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Home arrow Opinion arrow Letters arrow LETTER TO THE EDITOR FROM OCTOBER 11 - OCTOBER 15, 2004



What's up at hospital?

To the Editor:

In reply to the letter to the editor by C. Struck in The Observer, it seems to me something is seriously wrong at our hospital.

After all these years of building on to the hospital there should be room for the people of the community.

Do you wonder why our doctors are leaving our city? I sure do.

I had a good doctor for 10 years. He was forced to leave. Then I just got the doctor that took his place. Now he is leaving the clinic I have gone to since moving to Oregon in early 1970. It is closing its doors.

Our lab is forced to move. I have to look for a doctor and a lab. I am an old woman and do not like such changes.

Am I upset? Yes I am. I think the community should look into this and build a hospital we can use.

Irene C. Patton

La Grande


Leadership built on teamwork

To the Editor:

I am writing this letter to offer my support to Boyd Rasmussen in his race for Union County Sheriff.

As a life-long resident of Union County and as a retired professor from our local university I have had the opportunity to meet and work with many fine individuals. Boyd represents the qualities we want in a sheriff. His vision to create a citizen advisory committee for the sheriff's office made up of individuals, including student representation, from all areas of Union County is an idea that is long over due.

The advisory committee represents Boyd's approach to leadership. It is leadership built on teamwork and communication. Boyd has been a deputy for almost 10 years, during which time we have had ample opportunity to observe how he works with people. I have recently worked directly with Boyd on a local Rotary project and have been impressed by his commitment to community service.

I am not surprised that he has earned many endorsements such as those from two local law enforcement agencies, the mayors of Island City and North Powder, the Farm Bureau and the La Grande Optimist Club.

I strongly encourage Union County voters to elect Boyd Rasmussen as our next sheriff. I believe he will always keep the best interest of all county residents in mind as he carries out his duties and responsibilities.

Jerry Young

La Grande


Numbers don't tell story

To the Editor:

I read Reed Waite's letter to The Observer of Sept. 28 with some puzzlement. Did he listen to the interview with Dana Wright? Wright specifically said he would get the federal decree lifted to expand the jail. Not only can the sheriff not raise taxes, he wouldn't need to.

Waite also says the staff doesn't support the undersheriff. That may be true in the jail. With Dana Wright in office they would be held accountable for their actions.

Lastly, he slams Wright for deciding to do away with the undersheriff position, insinuating he should have done it sooner if he felt that way. Waite doesn't seem to realize Wright isn't the sheriff so it's not his decision to make.

Sheriff Oliver feels he needed an undersheriff to assist with administrative duties and that was Oliver's choice to make, not Dana Wright's.

Boyd Rasmussen's ad on Sept. 28 touting all the law enforcement officers who support him is also misleading. He would have you believe that all law enforcement officers in the county support him, but let's look at the numbers. There are 12 from other agencies. There are 13 from Union County, all corrections officers.

Who's missing? Oh yes, the Union County patrol deputies, the ones who work most closely with Rasmussen. This could be that they have wisely decided not to take sides, or could it be that working as closely with Rasmussen as they do they don't think he's the best choice for sheriff?

The bottom line is don't be fooled by the numbers. There are 45 full-time and reserve officers for Union County yet only 13 support Rasmussen. The numbers from the other agencies also show that support is not unanimous.

Charlotte Baird

La Grande


Can't believe Bush

To the Editor:

I can't believe some of the letters to the editor. One stated that Kerry is not fit to be commander in chief because he demonstrated against the Vietnam War.

Kerry served in that war. Who has a better right to demonstrate than someone who's been there?

The other letter rambled on about United Nations member countries doing bad things and not backing the U.S. I believe they knew that what Bush was about to do was against international law and they did not want anything to do with it.

Saddam Hussein was created by the powers-that-be in the 1980s so Iraq would defeat Iran. How did Saddam get the weapons for that war? And then there was the Iran-Contra affair and the famous line "I don't recall."

But back to Kerry: during my time in the service we had a name for a draft dodger: coward. There were several kinds of cowards, but the very worst was one who used his family's money and influence to keep from getting in harm's way.

I believe this is what Bush did. I also believe that had there been a reason for Bush to put that plane — that our tax dollar taught him to fly — into harm's way, he would not have done it. He would have let someone else do it.

