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I Second That -- I just wanted to complement Diedre Allen on her letter, "Open Letter to McCaslin" (1/9/03). I agree 100 percent with everything she said. I recently moved here from Naples, Fla., where billboards are not allowed except on the interstate, where they are limited. I also am in disbelief that an advisory vote would be held and then disregarded.


I also agree that you are giving into the billboard industry. Who is more important -- the billboard industry or the people you are supposed to serve?


I have noticed a lot of backwards things in this county since moving to Spokane, and this situation is right up there with the rest of them. I think the whole political process is failing the citizens of Spokane County. I also think we need to put some type of law in place that restricts the amount of signs all over the roads. There are garage sale signs over a month old on the side of the road and small advertising signs everywhere. So I think there are many things that need to be reevaluated. It starts from the top. The people who run our city and county need to show some pride and maybe it will rub off the residents. Just food for thought.





Ashley Brown


Spokane, Wash.





How About GOPs for Gov? -- Thanks to The Inlander for its Jan. 9 article explaining Phil Talmadge's candidacy as Democratic candidate for Washington state governor in 2004. What we need, information-wise, are candidates for nomination who are Republican.


The suggestion has been made that now is the time for Senator Jim West to organize a committee, raise campaign funds and start campaigning, lest the Grand Old Party, again, as in 1996 and 2000, nominate another piece of broken crockery from its large assortment of psycho-ceramic (that is another name for a crack pot) public office holder wannabes.





Larry Dixon


Spokane, Wash.





18 Years in the Forest -- In her response to The Inlander's Dec. 26 article, "Water Warriors," Mariann Johnston (letters, Jan. 9) was correct about one thing: foresters usually have a degree in forestry. I don't, and perhaps should not have been referred to as a forester. I did, however, spend 18 years with a company I co-founded, contracting forestry services to the U.S. Forest Service, the state of Montana and at least half a dozen timber companies in Montana, Idaho and Washington. This is a bit more than "a temporary job as a tree-planter," as Johnston characterized my experience. The rest of her diatribe against "error-ridden diatribes" was equally error-ridden.


Other than making a personal attack on me, the point of her article seems to be that The Inlander shouldn't print such articles as "Water Warriors."


The core issue of the article was not the pros and cons of mining; it was that former employees of a particular mine have made serious allegations that hazardous materials were buried in the tailings, in knowing violation of and contempt for the law, and that the Montana Department of Environmental Quality, apprised of this six years ago, has done nothing.


If Johnston or anyone else cares to make an argument as to why the state should not investigate charges by its citizens of criminal corporate pollution, or why citizens' groups such as the Cabinet Resource Group should not bring suit to see that the laws are enforced, and why the press should not report on such efforts, I'd really like to hear it.





Bill Martin


Troy, Mont.





A Little History -- In view of the ongoing attempts to equate conservatives with racism, some history should be noted:


The first major civil rights event in my memory was the use of troops by Republican President Dwight Eisenhower to integrate the Little Rock public schools. Ike won by defeating liberal icon Adlai Stevenson, whose running mate was segregationist John Sparkman of Alabama.


The father of modern conservatism is widely thought to be Republican Barry Goldwater. Senator Goldwater was also the first major retailer in Arizona to integrate his stores (voluntarily), and won his first political campaign as a proponent of integrating the Phoenix Airport. The Byrds, who governed Virginia for decades, were conservatives. The Longs ruled Louisiana as populists. Tennessee Senator Al Gore Sr. (former Vice President Gore's father) was a liberal. These politically diverse politicians and their supporters shared two characteristics. All were segregationists and all were Democrats.


The internment of thousands of Japanese Americans during World War II occurred on the watch of liberal Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt. Labor unions were bastions of both liberalism and racial discrimination through the 1950s. The AFL-CIO wasn't totally integrated until 1964 -- years after "Mr. Conservative," Barry Goldwater, integrated his business. Today, playing the race card for political advantage, while not a common practice, happens at least as often with liberals as with conservatives.


Slavery and segregation were evil and failed experiments that, in their day, had supporters in every corner of the ideological spectrum. Fortunately, to our credit as a society, we've abolished and have no desire to return to these practices. There are those, however, who despite mostly good intentions believe in a milder and less honest form of discrimination. Call it affirmative action, racial quotas, minority set-asides, protected classes, etc. The purpose and effect of these policies is to divide people into classes and treat them differently, according to race. Supporters of this new racism call themselves liberals.





Jim Shamp


Cheney, Wash,

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