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Home arrow Opinion arrow Letters arrow LETTERS TO THE EDITOR FROM AUGUST 30 - SEPTEMBER 4



Share opinions but be civil

To the Editor:

In a democratic society a free exchange of ideas is essential. Letters to the editor and special comments form an important part of this process, provided they do not consist of senseless emotional outbursts, and vitriolic attacks on people who express a different opinion.

A recent letter by Kevin Cahill points out that in the heat of the argument we sometimes forget that the person we attack is someone we care about. Most people in this area know each other, and most of us try to survive in a flawed system.

We need to share ideas in a civil way. In a Community Comment in The Observer on July 24, David Waln gave a good analysis why people shout at each other rather than listen.

We are facing a number of complex problems in our world that are often ignored by both the media and the politicians. Instead, endless hours are spent on covering sensational murder trials and mindless reality shows.

This newspaper provides an opportunity to its readers to discuss subjects of general concern. Increased awareness at the grass roots level may be refreshing. The political debate by our presidential candidates has not been particularly enlightening. We can do better than that.

Just keep an open mind, and don't condemn one of your friends and neighbors for expressing his or her opinions.

Johannes Spronk

La Grande


A right to free speech

To the Editor:

This letter is in response to John Richards' letter in the Aug. 24 Observer:

Mr. Richards, when did presidential candidate John Kerry give up his right to free speech? You say in your letter, "John Kerry was a hero until he joined the Vietnam Veterans Against the War.'' Since veterans is plural, I assume there was more than one? And don't you think the men and women who were there know much more then the people of the United States were ever told? A close friend of mine was killed there within a couple of years after he graduated from high school. In one of the last letters he wrote home he talked about how the government was already lying about the number of enemy that was being killed and downplaying our dead.

You then go on to say, "He then proceeded to help cause the government to reduce support for the war while many servicemen were still fighting, causing unnecessary deaths.'' That's an awfully big statement for which you offer no proof.

You then bring up the Bay of Pigs. Considering how President Kennedy faced down the Soviet Leader over missiles in Cuba, a far bigger issue, I doubt President Kennedy withdrew support on a whim. Was he maybe given bad intelligence?

And now we hear that some of the vets who have been coming out against Kerry are themselves lying.

While we're at it, the British prime minister has taken full blame for his country's involvement in Iraq. Mr. Bush has continued to blame bad information.

There is also the area of stem cell research, which President Bush continues to hold back, despite claims by scientists that it could be a boon to the human race.

It all really comes down to this. Are you better off now than you were four years ago?

Robert Warren



Sacrificing too many lives

To the Editor:

As I watched our two presidential candidates in Portland recently I thought I saw two distinctly different characteristics in the two men.

John Kerry met over 50,000 people of all ages and characteristics at an outdoor setting where he shook many hands and spoke to many people. I thought I was looking at a people's candidate.

George Bush met with a small group of business people, by invitation only, behind closed doors where he left with over $2 million. 'Nuff said.

Sept. 11 was horrible, vicious, showing contempt for human life; more than 3,000 brought to an awful death; a wider circle injured and traumatized. Twenty times that is the number of civilians killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Is this how you turn the other cheek, reverend Bush? You have sacrificed over 1,000 of our men and women to get Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. Has it been worth it?

I don't think so. My grandson will be paying for the national debt you have rung up.

Bill Oberteuffer

Island City


Degenerate society

To the Editor:

Lesbian comic actress Ellen "degenerate" DeGeneres recently has been cast to mock the Almighty in the remake of Jerry Weintraub's film "Oh, God!", originally starring John Denver and George Burns. Of course, just as we would expect, hell-bound Hollywood is casting her in Burns' role.

One can only imagine what a not-so- funny liberal lesbian has to teach American audiences about the God of the Jews and Christians. I predict the filmatic female deity will deliver not a few diatribes about homophobia, the joys of lesbian love and the right for homosexuals to marry with God's full approval.

Be sure that in the wake of the film's debut, we will see a surge of sexual experimentation among teenage girls, and boys as well. After all, they do follow trends, and this movie will certainly be hailed as trendy among popular media outlets, print, Web and TV, alike. Expect with such a wave an increase in chlamydia and other orally-transmitted STDs.

Perhaps with such an epidemic hitting our homes, we may be gasping "Oh, God" with genuine concern and a desire to turn back the tide of filth pouring out of the Hollywood cesspools.

