January 12, 2005 

Developmental Problems • Spud and Duds • Cope Rocks

how do you spell relief?

Let's say that the earthquake and tsunami occurred on the California coast, surely causing astronomically larger loss of life and property. How many countries would rush to our aid?

--Bob WalkerBoise County

developmental problems

(RE: BW, Dec. 29, Size Matters on the Boise Bench) Urban sprawl is a problem, but the solution isn't to destroy the quality of life in existing neighborhoods.

I have lived on the Boise Bench for 28 years. We have an excellent quality of life and our tree canopy provides a park-like atmosphere. People walk, jog and bicycle on our relatively quiet streets. Thousands of birds and animals live in our trees and vegetation.

We are a diverse neighborhood. A nearby home is for sale at $595,000, yet the Terry Reilly Clinic is seven houses away. We accept some of the city's problems, but we will not accept a concentration of them. Nor will we accept a dump fill, as opposed to "infill."

Several years ago I and many others voted to protect the Foothills from dense and unsightly development and to preserve access, all of which we in the Depot Bench pay for with our property taxes. Why shouldn't this same careful planning apply to my neighborhood? I am proud of our low income areas. Many have trees and yards and a place for kids to play. Or are human warehouses (the solution offered by dense fill pedantic planners) the way to go?

There is no compelling reason to take an established, beautiful neighborhood and make it into a Sacramento suburb or a crammed Los Angeles concrete and mortar neighborhood. This is especially true when trees are at a premium. Go one mile south of my home and there is nothing but desert.

--John Gannon,

Boise

Spud and Duds...a dud

I find it enormously fascinating that an editorial staff who's so seemingly like-minded still manages to speak from both sides of its mouth. On the very same page that John Kerry and the Democrats are criticized for their lack of potency, which led to a string of "what ifs" in the election, the "evangelical religious right" (a conveniently vague label, by the way) seems to be handed the sole blame for Bush's re-election, i.e. the part about them obeying uniformly. Which is it?

Since you use the words "educated" and "smarter" with such authority (describing yourselves, I can only assume), you must be intentionally denying what pundits on both sides of the aisle have been saying since November: It's the party that's out of touch, not the people.

The arrogance with which you all judge this geographically and socially diverse demographic is staggering (I am also a journalist and editor)--opinion pages aren't designed as a forum to insult and debase a group of your readers). But even more, it betrays an attitude of childish finger-pointing and name-calling.

Looking at the numbers, one must conclude this election was about more than religion--how many true Christians do you think there are in modern America? No, my bitter friends, it went beyond that. The Dems will have to do more than film a carefully told documentary catered to Hollywood and stage a series of outdoor rock concerts to secure the vote next time around.

Case in point: Oregon, notably one of the most liberal states in the union, was one from the cluster that voted for a same-sex marriage ban. Will those religious yahoos ever stop?

--Joy Alger

Meridian

geographically challenged

I see your point (BW, Dec. 29, Bringing Home the Bacon) on how a few Pennsylvania taxpayers might be a little pissed seeing their groundhog weather museum relocated to New York. Maybe you could convince the New York taxpayers to relocate Punxsutawney out to Idaho to take care of the wolves and the weeds.

--Punxsutawney Phil BoiseWeekly.com comments.

Editor's note: Uh, sorry. We out West sometimes have a hard time grasping the geographical arrangements of states and their respective cities on the East Coast, especially when some of those states are no bigger than our counties. You are correct, my fine furry friend, Punxsutawney is in Pennsylvania, not New York. For a groundhog your sarcasm is thinly veiled.

cope rocks!

I rarely take the time to respond or write to any media, but I feel it is time. I have taken my liberal outlook for granted and been way too passive in defending what now appear to be eroding privileges I thought were protected and guaranteed under the constitution. I whole heartedly support Bill Cope and his right to offer an alternative (and unfortunately true) opinion. Every word in his last three columns has been perfect! I have no doubt you are inundated with mail from individuals, who out of irrational fear and scripted loathing, are trying to label him as the next Antichrist. I figure he can use some support. Agree or disagree, he has the right to say what he believes. If the opposition can actually provide a factual and well-reasoned rebuttal, I have no doubt the Weekly would see it published. Sadly, when the weapons of emotional rhetoric, patriotism and conformity to the party-line are removed from their arsenal, they have nothing to fall back on. So, I suppose that article will not be forthcoming anytime soon.

I think Cope rocks! Keep up the good work! Don't cave in the face of opposition or adversity. We, both sides and the system, need the voice of Bill Cope. Be as mean as you need to keep the truth in print. I will continue to read.

