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Lee Enterprises

New ownership was good for Montana

In his vitriolic comments about Lee Enterprises, which appeared in the Missoulian Jan. 9, Terry Trieweiler asks "what's changed?" since the Anaconda Co. sold its daily newspapers in Montana to Lee Enterprises in 1959. I'll tell you what's changed. If the Anaconda Co. still owned the Missoulian, Trieweiler's column would not have appeared.

As a delegate to the 1972 Montana Constitutional Convention, I can attest to the fact that Lee Enterprises was very much in the vanguard of support of the new document. I can also attest to the fact that Lee Enterprises was disappointed that the constitutional right to know was limited when that right was exceeded by an individual's right to privacy.

The privilege Montanans have of living in a state where individual freedoms exceed those of citizens of any other state, is that we can, as Trieweiler did, express our views without threat of retribution, or worse, and those views can be printed for everyone to read.

I don't happen to agree with Trieweiler, but I am extremely grateful to have helped provide him, and all other Montanans, with a forum.

Jean M. Bowman,

1911 East Broadway, Missoula

Iraq

Getting Saddam was right thing to do

After reading all the pros and cons of why President Bush toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein, my conclusions favor President Bush on invading Iraq. Regarding detractors of President Bush's action, all they have to do is think back to the actions of Adolf Hitler.

As you read about Hitler's rule, you can easily see that both rulers had about the same structure of ruling. I refer mostly to their acts of repression. It would behoove all of us to read about Hitler's and Hussein's rise to power and the methods they used to accomplish this. The American people would have been ahead by attacking Hitler's regime and saving all those lives he obliterated from the face of the earth during the Second World War.

No, President Bush did the right thing when he conquered Iraq and deposed Hussein and freed the people of Iraq. Now we can build a democratic society in Iraq as we did in Germany.

Albert Stirm,

43 Mission View Drive, Polson

Rattlesnake sewer

Public essentially shut out of process

On Sept. 9, Missoula Public Works Director Bruce Bender told the press that the city had bent over backwards to allow Rattlesnake residents opportunity for public comment about the Rattlesnake sewer project. On Jan. 6, Mayor Mike Kadas told reporters the city has made it easier for residents to participate in Missoula government decision-making processes. Both of these individuals have misled the press and the public.

In spring 2002, the city mailed a postcard to Rattlesnake residents inviting them to a "public meeting" where, according to the postcard, "public comment" was to be received. I was one of the people who attended that meeting. I raised my hand for more than an hour while City Engineer Steve King and Bruce Bender ignored me and others who tried to comment. Finally I stepped out onto the gym floor where I told Bender I wanted to comment. He refused to let me talk, even though the meeting was supposed to be conducted in compliance with Montana state grant agency rules requiring that public comment be taken and recorded. In violation of the Montana Constitution, city officials refused to hear public comments at the Dec. 4, 2002, "public meeting," at February 2003 public works committee meetings and at the earlier April meeting.

Montana's laws have been enacted to ensure public involvement and input in government decisions. Recently I reviewed the environmental assessment for the Rattlesnake sewer project. Having worked on preparation and review of numerous EAs and environmental impact statements, I found the Rattlesnake EA document to be totally inadequate, misleading and lacking in supportable facts. Public input is required by law and yet the public has been virtually excluded from the preparation of the EA. It is against the law to lock citizens out of the process.

William C. Hollenbaugh,

4414 Timberlane, Missoula

Broadway

Two lanes would make wintry mess

There has been talk recently of making the central business area section of Broadway a street with one lane of traffic in each direction, diagonal parking and a center turning lane.

Recently, as I drove west on Broadway from Adams Street to May Street, I wondered where in that system was there allowance for the snow piled up in the middle of the street? I was really glad that day that it was still a four-lane road; otherwise it would have been a lot slower and messier, too.

Lee Ballard,

5120 Larch, Missoula

Lumber

Canadians not playing fair with market

The Jan. 14 Missoulian editorial suggests that the U.S. government and domestic wood products industry are seeking perpetual shelter from Canadian lumber competition via a negotiated quota agreement to end U.S. tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber imports. Nothing could be further from the truth. You fail to inform readers that Canadian governments have been engaged in a long-term policy of subsidizing their mills with government timber and that the proposed settlement is intended to be an "interim agreement," during which time Canadian provinces make changes to their public timber management practices, restructuring these toward more open, competitive pricing.

