LETTERS TO THE EDITOR FROM SEPTEMBER 6 - SEPTEMBER 11, 2004
Another perfect pet match
To the Editor:
Simply put: ditto to the words of Karen Tannehill in her Community Comment regarding animals from the pound.
I, too, am one of the lucky ones. For a long time I had been searching for the perfect lab. I wanted yellow, but when we spontaneously stopped at the pound one day and they had three chocolate labs, I just had to look. Needless to say, I ended up taking Avery home with me. I could not resist those eyes, which are still very expressive. Avery was not perfect in the beginning, but she has become one of my best pals. She loves me no matter what.
Even though I am a lab-lover, you may not feel the same way. However, I believe you can find just the right pet at the animal shelter. You may not always come home with what you thought you wanted, but most likely you will find an animal that needs and wants a home and someone to love and care for them. They end up loving you as much as you will come to love them.
I encourage you to take a few minutes some day and go to the animal shelter, just to look. Hopefully, you will find the right pet for your family.
State needs to review regs
To the Editor:
The Oregon Business Plan bus tour came through La Grande on Aug. 24 to discuss how to improve Oregon businesses.
I would like to respond to The Plan by pointing out that a major reason Oregon has had the highest rate of unemployment in the nation is that state business regulations are strangling initiative and entrepreneurship in our state.
A recent study has concluded that by simply increasing our use of Columbia River water, from 0.3 percent to 0.6 percent it would add 50,000 jobs to our state, many in Eastern Oregon. But, Oregon's water resources department has rules that prevent the increase.
I support a review of all 10,000 pages of regulations, and the repeal of regulations that are not cost effective, or up to date.
I will take action to improve the regulatory environment, bringing businesses back to Oregon, and put working people back to work.
Paul Connolly is the Republican candidate for attorney general.
Defending our way of life
To the Editor:
Thanks for a very informative and wonderfully inspirational portrait segment about Dr. Dan Hamre's military service in Iraq.
I am always humbled by such personal sacrifice on behalf of the nation. My reaction to the article was to write a congratulatory letter to the editor. However, I was certain that others would flood your desk before I could put my thoughts down. So, I waited and searched the Opinion page each day. Now, a week later, no one has responded.
As a World War II veteran now in my 80s I must admit to some discouragement. During the past 60 years since VE Day there has been a perceptible erosion of the awareness and acceptance of personal obligation to the defense of our nation. Perhaps we have become victims of our own material success.
Perhaps we have become so distracted and jaded by the conveniences and toys of our advanced technology that we have lost our collective peripheral vision. Perhaps we have succumbed to an easy denial of the very existence of evil.
I believe we need to be reminded that evil did not die on VE Day. It merely retreated to the dark crevices of the world where totalitarianism incubates. It is still with us. It is patient, deceptive, merciless, without conscience, and it is waiting for our complacency and self-indulgence to disarm us.
I believe it was Ronald Reagan who said, "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction." This generation should be humbled beyond measure to have citizen soldiers such as Dr. Hamre and his comrades who have stepped forward to defend our way of life at great personal sacrifice. I say thank God for each one of them. They are true patriots.
Vern L. Farrow
Wake up to costs of war
To the Editor:
When will the American people wake up and realize that we are being taken for a ride by the government?
The government has spent us so far into the hole between tax cuts for the wealthy and wars for oil and the security of Israel that our great-grandchildren will still be paying down the interest when we are history.
It's not as though the economy's picking up any time soon, regardless of what Bush & Co. tell you to try to get your vote.
It's also unlikely that the federal government is going to stop this reckless spending in the near future, considering the mounting costs of the war in Iraq, which are expected to rise, and the costs that a new, impending war in Iran are going to charge to the already maxed-out national debt.
But these are just monetary figures. The human costs will be enormous. We are already nearing the 1,000 mark on our side of the Iraq war body count. We will pass that figure shortly, almost a year and a half since the president declared "Mission Accomplished."
