Radicals are using scare tactics
I had to really laugh when I saw the Missoulian (May 2) gave equal space on the front page to our New Party faithful who were out in force at the speech on the herbicide dangers.
I observed these radical left-wingers at the herbicide meeting and in the main they were paying absolutely no attention to the speech being given by the educator from Washington State University, who is an expert in the field of herbicide dangers. They were constantly reading stacks of papers they brought with them and frequently interrupting him, to the point that he asked one of them, "Would you like to take over this meeting?"
He furnished some very valuable information and a written report so there would be no question about how his research is based. The left-wingers, who are very active in the environmental business, are aware the environment is a hot-button issue with many people and it is to their advantage - not only politically but economically - to keep the populace stirred up and angry over the use of herbicides in "their community." They obviously did not come there to be enlightened about honest research done without one cent of corporate or chemical firm financial contribution. They came to further their agenda. They want political control and will use any pretext or subterfuge to gather people to their flag.
The fact that the researcher is of sufficient reputation to be on an executive committee of an agri-chemical division of the American Chemical Society just alludes to his stature among his peer group and I do not feel that it weakens to any degree his observations and conclusions based on research. The research will speak for itself, and I appreciated it.
As a native Missoulian, I hate to see my hometown taken over by these radicals. A pox on both of the houses of right-wing and left-wing extremists. I only wish more people shared my sentiments and would vote the rascals out and stop sending money to these groups that only exist to perpetuate fear and discord - so their salaries continue.
P.O. Box 8127, Missoula
Event took cooperation, hard work
Last weekend was the first time I had ever attended the powwow held in the University of Montana fieldhouse. I was very pleased.
There was such beauty and order, gracefulness, and cooperation and unity between everyone.
Each dancer had a unique costume. I think the university students and the Native Americans all worked together in an admirable way to bring this off.
All the days of practices, getting all the connections, costumes ready, and still taking care of studies, etc., I am more than impressed. It just shows what people can do when they want to work together.
I really look forward to next year's powwow, and this time I hope you can donate a section about it, the work it takes, etc., in your very fine paper, the Missoulian.
Orpha L. Hall,
565 Burton, No. 209, Missoula
Goodwill made competition special
It is a rare opportunity to see friendly competitive sports. At Missoula's Forestry Day celebration, competitors strove to win a competition, while at the same time encouraging fellow contestants. The level of goodwill among competitors was in striking contrast to most athletic competitions. There was friendly conversation both before and after heats. Spectators' chorus of encouragement and praise was given to each athlete to do his best. Our time at the Forestry Day competitions was enjoyed and well spent.
Shirley S. Wanberg,
1610 34th St., Missoula
Student rentals, blight of our city
Urban infill, let us count the ways. Ian M. Lange counted some ways in his insightful letter to the editor of April 26. Lange identified a causal factor of our unfolding neighborhood nightmare euphemistically called urban infill, a trendy term used affectionately downtown by our new urbanism bureaucrats. Lange highlighted a simple mathematical reality: The University of Montana provides campus housing for only 2,257 students along with 566 units of family housing for a total student enrollment of 12,413. Oops, UM needs a lot more student housing, regretfully, not an easy feat in the face of historic legislative resistance to its budgeting needs.
Enter another player in shaping non-collaborative public policy. When the Missoula City Council rescinded its family definition ordinance in the early '90s, effectively, an anything-goes signal with respect to occupancy standards was sent to our local rental income industry. Since then, absentee landlords along with real estate agency rental subsidiaries have been making a fortune off the sale and conversion of former owner-occupied homes to rental housing. Goodbye families desirous of neighborhood schools and committed to neighborhood identity. Hello off-campus college rentals.
Urban infill, I've counted the ways: beer cans, beer bottles, fast food trash, empty cigarette wrappers, 12-pack boxes, wine bottles, underage, loud drunken keggers until the wee hours, plastic straws, cups, bottles, lids, pop cans, unread Wall Street journals stacked in front of a studious rental (until exam time), broken glass, dying boulevard maple trees (just lost another one the other day on Brooks Street), unraked, unwatered, uncut grass boulevards, knapweed, junked cars and pickups. Urban infill, no; speculative landlord pockets infilled, yes. Pride of ownership, no, blighted and deteriorating neighborhoods fast becoming a UM campus annex, yes. A healthy urban ratio of rental and owner-occupied housing, almost gone and becoming an expensive infilled ghetto to the everlasting memory and lowest common denominator of greed, need, weed and monoculture.