The proposed quota agreement sets market share limits intended to avoid further decimating the U.S. lumber industry while Canada changes its present market-distorting practices. If and when most Canadian provinces meet reform guidelines, the quotas would end. All that is sought long-term is open and competitive markets for both timber and lumber

The package of long-term Canadian policy reforms sought in the settlement, coupled with an interim quota agreement is intended to help level the playing field for North American lumber competition. Even the predominantly anti-U.S. World Trade Organization and the NAFTA appeals panels have acknowledged that Canadian provincial timber policies constitute a massive subsidy for Canadian producers. Without changing these subsidy practices to allow for fair competition, U.S. lumber producers and American timber owners large and small face the losing proposition of trying to compete against Canadian provincial treasuries. Our mills can compete in making lumber; all the studies show the Canadian advantage is in undervalued wood.

Before you brand the U.S. wood products industry as "protectionist," I suggest that you examine the distinction between so-called free trade, burdened by Canadian government subsidies and timber policies, and free and fair trade.

Henry K. Ricklefs,

vice president, manufactured products,

Plum Creek Timber Co.,

P.O. Box 1990, Columbia Falls

Timber industry

Appeasement is no solution

The Jan. 11 Missoulian carries an item labeled "Breaking the Logjam," to which I would like to offer comment.

The first thing noted is that in the entire article the words "management of the forest" are not evident. The forest official seems to indicate that the problem is the fault of loggers and the environmentalists must be appeased. This has been the practice for the last several years and has resulted in severe hardship for many, whose jobs and way of life were destroyed, whose investment and equipment were lost due the actions of those who care not what the results of their actions do to people and the resource. Their desire seems to be, "Give us the power," and the rest of the people can go to perdition in a basket. Waste! Who cares?

There is a question for the Missoulian: Have you given the forest retirees, the folks who walked the land and know the difference between fact and drivel, equal media exposure? Best Forest Practices and audit reports of those practices seemed to have been lost to your reporters.

A solution to the forest problem will not be found by meetings or by the actions of those using free untaxed money. There is a problem that is best explained in a speech given by Bureau of Land Management Director Kathleen Clarke recently in Reno, Nev. The director was criticizing "freelancing" bureaucrats who she says pursued "personal interests" and agendas under President Clinton. The director says she is initiating "quality assurance reviews" of field offices to ensure uniform enforcement of regulations. All agencies of government should face the same review. When congress remembers it represents all the voters, and takes seriously its oversight responsibilities, reviewing and correcting conflicting legislation will the present deliberate waste of resource, time and taxpayer dollars be corrected.

Merle D. Lloyd,

P.O. Box 1736, Hamilton

Mad cow disease

USDA must be covering something up

In the Dec. 31 article, "Where's the Beef," the Missoulian stated that the USDA refused to give information about the distribution of beef tainted with mad cow disease because said information was "proprietary information" that would only be shared with other government agencies. Where do they get off with that?

They are a government agency that has the responsibility to assure that food sold to the public is safe to consume. This mad cow thing is something that concerns all of us in that we may have consumed some of the beef in question. We have the right to know the extent of the risk to which we may have been exposed. The USDA is a government agency that has the responsibility to the people they are supposed to serve. We pay them to do the job (taxes, mandates, etc.) What are they trying to cover up? Did they goof and don't want us to know? Was there some gross negligence carrying out the procedure for inspection?

I suppose we have the right to sue to get the information. As an individual you have no chance in this procedure - the cost, the delays, the appeals. The government has more attorneys than there are people in Missoula. By the time the suit ran the gauntlet, we would probably be bankrupt, dead of old age, have mad cow disease or all of the above.

Bureaucrats have way too much power to make arbitrary decisions and most of them have forgotten their primary mandate, "serve in the best interest of the country and its citizens."

I ask what are we to do to protect ourselves? I have already quit eating beef. Our ranchers and meat processing industries have already lost 90 percent of their export market, but the USDA says that it is "proprietary information." B.S.

William C. Brennan,

13955 Hampton Drive, Turah

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