Now the heat is on Iran, with rhetoric identical to what was directed at Iraq the summer of 2002. The Iranians have a powerful military. Tehran will not be taken as painlessly as Baghdad was.
American sons and daughters, husbands and wives, fathers and mothers will die by the scores in an invasion of Iran. Unlike Iraq, Iran has powerful military allies.
War with Iran would likely turn into war with Russia. America's military is overstretched already. There is no way we would stand up to such a force without our U.N. and NATO allies we have spurned at every chance along the way to Baghdad. How long until we have a draft?
The government is taking us for a ride, and the destination is disastrous. Wake up, America, before it is too late.
F. Griffin Hale
Rules govern political signs
To the Editor:
The campaign for sheriff is an interesting race. As it is non-partisan, we as citizens of Union County have the task of selecting the chief law enforcement officer for our county.
Politics aside, we are to select the candidate who will do the best job protecting the citizens and enforcing the law. This person should have experience, knowledge of the law and the ability to manage employees. All these job requirements must be met by a person with a steady hand, even character and above all, unquestionable honesty.
The Observer printed an article Aug. 20 on the demise of some campaign signs belonging to Boyd Rassmussen, a deputy who would like to be sheriff. The irony of his loss is that his 4- by 8-foot signs along Highway 82 were illegally placed, a clear violation of OAR 734-060-0175. I have never before witnessed such a clear admission of guilt of violating a state law by a candidate for the chief law enforcement office of a county.
ODOT controls signage with Oregon Administrative Rules. These rules require no temporary sign larger than 12 square feet, and no signs along Highway 82 north of Island City. All candidates receive a copy of these rules, and The Observer ran it as a news item on April 30.
This violation and the admission of guilt tell me that Boyd needs to study the lesson that his boss is delivering. Dana Wright has followed the rules. His family and friends have made his signs and they are legally placed. Dana has a serious demeanor and understands the importance of his integrity. He has decades of experience and is the best man for the job.
My vote will be for Dana Wright.
retired Sheriff's office employee
Nurturing environment helps
To the Editor:
I would like to thank everyone involved with helping my 6-year-old son, Jesse, get to St. Joseph's Institute for the Deaf. We have been here in Missouri since school began Aug. 16.
Already Jesse is showing signs of progress in the school's nurturing environment, and is really blossoming into the confident, outgoing little boy that I knew he was. An added bonus is that he now has friends who include him in their play.
I would like to make other parents of children who are differently-abled aware of a great Web site, www.Wrightslaw.com, that sends helpful information weekly via an e-mail newsletter. After our experiences with the sterile callousness of the IEP process, upon leaving the safe cocoon of Early Intervention, I would highly recommend that a comprehensive educational evaluation be done for your child.
The testing is implemented by a team of highly trained professionals, unworried about their jobs, who are looking at your child without seeing dollar signs or just another case number. The money spent is worth it, and the school may reimburse you according to the law.
Without this testing through Clarke School for the Deaf, and the ensuing information received, Jesse would have fallen through the cracks with me being assured that he was doing just fine. As it is, our drastic move may have come too late. Only time will tell.
Jesse would not have had this incredible opportunity if it were not for our friends, family, therapists, local businesses and our Faith Center family. The encouragement I received enabled me to follow through on what I needed to do.
All contributed to a change that will affect his entire life and hopefully enable him to become a contributing member of society.
formerly of Cove
Letters smack of bigotry
To the Editor:
I suppose at age 57 I should be resigned to the fact that at any given time, people are capable of thinking or doing just about anything. Resigned? Maybe. But I will never accept the thinking and writing of two of The Observer's letter writers of Sept. 4.
The virulent ignorance of Elaine Livingston's conception of the Muslim faith and the ill-disguised bigotry directed at Native Americans by Glenda Christian in the guise of commentary on hunting rights under the the Treaty of 1855 must be
What in the devil is wrong with the times in which we live where such meanness of spirit is given free reign? Who supports these people so they feel free to express such sentiments? I have lived in Oregon for 36 years, 12 of those years in La Grande. Something has changed.
