What does Newhouse stand for?
When I was 12 years old, I visited my grandmother in New York City. I still remember climbing the endless stairs to the top of the Statue of Liberty and looking out over the harbor in awe. Her parents came through Ellis Island and that night she helped me memorize my very first poem, Emma Lazarus’s “The New Colossus.” To this day, I can recite the last stanza:
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, the tempest-tost to me.
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”
I want to applaud Dan Newhouse for sponsoring the Bridge Act. But that is not enough. I want to know what Dan Newhouse really stands for. Does he stand for the ideals that our nation was founded on?
Or does he stand for a wall? A billion-dollar boondoggle that, when finished, will be climbed over, dug under and swam around. Another ostentatious piece of real estate with Donald Trump’s name on it.
We are almost all descended from immigrants. And, unless you are a Native American, you are descended from “illegal” immigrants.
Craig Lints, Brewster
Help restore grizzlies
Grizzlies have been part of my past national park ranger working life, and I consequently learned a few things about them, and peoples’ behavior around all bears. Denali National Park trained me in the use of shotguns, but not pepper spray, back in 1980. They, however, supplied me with neither, and sent me out alone usually, with no radio, and only instructions to keep track of grizzlies, moose and people.
Most hikers, I learned, had no clue about how to coexist safely with wildlife, and most of my contacts needed to cover the basics about wind and the animals’ ability to smell, see and hear. Often I would show them bears they hadn’t seen. Once, while eating lunch with some hikers, they opened a can of sardines upwind of some grizzlies I’d pointed out about 3 miles away. We estimated how long it would take the wind to alert the bears, and watched with binoculars as sure enough they alerted and departed, right on cue. Bears love sardines, but are also smart enough to know that the people with that smell are trouble. Intensively visited and managed national parks quickly educate their bears.
A momma moose with her calf used to sleep snuggled up to my patrol cabin to stay safe from grizzlies and wolves. Most wildlife are much smarter than we give them credit for. My detours around areas where bears might be surprised and puzzled my fellow park employees who sometimes were sent out with me. Awareness of wind direction is simply not part of urban culture, but it will be part of smart Methow hikers’ skill set when grizzlies arrive. Bear spray will also be part of standard hiking gear, because our trails often go through brushy areas, and it’s more effective than firearms. It also saves bears, and as expensive as their restoration is, each bear is worth a lot of taxpayers’ money.
I voted for alternative D, the most aggressive one, but have also endorsed C, which seems to be more politically acceptable.
Eric Burr, Mazama
Fiscal reckoning is coming
The grizzly bear is a magnificent animal. There is absolutely no doubt about it. They would add a sense of “wild” to the wilderness. But I do have a concern regarding this federal initiative.
Currently the federal government is in debt approximately $20,000,000,000,000 and the debt is growing by approximately $1,000,000,000,000 every year. Simple interest, on the debt, if paid at a very conservative rate of 2, percent would be $400,000,000,000 per year. Can we really afford to capture and relocate these bears just because we want to move them? Is this a wise use of our tax dollars?
Sooner or later the federal government is going to have learn fiscal responsibility. Whether it will be the Congress or the president, this administration or a future one, Republican or Democrat, I don’t know. But the day is coming. I don’t know if our elected officials will step up to the plate and do it voluntarily or if it will be forced upon them, but the day is coming.
There will be a significant amount of pain as our elected officials, and the voters, learn that every whim cannot be funded by borrowed federal dollars. We are looking at major cuts in federal spending, major increases in federal taxes, or a combination of the two. If we do this voluntarily we will have some control over where/how our greatly reduced federal dollars; and/or our greatly reduced personal dollars are spent. If fiscal responsibility is forced upon our government we will have very little control over how or where the pain is felt.
A wise man once said you eat an elephant one bite at a time. Our “elephant” is huge. Shouldn’t we at least start thinking about that first bite?
Mike Newman, Twisp and Mount Vernon
The real ‘newcomers’
I would like to throw in my 2 cents on the matter of renaming Squaw Creek by pointing out who the change-making newcomers to the valley really were, and the cultural sensitivity of the name they (newcomers) gave that stream.