--Carrie Carmody

Boise

voting reform

I can't imagine just how politically dull Boise would be without your paper. Thanks for providing a great forum for progressive, alternative thinking. Several weeks ago Wendy Jaquet wrote in the Idaho Statesman that many Democrats were interested in electoral college reform (I don't think so). She even suggested that an initiative might be undertaken to promote said reform (I'm not volunteering). Wow! I thought to myself, Bill Cope has a lot more influence than I thought. As far as I know he's the only public person in Idaho to broach the subject prior to Wendy. The power of the written word apparently still has some impact here in Idaho so I'm asking you and Bill to think a little more deeply about the voting process and American idealism--i.e., one man, one vote. It seems to me that our American election process is incredibly flawed. If we truly believe that all men are created equal, it isn't a giant leap to assume that all voters should be treated equally, but that isn't the case in America except possibly in Oregon. If all voters are created equal, the poorest Americans should be voting with just as much ease and comfort as the very rich. To me that requires universal vote-by-mail. The fix would not only be a boon to our democracy, but might also be helpful to the Democratic party since working people might be more apt to vote. I'd like to know more about Oregon's voting process.

--Bob Gregg

more voting reform

Republican lawmakers shamed themselves yesterday. Instead of considering the objections raised by their colleagues, they attacked their integrity. I applaud the courage of Senator Boxer, Representative Tubbs Jones, and other congressional leaders who, in the face of a patronizing, hostile and disrespectful Republican majority, did our country a service by speaking out and demanding that we protect each citizen's right to vote.

Unlike in 2000, when every senator stood silent, Senator Boxer's courageous act brought national attention to this crisis in our democracy and forced a much needed two-hour debate on voting and elections.

Republican leadership has stood in the way of meaningful electoral reform, especially on the issue of an auditable paper trail for electronic voting, despite common sense and bipartisan efforts supporting it. It's unconscionable. How is it that every ATM can give a secured receipt, but not the touch-screen machines that capture and tally our votes? It's the integrity of our democracy that's at stake.

--Jesse AndersonEmmett

Editor's note: We Googled sections of Jesse's letter and found surprising similarities to other letters-to-the-editor published across the country. Claudia (no last name) submitted a letter to The Sante Fe New Mexican, the daily newspaper in Sante Fe, NM, which included "Unlike in 2000, when every senator stood silent, Senator Barbara Boxer's courageous act brought national attention to this ..." Sound familiar?

While it is important to express one's opinion we recommend that you express your own opinion in your own words. No soup for you!

Dangerous

Resolutions

I feel compelled to respond to Bradley Genna's letter to the editor (BW, Jan 5, Mail: Vegetable Resolutions) which he no doubt wrote with the best intentions. Unfortunately, if we follow his well-meaning advice to adopt a diet rich in processed soy foods, we'd be setting ourselves up for a very unhealthy future. We should all resolve to avoid soy like the plague. Not only is it highly estrogenic (soy's been indicated in such hormonal abnormalities as hypospadia in little boys and early onset of menstruation in little girls; it is likely also contributing to the rise in infertility) soy also suppresses thyroid function, interferes with protein digestion, increases the body's requirements for vitamins B12 and D, chelates vital minerals out of the body and contains high levels of aluminum.

We'd be much better off to make a resolution to campaign for the legalization of raw dairy products or to consume only organic, responsibly farmed animal products or to commit to bringing back slow food and devote more time and effort to what we put on the table (not eating soy "fast food.") Keep in mind that most degenerative diseases that currently plague humanity did not always wreak the havoc they do now. We became sick when we switched from the traditional diets rich in saturated fats and other animal products that our ancestors consumed to the processed ersatz foods that line the supermarket shelves of today. For more information on the dangers of soy and the benefits of traditional diets, visit www.westonaprice.org.

--Jennifer Justis

Boise

form letter

In all the hoopla over New Year's resolutions, a phony one keeps slipping into print--by way of a form letter. Bradley Genna's January 5 letter (BW, Jan 5, Mail: Vegetable Resolutions) also appeared in at least 44 other U.S. papers recently. These "letters" were all identical, and in each case a different person "signed" it.

National animal rights groups, desperate to control what's on our dinner plates, manage to place hundreds of propaganda letters like this every year. Watchdogs call them "astroturf," because they artificially mimic grassroots support for an issue. Some are designed to whip up fear about mad cow disease. Others chastise parents for feeding milk to their children or--as in this case--attack meat-eaters for not adopting an all-tofu diet.

Don't get me wrong. There's nothing wrong with being a vegetarian--or a Unitarian, or a Libertarian. It's a free country. But if you must pretend to be morally superior because you've vowed to stop eating steak and sausage, the least you should do is use your own words.

--David Martosko Director of Research, Center for Consumer Freedom, Washington, DC

Editor's note: Mr. Genna's form letter slipped past our five-point system of triple checking similar letters. Oops.

correction

Joanne Springer wrote in her letter to the editor (BW, Jan 5, Mail) that Dr. Larry Dewey is retired. He is not and still works at the Veterans Administration. He told us himself.

Fiction 101

clarification

We were contacted by many concerned readers regarding last week's Fiction 101 grand prize winner. Apparently, the winning piece did not have 101 words. As printed in the newspaper, it was one shy. Our initial response was to claim Price Is Right rules (up to 101 words but not over) but a more careful investigation revealed that an overzealous copy-editing job added a hyphen to a word which created one word out of two, resulting in one less word.

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