Meanwhile, DeGeneres will surely be making millions by exploiting our youth, as well as heaping up vainglory for herself and her degenerate homosexual community.

God help America.

Timothy Lucas

La Grande


Re-think dam relicensing

To the Editor:

Hells Canyon Dam may have seemed like a big power plant and a good idea 50 years ago when its license was granted by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. But now power plants inside of buildings smaller than a Wal-Mart can generate more energy than Hells Canyon Dam.

A few days ago I visited such a power plant, a blue building in Boardman. From the freeway it appeared to be a blue warehouse or a factory. But it wasn't a warehouse or a factory. It was the Coyote Springs Power Generating Facility.

I paced off its length and width and compared it to the Wal-Mart building on Overland Road in Boise. It was smaller.

Perhaps we ought to rethink the relicensing of Hells Canyon Dam. Society might be better served by removing the dam and reclaiming the many values of a free-flowing river in Hells Canyon. Perhaps our electricity should come from more modern means such as the jet engine technology inside that blue building in Boardman.

Reed Burkholder



World a complex place

To the Editor:

Let me get this straight: Conservatives are against a man who voluntarily went to war, risked his life for others and then lobbied against the war in an effort to stop it and save lives.

Instead, they favor men who dodged the war, but now that they are too old to be shot at are eager to talk tough but send others to do the work.

George Bush went into the National Guard where, in that era, everyone knew you could avoid battle. Dick Cheney had "other priorities" and Tom Delay said that he wanted to fight but minorities took his space.

I'm sure someone will tell me where I am confused, but I'm not sure their arguments will hold water.

I am tired of hearing that war protesters, past and present, cost American lives by giving aid to the enemy and that they should be shot for treason.

What-if statements are impossible to prove. We can't go back and see what would have happened if we had done it differently. It is equally plausible that those who protested the war in Vietnam saved lives by helping to end the war earlier.

We will never know what would have happened if there hadn't been war protesters in the 1960s or if we hadn't dropped atomic bombs on Japan.

Despite what some may want to believe, the world cannot be divided into good and evil, and few decisions are black and white. I would prefer a leader who understands that the world is a complex place, a leader who is capable of looking at these complexities before making a decision and perhaps changing position when new evidence come to light.

In my opinion, John Kerry qualifies under this criterion while our present leader does not.

Tim Hoffnagle

La Grande


Plenty of good candidates

To the Editor:

The recent letter to the editor from Mr. Butts requesting that taxpayers refuse to sign the recall is hard to understand. Mr. Butts should attend a few board meetings. His mind would be quickly changed.

As for potential board candidates there is a retired professor; retired teacher; a Baker City businessman; Janet Hume, a CPA and professor; Carol Byron a certified teacher; and Barb Diamond, a teacher of 40 years. These are just a few of the candidates that are preparing to run.

It is time the board become responsible and not someone who is picked by the good old boys to keep business as usual. It is a known fact that the UBESD has already lined up a candidate that has been on the UBESD payroll in the past and is being groomed to run for the board once the recall is complete.

The latest letter to the editor from D. Chand_ler had many interesting connotations since she has obviously been misinformed by her boss — Lyle Mann, the Alternative education director at the UBESD.

Dennis Wilkinson



Disregard for citizens of Union

To the Editor:

In regards to the article in The Observer on the candidates running for council in Union: Most residents in Union are aware that the formation of TOTAL was to assure that the citizens were kept informed of how our city was being run.

TOTAL has involved the residents and given them choices in important matters. With the recall of two city councilors and the recent strong mayor initiative people were allowed to have a part and a say on how they felt. The candidates running for council and mayor have proven over and over again that they are more aware of the ordinances and the city charter than most of the members on our current council.

Time and time again they have asked the council why they made the decisions they had when it went against our ordinances or the city charter. There usually was no reasonable explanation given except for them to say you elected us, let us decide what is best.

Well this wouldn't be a problem if they were to abide by the city laws. They wouldn't even be asked these questions if they were following the city laws. Let's not forget that Gary Graham was the spokesman for CISU; Barbara Gray publishes the CISU Web page and was appointed to our city council without even attending one city council meeting prior to her appointment.

