by Inlander Readers & r & I & amp;hearts; Trees & r & I wanted to thank you for the "In Celebration of Trees" issue (The Inlander, 8/25/05). I hope that you will consider doing an expanded pullout section in the future. I think that Paul Haeder's article "Celebrate Trees, Rejoice in Life" was the most important in its factual data and its passion. Our urban forests are being destroyed at such an alarming rate, not only by developers, but by homeowners. I appreciate the passion of those who advocate, educate and value our trees.

Zandra Saez & r & Spokane, Wash.

Spilling the Beans & r & It's hard to understand how Bill Stimson's story in The Inlander about saving the Davenport (8/15/05) qualifies as "news" rather than commentary - or better yet short fiction. His recent piece, in which he gives himself and the Friends of the Davenport credit for convincing WWP to "admit its mistake," remediate the downtown oil spill and make peace with former Davenport owner Wai Choi Ng is reminiscent of the crowing rooster taking credit for making the sun come up in the morning.

As a former member of Washington Water Power's Oil Spill Remediation Team, I remember the facts somewhat differently. WWP's former CEO, Paul Redmond widely demonstrated his genuine commitment to Spokane and the revitalization of its downtown. Redmond aggressively led efforts to remediate the Bunker C oil spill from the time he learned about it.

Wai Choi Ng, to the contrary, was caught in a bad investment with a business plan no one would finance. When he learned of the spill, he immediately put himself to work in an effort to find a way out of his Davenport investment. With the help of Paul Sandifur and the Friends of the Davenport (hopefully, unwittingly), Ng eventually succeeded. But very little of the healthy settlement he got from WWP ever went into the Davenport. Without Karen and Walt Worthy, the future of the hotel would still be in doubt today.

While WWP was buying up nearby properties, working with the Washington Department of Ecology on a plan to manage the spill, indemnifying property owners and investing in the commercial rehabilitation of the Steam Plant in an effort bring new economic life to that downtown neighborhood, Wai Choi Ng was furtively digging for oil in the hotel basement. All he ever found were oily remnants of the former underground parking garage that became the subject of a separate Ecology investigation.

The truth of the matter is that Stimson and his friends existed only on the periphery of this significant piece of Spokane's history, while Paul Redmond and the senior management of WWP engaged in what was truly an uncommon corporate commitment to "do the right thing" for the community. They struck a deal with Ng only because it became clear he was prepared to do everything he could to obstruct their efforts if they didn't.

Bob Mansfield & r & Retired Avista Engineer & r & Spokane, Wash.

Davenport Deception & r & Because I was deeply involved, along with a team of others in the remediation of the oil spill, I take exception to Mr. Stimson's version of the oil spill remediation (The Inlander, 8/15/05).

The simple facts of the matter are that Paul Redmond, along with Julie and Ron Wells, Karen and Walt Worthy and many others, had more of a commitment to Spokane and the revitalization of its downtown than just about any of their contemporaries.

As WWP's CEO, Mr. Redmond had every intention of remediating the underground Bunker C oil spill from the first day he learned of its existence and he made sure everyone in the corporation knew it.

I reflect on what we have now and am proud of the people who made it happen.

Pete Kerwien & r & Avista Retiree & r & Camano Island, Wash.

Battle Stations! & r & Not to be alarmist, but America is currently in a decisive battle to protect the most basic of her freedoms, the one upon which all other freedoms depend. Our access to media and our freedom to speak as we please in the language we choose have never been more threatened than they are today. Whether it's Pat Robertson whose solution to speech he disagrees with is to kill the speaker or whether it's talker Bill O'Reilly and his kind who slay the voices of their critics with the hang up and shout down, the goal is to silence speech which they find offensive or with which they disagree.

Even locally we have a fundamentalist columnist and blogmeister, who shall go nameless, who paternalistically patrols his blog to make sure that only the tamest of quibbles with his philosophy are allowed.

Some say liberals do these things, and I do witness such shenanigans on the only truly lefty network--Air America. At 1280 on your dial, you can witness the same tactics which so many right wing sources are famous for. By comparing the two, an alert listener can, at least, realize that despite what the right has been claiming, mainstream media, pre-Fox, are and have been pretty balanced all along.

Yet I prefer the left to the right in this disagreement about free speech, for when I listen closely, I note that the left is being attacked for defending everyone's right to speak as he pleases in the language he chooses free of censorship. They are called immoral for defending all manner of speech whatever it's content, for defending uncensored press, films and belle-lettres, in short, for simply defending all speech, yours and mine. For their trouble they are blamed as not being moralistic enough while our local blogmeister and his national kindred are praised by the slave-minded for their constant push to censor speech that offends them and to shut down any voice which does not speak exactly as they want it to speak, even to the point of suggesting murder.

These are dangerous times, my friends. I urge the patriotic to awake, to man the trenches in defense of our Constitution and to stand up for free speech, no matter how offensive, against the fundamental forces of oppression which seek to silence unpopular voices and to leave us with only the propaganda voice of those media and persons which support the power of the state.

George Thomas & r & Spokane, Wash.

The Wages of War & r & We should all care very much that the Bush administration continues to cut taxes for the rich. This administration has adamantly been shifting the tax burden from the Upper Class to the Middle Class. If this trend continues, there will be no Middle Class. There will be an Upper Class (very small numbers) and a Lower Class (very large numbers). We're the ones who make this wheel turn, and we're the ones who can bring it to a halt.

I bring this up because the occupation of Iraq is costing taxpayers billions of dollars, with no end in sight to either the dollars flowing out of this country or the killing and maiming of Americans and Iraqis. If you are at all curious about just how much this administration's illegal and immoral war on the Iraqis is costing us taxpayers, go to the website,, and see for yourself. You can also see how much it is costing the taxpayers of individual states.

If this concerns you, please let your congressional representatives know what you think. If we don't stop this insane administration, the future is bleak and we will have no one to blame but ourselves.

Susan Westervelt & r & Deary, Idaho

Evergreen State of Consciousness Five Year Anniversary @ Washington Cracker Co. Building

Sat., Jan. 28, 5 p.m.-1:45 a.m.
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