People in this state used to look out for each other. There was nothing wrong with being your brother's or sister's keeper. Now we vote down tax measures to support our schools or help people with no medical insurance. We expound on religious issues to the point of creating intolerance. We carry on with never-ending vendettas in print against fellow townspeople or educational boards.
It must stop. We must rediscover a caring environment in Oregon and a civility in political discourse.
There is an old phrase, meant to cite the high regard we hold for free speech in this country. It goes something like: I may disagree with what you say, but I'd fight to preserve your right to say it.
Sorry, but if you think like Livingston and Christian, keep your thoughts to yourself and throw away your pen.
Your ideas are not worth defending.
Sign vandalism not justified
To the Editor:
I read with interest the two letters to the editor that appeared in The Observer regarding the Union County Sheriff's race.
The first was co-signed by the current sheriff who is endorsing his friend and hand-picked successor, Dana Wright. The letter states that Wright had nothing to do with the special treatment District Attorney Martin Birnbaum received when he was jailed on contempt charges, writing, "During this entire time Dana Wright was not even in the building: he was on vacation."
But then the sheriff and his co-writer admit in the same letter that Wright, while on vacation, was able to orchestrate the D.A.'s early release. "His only involvement was to have Birnbaum released early."
Another letter, by a member of Wright's campaign committee, attacks The Observer for running a story about candidate Boyd Rasmussen's signs, which were destroyed by vandalism.
The writer almost seems to justify the criminal destruction of the signs by citing a little-known Oregon Administrative Rule regarding a sign that was supposedly too large. The writer doesn't state that Wright, who happens to be a La Grande city councilman, previously violated his own city ordinance with a sign on N Avenue.
Hand-picked successors, doublespeak and double standards are not what Union County needs. I am supporting and voting for Boyd Rasmussen.
I am impressed by his focused campaign and with endorsements that he has earned from the La Grande Police Association, the Union County Law Enforcement Association and the Union County Farm Bureau, along with hundreds of other Union County residents.
Rasmussen is genuinely concerned with the issues important to the people of Union County. Visit with Boyd and I'm sure you'll agree that he should be our next sheriff.
Larry L. Cribbs
Be sure to register, vote
To the Editor:
The coming election gives us an opportunity to be patriotic in the best sense of the word by making sure our registration is current, and by voting.
The Constitution, with its checks and balances, is a well-thought-out document, but there is an inherent danger to democracy when all branches are controlled by the same party. Whichever party is in power can become arrogant in its belief of a mandate, and discount the concerns of all those who didn't vote for that party.
Clinton kept the Republican Congress from excesses, and the Republican Congress kept Clinton from too-liberal achievements.
Now we have a Legislature that follows lockstep with the administration, whether from party loyalty or overwhelming confidence in the president, and enacts laws without the deliberation that can be a safeguard to excesses.
The ill-conceived Medicare prescription bill, the hastily passed Patriot Act, the huge contracts awarded without allowing bids are all examples of a one-party system in action. John Kerry will be the right president for these difficult times. He will be a unifying force, but he will not run roughshod over the Republican Congress.
He is a good, honest, thoughtful man. He has been portrayed as pro-abortion. He is not. He does think that individuals are given the right to make up their own minds.
As independent Oregonians we need to make up our minds to vote, and to vote for the good of the country. If you don't vote, you are really letting down all those who have fought for our freedom.
In defense of Observer
To the Editor:
In response to John E. Coote's letter to the editor on Sept. 4 in which he asserts that the size of The Observer is diminishing, I say, baloney.
In my opinion the size of The Observer has not diminished in the last decades when Coote was studying its pages for a sign of intelligence. I think that The Observer is actually better than it was years ago and undoubtedly contains more information.