We, the voters, have a choice to make. One is doesn't tell the truth — weapons of mass destruction and all the promises he made before he was elected — and was willing to let someone else do his duty and perhaps die in his place.

The other is a man who served his country honorably, was not drafted but volunteered to go, and has not lied about anything. My choice is clear.

Glenn A. Horn



Effective rep for people

To the Editor:

I am writing to ask you to join me in voting for Colleen MacLeod for county commissioner in the coming election.

Colleen has proven herself to be a very effective representative for all people in the county.

I have worked with Colleen ever since she has held that position and have found her to be very hard working and dedicated to the accomplishment of many good things for the majority of people. She is not afraid to speak up on any issue she feels is in the best interest of her constituents.

Colleen has made many acquaintances in her years as county commissioner that help her in her efforts to accomplish excellent goals. I really appreciated the way she and the other commissioners came to the aid of Union upon the death of our beloved city administrator. We were in a real bind and the county stepped up to the plate to help us.

Please join me in voting for a proven leader, Colleen Macleod.

Barbara James



Fortunate for EMS crews

To the Editor:

Over the Labor Day weekend, my brother, his wife and their grandchildren came from Caldwell, Idaho, to visit and spend time at our cabin on the back side of Glass Hill.

We were riding our 4x4s and taking our last ride Sunday before they had to leave to go back home.

I was in the lead and made a sharp corner, followed by my youngest son David, and behind him was my brother's granddaughter.

She is 15 years old and missed the corner. She flew over the embankment and over a lot of boulders and landed about 100 feet down. She was wrapped around two small trees. I had to go about 1 1/2 miles to the top of a hill to use my cell phone to call 9-1-1.

The dispatcher was very helpful in getting the information about our location and sending the fire department and ambulance. They were on the scene within 45 minutes, which is good time considering the location of the accident and a long, bumpy road filled with sharp curves.

The rescue crew was prompt, courteous and professional. I can't begin to say enough good things about them and the dispatcher who took the call. We are very fortunate to have such professional dedicated emergency personnel here in La Grande.

David Kramer

La Grande


Take advantage of experience

To the Editor:

A recent letter to the editor in The Observer from Reed Waite was confusing. He condemned comments made by Dana Wright about needing more jail space, difficulties with stopping local drug problems and realizing that a change to eliminating the title of undersheriff in the department would help the taxpayers.

He refers to his choice in the race, Boyd Rasmussen, as a team player, who is honest and an asset to the community.

I think Dana Wright is a team leader and an asset to the community, and I appreciate the fact that he has some proposals to make the sheriff's office more effective and the jail more efficient.

Dana Wright had demonstrated his leadership abilities and has the administrative experience to be our sheriff. As residents of Union County we would be foolish not to take advantage of Dana Wright's experience, dedication, education and commitment to his job and community.

The most confusing part of Mr. Waite's letter is the fact that he condemns Dana Wright for wanting to do a better job for the citizens. That's confusing when you realize that Mr. Waite, a county employee, is part of what need to be changed to better serve and protect the citizens.

As president of the Union County Law Enforcement Association, Mr. Waite should be a leader for all the changes that Dana has proposed. Perhaps Mr. Waite is not a team player.

Julie Westover

La Grande


Focus on big issues

To the Editor:

Divide and conquer. It works in both war and politics and is one of the favorite tactics of Karl Rove, G.W. Bush's chief political adviser.

And we, as a nation, during this presidential campaign, are becoming increasingly divided. This is precisely what Rove set out to achieve.

Bush and Rove have selected especially divisive issues to loose upon our nation during this presidential campaign. An example: recently, in Southern states, a mailer sponsored by the Republican National Committee alleged that, if elected, the Democrats would ban the Bible and promote gay marriage.

So what is an important issue? Oh, perhaps nuclear disarmament and disposal of weapons-grade material. This is a ticking time bomb. Or, an end to poverty. The ranks of the poor and uninsured in Oregon continue to grow.

Or, an end to suffering. Africa, that constantly bleeding continent, comes to mind. Or, universal affordable health care. Or, the $35,000 millstone of federal debt around the neck of each American newborn, resulting from Bush's tax cuts for the rich. Or, sending the youth of our nation off on a fool's errand to Iraq, justified by lies.

I don't mean to say that gay marriage and religious freedom are not important issues. But their immediate impact pales compared to what may happen if the above big, inclusive issues are not addressed.

