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Home arrow Opinion arrow Letters arrow LETTER TO THE EDITOR FROM JULY 26 - JULY 31, 2004



Ready when chips down

To the Editor:

As a local aircraft owner, I know I am speaking for a number of others who owe Brad Payne, the Union County Airport manager, and Karl Bauman, manager of the La Grande Air Life unit, a debt of gratitude for protecting our planes from serious damage last Monday.

When these gentlemen received information that a very powerful storm cell was headed for La Grande, they quickly mobilized their crews and moved many exposed aircraft from the flight line into the large Air Life hangar which, fortuitously was empty at the time.

Though not everything could be secured before the storm struck, there is no doubt that many thousands of dollars worth of property were saved due to the diligence and generosity of Karl and Brad.

This incident serves once again to underscore the committed kind of folks in both the private and public sectors who are serving our community. Kudos again to Air Life and the Union County Airport. They are ready when the chips are down.

Vern L. Farrow

La Grande

Be careful with allegiances

To the Editor:

If a group comprising less than 10 percent of the city's population set themselves up as the only people who know what is best for your city and you, would you be alarmed? You should be.

If this group wanted to take over city hall, the city council and the police department and make all the decisions and determine all the actions of the city and its citizens, disregarding or discounting the input or opinions of anyone outside their group, would you be upset? You should be.

If this same group branded anyone who disagreed with them in any way as "the enemy" and advocated that the enemies be shut up or eliminated, and if they determined that anyone opposing them should not be allowed to speak, would you be fearful? You should be.

If this group, in its zeal to take over your city, tried to shut-up their so-called enemies by (a) making false accusations, personally and professionally, (b) propagating slurs and rumors about their (or their family's) character and morals, (c) attempting to degrade, humiliate and brand them liars for speaking their minds, and (d) by pouring urine in one of their target's cars. Would you be outraged? You should be.

In other times and other places groups like this would be called anarchists or communists. Nowadays they are called terrorists.

It is up to you, the decent citizens of Union, to determine your own destiny and the destiny of your city.

Think carefully about where you place your allegiances.

Barbara Gray


Acting like school boys

To the Editor:

I have been following the articles and letters to the editor about the recent dealings between our district attorney and a court judge.

These folks, when running for election, all assured us that they were highly qualified and professional. Pardon me but what I am seeing and reading is more like school boys: I'll have my way or you'll get yours, just wait and see.

The idea that not having a cell phone number over a lunch hour would hold up justice, is ridiculous. The system moves slower than a slug to start with and if it had been the other way around I doubt if the judge would have been passing his cell number to anyone.

We have much larger issues in the court system, civil and criminal, than to see these two squabbling. Maybe we should recall these professionals and look for someone with at least some common sense and common courtesy.

Paul R. Caverly

La Grande

Moratorium on growth?

To the Editor:

Maybe the last best answer to the ever-present developer/Realtor problem next to beautiful places on this earth is to declare a moratorium on growth in those areas.

Smart growth won't work — hasn't yet worked — because it invariably involved incremental surrender to the manifest forces of endless growth.

Already Wallowa Lake has been hammered by those who don't see themselves as loving it to death. The chutzpa of those who would deform Chief Joseph's Old Earth is typical of those who would build on the rim of Grand Canyon, in the Columbia Gorge, high up in the Tetons.

They don't see themselves as anti-beauty and problem makers, but they are.

This is a finite earth. Our appetites thus have to be limited. Why add more subdivisions to the awesome beauty of the Wallowa Lake area?

David Tillotson

Lakemills, Wis.

Tricare problems aren't new

To the Editor:

May I post a reply in response to your editorial about the medical care of our military? I'm sorry if this sounds a little cynical but you really make it sound so unfair.

My husband has been serving in the U.S. Army for 23 active years and is stationed in La Grande. Of course now he is away training with the troops. Your article sounds as if it took the mobilization of the National Guard in La Grande to make people aware of the problems the military system has providing soldiers with adequate medical care.

Please keep in mind that there are currently four active-duty soldiers stationed at the armory in La Grande who face these problems every day with their families, and have long before the mobilization took place.

Spending a lot of time on the phone with Tricare, finding a provider, confirming that our referrals are covered, or driving for hours — sometimes to another state — are all things that we have to deal with in our military life while stationed in a remote location.

I will absolutely agree when you state the coverage is inadequate and substandard, but so far nobody has been able to change the system to take at least this burden away from families while they are dealing with long separations, deployments and hardship.

God bless our troops!

