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Home arrow Opinion arrow Letters arrow LETTERS TO THE EDITOR FROM DECEMBER 13 - DECEMBER 18, 2004



Goal is serving community

To the Editor:

In this time of concern and distrust for boards or commissions of all types I would like to make some observations.

Most people who serve in these positions have only one thing in mind and that is to give back to their community, not for the recognition or to use it as a stepping stone to something bigger.

Most serve long hours without any form of compensation, and try to do the best job they can with the information they have. They are not out to take advantage of the position, build their own little kingdom or mislead people. They take on the responsibility of operating an entity, foundation or council with the thought of making decisions that represents what is best for all.

Having served for years in different capacities, I can say this is not always rewarded with thanks. There will always be decisions made that are not going to please all of the people. Trying to serve your community will put you in the path of some criticism. You have to learn to do the best you can and try not to be hurt by some of the things said or implied about you.

Serving your community is a high calling. It is imperative that you keep all those you represent in mind when you make a decision. My hat is off to all of those who give countless hours to make our area a better place to live and work.

When you come under criticism listen, give it the attention it deserves, resolve to use the relevant information and then try to remember the reasons you are serving. In the long run helping your community to be a better place to live and work will far outweigh the costs.

Bob Mason

La Grande


Kindness caught

To the Editor:

I witnessed a wonderful act of kindness and thought to share it with your readers.

I work at the Union County Senior Center, and seniors have a special place in my heart. I was driving up Washington Avenue towards Island Avenue.

An elderly gentleman was trying to cross the street to go to Bank of America and a man in a blue Chevy pickup got out of his truck and helped the elderly man across the busy street.

The man who helped out the senior was caught in a wonderful act and it didn't go unnoticed.

Carmen Gentry

La Grande


Hunger is biggest enemy

To the Editor:

In response to the community comment by Vikki Rock in The Observer of Dec. 6:

I hope your son comes home safe and sound in mind and body, along with thousands of others sent abroad to fight America's wars.

Iraq had nothing to do with terrorists before. I'm afraid it does now.

I also have young adult sons who care about our future. Travel and study have helped them to see hunger as one of the world's leading enemies. Malnutrition among young Iraqi children has nearly doubled since the U.S. invasion.

Polluted water is causing a chronic wasting condition for over 40,000 Iraqi children, who are also deficient in protein. Health officials say Iraq's child malnutrition rate is far worse than in Uganda and Haiti, the poorest country in our hemisphere.

What if we had sent 130,000 troops armed with shovels to help plant gardens 20 months ago? Would we have more or less fear of a terrorist strike on U.S. soil than we have today?

Mary Cooke



Soldier offers thanks

To the Editor:

I'd like to thank all the people who prayed for me and supported my family while I was mobilized and sent to Fort Bliss, Texas, along with the others of the 3-116th from Eastern Oregon.

I ended up having medical problems and stayed there while the majority of my fellow soldiers left to go overseas. I fully believe that I am home now because of your prayers. I intend to seek further medical treatment for my health concerns.

A special thanks to the members of the Chamber of Commerce's Support the Troops committee as they have been personally involved, and have done everything possible, to help me and my family.

Christopher Burk

La Grande


Water rights in jeopardy

To the Editor:

On Dec. 2 an important case concerning all water-users in Oregon was heard before the Court of Appeals in Salem.

This appeal by the State of Oregon is seeking to overturn the correct ruling of Judge Gregory Baxter of 2002 that found the state had indeed misrepresented the authority of the Federal Clean Water Act by imposing the Total Maximum Daily Load process on non-point or agricultural streams.

Although it seems technical, it basically means that if the state prevails, every water right, no matter the priority, could be in jeopardy if the TMDL is illegitimately allowed on non-point water ways.

It is another attempt to control what has been the historical and beneficial use of not only water but also of private property. Anyone who uses water needs to become informed and aware of what the consequences could be, and let our legislators hear our concerns.

Daryl Hawes, Jerry Franke of the Burnt River Irrigation District, Bob and Sharon Beck, Pat Larson, Kay Tiesl of the Oregon Cattlemen, Terry Witt of OFS and Joe Hobson of OALF attended and lent their support for Judge Baxter's ruling.

Commissioner Colleen MacLeod not only attended, but contributed her knowledge of this and other issues affecting natural resource stewards and our culture. Their efforts are appreciated.

Curtis W. Martin

North Powder


Lots of on the job training

To the Editor:

Remember the education president? Well, welcome to the age of the OJT president — yes, on the job training.

A good example has resulted from the resignation of Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Powell, unfortunately, was the only real diplomat in the Bush administration. Sadly, his replacement is by far one of the least able of the Bush clique. However, on the job training will have to get her by.

Of course, you have heard that the latest replacement forces to be dispatched to Iraq will have a minimum of basic training — OJT again is the Bush solution — and of course you have heard that they will be building their own armored vehicles.

I guess that figures because the insurgents are building their own bombs.

Stay tuned folks for four more years of this idiocy.

Bob Casey

Wallowa County


Close terror-training institute

To the Editor:

I agree with President Bush when he says terrorism must not be tolerated, but we should lead by example.

We, as a democratic nation, must not allow terrorism to exist on our own soil. Yet, since 1946 the U.S. government has supported terrorism in the name of democracy.

First called the School of the Americas, our own terrorist-training institute was renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation or WHISC.

This institute began at a military training facility in Panama with the financial backing of the military budget. Under the terms of the Panama Canal Treaty, SOA was forced out of Panama in 1984. At that time, President Jorge Illueca of Panama called it the biggest base of destabilization in Latin America.

Since 1984, the school has been at Fort Benning, Ga., where up to 2,000 soldiers from Latin America and the Caribbean are trained each year. Now many may think our nation is helping to keep stability in these nations by training their military to defend their borders from foreign invasion.

But soldiers at WHISC are trained to defend their nations from their own people. These soldiers wield terror upon their own people, who rarely have the capability of defending themselves.

Advocates state that WHISC is a vital tool for implementing democracy, a key tool for U.S. foreign policy in Latin America. But of the 10 graduates who became heads of state, not one took power democratically.

Enough! As long as this institute remains on our soil we undermine our own efforts to bring an end to terrorism. How does this make the world a safer place?

Please join me in writing to your senators and representatives urging them to support bills in Congress to shut down our biggest terrorist-training institute.

Father Jim Stephens

Baker City


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