& & by Pia K. Hansen & & & &

& & Fund-raising flop & & & &

SPOKANE -- Mud was flying in the county commissioner's race last week when an e-mail written by Spokane County Sheriff Mark Sterk (who was a Republican state representative in the mid '90s) turned up on Spokane home computers.

In the e-mail, Sterk accuses County Commissioner John Roskelley (D) of attempting to cut funding for the serial killer task force and for working against public safety in general.

"Mr. Roskelley cares about radical left wing environmental issues more than he cares about the safety of our kids in our schools, " says the e-mail, before it goes on to ask for donations to Karl Wilkinson, Roskelley's republican opponent.

"The charges this e-mail makes are categorically untrue, " said Roskelley, at a Thursday press conference. "For [Sterk] to imply that I would denigrate the value of any human's life is so false and so indecent, as to be laughable. "

Roskelley is considering filing legal action for slander and defamation against the sheriff. He says voting records will show that he did not vote to cut funding for the task force.

"I have to question everyone who walks in with a budget request, " he says.

Sterk showed up at the press conference, too. "It is quite clear that John and I have differences of opinion, " he said. "From the day I was elected, I felt that John wouldn't support me. My perspective was that he only voted with the two other commissioners when he felt like he was going to lose if he didn't. "

Wilkinson is reluctant to take any responsibility for the contents of the e-mail.

"No, I didn't read the letter before it went out, " he says. "I did call Sterk and asked for help with fund raising. I'll take the blame for that much, but I never expected this. "

Wilkinson adds that the e-mail was intended as a fund-raising letter only to go out to Republicans. When asked if that makes it acceptable to use false statements, Wilkinson hesitates.

"The last thing I want to do is to go after John personally, " says Wilkinson. "I've talked to Sterk since this went out and asked him to tone it down a little in the future. "

& & Climate changes & & & &

SPOKANE -- The global climate is changing. Greenhouse gases continue to aggravate the holes in the earth's ozone layer -- the layer that protects the planet from ultraviolet radiation -- recently making the hole above the South Pole reach as far as the southern parts of Chile and Argentina.

But this is not the only problem. We can expect other climate changes such as more frequent storms and temperature increases.

"In particular, we'll see a raise in sea level, and this is going to have an impact on everyone who lives on the coast, " says Kent J. Bransford, M.D., from Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR). "That's 50 percent of the global population, and the main chunk of Washington's population. " Bransford is giving a presentation on the health impacts of global climate change at WSU-Spokane on Wednesday.

The hardest part to face about climate change, he says, may be that the problems are basically man-made, since most are caused by greenhouse gases such as CO2, which results from the burning of coal in power plants and from the use of combustion engines.

"Over the last decades, CO2 levels have gone up one-third, " says Bransford. "More or less because of this, the temperature has increased by one degree Fahrenheit already. There are predictions that it will go up another two to six degrees Fahrenheit over the next 100 years. That's a very short time geologically. "

So is it all doom and gloom he's bringing to Spokane?

"It really is a downer subject, " says Bransford. "But the good news is to make people aware that we have a problem that is solvable and what they do can make a difference; that's what keeps me going. "

Kent Bransford will be speaking on Wednesday, Oct. 18, at 7 pm at WSU's Phase One Classroom Building's auditorium, 668 N. Riverpoint Blvd. Call: 358-7527.

& & Browne in town & & & &

SPOKANE -- The independent presidential candidates are also campaigning at full speed, and today Libertarian presidential candidate Harry Browne is hosting a rally in Spokane.

The Libertarians already have 169 elected officials all over the nation, and though Browne's bid for the presidency may seem a longshot, his main issues are sure to grab some attention. Basically, Browne wants to return all power -- and leave all choice -- to the individual.

"For each problem America faces today, my solution involves less government, rather than new programs and new powers for the politicians, " says Browne, an investment advisor and author of 11 books on investing and personal freedom, in a prepared statement. "I want you to be free to live your life as you think best -- not as politicians claim is best for America. "

Browne wants to eliminate income tax by making the federal government so small it can handle its constitutional functions with the tariffs and excise taxes already collected. Welfare and other social programs should be handled by charitable organizations.

"I'm running for president because I want you to be free to live your life as you think it should be lived, " he continues. "Not as Al Gore or George W. Bush thinks you should live it. "

& & & lt;i & Browne appears at the downtown DoubleTree Hotel tonight at 7 pm. Call: (425) 277-8192. & lt;/i & & lt;/center &

Pompeii: The Immortal City @ Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture

Through May 3, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
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