Angela Cooper

Army wife of 19 years

La Grande

Need new faces on city council

To the Editor:

How ethical or respectful is it to know that 434 Union voters recalled Jack Zimmerman, and the present city council disregarded their decision to vote that city councilman out of his position to participate in making choices regarding the city of Union?

Rather than listening to the people, they chose to appoint Zimmerman as the interim city administrator. As such he oversees the day-to-day business operations of the city with all authority granted to the position of city administrator, including the signing of official documents on behalf of the city, with or without city council approval, however is appropriate, until such time that a new city administrator is hired and begins work.

All it took was a vote of four council members to override 434 concerned voters. At the July 12 city council meeting, Councilor Russ Snodgrass didn't need to go into detail when he commented that "Something is working behind the scenes here, and it really bothers me."

Many Union voters realize how our present city council members work behind the scenes.

Consider this when you cast your vote in the November election. Hopefully we'll see new faces on our city council.

Carol Walker


Not anti-everything

To the Editor:

Regarding "Nation losing morals,'' published July 22:

I'm glad our forefathers weren't servile under King George during the late 1700s like many Republicans are under the current King George.

"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public."

— Teddy Roosevelt

Democrats aren't "anti-family.'' Tax cuts that actually help working people, health care for all, helping families find ways to escape poverty, these ideas suggest support for families. Obsessing over same-sex marriage does not.

"When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist."

— Dom Helder Camara

Democrats aren't "anti-God'' or "anti-America.'' Many don't like the way Republicans politicize Christianity and use it to control voters. If Republicans based their platform on the Beatitudes, I'd vote for them. Instead, much of their rhetoric is based on fear. Many Democrats are concerned that the administration's fear-based policies of pre-emptive war and "going it alone'' are counterproductive to world peace.

"Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger."

— Hermann Goering, at the Nuremburg Trials

"If this were a dictatorship, it would be a heck of a lot easier — just so long as I'm the dictator."

— George W. Bush

All good quotes, but that last one may be the most telling. Democrats are "anti-Bush'' — with good reason.

Your vote is precious; don't throw it away this November!

John Evans, Jr.

La Grande

Don't get personal

To the Editor:

Why does it have to be so personal when we disagree in Union?

Betty Bronson and Jim Bovard expressed their opinions in the July 21 Observer. While crying foul against Betty and Jim, Joe Zimmerman was hardly fair or respectful.

Anyone can go to Union City Hall and get a copy of the audio tape from the July 12 meeting to verify the facts. The mayor said he did not want to do it alone, but that he was willing to take the responsibility of filling in for the city administrator as long as one of the city council members could assist. The Observer printed his statement incorrectly — he did not refuse the job.

Russ Snodgrass, our former superintendent of schools, offered to assist the mayor. The precedent for doing it this way was set in 2000 when Leonard Almquist was ill and Mayor Thomas ran the city with the help of Councilman Zimmerman.

On July 12, however, some of our council members claimed that Mr. Snodgrass would be creating a conflict of interest. If that is true, was it wise then, to appoint a man who had been recalled from elected office?

Everyone is entitled to have an opinion – we need to learn to respect that and not get mean and personal. People who choose to be in public office must realize they will be criticized for their actions from time to time. However, we have a unique opportunity as concerned citizens to open a dialogue with the city council.

The Union Horizons Group is willing to fund a meeting and training with Dale Largent, a professional mediator from the Bend area.

Who is willing to step forward and lend their assistance in healing up the wounds so Union can move forward?

When the date in August is finalized, there will be an announcement for those who have the courage to build bridges and move forward.

Debbie Clark


Columnist lacks humility

To the Editor:

Perhaps an old dinosaur from the World War II generation shouldn't be reading the youth page in The Observer, but since I strayed out of my age group, I would like to comment on the well-written essay on gay marriage by Leif Bullock.

This precocious teenage philosopher with a collegiate vocabulary and clever phraseology has a bright future in liberal politics. He will go through life preaching the gospel of Republican conservatives are evil bigots and Democratic liberals are the progressive champions of diversity and multiculturalism, which is the wave of the future.

He is a teenage Bill Moyers.

I wonder if he has looked into what has happened in Sweden, Norway and the Netherlands to the digression of morality and the destruction of marriage since gay unions were embraced several years ago. Cohabitation has all but replaced marriage in these anything-goes societies.

No matter. Leif Bullock will make a highly acclaimed social science professor at one of the Ivy League universities. He has all the credentials. But there is one thing that is lacking in his smug delivery, and that is his total lack of humility to the fact that he might not always be right about his conclusions on what's best for America.

