I read with disappointment the article, "Unsteady Market," by Pia Hansen in the May 10 edition of The Inlander. She states that, "Some vendors didn't agree with the way Jackie Rappe was running things." While this may be the opinion of a very few vendors, what about the rest of us who are more than pleased with the way [MarketPlace president] Jackie Rappe conducts business? Our side of the story was never told.

Rappe is a dedicated individual who works tirelessly to insure the success of the MarketPlace. Without someone like her, I doubt that a venture like the MarketPlace would succeed, and the community would miss the opportunity of participating in a community-based activity. Instead of criticizing, you ought to be giving Rappe three cheers!

Jonelle Widener, MarketPlace vendor

Coeur d'Alene, Idaho

I feel the article, "Unsteady Market," about the Spokane MarketPlace, which ran in the May 10 edition of The Inlander, was too negative. There was not a positive word in there for the market.

Sure, the market has had to move several times, but it's to no fault of its own. Spokane should be proud of the market; all the people there are very friendly and get very good feelings from the tourists and many repeat customers.

Jackie Rappe runs it to best please all customers and vendors. An apology or a new story in print, with more good things about the market, in the future would be nice.

This market means a lot to the people of Spokane and the tourists who like to come to it. Why did you allow your writer to bad-mouth such a nice place? Jackie Rappe has worked so hard to keep it going in Spokane; she deserves all the good input about the market she can get. I have been a volunteer there for four years and am proud to be there.

Dorothy Roberts

Spokane, Wash.

David Corn's commentary on Energy Independence ("Make energy, not war") in the May 17 edition of The Inlander is right on. His facts regarding President Bush's national defense plan are very accurate and well-written. Thanks to you, and to Corn for this article.

Eugene B. Owen

Spokane, Wash.

Picture this: You are a union carpenter. You work hard five days a week, and usually overtime. You make enough money to live simply, support your family and pay your bills. You have some savings. You are strong, but not invincible. If you get hurt, you know your union benefits will take care of you. Consider yourself lucky.

If you were a factory worker in China, or an Okie in the California dustbowl of the '20s, you wouldn't have been so lucky. You might have had a job, but every day you would work sunrise to sunset, and still you would barely have enough to eat. Conditions in those situations were wholly bent on turning a profit for the wealthy; workers were expendable. But you're lucky, since our government is humane. It allows strikes and supports providing workers with a living wage.

Now hold everything. George W. Bush has been elected president. He's one of those wealthy kids, and he doesn't give a darn about you. And George Dubya has just repealed the stipulation on government-funded projects that mandates contractors to pay their workers the prevailing wage. The prevailing wage is the wage that reflects union wages: a wage that workers can live on, not in excess, but in comfort, with the ability to not exist in poverty.

In the past, when a government project was built, the contractor had to pay his workers the prevailing wage. He couldn't rip them off. Repealing this mandate means that our government is unabashedly supporting the exploitation of the working class.

No longer does our government consider our fellow Spokanites worthy of a living wage. It is now acceptable for these workers to work full time and not have enough to make ends meet. And worse, it is acceptable for those workers to have no health insurance; if they get hurt working for the owner, then that's their problem.

Some will say that Dubya is supporting the free market and anything else is communism. The market will fix itself best, they say, when let run free. So let's imagine this "fix" 10 years from now. There's plenty of willing workers in Spokane, so certainly the supply exceeds the demand, and, therefore, the owners can hire for dirt. So the owners pay dirt, and their workers turn into dirt. No self-respecting person would go to work simply so they could get paid next to nothing. Most would sooner stay home and collect welfare. Some will go, but they won't care about the job, and the product will reflect that. Not only will the skilled workers of Spokane lose their jobs, but the welfare of our infrastructure will fall into the hands of unskilled and passionless workers.

This is entirely unacceptable. Return the mandate on government-funded projects now; we will accept nothing less than prevailing wages for our fellow Spokanites. It is entirely inhumane to will some of us into poverty so few can be made richer. Do not support this.

Oliver B. Jones

Spokane, Wash.

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