Letters to the Editor Week 47

Something stinks

     Good friends of mine bought a home in AeneasValley in 1994. Their home has a septic system that was installed byprofessional installers at Herriman Speedy Septic Tank, Inc. Herriman, Inc.obviously did a great job on the installation, because my friends have neverhad any problem whatsoever with their septic system during the 16 years theyhave lived in their home.  

       You can thusimagine their surprise when they received a form letter from Okanogan CountyPublic Health (OCPH) which contained a long list of demands with which theymust comply immediately, if not sooner, regarding their septic system.

       When myfriends wrote a letter to OCPH to find out what was taking place, they receiveda November 10 reply from Dave Hilton, a director of OCPH. The bottom line here,in reading Mr. Hilton’s letter, is that the OCPH records don’t appear toinclude a building permit for my friend’s 1987 septic system installation.

       My friendscontacted Mrs. Herriman at Herriman Speedy Septic Tank, Inc. to tell her whatwas taking place and that it was necessary for her to send a copy of theirseptic permit to OCPH. She stated that all of the company’s records weredestroyed in a 2003 fire, thus she has no copy of the permit and that OCPH isfully aware of that fire.

       The plotthickens. An “as built” drawing of my friends septic system installation wassent to my friends attached to Mr. Hilton’s Nov. 10 letter, thus the OCPHobviously has a copy of this paperwork. According to the form letter first sent to my friends by OCPH, such adrawing “must be

submitted after the final inspection is complete.”There is no way, even in 1987, that the county would have sent an inspector toAeneas Valley to inspect this septic system unless the installer had first paidthe requisite fees. One must then conclude that the necessary fees were in factpaid in 1987.

       So what istaking place here? Many county residents have no paperwork at all for theirseptic systems while many others don’t even have a septic system and theyaren’t yet being bothered. The current situation obviously isn’t a publichealth issue because my friend’s septic system was professionally installed andhas never exhibited any problems. Even more important, even if they had noseptic system at all, one can make a very strong case for the claim that themost environmentally sound way to dispose of human waste is via an “outhouse,”where homes are reasonably spaced.

       This is eithera personal vendetta by the OCPH or the OCPH is striving to pad its budget viafines, fees and penalties. I can think of no other alternatives. (Why wait 23years for this enforcement action? Something obviously stinks here!) 

       If you are nothooked to a public sewer system and have any questions or concerns about whatis taking place, please feel free to contact OCPH, Mr. Dave Hilton, at (509)422-7140.

       In closing,Mr. Hilton has told my friends that he will sic the prosecutor on them in caseof their “failure to provide proof of a valid permit or to initiate theapplication process —.”

       Isn’t freedomwonderful!

 Mason E Hess


Boehner’s delusion

As fate would have it, the firstwords I heard spoken by our new "Speaker to be" of the House ofRepresentatives expressed his intent to derail the new health care bill whichaccording to him was about to "dismantle the best health care system inthe world.”

Hearing this I began to comprehendthe scope of the problem our congress has become. Whatever you may thinkof the re-structuring of our health care system, you would have to bedelusional to make such a statement. The U.S.A. ranks a dismal 35th on thescales of world health care. For this privilege we pay close to twice as muchas the next most expensive system (Switzerland, which of course has universalhealth care).

Shame on you John Boehner, this isno way to start a leadership role.
For anyone interested in a balanced account of our national situation regardinghealth care, I would suggest reading The Healing of America by TR Reid, aconcise and intelligent evaluation of our current health care quandary,equitably as compared to other existing systems.

George Baumgardner


How to prevail

Kudos to Mark Lindstrom for his truly impassioneddefense of the Taliban replete with that classic Professor Moriarty ofaging-hippie imagination, the evil Corporate-Maaaaan! 

They’re good-hearted lads, the Taliban, Mark seems tosuggest. We just need to feel their pain, instead of make it. Mark mustown stock in Dramamine.

I’m less sure about Mark’s observations when he servedin combat, but mine were that when someone is trying to kill you, the worldquickly becomes distilled into just two groups of humans: those who are 100%dedicated to helping you survive and prevail, and… everyone else.

The last group includes not only the declared enemybut also politicians and snug-at-home citizens anxious to foist naive,political-correctness driven ROE constraints on you that horribly compound yourrisk of becoming an ex-person.

Moreover, telling a volunteer soldier in the fieldthat you’re trying to help him by aiding his enemy and facilitating hissurrender is like telling a mother that you fully support her, you just want tokill her baby. No wonder our splendid American volunteer military is “23to 1 conservative” (Thomas Ricks, Washington Post).

As “Publisher Forhan” suggests to comrade Lindstrom,in war it’s not about brutality yes-or-no. It’s about serving brutality tothe enemy patriot before he serves it to you. Everything else is what you callpeace.

Mark seems to mean well but he cruelly sullies thegood name of brutality, for while it is not the only (nor always the best)military tactic, brutality is always the soul of war. Skillfully applied, itsaves friendly lives and innocent civilians alike. 

The elusive dilemma for civilized nations is to findthe correct setting for one’s troops between unrestrained plunderers andstupidly hamstrung targets. It’s the current foolish and deadly imbalancetoward the latter that should concern us all. We owe our military peoplebetter.

War is not always the best decision for nations – andthe jury is still out on AFG – but, once troops are committed, there is onlyone intelligent rule of engagement:

Prevail, overwhelmingly and soonest, by whatever meansand as long as it takes. For this is the fastest way back to the longestlasting peace.
William Slusher

Cup half full

I couldn’thelp but scratch my head when I read the publisher’s comments after ShawnMorrison’s letter. Once again Bill Forhan seems to show a serious lack ofunderstanding about government and its function. His final two sentences assertthat government is inefficient, and that most social programs could best behandled by private business. And, he’s right! – As long as you buy into aperverted ideology that places little value on human well being, and placesprofits above everything else.

I stillremember a lecture given by a professor in a government class at the UW (Nearly30 years ago) pointing out that the Postal Service is a great example of agovernment service that everyone loves to complain about, but that is actuallya remarkable bargain if you look at the big picture and realize that (a) noprivate company would bother to pick up letters at the end of a remote drivewayin Montana and deliver them anywhere in the USA for $.44, and that (b) Thosesame letters get to their destination 99% of the time, on time, and in just afew days with our postal service. (In business, what the postal service does iscalled “cost averaging,” and up until the internet caused a huge decline inactual paper letters, worked really well).

It’sstrange how the folks on the far right love to complain about the government,but rarely bother to take a “cup half full” view of all the things we actuallydo get from the government. In that vein, I wonder how many of the “tea partypatriots” in rural Eastern Washington have bothered to consider that the GrandCoulee Dam was a gigantic government program that used taxpayer money in the1930’s to irrigate vast tracts of the arid Columbia Basin, which in turnallowed them to make lots of money farming crops in the desert.

I’d be thefirst to admit that government is often slow and inefficient, but that’s sortof the point Bill: Government is supposed to do the most good for the mostpeople, and that simple fact guarantees institutional inefficiencies. Theopposite would be services for the rich, by the rich, and benefiting the rich.(And naturally, when that happened, you’d hear loads of bellyaching that a newhighly efficient former government program that does wonders for big city richfolks and ignores middle and lower income rural folks is a horrible thing).

It neverends.

Greg James