E. H. VanBlaricom


Violence begets violence

To the Editor:

Throughout our history of intervening in the conflicts of other nations, we have contributed deadly weapons and squandered billions of dollars from our citizens that were better spent on our own soil.

Were we always on the side of noble good and democracy?

The instability and corruption that run rampant in Latin America seem to be the long-term effects created by an imbalance of power we catalyzed. I wonder if our dear little leader has allowed us to be duped again. After months of hearing how insurgents are blowing up police stations and recruits because they are associated with U.S. occupation, we now learn of another possibility. The police force under Saddam was poorly paid and filled with corruption. Every crime had its victim, its scapegoat with confessions extracted by torture and its wily perpetrator with enough money to buy the cop.

The bulk of today's police force in Iraq is comprised of these same men. While we are mindlessly blowing up insurgents, our leader tells us they are evil sons of the devil who hate democracy and freedom. Our people in Iraq know far too little of the languages of that land. Isn't it possible they are missing some rebel ideology that says, "No, don't give us another police state where the poor have no chance for true justice"?

Yes, their actions are brutal and horrible but if we suspend our good guys vs. bad guys illusion, we can see that our bombs and bullets are brutal and horrible as well.

We need a dialogue with the insurgency. Our violent approach has only produced more and uglier violence.

Mary Cooke


A case for Kerry

To the Editor:

Polls show that two of the major issues on the minds of voters are Iraq and the war on terrorism. Bush enjoys favorable ratings over Kerry on these issues. However, as this nation continues to ponder the best way to handle these issues, the case for a new president will become stronger.

Whether you agree or disagree with the way Bush brought us into the Iraqi war, one thing is for certain — his approach has come with a price. Not only has the U.S. lost credibility, but Bush's strategy has inflamed anti-American sentiment throughout the world.

The war in Iraq has swollen the ranks of al-Qaida and galvanized the Jihadists' will, according to the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

The 9/11 Commission report spells out that the war on terrorism is really a war about ideology. It's about the Islamic fundamentalist view of the world versus the western view. Terrorism is simply a tactic.

How best then do we counter this fundamentalist world view? The answer is by aiding economic development and political openness in Muslim countries.

We also need to encourage spiritual and secular leaders of the Arab world to offer their own ideological alternative to the Jihadists. But, as Richard Clarke points out, "Unfortunately, because of America's low standing in the Islamic world, we are now at a great disadvantage in the battle of ideas'' due primarily to the invasion of Iraq.

Bush's approach leading up to the invasion made it difficult if not impossible for him to affect the changes necessary to win the war on terrorism and stabilize Iraq. Political leaders around the globe will be hard pressed to go along with any of Bush's policies. John Kerry does not have that baggage.

A new president will be the quickest way to stabilize Iraq and bring in international support. We do not have the luxury to wait four more years. Especially not while our troops are over in Iraq doing the work that the rest of the world should be helping out with.

Fred Monzyk

La Grande

Democrats in fantasy world

To the Editor:

The Republican party is easy to shoot at. It consists of two factions: the entrepreneurs, often called capitalists, who believe that if you have any retirement funds or stocks it should be under their control, and the traditionalists, or conservatives, who are fundamental, constitution-loving folks.

The Democrats are a fragmented group, consisting of most unions, green-peacers, anti-war and gay activists, broadcast and newspaper journalists, teachers and a good majority of screen and TV actors, most of whom have joined forces in a hate-Bush campaign.

Whether or not these people admit it, their position is close to socialism, and socialism bends to totalitarianism, communism or other overbearing power.

Malcolm McGruder, a communist in the 1930s through the 1960s, went to Russia where he became disillusioned with communism. He then went to India to visit Mother Theresa as she ministered to the poorest of the poor in Calcutta.

He moved back to England as an old man where he lived in a small flat in a rundown area of London. A pastor went to see him, and Malcolm reiterated what he had said for years, that Christianity is dead, but then he looked at the preacher and said, "Jesus is alive".

He was right. Christianity is dead in many hearts, but Jesus is still alive in many more. Hopefully these aforementioned Democrats will step out of their fantasies and realize that we all have a purpose and responsibility, not only to our little cliques and ourselves but also to each other as a community and nation, to do what is right for the sake of our country.

Remember the old saying, "Together we stand, divided we fall"?

Whether hate wins over what is right or not, Jesus is still Lord.

John Petersen

La Grande


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