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Letters to the Editor 

by Inlander Readers

Who's Behind the Helmets?

The Spokane Valley City Council votes Tuesday, June 28, at 6 pm to impose a mandatory bicycle helmet law for adults and children. I am against a helmet law, especially for adults.

I'm obviously not saying that you shouldn't wear a helmet. I am saying that as an adult it is my choice and not the City Council's, and that I don't want law enforcement involved.

The Safe Kids Coalition lobbying group urged an ordinance (through the Spokane Regional Health District) in the Valley requiring adults to wear bicycle helmets. Two of the Coalition's main sponsors are bicycle helmet manufacturing companies - Bell Sports and Troxel. Bell Sports supports (i.e., pays) the "Safe Kids" Lobby group to conduct advocacy efforts to enforce helmet use legislation. Bell is now the world's largest manufacturer of bike helmets. When helmets are mandatory by law, helmet sales are high.

This lobbying group sees us in Washington as an easy target. They have been able to infringe on our rights in Washington state more so than any other state in the United States. Of the 19,000 cities and governments in the United States, only eight cities (excluding those in Washington) have imposed mandatory helmet laws on adults. In Washington state, 25 municipalities have mandatory helmet laws for adults.

The most heinous crimes have increased 3.1 percent in Washington. The police I talk to think their time is better used protecting us from criminals than watching for illegal bicyclists.

You can phone in comments to the City Council at 921-1000. My comment: We voted you in to run our city, not run our lives.

Leslie Hansen

Spokane Valley, Wash.

Vital Neighborhood

Thanks to Suzanne Schreiner for her excellent article on the West Central revival. I would like to confirm that when I was out in the West Central neighborhood surveying properties for the National Register nomination, I, too, found that residents of the neighborhood were proud of their neighborhood. I ran across several people who had recently purchased homes in the area with the idea of rehabilitating them.

The Washington State Advisory Council on Historic Preservation will review Nettleton's Addition's nomination to the National Register of Historic Places on June 23-24. Your readers may be interested to know that listing on the National Register is largely honorific. There is no additional review process at the local level for changes to properties that are listed on the National Register. If, at some point in the future, the neighborhood is listed as a local historic district, however, changes to properties are reviewed by the Landmarks Commission. This can provide additional protection for preserving the architectural character of the neighborhood. Financial incentives to rehabilitate historic properties, however, are available as a result of listing on either register. For more information, readers can contact the Spokane City-County Historic Preservation Department.

Diana J. Painter

Petaluma, Calif.

Misplaced Priorities

To date, the war in Iraq has cost the United States more than $176.5 billion ( This could have been spent providing basic immunizations to every child born in the next 58 years, fully funding worldwide HIV/AIDS programs for 17 years, or fully funding global anti-hunger programs for 7 years. Currently 34,000 children under the age of five die of hunger or preventable diseases resulting from hunger every day ( An estimated 39.4 million people worldwide live with HIV/AIDS; death totals resulting from the epidemic rose to 3.1 million in 2004 (

In 2004, approximately 30 percent of Spokane citizens' federal income taxes were spent on U.S. military and defense funding ( These dollars protect U.S. citizens from Iraq's "weapons of mass destruction" and fund President Bush's "peace efforts" in Iraq. I'd like to remind Bush that the reality of mass destruction can be found in the worldwide death count of people who suffer and die every day from preventable diseases, poverty, hunger and HIV/AIDS. Peace and justice stem from helping those who are less fortunate, not by waging war with them.

Callie M. Monroe

Spokane, Wash.

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