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I was disturbed by Robert Herold's comment

in the Sept. 13 edition of The Inlander, that "By ducking out of sight most of Day One, [President Bush] didn't inspire all that much confidence. I, for one, would have liked to have seen him up in New York, walking through the dust and grit with Mayor Guiliani. But instead he was out in Omaha, safe and sound."

When a nation is under attack by any kind of enemy, among its most important priorities is the protection of the head of state. Appropriately, the nation quickly mobilized to protect all potential additional targets, including the president.

I believe President Bush has reacted to this crisis appropriately, so far. Mr. Herold is correct that "President Bush now faces the most difficult challenge of his entire life." With their large staffs and professional handlers, politicians usually manage fairly good immediate reactions to sudden tragedies. The real test will come in long-term leadership. Mr. Bush has already committed his administration to a paradigm shift, in which the nation's top priority is now to be the war on terrorism. This means that some of his other priorities will need to diminish in relative importance. Only time will tell us whether he is able to make that shift, and lead us in a focused way in this new direction.

Too many Americans today expect their president to be the nation's Oprah, feeling our pain and hearing us vent. That is not what our nation needs in a president -- especially now. We as a nation need to grow up, and a part of that maturing process is an expectation that our president will lead with dignity, humility and spirituality. This will be the ultimate test of his presidency.

Thank you for your presentation of balanced views on a variety of issues.

Mark Mullins

Spokane, Wash.

PRIVATIZE IT! While interesting reading, the

media under the guise of providing information always seem to show support for the entrepreneur rather than examining what is already privatized. This bid for Joe Albi, as described in Ted McGregor's article in The Inlander on Sept. 6, is for inside the stadium -- therefore even Brett Sports would not be concerned with outside of the stadium. It is easy to recognize neglect at Joe Albi Stadium, which is located in a remote area where the citizens who are too lazy to pay the dumping fee discard their junk. Joe Albi has also been used as a supplemental driving course by parents instructing their kids.

It was not that you interviewed Spokane County Commissioner John Roskelley about privatizing -- you didn't bother to ask about the efficiency/fairness in the contract that currently exists at Avista Stadium. You talked about carefully written contracts that allow for frequent rebidding. What about the current contract with Brett Sports at Joe Albi Stadium?

Here are examples of inequity in the current agreement at Joe Albi: Exclusive use of the premises and facilities for 15 years at the paltry sum of $10. Terms? The Spokane Shadow uses the facilities for practice at NO charge. Does anyone else get to use the facility for free?

Are there similar inequities in the Avista Stadium contract? We will never know.

Edward Thomas, Jr.

Spokane, Wash.

I cannot believe that our leaders are asking

for money to fix our streets, as they did in the Oct. 4 edition of The Inlander ("Spokane Speaks"). Everyone has conveniently forgotten that when the state lottery was first established, we were told that we would never have to worry about our roads again. The biggest reason for letting the lottery in was so that we would have money to fix our streets and highways.

WHERE HAS ALL THAT MONEY GONE? You should be able to investigate this and bring it out so the public is aware of what's going on.

Carolyn Morse

Spokane, Wash.

Excellent and welcome article by Pia K.

Hansen in The Inlander on Sept. 27 ("The Inland Northwest's forgotten towns"). I would just like to add that numerous partnerships of local, state and federal agencies are assisting the elected officials, staff and dedicated volunteers of these communities in their efforts to restore economic vitality.

Almost every modern trend has diminished rural communities. But champions of rural economics and culture have never been working harder to address the complex issues.

I work for the Office of Trade and Economic Development, a state agency providing technical assistance to help those living in small rural communities find solutions and funding to improve public infrastructure, retain and expand businesses and be ready for new investments.

Rural residents of Whitman County have dedicated and hardworking support at all levels of government, including a very successful staff at the Port of Whitman.

The economy of the state and nation is continuing an extraordinary transformation that will resonate in our children's lives and beyond. An informed citizenry and focused political will matters. I look forward to future articles in The Inlander that provide insight for readers about rural residents.

Terry Lawhead

Spokane, Wash.

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