by Inlander Readers & r & More Radio Payola & r & I had to disagree, vehemently in places, with several of Michael Hood's assertions in "Grass Roots or AstroTurf" (8/11/05). At a glance, it seems that Hood, like so many of his liberal counterparts, only believes in the Constitution when it suits him. Radio personalities are no different from the usual host of talking heads on television. In talk radio, DJs are free to express their personal views in any way they see fit. If they go too far, management will take sanctions.

To state that talk radio gave Initiative 912 an "unfair advantage" with respect to signature gathering is further incorrect if one puts it into the following context: I-912 did not ever pay for signatures. In fact, I-912 is the only initiative on November's ballot that did not pay for signatures.

That Hood resents the conservative slant of talk radio is understandable. I make no judgments on either the value of I-912, nor on the content of any pundit, regardless of which side of the fence he or she is on. What I find most galling about Hood is that he bitterly resents the perception that talk radio is about "winning Republican power and influence disproportionate to their minority numbers" while having previously stated that such radio has a "daily direct line into the ears of tens of thousands of folks."

C'mon, Mr. Hood, you can't have it both ways. Either there is a large, increasingly organized contingent of conservatives in Washington state bent on tempering some of the almost three decades of liberal statewide (mis)management, or just a radical handful of nut jobs have somehow managed to snowball an otherwise intelligent and enlightened population.

Charles M. Heinlen & r & Okanogan, Wash.

Over Troubled Water? & r & I was born and raised in Ketchikan, Alaska, and still have many relatives living there. In reading your recent article "Bridges to Nowhere" (8/11/05), I wasn't a bit surprised about Don Young and his pork barrel of a bridge. But what you neglected to mention is that they've been trying to get that same bridge to Gravina Island built since I was born in 1973. Each time money is earmarked for that project, it's gotten shut down at the local or state level.

The reason the bridge is planned to be 80 feet taller than the Brooklyn Bridge is because of the water traffic in the Tongass Narrows. From May to September, we have five to eight cruise ships a day docked and harbored in Ketchikan. Our population jumps from 8,000 to 14,000 in those months because of tourists and summer workers. This proposed bridge must be that tall to accommodate the passage of the cruise ships and the ferries.

I may not be a resident of Ketchikan anymore, but if I was, I still wouldn't be concerned about the bridge. It's been an urban legend for decades now and probably will continue to be so. What the town really needs is just what Spokane also needs -- fewer potholes. Let's try to get the money for the bridge sent to the actual roads that the residents have to drive on daily -- not for a bridge they would use only a few times a year to go the airport!

Amy Marksheffel-Balenzano & r & Spokane, Wash.

Long Walk to Cleanliness & r & This is a quick thank-you for your "Native Habitat" article (8/11/05). It was great to find out who had done all the work cleaning up at our little neighborhood park, Drumheller Springs. My wife Marion (along with our dog) discovered this area a few years ago; since then, we have called it our own. Our walks throughout the year in the snow, rain, spring and fall are very special to us. Watching the way the park changes from season to season adds so much to our walks. As a result, we adopted the park long ago, picking up after our dog along with other trash.

We have always believed in the old hikers' adage, to "bring out more than you brought." It should not matter whether it's the Centennial Trail, Audubon Park, Drumheller Springs or the street in front of your home -- all Spokane citizens need to adopt the care of the parks and things we use, and to teach our children this also. I don't want to discount the heavy work done by our friends from the Upper Columbia United Tribes (UCUT) -- we know they just got started, and our hats are off to them! It is important for us all to care for our little corners of our city. Thanks to all who do so -- and a special thank-you to all of the volunteers of UCUT.

Jonathan and Marion Roberts & r & Spokane, Wash.

American Original: The Life and Work of John James Audubon @ Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture

Tuesdays-Sundays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Continues through Sept. 19
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