We get two sections now instead of one, and on Saturdays American Profile magazine is included. These are not signs of a shrinking newspaper. Mr. Coote might like to know that the want-ads of The Observer are more extensive than ever, just in case he is looking for a job.
As far as his nasty little slap at the folks who put the paper together and his newfound knack for coining catchy slurs Observerdumb I say that after knowing three of the Observer staff for several years there has been no sign of dumbness
On the contrary, the paper has some very talented people, and we are lucky to have them and their contributions. For Coote to suggest that The Observer would run a front page story about vandalism to give free publicity to a political candidate is laughable.
Where does he get this stuff? This from a man who claims to be able to discern integrity! Vandalism and destruction of property are not only newsworthy, they are crimes whether committed against a candidate for sheriff or against Coote himself.
Perhaps he should start getting a newspaper he can really sink his teeth into like the New York Times. Maybe there he could find signs of the sort of intelligence that has thus far eluded him. After all, the Times is an undiminished full four-pounder.
Don't rehash old issues
To the Editor:
As election time approaches, let's hear something new from the candidates. On the commissioners race, rehashing the old is rarely beneficial and has become tiresome and repetitious.
The golf course in Union is not just a golf course, but a place to dispose of wastewater while protecting our streams. The project has been that way from the beginning. Let's not keep slamming the fine citizens of Union over this.
The railroad is valuable infrastructure. This is primarily an Elgin and Wallowa County project. Yes, it was an investment. Almost every economic endeavor is, but the alternative was a forever loss.
This issue has been rehashed many times. Like the rail cars seem to be doing, let's move on.
To the Editor:
In response to the letter by Kathy Falck and Steve Oliver in The Observer Sept. 4:
The letter attacks the corrections staff in the first paragraph in which it states you assume the corrections staff gave privileged information to an inmate.
As a professional who works for the Sheriff's Department, you should know that assuming is unreasonable. If the sheriff or other employees felt that the corrections staff was giving out confidential information, an investigation should have ensued. Did you assume all of the staff was involved or someone specifically?
There is a lack of privacy in the jail. The booking area is surrounded by rooms filled with inmates.When District Attorney Martin Birnbaum was booked in, every inmate in the jail was aware of that fact within the hour.
There is no mystery surrounding the information Michael Tildon received. He was told by other inmates that Birnbaum had been in jail, and he probably read about it in The Observer.
There was no agenda or political link that leads from Michael Tildon's letter to the candidate who is the choice of the corrections department. Tildon is an inmate who wanted the privileges that were given to Birnbaum while he was incarcerated. He wrote the letter, and your response should have been aimed toward him.
I do not know what falsehoods you refer to. I was saddened by your letter, as it accuses the corrections staff of being less than honest. I know all of the corrections staff and know them to be honest and trustworthy, the very reasons you hired them.
If this public airing of an assumed problem within the Sheriff's Department is going to be status quo for the future, then I worry about the future of the department.
Appreciate school personnel
To the Editor:
We begin the 2004-05 school year facing unprecedented challenges. As superintendent of public instruction, I want to acknowledge the difficulty and importance of the work done by teachers, counselors, librarians, school nurses, educational assistants, bus drivers, food service workers, secretaries, and every other education professional in Oregon's top-notch public schools. I want to let you know how much I appreciate their dedication to high-quality service on behalf of our 551,290 school children.
The combined pressures of inadequate and unstable funding, high public expectations, aging and overcrowded facilities, under-funded mandates, and the everyday stresses of difficult jobs combine to make the work more challenging with each passing year.
And yet this most essential work of our society helping the next generation of young people take their place confidently and competently as learners, workers, and citizens is performed. I appreciate that challenge. They are on the front lines every day, helping to make the world a better place.
I offer this message of support, welcoming them back to the new school year. I know their sense of mission, their excellence as professionals and their love of children will make this school year a rewarding and fulfilling one, despite the difficult climate in which they approach this most vital community service.
Superintendent of Public Instruction