Great Fall Arts Preview -- Thank you for your latest Fall Arts Preview. As a professional who divides her time between Chicago, San Francisco and Spokane, an issue like yours is extremely useful. The arts are personally important to me when I have free time, and your efforts go a long way in contributing to Spokane's role in that aspect of my life, guiding me towards enjoying what Spokane has to offer. It has helped me to become a more active and engaged citizen when I am in Spokane. While I do not always agree with your paper, I am grateful for its commitment to relevant discourse.
I would also like to thank you for publishing Marty Demarest's fine review of Spokane's artistic infrastructure ("What's Missing?"). Demarest has proven himself, in various media, to be one of the most astute and articulate advocates of the arts I have encountered anywhere.
In traveling to and from Spokane, I am always dismayed by the city's inferiority complex and search for excuses that aren't necessary. Demarest's overview of the situation was both accurate and pointed.
But most of all I would like to thank you for devoting so much space to a serious discussion of the issue. Rather than waste space ranting or attacking the diversity of publications in your community, you provided a substantial and useful discussion of an important topic, grounded in intelligence and a desire to better serve the community.
Spokane, Wash./Chicago, IL
DOT Has No Secrets -- In response to the letter from Kay Stoltz, "Phasing in Some Debate," in the 9/26/02 Inlander, allow me to offer some clarification: Stoltz and many others have been misled by the rumors that there is some "secret third phase" of the North Spokane Corridor (NSC) freeway project that is intended to widen I-90 through downtown Spokane.
The real answer is there are no plans whatsoever to add any additional mainline lanes to the freeway in the heart of our city. The WSDOT does recognize that there may be a future need to reconfigure some of the on and off ramps downtown, but there is no foreseeable need for additional capacity on the through lanes. The NSC will add a series of on and off lanes between Hamilton and Sprague to allow for safe traffic movement between the two freeways.
Also, to quell another rumor, the NSC will not have any impact on any listed historic structures in downtown or throughout its route.
With regards to the relocation of residents in homes that the WSDOT will acquire along the route -- the Department is required by law to relocate any displaced residents to comparable, decent, safe and sanitary housing. The law also dictates that the WSDOT cannot create a financial hardship as a result of its acquisition and relocation process.
Finally, we invite anyone to contact our project office at 324-6091 and get the facts on this project. The Department holds periodic open house meetings where residents can view project displays and ask questions on a one-to-one basis. The next open house will be held in the Lair at Spokane Community College on Tuesday, October 15. The hours are from 4 to 8 pm.
Regional Administrator, WSDOT
Homelessness Not a Choice -- A recent NPR segment dealt with Santa Monica's efforts to dislodge the homeless from its streets. Santa Monica isn't the only American city to deal harshly with increasing numbers of homeless who wander American streets and sleep in American alleys in these conservative times.
Because conservatives view homelessness as a matter of personal choice, they dismiss the homeless as beneath contempt. The idea that people choose homelessness ought to be challenged.
We should challenge these people to prove homelessness to be a matter of choice by becoming mentally ill or homeless alcoholics themselves. They'll laugh, of course, missing the point.
You may think this is not a serious concept. But I've thought it through pretty deeply over the years. Those who are arrogant enough to think that they are responsible for what they are just haven't let the reality of how they became what they are sink in.
It's All About Oil -- Good seldom comes from a fight between bullies. But the scariest thing about the impending war with Iraq is that we will surely win it, engage in some sort of occupation, begin to make demands upon Iran and so set that country as our next target. So the hope in the war room, I am sure, is to pull off an oil trifecta: knocking off Afghanistan (distribution), Iraq and Iran. The families Bush, Cheney, Baker, Rice, et. al. clearly are not content to have at least five of their generations secure in oil-derived cash; they have aim at providing for another 10 or so more.
And I doubt that will be the end of it. The end will come when these families have a lock on all the world's oil and we innocent civilians -- and soldiers -- are left to bear the brunt of the world's hatred, as the oligarchs reside in undisclosed locations.
The bar has been set ridiculously low. Any country with a terrorist seems to be eligible for attack. Unfortunately, this could include us -- even if we exclude Henry Kissinger from the list. And I think perhaps we have already started that war against ourselves with the Patriot Act. Patriotism is more of a base instinct than anything. It requires no thinking. What it does require are impassioned mantras and the beating of war drums. And Mr. Bush is proving adept at providing those.