Our current city council, with the exception of two members, appointed Jack Zimmerman as interim city administrator when the citizens of Union elected to have him removed from council due to his actions when he was on the council. I am not sure that we want city council members who have such a disregard for the citizens of Union on our council.

Pauline Weise



Audit should be public

To the Editor:

Recent columns in The Observer by Judd Koehn and Laurose Hibberd are confusing the issue. The use of rhetoric by Mr. Koehn does not deal with the issues. With all due respect to Mrs. Hibberd, her resume summaries do not deal with the issues. Members of the Education/Workforce Development Committee also have resumes that attest to their integrity, accomplishments and honesty, but all that is irrelevant to the facts in the case.

Issues involving Ken Lay, Martha Stewart, Arthur Anderson, President Clinton, Richard Nixon, ad infinitum, all speak to the issue of resume versus behavior.

The audit is complete. It is, or should be, a public document. Discussion in "executive session" without releasing the audit content is inappropriate. What is there to hide?

The unpleasant community effects of a recall for board members can be minimized by getting the facts before the public. Speaking for the committee, I will be the first to apologize if the board turns out to be "squeaky clean" in the audit report, however, I want to see what an approximate $50,000 audit produces. The evidence in hand strongly suggests an unfavorable outcome for our agency.

Citizens have been very responsive in our recall attempt and we believe the recall will be successful. If the board has condoned or approved malfeasance or any criminal behavior, someone else deserves the opportunity to manage a very important resource for our community.

Ray Stinnett

La Grande


Kids Club is great asset

To the Editor:

This community is so very blessed to have such a wonderful resource such as Kids Club.

My two daughters have been going to Kids Club for two years and they love it. The teachers and staff there provide a safe and positive environment.

My girls have had incredible daily activities, planned field trips to places like Riverside Park, the Rock Bowling and Fun Center and the Veterans Pool. During the school year I have not had to worry about transportation because a bus picks them up and takes them to Kids Club after school.

I cannot say enough good things about Kids Club. I would have to mention each and every one of the teachers and staff and I mean each and every one.

They all have genuinely cared and looked out for my girls thoughtfully. In being a two-parent working family it means the world to me to have them as part of the family.

Julie Kuenzi

La Grande


Tell bullies to stop

To the Editor:

Imagine how boring this world would be if we were all the same.

But for some being different is hard and painful only because others make them feel that being different is bad. No one has the right to do that to anyone else.

School should be exciting for children, but some dread going back. They know that there will be some waiting to make fun, call names and even physically abuse them.

These who enjoy inflicting pain are a small minority, but unfortunately the majority of students don't step in and say that behavior is not acceptable.

Teachers, advisers and parents can't be there all the time. There comes a time when you as a student need to step forward and say stop. Kids listen to their peers.If your fellow students know that what they are doing is not cool or funny maybe they will stop.

Everyone has the right to get an education in a safe and friendly environment. Everyone is important and should be treated with respect.

Don't be part of the silent majority. If you see someone being mistreated speak up. Tell those who are doing it to stop. Don't walk by in silence with your eyes averted. If you're not part of the solution you're part of the problem.

This problem is not only hurtful it can be deadly. It can lead to suicide and violence in our schools.

We as the adults in this community need to let our young people know that they are important. They need to know that we will support them in taking back their schools from the bullies who think that intimidating and making fun is acceptable.

Let this be a year of fun and excitement for every student.

Karen Fullmer

La Grande


Sheriff issued orders

To the Editor:

In a recent letter Michael Tildon presented a very inaccurate portrayal of the DA's recent stay in the Union County Jail. Where he got his facts is a mystery considering he was not even in the jail at that time. We can only assume that he got his information from other inmates and the corrections staff.

Both Sheriff Oliver and I were on duty that day and these are the facts as they actually happened: While the DA was being booked in I notified the sheriff and he immediately went to the jail. It was on the sheriff's written orders that Birnbaum not be required to wear jail coveralls and that he be allowed to use the phone in the jail control room if necessary.

The sheriff also ordered that his meals not be prepared and served by inmates since it would be easy for them to contaminate the food. Birnbaum didn't have his cell phone with him so he couldn't have kept it. All of this was done with the DA's safety in mind; to allow him any contact with the inmates would have placed him in a dangerous situation.

During this entire time Dana Wright was not even in the building; he was on vacation.

