Letters to the Editor

Letters: Aug. 4, 2019

Tire change was a great help

On July 22, we were driving on Keene Road, taking our two granddaughters home. We had a tire blowout just before the exit for Fairchild Cinemas. It was hot, and we were not looking forward to changing the tire.

A gentleman named Eric saw us, turned around and came back to help. He pretty much changed the tire himself and was so gracious he even joked about being on his way to the gym and using this as his pre-workout. It probably took less than half the time it would have taken without him. Our older granddaughter was fascinated by how he fixed it, and her sister never even woke up. Thanks again, Eric!

Aleda and Roy Brogdon, Richland

Drag queen hour left folks laughing

As a regular at Barnes and Noble, I was there during the [drag queen] story hour. Once it was over, children of all ages, as well as adults and some of the readers, were wandering through the store, all laughing and having a good time. While I was having my espresso in the cafe, I overheard a little girl in jeans and T-shirt at a nearby table say to her mother, “Mom, is it okay for boys to dress like girls? Aren’t I dressed like a boy?” I silently applauded her mother’s reply, which was in essence, “Boys and girls can dress any way they want to. Remember that your dad and I have always told you: You can be whatever you want to be.”

A benefit of being exposed to all kinds of people early in life is that, as you grow up, you become more understanding and tolerant of those who are different from yourself. I think that’s what Barnes and Noble was focused on. Our current world is rife with so much divisiveness, hatred and violence — racist, religious, political — that, one hopes, can be overcome by knowing, understanding and accepting people who are different.

Brenda E. Sartoris, Richland

Congress playing misguided game

The Congress is apparently egotistical, not too sharp or seriously misguided. How can it be otherwise when they know they are spending money to put us far into debt? In less than 25 years, we will be unable to pay even the interest on our national debts and will be seriously beholden to those we owe. Further evidence of refusal to face facts is they have no reliable plans to get back into honest financial management. What are the people supposed to think of them?

a) Their attitude is to get rich while they can and to heck with the needs of the ordinary citizens.

b) The are so smart they can ignore the cries of the needy for making a living.

c) They can legislate promises till the cows come home on nonexistent money as long as it doesn’t impact them.

d) They are violently trying to conceal the real problem by blatant attacks on President Trump — a typical child’s game played by adults.

The lawyers surely know this, but we don’t see any real action to correct the problem. [Also the Supreme Court surely has some say but prefer to overlook the problem.) Come on you guys and give the people a break!

James C. Langford, Richland

Nike’s decision ‘truly disgraceful’

Recently, Nike canceled the release of a sneaker with the original American flag design on it, commonly known as the Betsy Ross flag. This happened because Colin Kaepernick, former football player for the San Francisco 49ers, said the Betsy Ross flag was a symbol of hatred that offended him and other people, connecting the flag to American slavery. Because Nike had made a significant sponsorship with Kaepernick, it chose to bend to his complaint, not wanting to anger someone who could bring the company more revenue. Kaepernick couldn’t be more wrong about the flag.

Even though slavery was an issue in our country for a long time, that is certainly not what the flag represents. The flag represents freedom, symbolizing how 13 British colonies were uniting and breaking away from the oppressive government of Britain. It’s truly disgraceful that Nike made this decision, which amounted to disrespect for the American flag and the nation’s heritage. When faced with either doing the right thing or making more money, Nike sadly chose the latter. I would encourage you to boycott Nike by refusing to buy its products. A company that is okay with such disrespect is not deserving of our patronage.

Kaleb Fisler, Kennewick

Spend money on universal study

The recent study funded by ECO Northwest admits that there is scientific debate about the benefits of removing the Snake River dams because of the many factors relating to he decline of the salmon runs. No valid conclusion can therefore be made on the efficacy of any single corrective action.

If we are to save the Columbia River salmon runs, we need to stop wasting money on studies that are self-serving and arguments between Western and Eastern Washington. We need to put our resources into a universal study of the entire Columbia Basin, upriver spawning habitat and ocean conditions that will prioritize these factors and determine effective actions necessary to save the salmon runs. Anything less is a false hope established on poor science.

Sheldon Coleman, Richland

Very different truths

In his letter of July 25, 2019, James Cheshire quotes the Bible, imploring us (in particular, Lee Walmsley) to “know the truth and it will set you free.” No doubt Mr. Walmsley would agree. So would I.

Mr. Cheshire and Mr. Walmsley, however, subscribe to different versions of the truth. Mr. Cheshire’s truth is the version espoused by Donald Trump. Mr. Walmsley’s truth is Mr. Trump’s “fake news,” the facts and events reported by the liberal media.

Another oft-quoted source (Shakespeare) tells us that “the truth will out.” Mr. Cheshire and Mr. Walmsley would undoubtedly agree with this statement, too, although they would differ on the version of truth that will finally prevail.

Yet another source of words that are often repeated has said that “what you’re reading and what you’re seeing is not what’s happening.” I hope neither Mr. Cheshire nor Mr. Walmsley believes that assertion. I don’t.

Those words, of course, belong to Donald Trump, a man I have seen and heard tell countless lies. If Trump’s version of the truth is the version that “will out,” it won’t set us free. It will make us prisoners – prisoners of our unwillingness to recognize lies for what they are.

