spokesman-Review to publish on Memorial Day the names and pictures of all U.S. military personnel killed during the Iraq war is a fitting tribute to those who volunteered to protect their country and were killed by terrorists.

Looking at each of those photos one at a time saddened me, but did not alter my conviction that the liberation of Iraq from a ruthless dictatorship and the subsequent establishment of an Iraqi democracy are necessary steps for world peace.

Had you displayed the names and pictures of American troops killed during World War II, my response would have been similar.

The confrontation between the United States and fanatical Islamics was inevitable and has nothing to do with oil, revenge or other silly notions. It is a fight for freedom.

The U.S. threatens the tyrannies fringe Islamics seek to maintain or create, and as such the U.S. is a target for their evil doing. Someday, the Iraqis will celebrate the freedoms that have been too long suppressed. When that day comes, and it will, those who cherish liberty and peace will be in debt to the brave men and women whose pictures appeared in the Memorial Day edition.

Eric S. Johnson

Spokane

Me-first generation in charge now

As I watched the monument dedication on Monday, I said a prayer of thanks for those veterans of Brokaw's “Greatest Generation.” I had three siblings serving then.

Our nation of 150 million put 16 million in uniform and sent them off to defeat fascism. Upon return, a grateful nation paid college expenses for millions, rebuilt the defeated nations while building on an inherited infrastructure plus parks, libraries and universities. All willingly done with taxes as high as 90 percent. No wonder they were known as “great.”

Today with 300 million we barely maintain 1.5 million in uniform. They and their families are the only ones sacrificing. Our infrastructure, schools and parks are suffering. Our social safety nets are shriveling; students are graduating with debt burdens.

Have we become a nation of government-tax hating selfish me-first people? Ranting right-wing radio seems to indicate this. Where are the Roosevelts and Trumans to lead us to a better future?

In 2064, as Americans gather on the mall, will they look back with gratitude to a generation that came to their senses and did the right thing or will they lament the greed of the day and hang their heads in shame?

Ted Shepard

Otis OrchardsIsrael apologists deflect blame

Eva Lassman (Spokesman-Review, May 28th) quotes Golda Meir as saying, “If a Palestinian mother would love her children as much as she hates Israelis, we would have peace.” It's a fine thing to put all the blame on the Palestinians.

But we should remember that Israelis along with their American apologists want to have it both ways: (1) Palestinians hate Israelis for no apparent reason, and (2) Palestinians do not even exist. For Golda Meir also said, “It was not as though there was a Palestinian people in Palestine considering itself as a Palestinian people and we came and threw them out and took their country away from them. They did not exist.”

Apologists for Israel are deniers of jil al-Nakba. And the Israelis have continued to throw Palestinians off their land throughout my lifetime. Israel and its leaders are guilty of crimes against humanity beyond measure.

Wayne B. Kraft

SpokaneCan't sugarcoat fluoridation

Janine Johnson, DDS, stated in her letter to the editor that adding fluoride to water at one part per million is “equivalent to one tablespoon of sugar in 3,906 gallons of water.” It ain't sugar. It's hydrofluosilicic acid, so toxic that the EPA rates it as a Class I Hazardous Waste. That means you can't transport it, you can't bury it, and you can't put it in water at any dilution even at one part per trillion (equivalent to one tablespoon of sugar in 3,906,000,000 gallons of water) unless a city wants to buy it.

Then it becomes “special waste” and, lo and behold, you can add it to your water. But you'll have to do it at a rate of four parts per million (equivalent to four tablespoons of sugar in 3,906 gallons of water) because only 25 percent of it is fluoride. The rest is water contaminated with arsenic, mercury, cadmium, uranium and lead.

Incidentally, lead is known to cause nervous system disorders at levels as low as four parts per billion (equivalent to four tablespoons of sugar in 3,906,000 gallons of water). Does everybody feel better now? After all, a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.

Greg Gower

SpokaneThanks to Nelson for his efforts

We want to thank Bob Nelson for trying to get honesty and fairness back into the sheriff's office of Shoshone County.

Bob ran his campaign with wisdom, integrity and decency. He never said nor did anything negative about any other candidate. He did his best to be upright and just.

Thank you, Bob, for your efforts and thank you for the ones who voted for the same. You didn't resort to politics, as some say, “as usual.”

Laura Nelson

Pinehurst, Idaho


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