He was not involved in the decisions that were made, and he certainly didn't say, "What the DA wants, the DA gets." His only involvement was working with the judges to have Birnbaum released early, something usually done for inmates scheduled to be released on a weekend.

Tildon is free to vote for whomever he wishes. We would like the rest of the voters in Union County to know the facts of this situation and not the falsehoods being spread by those in the jail who have their own agendas.

Catherine Falk

Steve Oliver

Union County Sheriff's office


Story was free publicity

To the Editor:

The Observer never ceases to amaze me. For decades I have studied the diminishing pages of this daily for a sign of intelligence, and it is becoming as illusive as the size of the paper.

The front page story Aug. 20 on the loss of campaign signs is classic Observerdumb. In your haste to give who I perceive to be your favorite candidate some free publicity and solicit the sympathy of your readers for him you overlooked a few important facts.

One: According to your own pages dated April 30, a news release from ODOT about political signs, states that signs along state highways cannot be more than 12 square feet. Your article bemoans the loss of a 4- by 8-foot sign on Highway 82. Gee, 4x8=3 2 square feet.

Two: What I consider to be your favorite for this race, Boyd Rassmussen, inadvertently confessed to violating OAR 734060-0175 on the front page. As a candidate for the chief law enforcement officer of our county that was not a very smart thing to do.

My vote is for Dana Wright. He has the integrity, experience and intelligence to be sheriff. He knows the law, he has to. He has been in his job for over 17 years serving the citizens of Union County.

John E. Coote

La Grande


Need new strategies

To the Editor:

I have just finished reading the book, "Prophet of Doom," by Craig Winn. The majority of the book is quotations from the Koran and other writings. Winn put writings of the Koran next to Hitler's "Mein Kampf" and found them to be nearly identical.

Mohammed was an evil man, a terrorist. Everything he did, he said he was doing for God. He said that anyone who didn't believe as he did should be killed, tortured, terrorized, raped and robbed for the booty.

One story told of a woman poet who wrote some words against Mohammed. He said they must get rid of that woman. So as she slept surrounded by sleeping children with a baby at her breast, an assassin crept into her house and put a sword through her. Muhammed was pleased.

I don't think the American people have a clue what we are up against in this war on terrorism. I don't think military power is going to wipe it out. We are going to have to put the squeeze on Islamic nations some other way. One way would be to quit sending them oil money. We need alternate means of energy so we aren't so dependent on Middle East oil.

We see pictures of the devout Muslims going to their mosques to pray. What we don't know is that they have been taught that those who don't believe as they do, the infidels should die. They also teach that any Muslim who dies as a martyr for Allah, will receive his beautiful reward in heaven.

I believe what President Bush is doing is the only thing we can do right now. Our leaders should be mapping new strategies because this war is going to continue for a long time.

Elaine Livingston

La Grande


Hunting seasons questioned

To the Editor:

Did you get an antelope tag? Are you aware that in 2004 there were 44,529 applicants for 2,616 tags, less than in 2003, in the state of Oregon? In 2003, 2,246 pronghorn antelope tags were issued out of 2,652 drawn. Hunters have until the day prior to the beginning of the hunt to purchase their tags. Antelope season ran Aug. 14-22 this year , with a one buck antelope bag limit.

There is no known population of antelope on the Confederated Tribes reservation lands, so antelope must be hunted by the tribes on public land. The 2004-2005 tribal treaty hunting seasons list an open season on antelope from Aug. 1 to Dec. 31, either sex, no restriction on the number of animals that may be taken. Is this hunting "in common with the citizens of the United States" as stated in the treaty of 1855?

The 2004-05 tribal hunting seasons and bag limits also have a new season beginning this year that allows hunting of whitetail deer on the reservation lands, either sex open all year round, also no restriction on the number of animals that may be taken. Reservation lands overlie one of the best habitats conducive to the whitetail deer: With better management practices the tribes could make this a hunter resource for both tribal and non-tribal hunters. If the tribe is concerned about the whitetail displacing the mule deer, then why did they not close the mule deer season for conservation management?

Do you as sportsmen want to continue to pay increased fees for other people to hunt with no restrictions while your restrictions grow, and tag numbers continue lessening in numbers? You can no longer afford to keep silent; please contact your congressmen and representatives to bring back the "in common with the citizens of United States" hunting status as promised by the treaty of 1855.

Glenda Christian



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