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Understanding the Homeless

I was sorry to read that the Spokane City Council voted to extend the hours the Sit-Lie Ban is in effect. This change strikes me as particularly unfortunate now in the coldest time of the year.

I think it is easy to forget who the homeless actually are. I’m conscious of homeless vets who have PTSD or Traumatic Brain Injury from their time fighting overseas for our protection, and of people who are employed by fast food places and big box retail but getting less than 40 hours a week work and paid at far less than a living wage. I’m aware of people who are out of work because they can’t find work, and also of folks who have disabilities that make it hard or impossible to find jobs. There also are felons who have served their time, but forever have to carry the stigma of their mistake.

I’m grateful that we had at least three people on the City Council who voted against the extension of this ban.

Pauline Druffel
Spokane, Wash.

Your Wait Time Is 70 Years

I am a 33-year resident of Spokane and have seen many buildings erected, freeways, bridges and surface streets built, improved upon, or replaced. Living in the eastern side of the Spokane Valley it is a quick commute to downtown via the vastly improved I-90. I cross the river daily over the new Barker Road Bridge and witnessed its two-year building process. Both Spokane City and Spokane Valley have proven they can plan a project, secure the funding and get the job done.

My first 20 years in Spokane I was a North Side resident and the very first project I learned of was the proposed N/S freeway. When I learned that the planning stages of this project began two years before I was born, I began to lose hope that I would ever get downtown quickly. I don’t recall ever seeing anything on any ballot about completing this aging project, though everyone I talked to was eager for it to be built.

In contrast, several projects intended to bring revenue into our city lacked overwhelming voter support (the new arena, the incinerator, the convention center), but were conceived, planned and built. It would be a wonderful thing if some of this influx of revenue from afar could be funneled into a 70-year-old plan to ease the driving burden for thousands of Spokane residents.

Geoff Haworth
Spokane Valley, Wash.

Mandela Deserves More

A lot happened in 2013, and some amazing people were sadly lost. The Sgt. Pepper album cover copy (1/2/14) featuring people of 2013 was a cool idea, but I have to ask why someone who did so much like Nelson Mandela was hidden behind a lot less notable people? Are Kim and Kanye really more important? Miley Cyrus? Have they really contributed more than Mandela? Suffered more?

Even though I am white, I have always looked up to Mandela’s struggle and ultimate triumph. Without his breaking new ground, I am sure Barack Obama would not have become president in our country. Why then, is Nelson Mandela barely visible? I hope that in the future, your staff shows greater appreciation to those that have done so much for the world.

Shane Dean
Spokane, Wash.

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