Lee Semsen, Richland

Comment time not adequate for this

Many public governing boards invite citizens to make three-minute comments at their monthly meetings. This time-limit is challenging for well-organized and articulate speakers, but is inadequate for those who are not.

An example is Columbia Basin College’s Board of Directors meetings. For consecutive months, I made incomplete three-minutes comments expressing concern about the college’s punishment of a tenured black female physics professor with 25 years of distinguished service to the college and community…

This ongoing punishment includes (a) more than one-year suspension, removal from the classroom, banishment from campus, alienation from colleagues and students, dismissal proceedings and pending board dismissal…

Why? Not for drugs, rape or violence, but allegedly for one student’s dislike of the professor’s teaching style in the on-line Physics 100 class and lab she created, had certified and taught successfully for years.

New/current college administrators charged the professor with professional incompetence, gross neglect of duty, union contract violations and violations of college policies…

This punishment and dismissal processing are excessive. Justice demands a full public hearing for the board’s understanding and action on this unprecedented human resource issue. A three-minutes comment opportunity at the end of the board’s agenda every 30 days is insufficient...

Dallas E. Barnes, Pasco

Child sex abuse destroys the soul

Child sexual abuse is the attempted murder of a child’s spirit. It distorts a child’s fundamental belief in love, protection and safety. There are no excuses for abusing a child.

We know from research that there are a variety of abuses that children experience that could lead to reenactment of negative behavior. We should remove the words “child pornography” and replace it with “watching a child being sexually assaulted.” This image should be repugnant to all.

Children are unaware of the emotional impact of sex and sexual activity. They do not know what is being done to them, they are threatened to keep secrets, blamed and physically forced by the adult and sometimes an older child. They are then subjected to a pseudo-adult role to discuss their abuse with strangers and we expect them to be competent as adults with clarity, when they were unable to consent in the beginning, to put the adult away.

We have to work diligently as adults and not be quiet bystanders to stop abuse. We have great resources in this area such as SARC.

Offer financial support, volunteer. War is not good as it destroys the world. Sex abuse destroys the soul.

Michael Henry, Richland

A shoutout for lacrosse backers

Enjoyed your article in Sunday’s Tri-City Herald about the Three Rivers Lacrosse team delivering ice throughout the Water Follies. A big shoutout also to Columbia Basin Ice for their support of TR Lacrosse in this effort!

Colleen Thornton, Richland

Fossil fuel faces limited future

Many of the past economic recessions in recent decades have involved the bursting of financial bubbles when hidden risk is exposed. Like it or not, global warming carries considerable financial risk, and not just from the considerable impacts of the warming.

The vast majority of the value of fossil fuel companies is in proven reserves of fossil fuel. If global warming is to be limited, most of the reserves must remain in the ground. Doing so will devastate the value of fossil fuel companies. While some companies are diversifying, all remain very exposed to the inevitable day when effective climate policies are implemented to prevent even greater losses from climate change.

Those of us fortunate enough to hold investments have choices in our investment portfolios. Financial prudence would suggest we limit our exposure to the risk of aggressive climate action by moving investments from fossil fuel companies to companies developing carbon-free energy sources and technology. Consult your financial adviser today, and sleep better tonight.

Steve Ghan, Richland

Treat refugees as well as inmates

Locking people up puts added responsibility on those who keep them to ensure they are treated humanely. Most officers I saw when I taught at Walla Walla State Penitentiary were fair to inmates even if they had to wear a stern “game face” to deal evenhandedly with often angry, feces-throwing convicts. To keep the peace, the officers tried to de-escalate what could have been worse.

In any case, inmates were given three hots and a cot and water, even in seg.

The vast majority of people at the border seeking asylum are not felons and don’t deserve to be treated inhumanely and certainly not provided with less consideration than we would have for prisoners. This is less “bleeding heart” than common decency.

If the president had not fired so many judges, he could have had 4,000 of them help vet people at the border to separate those who needed political asylum from those who had criminal records and deserved deportation. The brutal treatment of cramming people into small spaces and telling them there’s water in the toilet if they want to drink is heartless, and the “people” who approve of such treatment have lost their souls.

Michael J. Kiefel, Walla Walla

Leadership, ethics are intertwined

Many years ago, I took a course on “Ethics and Leadership.” In the course, the facilitator asked the question, “Which would you prefer, a leader who was ethical but incompetent, or a leader who was competent, but unethical?” After much discussion, the facilitator pointed out that the best choice was an ethical leader. An ethical leader will be honest and self-critical and will ask for the help needed to overcome incompetence. However, a competent, but unethical leader, will also be competent … at doing unethical things. Do you really want a leader who is skilled at being unethical?

So, regardless of competence, it is worth asking ourselves, how important is the ethics of our nation’s leader? The answer we give certainly says something about us. If we defend our leader’s lies, can we, as a country, be trusted? If our leader brags and bullies, do we admire self-conceit and offensive mockery? If we excuse our leader’s sexually predatory behavior, don’t we condone it by others? If we allow our leader to enact cruel policies, aren’t we complicit with cruelty? A great country should strive to embody ethical values and reject leadership that does not do the same.

Theresa Bergsman, Richland