Letter: Herald editorials on Arlene's Flowers, Meals on Wheels prayers out of touch

July 12, 2013 

The political makeup of Eastern Washington residents inclines significantly toward conservative viewpoints as confirmed by the results of elections and ballot measures for many years.

Conservatives generally reason that there is great value in vigorously defending and preserving the proven benefits of centuries-old American traditions of freedom, morality, patriotism, religion and self-restraint, for example.

It is profoundly troubling therefore that our hometown newspaper, self-proclaimed "Voice of the Mid-Columbia," seems determined to disparage the actions of the owner of Arlene's Flowers (who frustrated a gay couple's wedding decoration plans) and more recently the senior citizens who took exception to a new Meals on Wheels anti-prayer policy.

Why is it that when a handful of American Civil Liberties Union types raise a fuss against traditional practitioners of religious faith, the Herald gets all self-righteous and editorially launches a volley of derision against such so-called "close-minded hicks" in this area?

Reportedly the gay pride banner now waves -- tauntingly -- from atop Seattle's Space Needle. An atheist monument forcibly shares space with the 10 Commandments at a Florida courthouse. When these and like symbols finally adorn the courts, schools and other public places of the Mid-Columbia, when conservative voices are silenced, will the Herald then find release from its own intolerance?

HENRY JOHNSON

Kennewick

Help crime victims

There have been so many tragedies in the news lately. Often hearing tragic stories of pain and loss can make people feel helpless in assisting others who are victimized.

The Support, Advocacy & Resource Center (SARC) is working in Benton and Franklin counties, advocating and supporting victims of non-domestic violence crimes.

SARC's sexual assault program served more than 360 new victims in the last fiscal year; with the majority of the victims being children. It can be empowering for community members to participate in healing victims and the prevention of crime. Becoming an advocate for sexual assault victims can be the ultimate way to make a difference.

Hearing a comforting voice over the phone or seeing a supportive face can be all someone needs to get through a crisis. SARC is always looking for people to assist with the response to victims 24 hours a day.

SARC will be offering advocacy training this month to help people interested in becoming an advocate. The training begins at 5:30 p.m. July 22 and ends on Aug 11. Please contact SARC at 374-5391 for more information and for a volunteer application packet.

RENEE BLACKMAN

Kennewick

Franklin levy lift: Yes

The recent article about providing emergency medical service to residents in Franklin County Fire District 3 missed the main point: a levy lid lift is needed to continue any kind of emergency medical services for our community.

Whether the fire district has its own community program or contracts for services, taxpayers would need to approve funding for EMS to continue. Once funding is approved, the fire district is open to reviewing written proposals from Pasco's government or any other agency.

Fire District 3 started providing a basic EMS program only after the government of Pasco cancelled the contract we had with them. This happened when Fire District 3 could not afford to pay the 500 percent increase in fees the city demanded.

Since February, Fire District 3 has provided a more cost-effective basic EMS program than any other agency. Also, residents' tax dollars are staying in the community, helping people rather than being paid to the government of Pasco.

A lid lift simply continues funding for EMS and lets us select the best program for the budget that we have. We thank you in advance for considering our request if it is on your election ballot this fall.

LES LITZENBERGER

Chief Franklin Fire District 3

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