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Letters To The Editor 

by Inlander Readers

That Day Was My Life -- I picked up the recent issue of The Inlander, as I always do, anxious to check out the latest on what's going on in this great city of ours. The cover story, "A Day in the Life of the Inland Northwest" (8/14/03), caught my attention. I found the beginning and started to read; it was so entertaining to read about all of the places you visited. Every one of them is so familiar to me, being a native of Spokane, and it felt like I was there with you -- hell, I actually had my first legal drink at the Harvester in Spangle. When I reached 1:53 am at The Satellite, I couldn't believe my eyes. That's my restaurant in a story of what the Inland Northwest is all about.

A little over five years ago, I had the crazy dream of trying to fill a niche in a very conservative city. I wasn't quite sure if Spokane was ready for what I was about to do. I figured if things didn't work out, then I'd only be right back where I was.

After all the hoops were jumped through and the doors finally opened, The Satellite was an instant success! We quickly expanded, and the rest is history. I just wanted to let you know how thrilled and honored I was to be a part of the "A Day in the Life of the Inland Northwest" story. It made me feel like The Satellite "has arrived." Sure, that sounds tacky, but for a girl who stuck her neck out and made her dreams happen (with a little luck and a lot of great employees), being mentioned was a defining moment.

Colleen Freeman

Owner, Satellite Diner & amp; Lounge

Spokane, Wash.

Count the Stories -- I take exception to comments in "Five Card Draw" (8/14/03) regarding The Local Planet Weekly. You claim without support that we "repeatedly ran glowing reports about advertisers Metropolitan Mortgage and the Sandifurs."

In searching our three years of online archives, I find 10 stories that include C. Paul Sandifur, Jr., CEO of Metropolitan, as more than a passing mention. In our only profile of Sandifur, we portray him in part as being an ex-hippie who smoked pot and had shouting matches with his father -- hardly a flattering report. I'm not sure when The Inlander last dared to portray one of their larger advertisers in such a light. In searching The Inlander's two-and-a-half years of online archives, I find eight stories mentioning Sandifur, many of those "glowing," including praising the flags on Metropolitan's buildings, talking up Metropolitan's support of nonprofits and Sandifur's personal support of the musical ensemble Zephyr. Eight stories in 30 months compared to 10 stories in 36 months equals exactly the same pace of coverage.

In the future, if you're going to criticize our reporting (and you're certainly welcome to), please do your research.

Matthew Spaur

Publisher, The Local Planet

Spokane, Wash.

Misleading Lead -- I appreciate that writers, including journalists, and in this case, commentators, look for a gimmick to make their lead an attention-grabber. But shame on Pia Hansen for writing the article, "Total Recall" (7/31/03).

She knows better than to equate the charter amendment initiative to the recall of Gray Davis, or to borrow the movie title as a header for the piece. She also knows there is a lawsuit pending, which is based on the premise that the initiative includes a hidden recall. While I am not concerned that a judge will cite The Inlander as authority to invalidate the initiative, it is not good journalism to present as fact (the cover page refers the reader to page nine for "The Facts about the Strong Mayor Vote") a contested allegation in a pending court case.

Moreover, it is not the fact. The difference between removing the holder of an office and abolishing the office is obvious. If you still think that drivel belongs in the "News" section, you should print a retraction. Perhaps better, you should print an editor's note to the effect that the piece was inadvertently printed in the news section instead of as a commentary where it belongs.

By the way, the signature requirement is 15 percent of the last general municipal election, not 50 percent. And yes, I am counsel for Citizens [for Sensible Government] in the Eugster lawsuit, but I am not writing this in that capacity.

Larry Winner

Spokane, Wash.

Council Corrections -- I wanted to thank The Inlander and Pia Hansen in particular for the coverage on the three candidates for Spokane City Council President ("Presidential Politics," 8/21/03).

There are two clarifications I would like to make to the information presented:

1. In the article, Ms. Hansen stated that I am a member of the board of the League of Women Voters. I am, in fact, a past member of the board. When I decided to run for the Council President seat, I resigned my position and had my campaign information reprinted to be sure that there was no question of impropriety. Though we tried to be sure we exchanged all of the originals, we may not have done so. It was an error on our part, not Ms. Hansen's.

2. The other point of clarification is in reference to Mr. French's statement, "I'm also the only one who has offered a full-time commitment to this position," which is untrue. I have publicly stated that I intend to take on the responsibilities of this office as a full-time position. Though I appreciate Mr. French's zeal for his campaign, I wanted to be sure that everyone has the same information to make an informed decision.

Pam Behring

Candidate for City Council President

Spokane, Wash.

Publication date: 08/28/03

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