I'm sure anyone who watched the Bill Moyers' Coming Clean special on PBS (March 26) was shocked and appalled at the realities of the chemical poisoning that is taking place in this country with full knowledge of the chemical industry, and the complete lack of protection afforded us by our "protective" government agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency.

However, I would like to point out an aspect of this issue that is not widely discussed and I believe is even more important than the deception of the chemical companies and the governmental policies that place industry considerations above public health.

It's about personal choice. It's time for us to wake up to the facts. When we spend money, we are voting, and it isn't someone else's responsibility to tell us what is safe and what is dangerous. We need to start exercising that priceless skill, which is largely lost in today's world, known as common sense.

There will never be protective public policies that can do any more than play catch-up with the industry. The only way we can truly make lasting changes is to change ourselves and teach our children a new belief system based on the precautionary principle. We must learn to read labels, and if we don't know for a fact that the substances in a product are safe, we don't buy it. It might be a bit inconvenient, but then so is cancer, as two-thirds of us will personally discover in our lifetimes.

Don Caron

Spokane, Wash.

I read with interest your article on Walt Worthy's efforts to restore the Davenport Hotel in the March 8 edition of The Inlander. I hope Mr. Worthy restores an old tradition that went with Spokane's finest hotel in its heyday. They used to polish to a shiny brilliance every copper penny that passed through the business. As a kid in Spokane, I remember every time someone found a shiny penny in their change, they would say, "This came from the Davenport."

Don Baumgart

Nevada City, Calif.

This is the Year of the Snake! Americans who paid income tax won't be pleased to learn that hundreds of millions of their annual tax dollars are wasted in a failed policy of barging and trucking Snake River salmon past four hydroelectric dams.

There were millions of salmon when Lewis and Clark braved the rapids of the Snake. Since the 1970s, the Snake's wild salmon population has dropped by nearly 90 percent. Every species of salmon and steelhead in the Snake River is endangered and facing extinction.

Barging and trucking fish began in 1977 to stop the decline of salmon. Scientists determined if 2 percent of salmon that begin a journey to the sea return to spawn, salmon levels would remain stable. But only once since barging and trucking salmon began has the return rate reached 2 percent.

If salmon go extinct, the U.S. taxpayer becomes liable for billions of dollars to American Indian tribes, who in exchange for tribal lands have fishing rights to salmon through treaties with the government.

The government acknowledges that removal of four Lower Snake dams is the surest scientific means of restoring salmon. They chose other methods first, including attempts to improve the habitat in the Columbia and Snake basins. However, Bush administration budget cuts give no assurances that fish-saving measures will be funded.

American taxpayers have spent more than $1 billion on this failed effort to truck salmon around the dams. It's time for partial removal of these four dams. Anything less is a waste of taxpayers' money and a guarantee of future tax liabilities.

Chase C. Davis

Sierra Club Regional Representative

Spokane, Wash.

Thank you for the great article on the "Smart Moves" campaign in the April 5 edition of The Inlander. Without the coverage from media such as your paper, we would not be able to educate the residents of Spokane on how important commuting alternatives are to our limited fossil fuel resources, air quality and quality of life.

Margee Chambers

Spokane County Air Pollution Control Authority (SCAPCA)

Dreamworks Animation: The Exhibition @ Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture

Tuesdays-Sundays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Continues through Sept. 11
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