The European-Americans were really the newcomers to the valley, arriving in significant numbers after the Moses Columbia Indian Reservation was opened to non-Indian settlement in 1886. That was only 140 years ago, and a drop in the bucket of time compared to the thousands of years of occupancy by the first inhabitants. If there is a case to be made for “grandfathering” in a name, it would surely go in favor of the longest occupancy.
Then, there is the matter to do with the name imposed by the early whites — Squaw Creek. One should make no mistake about the negative connotation of this word. It ranks right up there with other derogatory place names.
As a kid growing up in Okanogan County I often heard the word “squaw” used by whites in reference to Indian women. It was part of the culture and was usually used in a derogatory tone.
My good friend Bob Tonseth takes a different view of the Squaw Creek renaming, as he stated in his recent letter to the editor. Bob and I go back 70 of our 79 years when we started tromping the mountains of the valley together. I have the highest respect for Bob. He is a natural leader and I salute him for his many years at the helm of the Okanogan County Historical Society and his other significant historical achievements. We just happen to disagree on the Squaw Creek renaming.
Chuck Borg, Wenatchee
After years of promising an alternative to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Rep. Paul Ryan and our new Health and Human Services secretary, Tom Price, presented their alternative plan last month. Our representative for District 4, Dan Newhouse, approves of this plan, saying it will restore access to quality, affordable health care options. As the plan is written, it doesn’t come close to achieving Newhouse’s goals.
The proposed Ryan plan will likely result in the loss of health care insurance for many of the 11,300 people in District 4 who gained access to health care through the ACA. The Congressional Budget Office estimated the 2015 version of Ryan’s new plan would increase the number of uninsured people by 18 million the first year, swelling to 32 million uninsured in 2026, along with increased premiums.
This new plan, which does nothing to increase quality or reduce the cost of health care, pretends to make health insurance more affordable. The “refundable tax credits” will no longer be based on income. Instead, a reduced subsidy will be given to those low-income people who struggle to pay health care premiums, and a new subsidy will be given to those with high incomes, and really don’t need a subsidy. And the proposed plan eliminates previous help to low-income people for deductibles, co-pays and out-of-pocket expenses. The new plan asks that we use HSAs (Health Savings Accounts) for out-of-pocket expenses. HSAs have been around since 2003, and have been shown to benefit the affluent most, not those low-income people who need help paying out-of-pocket expenses. Low-income people don’t have the extra dollars to fund an HSA.
Luckily, this new plan is not yet the law of the land. Now is the time to question Dan Newhouse and ask him to provide answers and a promise. Will as many people be insured under this new plan as in 2016 under the ACA? Ask for numbers likely to be covered, not numbers who have access, and hold him to it. We don’t want to backtrack on the 20 million newly insured.
David Clement, Winthrop
I whole-heartedly agree with Bob Tonseth’s statement in his letter last week: “I don’t think that it’s right for people to move to this valley … and then try to change everything to what they think it should be, particularly without talking to the people who will be directly affected by those changes.”
His sentiment is precisely why Joanna Bastian’s application for a name change from Squaw Creek to Swaram Creek is important. This was the mistake made over 100 years ago. We have an opportunity to correct it now.
I feel for Mr. Tonseth’s concerns, both about honoring the heritage of his ancestors and about the costs associated with the change. I regret that folks living along the creek will be inconvenienced.
However, these inconveniences are vastly outweighed by the positive impact of a name change. The name Swaram Creek carries stories, memories and legacies for generations, stretching back millennia.
The word “squaw” comes from Algonquian roots, spoken in Massachusetts. It is widely accepted as a derogatory term for a native woman (the dictionary lists it as “offensive”). It reminds us that throughout the history of settlement, native women were barely considered human at all. Already, many local and state municipalities have gone through the trouble of renaming sites called Squaw because of this history.
Violence against native women is epidemic in the United States and Canada. They face rates of sexual and physical assault 2-½ times higher than violence against any other group of women in the United States. They are murdered at a rate 10 times the national average. A larger percent of victimization against these women are committed by white offenders, compared to indigenous offenders.
Changing the name of a creek may seem a small and unrelated thing. Yet names have power. Settlers created the negative stereotype of “squaw.” In turn, this fueled the conditions that allow for unspeakable horrors to continue in the lives of indigenous women today.
Changing the name of the creek begins to honor the legacy of native women as survivors, story-carriers, culture-bearers and so much more.
Darcy Ottey, Winthrop