Insensitve Letter -- I am writing regarding the letter from Michael Lane, "Direct Traffic, Don't Block It" (9/18/03). What a selfish and myopic attitude about the memorial service for Deputy James Slater.
I had never heard of Mr. Slater before the announcement of the accident which led to his death, nor do I know any of his family, though certainly I grieve his loss as much as anyone in this county.
The man died while protecting the citizens of Spokane and all you and "most [you] spoke with" can think of is an inconvenient traffic situation. Have you considered the "inconvenience" to him or his family that his death may have caused? Have you considered that every citizen of this county owes a debt of gratitude to him and his family for his service that we can never truly repay? A memorial service is surely the least we can do to honor his memory.
I am glad that Spokane Falls Boulevard was closed for the ceremony. Too many of us are caught up in meaningless activities that occupy so much of our time that we cannot even pause to reflect and honor the death of one of our finest people. How horrible for you, Mr. Lane, that your schedule was disrupted. How horrible because you wasted a little gasoline and tempers grew a little short sitting in traffic. A person with greater foresight might watch the news for reports of upcoming traffic interruptions, but I guess you must be too busy.
I wish that such tragedies were not necessary to make us realize how fortunate we are to live in a place with so many dedicated people working and sacrificing to keep us all safe.
To the family of Mr. Slater, you have my deepest condolences. I believe that those who were annoyed by a slight inconvenience are a very small minority. I believe that the citizens of Spokane are a more thoughtful people who also feel his loss and are grateful for all he did.
Begging To Differ -- The article, "Saving Interplayers," (9/11/03), provides a frightening example of how journalists can reshape history. Note paragraph in the article that begins, "As far back as June 1981..."
To begin with, both The Spokesman-Review and the now defunct Spokane Chronicle made something of a cliffhanger out of Interplayers' search for a home. On the date reported by Michael Bowen in the recent Inlander article, Interplayers was still among the homeless. When we finally decided on the 174 S. Howard property, which I believe was some time in August, a lease was signed between Interplayers and a partnership of four city firemen. A contractor was hired to renovate and bring the building up to code. Before our opening performance in October of 1981, the city inspected and approved the building. Inspection were conducted annually for the first decade and then, due to department budget cuts, the inspections continued regularly but less frequently. A special inspection was made when we installed an elevator two seasons before we retired in May 2001. The paragraph's construction could lead one to believe that we owned the building, when indeed eight years of leasing preceded its purchase. The next paragraph begins, "In December of that year, Interplayers agreed to keep the basement unoccupied..."
Once again, since we were not the building's owners for the first eight years of our occupancy our landlords (the four firemen) limited our space to the second floor theatre and its adjacent lobby. Rehearsals were held in that lobby. Our landlords had plans to sell the street-level space. At one point Joan asked the landlord if we might use the basement space to store costumes and was given permission with the caveat that we should be ready to move them at a moment's notice in case they found a tenant. After we purchased the building, we cleaned out the street level space and used it as our rehearsal room. We never rehearsed in the basement. The basement was used for costume storage, props and stock set pieces and since the people who headed those departments were hired for the entire season, their final checks were issued after an inspection demonstrated these items had been properly and neatly stored. The characterization of the "pileup of costumes and other materials" was not of our doing but, of course, we cannot answer for whatever happened after turning over the theater's reins on April 17, 2001.
We founded and ran Interplayers with integrity for two decades and must protect ourselves from the implied irresponsibility suggested in this article.
Bob and Joan Welch
Cofounders, Spokane Interplayers
A Different Look -- As a journalist, Michael Bowen should have gone to former employees and researched the facts before putting only partial truths into print in the article, "Saving Interplayers" (9/11/03).
As two former employees of Interplayers, we would like to offer our own perspective on events. Bob and Joan Welch gave us our start at Interplayers, and after a combined tenure of 26 years, Robin Stanton ended it. We were not among the three people who left Interplayers citing "low pay." We are among the ten or more (we lost count) that were fired or forced to quit because the working atmosphere became intolerable. In our situation, Ms. Stanton withheld our hard-earned pay. It became depressing to watch this wonderful theater being run into the ground by frivolous expenditures, while all traces of Bob and Joan were removed from the premises.
Only one employee remains of the valuable, hardworking staff that Bob and Joan left. (We miss you Mr. T.M. Weaver, good luck!) It appears Mr. Bowen missed a few hard facts.