WSU becomes example of what not to do

Washington State University’s disingenuous approach to the COVID-19 situation has put Pullman on the front page of the New York Times as among the top ten plague metros in the country and has resulted in other area universities using us as a model of what not to do.

When disaster strikes, WSU has always been something of a negative model, rather than a proactive force. I was here in 1980 when central administration required us all to go back to work after Mount St. Helens exploded — with disastrous results. Today’s version of this lack of preparedness is manifest in the curious idea of central administration that if you wait until just a few weeks before fall semester to tell students who have already signed yearly leases not to come back to Pullman, they will all just fall in line and stay home.

Why did WSU wait so long to go online? Why, when it did announce, did it not do a comprehensive survey to get some idea of how many students would return and why? Why is the administration so surprised that so many students are here?

The University of Washington sent its students letters telling them to test before returning (and pointing them at free options), telling them to get flu shots, and handing them models of contracts they could use with roommates in off-campus housing to maintain COVID-19 safety protocols.

Meanwhile, back in Pullman, in an isolated town with 25 hospital beds and a surge in cases that has us on the front page of the New York Times, WSU — a university with a medical school — is going to get a COVID-19 testing tent up three weeks from now. The pale horse was gone long before the barn door was closed.

Elizabeth Siler

Pullman

Puzzled by the definition

I am still trying to understand today’s racism. Apparently it is racist to not consider a person for a job or office because they are Black or a woman but not racist to hire or elect them because they are Black and/or a woman? (I realize I am mixing racism and sexism here but both are part of my puzzlement.)

Then the media reports (Lewiston Tribune, Aug. 27) on the execution of “the only Native American on federal death row.” Why is the man’s race even mentioned? In a nonracist world he would be just a man and not a Native American man, or a Black man, or a white man, or yellow, red, green or anything else man. As long as any of us are labeled or considered by race in any way I believe that is racism.

Of course by today’s definition my opinion doesn’t count because I am white and male so automatically racist and sexist. Thanks.

Lucky Brandt

Kooskia

It is not about you

Note to Sandra Weeks: Chill.

Your right to live your life ends where my right to be alive begins. It is not about you. It is about protecting the most vulnerable among us — which could be, well, you.

Wayne Beebe

Pullman

Property taxes are not falling

The recent article “Latah County passes $21 million budget” is misleading in regards to the state of taxes in our county. The subtitle states “Property owners will pay about $380 on $100,000 assessed property valuation — the lowest amount since 2008”, as if county leadership is doing us a favor in requesting that the government “not increase taxes during this time of pandemic.”

The article frames our benevolent county leaders as cutting taxes, but the article itself states that there is $424,341 more than the current budget. Where does this money come from? This surge in tax revenue is due to the astronomical increase in property values in Moscow.

My family moved into our current three bedroom house for $145,000 five years ago. Based on the tax rate from last year (not the lower tax rate of 2015) cited in the article, our taxes would have been $569.85. Today, our property is valued at around $210,000, and using the current proposed tax rate, I will pay $798. I am paying an additional $228.15, which in my estimation, is an increase in taxes.

Despite their liberal sensibilities, the county commissioners are committed to a regressive tax that negatively impacts the young and the poor. My family was fortunate enough to acquire this entry level home when it was affordable, but many people in my age group were unable to move in at that time and are now priced out of their first house. Property values may be beyond the control of our county leadership, but a decrease in the tax rate is a way they can do their part, especially considering the money coming in from state and federal sources.

Gerald Dalebout

Moscow

We need fresh air

The Trump/DeJoy U.S. Postal Service scandal is under appropriate scrutiny. But the Great Barrier Reef of McConnell’s Senate obstructionism is still holding. But cracks are appearing. Senate races in many states with formerly secure GOP seats appear to be more in doubt.

Could there be a Lake Missoula style event in the U.S. Senate this fall? Could we see a rise in pressure to flush out McConnell and his minions that have been enabling Trump for years? There are 23 GOP senators up for reelection that voted to acquit this president. Some of whom actually napped during that sham. Those senators need to have a moment of judgment.

Could we finally see consequences for this unconscionable act? Couple the fiasco that was that Senate trial with the complete lack of action on the continuing disaster that is the economic and social effects of the pandemic and we could have some significant fallout.

Isn’t it time that McConnell and his sycophants were flushed out and replaced with fresh water?

The atmosphere in that chamber also needs a new air freshener. That new scent could be called “Progress.”

Idaho can do better. We need fresh air. We need Paulette Jordan. Vote Nov. 3.

Gil Beyer

Sandpoint

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