Opinion » Mail

December 13 - December 20, 2006

lessons from vietnam

Robert Reich got it about right in his guest opinion titled "The Global Capitalist Menace" (BW, Opinion, November 22). In the high school class year of '73-74 at Boise High, I went and did my duty in registering for the draft on my 18th birthday during the Vietnam War, and to this day, Richard Nixon is my hero. He basically said to the right- wingers in his party "to hell with it" and got us out of Vietnam and ended the war and the draft that year, saving my ass and a few others at least. Once civil war, or maybe a lesser term such as civil distress, overcomes a country just liberated from totalitarianism and overtakes the military expedition that liberated it, it becomes time to step back and let things work out for themselves. Guess what? A generation later, Vietnam is now knocking on our door and asking for trade agreements and is willing to reform its human-rights stances to become a more acceptable trading partner (like human rights are important to money-hungry Republicans).

The one part of Bush's visit to Vietnam that disturbed me was when in a joint press conference he said in front of his Vietnamese counterparts something to the effect that "the Americans should never have given up in Vietnam." What an idiot. My 7 year-old daughter said I shouldn't be calling the president names to which I retorted, "I'm not calling him names, I'm identifying the facts."

--Eric P. Nielsen,


Media, advocates and people with disabilities

The Boise City Parking Control and the legal department has released a proposed ordinance on accessible parking that was to be heard by the City Council December 12. This ordinance will relieve Boise City from complying with the requirement under state law that cities provide at least one accessible parking space for every 35 on-street parking spaces in the downtown corridor. When the law was created, there was a provision that allows cities to modify the one in 35 requirement by city ordinance if a committee made up of at least 51 percent people with disabilities recommends something different. This was intended for rural cities and small towns, so they wouldn't have to designate parking if there were only a couple of downtown blocks. It was not intended to be used by the capital city and the largest metropolitan area in the state. It is disappointing the city is using legal methods to manipulate the law to deny people with disabilities the parking spaces promised under state law.

The last time this issue was before the City Council, they were asked to not implement a similar ordinance and simply comply with the number of spaces required under state law. The city agreed to work with advocacy organizations and people with disabilities to resolve the issue. Council President Maryanne Jordan and council members mandated Parking Control gather stakeholders to work on issues related to all parking. No disability-related organizations were contacted to participate, give input or notified of any of the committee meetings or their work. This violates our motto of "nothing about us without us."

This new proposed ordinance requires an application be submitted to the "Accessible Parking Committee," who then makes a recommendation to Parking Control, who makes the final decision. They have added an appeal process to be heard by a hearing officer but it's unclear if this person is a city employee or how this person is designated.

Their interpretation of the state law and adding new accessible parking spaces only by application isn't an effective way for people with disabilities to park downtown. This is the way it has been done for years, and this proposal leaves it with the status quo resulting in inadequate parking. The proposed ordinance as written would even allow the Parking Control department to reduce the current number of accessible parking spaces.  

--Bobby Ball, executive director ADA Task Force,


Letter to Greg Cote at Miami Herald

Regarding your December 3rd editorial comments about the University of Miami's upcoming trip to Boise, Idaho, to play Nevada in the MPC Computers Bowl: When the Miami Hurricanes arrive in Boise for this bowl game (which is played on the campus of Boise State), here are a few things that they WON'T find: a university that has experienced "a massively disappointing, heartbreaking season that ended with a 6-6 record and a coaching change, and made national headlines for an ugly brawl and the off-campus murder of a player"; a town that is self-consciously arrogant; a town that is known for its proliferation of drug dealers and corrupt politicians (whoops, ignore the politicians comment--that is evidently a universal condition). Boise State Broncos football team: The undefeated and No. 8 ranked Western Athletic Conference Champions will be in Arizona, preparing to play No. 10 Oklahoma, and in doing so gaining new-found respect.

As to your comment that Miami players and fans would "Rather Be (in Boise) Than In Baghdad": They may rather be in Baghdad after the third-best team in the WAC (Hawaii, the second-best WAC team, which received top-25 consideration in all polls, will be playing at a home bowl), beats them handily.

Incidentally, one Web site rated the MPC Bowl as having "serious dog potential," primarily because of the possibility that the Hurricanes may not be taking a decent Nevada team seriously.

I don't recall if it was you, or perhaps another Florida writer, who attempted to nickname the MPC Bowl the "Mashed Potato Bowl" ... Regardless, here are a few suggestions for names of bowl games that might be held in Florida and/or Miami, based on caricatures of your state/city: How about the "Your-Vote-Doesn't-Count-Here Bowl"? Or perhaps "The Center-of-the-Drug-Dealing-Universe Bowl"? As you yourself stated, "I'm kidding, of course."

Last, have no worries: Boise bars are open just as late as bars elsewhere. Which is fortunate for Miami fans, who will want to visit someplace warm, and with liquid spirits, after sitting through a very cold game. The temperature here will be below freezing.

--Jim Horn,