Bush and Rove have appealed to the smallness of our human nature and cynically chosen highly emotional issues to divide us further and advance their corporate agenda,with no regard to the associated human costs.

I understand that the Democrats too have an agenda. However, at least with a thinking president in the White House we have a chance of directing the dialog back to the big issues which should deeply concern us all.

Harold Black



Things getting worse, not better

To the Editor:

With three election debates down and one to go, it is evident that President Bush's campaign is founded on three pillars of spin: 1. Trust me I know how the world works; 2. things are improving in Iraq and at home; and 3. John Kerry is a flip-flopper.

President Bush's version of how the world works should be scary enough to anyone paying attention — a mess in Iraq, oil drilling in our country's great wild places, a record federal deficit, a world reputation as a bully and a dysfunctional relationship with our allies.

Things are getting worse not better in Iraq and at home. Read or listen to the news on Iraq — enough said. And despite a growing population, this president's policies of outsourcing and coddling big business will bring him the dubious honor of being the only president to preside over a net loss of American jobs.

The unprecedented national debt will drain our economy for years to come. Mr. Bush, not John Kerry, is the flip-flopper.

Is it understandable to switch a vote on Iraq when the funding proposal contains pork for Halliburton and spending without an exit strategy? I think so.

And who was the one who said we needed to send young men and women to Iraq because of the threat of weapons of mass destruction, or was it the development of nuclear capacity, or was it to rid the world of a monster, or maybe to chase a ghost?

Who opposed the creation of the 9-11 Commission before he supported it? Who mandated "No Child Left Behind" and then refused to fund it?

Mr. Bush's approach is a loser for America; it is not even conservative in the true meaning of that term.

Who is the right choice for America? John Kerry.

Brett Brownscombe

La Grande


Disservice to deputy

To the Editor:

I think The Observer did Deputy Butch Hulse a great disservice. He was on vacation. Why did The Observer have to jump right on that the very next day?

La Grande is really bad at finding a person guilty before they are even tried. Butch is a dedicated policeman and a caring person.

I think that article bordered on gossip. No one is perfect.

Maybe The Observer should find other things to write about.

Charlotte Bauer

La Grande


Information came from '70s

To the Editor:

In reply to the letter in The Observer Oct. 2 asking what I ever did for my country, I don't expect what I did 60 years ago to enhance my opinions of today one way or the other but I was in the 517 Parachute Combat Team attached to the 82nd Airborne in World War II.

I even have my records for proof, if Dan Rather is interested.

That letter also questioned the source and veracity of the information I had given regarding John Kerry.

I got my information on John Kerry from listening to him in the 1970s and from reading the papers at that time, papers which are available to everyone else in the local library today. Go to the library, look through the papers regarding that era; you can find for yourselves that Kerry trashed his former comrades in arms, claiming to have witnessed atrocities committed by American soldiers. For him to have viewed such action or atrocities he would have had to go on patrol with ground units and there is no evidence that he ever did.

Many of his then-band of brothers were proven to have never even been in the service and were lying about seeing atrocities committed by American soldiers. Check it out for yourselves.

Gary Poole



ESD ignorance not acceptable

To the Editor:

Board members being recalled from the UBESD choose to make statements suggesting that they did not know of the problems within the UBESD, when in fact nearly every item found in the audit was brought to their attention by the EWDC starting in January of 2004.

The EWDC forwarded numerous packets of information to Superintendent Schumacher, which were copied to the board. When packets of information were provided to board members at the regular board meetings, board members were observed tossing the information into the trash can as they left the meeting without ever looking at it.

It's obvious they did not want to know what the EWDC had uncovered, nor did they desire to address the issues of a runaway agency that they had been elected to oversee.

Now that the audit has been released and findings are public, board members are scrambling to cover and explain their actions in hopes of convincing the public that they are the solution to the major problems of the UBESD. In fact and truth, business appears as usual at the agency. Are they incapable of taking responsibility?

It is time to restore confidence in our educational system and insure the spending of our tax dollars for our children's education instead of an airplane, exorbitant administrative salaries, no-bid contracts, flagrant credit card spending and other such actions. Business as usual is not acceptable here.

Ignorance may be bliss, but never an acceptable excuse. The actions of some board members are so arrogant and disrespectful of truth that it sheds clear light on the performers, giving brilliant definition to their characters and intentions.

The behavior of those board members would never be tolerated in students attending our schools. Why would anyone think it desirable in educational administrators or board members?

