Food For Thought -- Thank you for opening the latest issue of The Inlander with the first two opinion articles -- "Time to Rebuild America" by Jonathan Schell and "Don't Blame the Military" by Robert Herold (4/3/03). Both were thoughtful and timely. At this critical time, reassessing leadership often sends ripples of non-patriotism. I find this hard to believe. The whys and wherefores need scrutiny, especially when human existence is at stake.
The use of any military force thrown around for "just" causes is a frightening prospect. My feeling was echoed in those aptly written articles. Which brings me to a disagreement with Amy Maine's letter, "Stick to Singing," about the Dixie Chicks (4/3/03). Public figures such as these musical performers are meant for a unique guidance in non-daily activities. They offer a place to reflect and "use the muse" as it were. They have a duty to stand up to their insights. No cowering here! They are as brave as any soldier in my mind.
That display is also seen in The Inlander's approach. First, show concern for pertinent issues, and then get on with life! The rest of your issue didn't dwell on the dark side but continued with lively discourses on food, music and our area's social scene. You are well appreciated!
More Opinions Needed -- Like most people my age who want to find out what is going on each week, I grab The Inlander. I find it increasingly difficult to do so without becoming frustrated and even mad at the one-sided commentaries flooding through the paper. Small, independent newspapers notoriously are a magnet for outspoken liberal opinions -- that's life and free speech. What alarms me is that these sentiments cater to my age group: 18-30 year-olds.
There is a minority of impressionable youths who are searching for a cause and who largely find one in joining anti-war demonstrators and vocalists, which can be twisted by many misinformed picketers toward anti-Bush, anti-troops, anti-democracy sentiments.
Being accosted by a group of these demonstrators at a local college, I was stunned to realize they felt strength in numbers of demonstrators. When pushed, they found it difficult to explain their positions. The irony: none of the students I talked to had even voted in 2000.
Freedom of speech is a luxury allowed by democracy and that sacrifice. In other countries, including the one we are fighting against, people are persecuted for voicing their thoughts. An educated opinion should be a fundamental responsibility of every citizen. It is hard to find truth without a slant where the media is concerned, print or TV. Convictions, even educated ones, which garner a large audience are presented as if they are fact. The duality of politics is that there is no absolute right or wrong; it survives on debate and is empowered by us, the voting public.
I feel there should be a shift to equal print space for all views.
A Great(ful) Walk -- The Friends of the Centennial Trail are grateful for having been voted the "Best Urban Walk" for 2003, (The Inlander, 3/27/03) and accept our award with pride. We thank you for the recognition.
It is estimated that nearly one million people enjoy the Centennial Trail each year. In fact, the Centennial Trail is one of Spokane's many features that continue to draw tourists, as well as prior residents, back to the area year after year. That the Trail was even nominated for the "Best Urban Walk" category confirms the commitment being made to the enhancement and preservation of a unique experience for those living in and visiting Spokane.
Please call us at 624-7188 or send any comments or suggestions to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our Web site is: www.spokanecentennialtrail.org
Sean A. Bardwell
Friends of the Centennial Trail
More Than a Pain -- In regard to The Inlander's article "Operation: Tort Reform" (4/10/03), the liability insurance crisis goes well beyond the medical profession.
I've been buying and rehabbing distressed rental properties for 27 years. During this time I've had one claim on my landlord's liability insurance, one claim on my homeowner's policy and no claims of any type on my contractor's insurance. My insurance rates have increased 600 percent in 15 years.
I recently purchased a badly damaged house, which should take two to four months to rehab. When I ordered insurance, Allstate informed me that their new policy gives me 30 days to complete the rehab. I tried the substandard insurance market and found that for $417 I can buy a three-month fire policy, but if I do any of the work myself, I can't buy liability insurance at all. With 27 years of rehab experience and a near-perfect record, I can't buy liability insurance!
Blame whom you will: trial lawyers who reap most of the benefits of our tort system, or welfare state liberals, with their belief that bad things that happen to us are always someone else's fault or someone else's responsibility to fix. Take your pick, but one fact remains: Our society has bought into the idea that if the service provider doesn't provide us with perfect results, we have the God-given right to take that provider to the financial cleaners.
Our insurance companies are going broke trying to protect the productive elements of society from this attack on our livelihoods. At age 58, I'd hoped to work another 10 years. Looks like I'll be retiring instead.
Publication date: 04/17/03