333 Brooks St., Missoula
Missoula kids do have options
We are writing in regards to the Missoulian's May 2 article, "Whole new place." The front-page article was both informative and encouraging, coming from the mindset that there is "nothing to do." There certainly is "an immense need for a positive social outlet for high-school kids beyond the school functions."
However, not mentioned in the article is the fact that across the street from the Missoulian (I'm sure you've seen it) is Higgins Hall, the Missoula County Boys and Girls Club. For several years, our teen center has been providing not only a positive place to hang out (skilled staff, pool tables, canteen) but a computer lab, art classes, music room, writing clubs, weekly dances, rock shows and general mentoring. Not only does Higgins Hall boast daily attendance of 50-60 on weekdays and 50-150 on weekend nights, but admission is always free, with the exception of the Friday night music shows, which charge $3 to pay the bands.
Local and national grants as well as many generous local donors fund the club. Exciting new things are always in the works - for example, virtual reality computer technology, a recording studio, digital film club and a restaurant. Higgins Hall continually strives to provide a stimulating, safe place for teens to meet, as well as opportunities to acquire skills.
For more information on classes and upcoming shows, call 542-3116, or come in to the club at 617 S. Higgins. Our Web address is www.montana.com/boysandgirls/. Don't forget about the club. Higgins Hall has been here and will strive to always be here.
Bob Marshall and staff,
Higgins Hall, 617 S. Higgins
Fort Missoula open space
Plans overlook who owns CCC Road
The May 5 Missoulian presented a front page story describing a plan for development of open space at Fort Missoula. An alternative plan has also been presented. Both plans call for elimination of a substantial part of the historic Civilian Conservation Corps Road, leading from South Avenue into the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula and the Rocky Mountain Museum of Military History.
At this stage of planning it should be emphasized to those who would like to eliminate a substantial part of historic CCC Road that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers owns an easement to this road. Col. Allan V. Stricker, deputy chief of staff/engineering, Montana Army National Guard, has indicated that the Corps of Engineers does not plan to abandon its interest in the road easement and intends to keep the road open for access purposes to all military facilities at Fort Missoula.
M. Y. "Bo" Foster,
P.O. Box 7263, Missoula
Fair labor practices for all
Friday's article about University of Montana student anti-sweatshop protests misquoted one of our signs. The sign actually read, "Women in El Salvador are paid 3 cents for every $15 university T-shirt that they sew," not $3 as reported. The labor cost, then, represents 0.2 percent of the total cost, while the manufacturer and retailer usually take home 80 percent of the profit. This discrepancy makes it easy to see why the establishment of a living wage is necessary in order for workers to meet their basic needs in terms of food, shelter, clothing and health care.
This correction is also relevant given the Missoulian's incessant championing of the unfettered free market. Most recently, the editorial board dismissed our fellow students at Harvard University who have been sitting in the provost's office for nearly three weeks in support of a living wage for all Harvard employees. The most ridiculous argument in that editorial read, "The world took a long, hard look at Marxism and opted for capitalism." Leaving aside the militaristic and imperialistic aspects of capitalism's "victory," it should be noted that most of us who advocate a living wage do so within the context of classical economic theory. Research has consistently shown that an unexploited worker is a better worker; people are more efficient if they are earning enough to pursue a healthy life. Furthermore, paying fair wages has the added bonus of allowing workers to become consumers, which promotes the overall health of an economy.
The proliferation of sweatshops and the continuing rise in global poverty and inequality should make us painfully aware of the need for meaningful international labor standards. As long as we neglect to implement a living wage, the "magic of the marketplace" will primarily serve those who profit from the exploitation of slave-wage laborers.
Creating such standards is not about charity, as the Missoulian claimed in its recent editorial. It's about justice.
821 S. 3rd W., Missoula
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