Plan Ahead for Transit -- It is essential that the foundations of mass transit -- light rail, streetcars and bus links -- be laid as soon as possible. Otherwise it becomes prohibitive on the basis of land costs, as well as inappropriate after development has occurred on the sprawling streets model. Mass transit requires cities and neighborhoods with centralized cores and connection points, while the sprawl model, with its lack of centralization, cannot support light rail. Let's have Spokane lead the nation in its embrace of the emerging trend toward neighborhoods, community and transit for all, rather than being the last to follow the sprawl model of yesteryear.
What could possibly be more in line with Spokane's commitment to "family and community"? Do not confuse what you must do to survive with what you must do to live.
Transit Conundrum -- I read with interest the commentaries "Reassessing the STA" (5/29/03) and "The STA's Class Ceiling" (6/05/03) regarding mass transit in Spokane.
In the early 1980s, I worked for a small division of GM called Transportation Systems. The charter of this division was "to do some good for transit." After five years of reporting the ridership data by route and route segment (passenger seat miles per gallon, ridership utilization and on and on) to the transit authorities of multiple major cities, little to no changes occurred. Routes were then driven by politics - and probably still are. GM dropped out of the business, issuing this final commentary:
"The people that administer the system do not use it or pay for it. The people that use it, do not administer it or pay for it and the people that pay for it do not administer or use it."
Thus, after more than 20 years, no changes have or are likely to occur.
Witches Brew -- I found the article about Harry Potter "Hero or Heretic?" (6/19/03) to be atypical and under-informed, and, as usual, written in the shallow education of fundamentalist dogmatism that automatically places witchcraft right in the same basket as Satanism.
As a pagan and an occultist, I find this highly offensive and therefore will write a book about the Bible to back my claim up!
It's funny, though, because in a way Jesus was as guilty of witchcraft as I am for practicing magick [sic] by engaging in necromancy, walking on water and exorcisms. So, did Satan influence Jesus? Lighten up. God's a nice guy once you get to know her.
Harold Stamey, aka Maha Devi
Time To Be Truthful -- The article "Take Back Your Time" (6/12/03) got me thinking. When I tell people about the three-hour bike ride or the four-hour hike I took part in, the most common response I get is "You are so lucky! I wish I had time to do that." Maybe what I am about to say will sound negative, but I think what these people are conveying is code for "Maybe if I were some full-time broke college slug like you, I could go gallivanting through the woods also, but since I am actually a productive American, I do not."
Americans relish the fact that they do not have time to take walks in the park, cook a nutritious dinner, or watch their children play soccer. It is almost a requirement while in conversation to look at your watch or one-up someone else's busy schedule with a tidbit from your own daily planners: "Huh. You say you worked only 55 hours last week? I worked 65."
How many people in this country -- compared to the less time-strapped, so-called "lazy" countries of the world -- are on some sort of acid-reflux medication, anxiety drug or anti-depressant due to an overly busy life? Why are we such a fat society? Maybe because after so much time dedicated to the phones, the computer, or the factory, we have no time for our expanding guts and backsides.
Tax-Cut Misconception -- Upon reading the article "Tax Cut Train Wreck" (6/19/03), on how a tax cut will wreck Social Security, I realized how one-sided the article was. Farhad did not point out that it is the taxpayers' money to begin with. He also failed to note that the $350 billion in tax cuts compares over those 10 years to a federal government income of over $30 trillion. How are we taxpayers going to pay for that tidy amount?
His main point on bankrupting the Social Security System is truly bogus, as that system has its own accounting (or it used to have before the Democrats in 1978 used the money to make the deficit look smaller). Remember all the talk about the non-existing "Lock Box"?
If you fear the Social Security system may go bankrupt, why would we be talking about adding more welfare programs by adding a prescription drug benefit that will surely make it happen sooner? Nothing has gone down in the federal budget in the past 25 years except the military budget.
Thank you, Democrats, Liberals, Socialists and Left-Wingers of all stripes. Every fat little feel-good social program has been fully funded without anything positive to show for it.
It took us 204 years to get the federal budget to $450 billion in 1980. It has taken another 23 years to get it to $2.3 trillion. When 71 percent of the welfare money is spent on the administration of the 29 percent, something is wrong with the system. Private charity groups with that track record would be in jail.
In the words of Al Gore, if you like bigger government, "You ain't seen nothing yet"! Big, Big Brother will be watching you.