& & Readers' opinions from around the Inland Northwest & & & &

I am personally against the initiative process as it is law by special interests only. Even if I am basically for the idea, I vote no as the majority of the time the law is poorly written and reflects only the special interest group. I recently visited with my neighbor, a federal judge, on the subject, and he agreed with me. He said, and I agree, that "the best law is negotiated law" and that certainly is not an initiative. However, we both agree that we cannot do away with the initiative process but perhaps should make the process more difficult. How about banning the payment for obtaining signatures?

Enjoyed your article.

& & Kenneth R. Anderson

Spokane, Wash. & &

Regarding the article in The Inlander on October 5 pertaining to I-713, the initiative to ban trapping: The Spokesman-Review (July 6, 2000) stated that I-713 "would exempt mouse and rat trapping from the initiative's provisions."

Now why is this? Is it that the members of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the sponsors of the initiative, are concerned about mice and rats scurrying across the kitchen, garage or front room floor or leaving "calling cards" in the pantry? What's the difference between trapping a mouse that defecates in the pantry and the coyote that raids the hen house?

Fine print in I-713 will allow wildlife officials to "authorize limited use of banned traps if other methods fail to remove a problem animal." By the time permission is granted, any chickens remaining will be good only for dumplings.

If the design of the traps is a concern, why not build them the same as mouse and rat traps, which seem to be acceptable to supporters of I -713?

& & Reg Morgan

Grand Coulee, Wash. & &

The current Sierra Club magazine has a five-page article, "Why Vote?" One thrust of the article was that the election of Dubya would be a disaster for social justice and environmental issues with pro-life oil men as president and vice president. Imagine what would happen to Roe vs. Wade if two or three more Clarence Thomas types, young enough to live another 30-plus years, were appointed to the vacancies predicted on the Supreme Court? With Dubya, scratch global warming mitigations with more subsidized oil drilling in Alaska and off our coasts. A second thrust of the Sierra Club article was that Gore leaves much to be desired for liberals. There may be an explanation described by the one-liner, "Pragmatism wins over idealism." Gore's reduced environmental activism just may be explained by his need to appeal to the monied special interests who do not value the environment very highly but whose financial support is essential for Gore to get elected. If the above is true, the lesser of the two evils is Gore. And the Gore appeal is sweetened if Gore will, after getting elected, hopefully revert to his former environmental self, at least for the early part of his four-year term.

Nader is clearly a highly attractive alternative on the issues important to people like me. Problem: He cannot and will not be elected. If Nader gets 5 percent of the national vote, however, the Green party would get Federal funding in 2004. Such funding would significantly help to inject social justice and environmental issues into the public discourse.

A resolution of this dilemma is suggested by the Sierra Club article. Since Washington state is in the last mainland time zone, predicted results from most of the United States will be available by the time our polls close. Furthermore, there will be pundits guessing how our state will go on the presidency. The solution: If Washington may be decisive in selecting Dubya or Al, vote Al. If not, for whatever reason, vote Nader to help give him the 5 percent.

& & Julian Powers

Spokane, Wash. & &

Upon reading your article "All Aboard?" in the Sept. 28 issue, I was struck by a minor error regarding transit use in Spokane. The passage of I-695 did dramatically affect Spokane Transit's future funding by decreasing our revenue by 40-45 percent per year. STA has made service cuts of only about 12 percent since implementation of the initiative. Our board of directors has chosen to supplement the cuts with agency reserves. These reserves had originally been set aside to fund programs such as alternative fuels conversion, capital replacement and self insurance. The organization also cut expenses by implementing a hiring freeze, eliminating nearly all future capital purchases and cutting budgets agencywide.

The service reductions were aimed at the lowest ridership times and locations, in an attempt to affect the fewest people. These cuts were particularly difficult to make because our ridership has been on an upward trend for several years. At this point in 2000, we are showing a 5 percent growth rate year-to-date. Projected to year end, our ridership may reach over 8.5 million for the first time since World War II. This positive growth trend makes the inevitable, deeper service reductions even more discouraging. While some discount the importance of transit and the use of alternative transportation modes as "social engineering," more informed community members recognize the essential nature of a transit system to a livable community, and the essential nature of alternatives to the 40 percent or more of our community that does not drive.

& & Teresa Stueckle Customer and Public Relations Manager Spokane Transit Authority & &

Bloomsday 2020 @ Spokane

Sept. 18-27
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