Barbara Dimond



Practical ideas for future

To the Editor:

I am a retired chief civil deputy with the Union County Sheriff's Office with over 23 years of experience working for five sheriffs.

I write this letter at the request of some deputies who cannot speak up without fear of retaliation.

I found that working for Dana Wright was the worst experience of my working life. What I perceived as Wright's lack of knowledge of law plus a lack of understanding of how to work with employees as well as inmates was disastrous.

This led to lawsuits, and constant upheaval in the sheriff's office. His treatment of employees was uneven. He favored some even when they made grievous errors in judgment. Supporters were rewarded with unnecessary and expensive training trips, while other deputies were unable to receive the necessary training required by law.

Boyd Rasmussen offers us a real choice. He is hard working. He finished a college degree while working and raising a family. He is known as a tough but fair deputy.

His business degree will be an asset in handling the sheriff's budget. His time as a narcotics officer gives him a good understanding of the worst crime problem in our county. He is recognized by the State of Oregon as a certified officer trainer.

I ask that you think hard, read the articles and ads in the paper. Why are so many police officers and retired officers speaking up, some who never have before, asking that you vote for Boyd Rasmussen?

Read Wright's inconsistencies in his statements and his ads. Listen to Boyd's practical ideas for the future, then I think you will understand why I ask that you vote for Boyd Rasmussen for sheriff.

Donna Knox

La Grande


Sign thefts stir opposition

To the Editor:

We wish to thank the person or persons who detached the Bush-Cheney sign from inside our property line on Saturday morning around 2 a.m.

You may or may not be the same sneaks who removed several other signs for Bush in La Grande. That really doesn't matter.

I just needed to commend you. That simple-minded act of political vandalism stirred me out of any apathy or ho-hum attitude about this presidential election.

You lit a fire under me and others who lost signs. We intend to get everyone we can to vote for President George Bush. You made us downright fanatical.

You can tell a lot about a person by the friends he has, and you scoundrels are obviously friends of Kerry and what's-his-name running on the other ticket. May your tribe increase.

And may you keep stirring up a hornets' nest of opposition and get all of us out of our rocking chairs. We love you.

Evelyn Donnell

La Grande


Need atmosphere of unity

To the Editor:

As the wife of a corrections officer, I am aware that the Sheriff's Office has a policy that no officers are allowed to say publicly anything derogatory or defamatory against the department or personnel.

When there is a management or leadership problem, the officers' only recourse is to support a candidate for sheriff who they feel is better qualified for the position and would bring new management and leadership skills to the department in an equal and impartial style that would coalesce the department to work as a team.

Publicly campaigning for a specific candidate can, under certain circumstances, put their livelihood at risk. Please consider why any officer would be willing to take that risk.

Do the corrections officers have their own agenda? Yes, to support a candidate whom they believe would bring about an atmosphere of unity and support. They want a better working environment where policy is followed and dealt with in a fair, just and consistent manner; where there is appreciation for a job well done; and without any unnecessary tension added to an already stressful and dangerous occupation.

Another concern I have is the comparison of experience between the candidates. One officer has grant writing experience and has been with the county for 17 years; but he has less than two years of road experience. The other candidate has had 10 years of experience out on the road dealing directly with the problems that this county faces and knows that the jail already has fully-qualified officers with jail management experience.

Would you prefer your next sheriff to have grant writing and mostly jail management experience or first-hand law enforcement experience? And if the jail is closed due to budget restraints, of what use are all those years of jail experience?

Rhonda Voss



Let truth, virtue prevail

To the Editor:

The following is taken from the book "John Adams" by David McCullough:

"Our electioneering racers,'' wrote John Adams in his autobiography, "have started for the prize. Such a whipping and spurring and huzzaing! Oh what rare sport it will be! Through thick and thin, through mire and dirt, through bogs and fen and sloughs, dashing and splashing and crying out, the devil take the hindmost.

"How long will it be possible that honor, truth or virtue should be respected among a people who are engaged in such a quick and perpetual succession of such profligate collisions and conflicts?''

O.B. Hayden

La Grande


Hard working and he listens

To the Editor:

Who is Jack Johnson? You probably know about his impressive military record. But in character, do you know who he really is and why Jack would make the best county commissioner?

You probably don't and that is why I am writing this letter.

Jack Johnson is my next-door neighbor. I know that in addition to serving 45 years in the National Guard he has been in charge of financial aid at EOU and is one of the hardest workers I know.

One of Jack's most important traits is that he is easy to talk to. This is something that a county commissioner needs to be good at to do the job well. Jack listens when you talk.

Jack and his wife, Pat, are wonderful neighbors and are always doing kind things for others. Once I saw Jack build a piece of fence for some of his neighbors where their fence did not quite reach their gate. This is just a small example, but I think it shows what kind of a person he is.

This letter may not swing your vote, but I hope that when that ballot is in your hand you will think of what I have said about this kind, honest, intelligent, hard-working and neighborly man, Jack Johnson.

Brent Osterberg

La Grande

age 13


Providing strong leadership

To the Editor:

I will be voting to re-elect President George W. Bush this fall, and urge others to do the same. President Bush has provided strong leadership in shepherding this country through a very difficult four years. I am confident that he will do the same for the next four years.

He has endured vicious partisan attacks with grace and remained consistent in advocating policies that will protect national and global security and afford economic opportunities. There are many challenges to face in our nation's future, but President Bush has shown the character and leadership to meet them.

His opponent, Sen. John Kerry, has no idea how to deal with the worldwide threat of Islamo-facism. His statements suggest he would rely on a corrupt United Nations to shape our foreign policy. In 20 years of serving in the Senate, his record is consistent — liberal to the extreme, vote to weaken national security, raise our taxes, and spend on programs of dubious value, and without a single example of significant accomplishment. His views on social issues are so far out of the mainstream of the American people as to be on another planet.

The choice is clear. Vote to re-elect President George W. Bush.

Steve Boe

La Grande


Insulting attack

To the Editor:

By constantly attacking Sens. John Kerry and John Edwards for their vote last winter against the $87 billion bill funding U.S. operations in Iraq, the Bush campaign is apparently counting on there being a lot of voters out there who have never heard the news stories about this vote.

First, it is important to understand how legislation works. Seldom is any bill perfect, and legislators often offer amendments to make a bill better. If their amendments are not adopted, they are forced to decide whether to vote against the bill or to vote for it even though it contains provisions they did not want.

In the case of the $87 billion, Kerry and Edwards — and every other senator with any independence at all — supported amending the bill to make it more fiscally responsible. They thought it should be funded with real money rather than borrowed money.

Bush just wanted to run the federal budget deficit higher, and they thought other countries should bear more of the financial burden. They objected to some $20 billion in the bill that was directed to nonessential, outlandishly expensive projects designed to enrich Halliburton and other companies lining up at the trough to feed off the taxpayers.

When Bush and his supporters in the Congress arrogantly refused to consider any compromise, and the amendments were defeated, then many senators voted against the bill, knowing that if it went down to defeat, the Republicans would resubmit the bill with the necessary compromises to win a majority.

There was never any possibility that our troops would go unfunded. When Bush and Cheney suggest that any senator did not support the troops, they are insulting the intelligence of the American people.

Craig Martell

North Powder


Recall not a vendetta

To the Editor:

I have been with the Education Workforce Development Committee since the inception. Never has any member spoken of vendettas against anyone working for the Union-Baker Education service District or board members.

We have been called vigilantes, the KKK, been screamed at and yelled at by staff and others. This committee isn't just a "few scorned people." It consists of people in the public and private sector, parents of students and former UBESD staff.

This recall is not a vendetta, it is not mean-spirited nor is it "two women scorned." It began when children in our own area were denied appropriate services. As the scandal continues to reveal itself, the public needs to know there is more than has appeared in the media.

As I continue to attend board meetings, it is business as usual, even though there is severe scrutiny within the agency. At the last board meeting, a secretary seemed to have more control than the superintendent or board members and the board still appeared very uneducated about the issues. Attend a board meeting and see for yourself.

Rich Cason is a former superintendent. Don Starr has been on various school boards for years. Kelly Anderes is a teacher; she

doesn't attend enough to know what is happening. They all should be doing their homework. These three were picked for the recall because they had the longest terms left to serve, nothing personal.

This board was made aware of the concerns from EWDC members as early as October 2003. I personally made phone calls, as did others. We tried every way to make contact with staff and board members, but at every turn we were shunned. The public knows what the EWDC suspected, but it isn't finished.

Support the recall so change can be made ASAP.

Carol Byron

La Grande


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