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Home arrow Opinion arrow Letters arrow LETTERS TO THE EDITOR FROM SEPTERMBER 20 - SEPTEMBER 25, 2004

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR FROM SEPTERMBER 20 - SEPTEMBER 25, 2004

Time for new ideas

To the Editor:

Once again we have a choice to make. Former mayor Sue Briggs has decided to try again.

Talk about not wanting back room politics. Check the April 1998 City Council minutes and the minutes from the special meeting three days later. You will find out how the boot camp she wanted in was handled: behind closed doors and unknown to the City Council members.

I still have the newspaper articles and was present at the special meeting. We don't want a person of this caliber running the city, do we?

TOTAL wants to fill every seat that's open on the city council including the mayor's. If they are all elected, you will have a city that's run by one group of people and run their way. It would be close to a monarchy.

The fact that they were in a hurry to get Dean Muchow back as the chief of police and also on the city council, shows me that they are more interested in getting what they want instead of what is best for the city. Obviously, our current elected officials knew what they were doing.

Our third choice is D.J. Lequerica, a write-in candidate who is young, open-minded and full of fresh ideas. That might be just what we need right now. Arlie Gordon is knowledgeable and a good liaison between the city council and the planning commission. Gary Graham helped clean up the boot camp mess along with Jack Zimmerman. He also knows his business.

Just think before you vote. It is very important to the city of Union.

Linda Boettcher

Union

______________________________

Celebrate Halloween Oct. 29

To the Editor:

Halloween is just a few weeks away and I would like to suggest that our community move this celebration to Friday, Oct. 29.

I find it inappropriate to celebrate a day of ghosts, goblins, witches and evil on the Sabbath day. Many people acknowledge the Sabbath as being on Sunday, while some of our Christian friends recognize Saturday as the Sabbath. By holding Halloween on Friday we wouldn't disrupt another religion's beliefs.

Some may argue that Halloween should remain on the 31st regardless of the day of the week, but I don't believe that children really care what day they are given treats. They just enjoy the goodies. The schools have their parties on Fridays when Halloween falls on the weekend, so why not include the rest of the celebration in the same manner.

There are some who may suggest that you turn off your porch light if you don't want trick-or-treaters coming on that day. But what happens when the people want to provide treats on Friday? What about those who want to provide treats on Saturday?

In order to be consistent and avoid unnecessary confusion, our communities should decide on one day to celebrate.

Our great-grandparents called it a holy day. Our grandparents called it the Sabbath. Our parents called it Sunday, and we call it the weekend.

Let's use Sunday, the Lord's Day, as it was intended and participate in celebrations like Halloween on other days.

Judy Hendrickson

La Grande

______________________________

Bush spirals into darkness

To the Editor:

Four years ago a majority of voters did not support George W. Bush. Our citizens had finally rejected the propaganda that environmental protection is bad for the economy.

They were not convinced the Bush's tax cuts would be fair or helpful. However, he came into power nonetheless.

Today the president's campaign speech claims that he wants to help people, not dictate to them. I wonder why his party dictated that we should go to war against the wishes of our people and allies, why they dictate who can get married and what a woman must do if she has an unwanted pregnancy.

He calls himself a compassionate conservative, which appears to mean that if your misery stems from seeing a same-sex couple, then he feels your pain.

But if your misery is caused by starvation, sickness, unjust imprisonment, rape, beatings or horrible tortures, prolonged separation from your family, loss of a job or an arm, a leg or a loved one, you are invisible to him.

That this propaganda seems to convince voters is alarming. If we re-elect George W. Bush, we can expect to see a continuing downward spiral into the darkness of totalitarianism.

Can we hope to have an honest election ever again? Will protesters be jailed for speaking out against the government? I urge you to support John Kerry and give a people a chance to save democracy.

Mary Cooke

Cove

______________________________

ESD board deserves heat

To the Editor:

Five of the members of the board of the Union Baker Education Service District continue to attempt to spin the severity of the situation at the agency by touting programs and kids in order to take the heat off themselves.

We have never heard from the board how good the programs could have been if they had not allowed for the following to occur:

• Massive credit card waste

• Hundreds of thousands of dollars in overpayment of vacation and comp time

• Hundreds of thousands of dollars in sexual harassment settlements

• Hundreds of thousand of dollars of misappropriation of ADM funds

• Purchase of an airplane

• Excessive salaries

• Excessive travel

• Hiring four consultants for $400 to $600 per day

• Excessive cell phone use

These are just a few of the areas that have been uncovered by the Education Workforce Development Committee and substantiated by the forensic audit.

The audit only examined two years and found an estimated $2.3 million of misused funds. Just imagine what would be found if the audit went back eight years and examined all areas.

Dennis Wilkinson

La Grande

______________________________

Candidate offers compassion

To the Editor:

I really appreciated Sheriff Oliver's list of needed requirements for a sheriff, and his outline of the job. I feel much more knowledgeable in this area after reading his article. To me Dana Wright fits this profile.

But let me give you a picture of another side of Mr. Wright. When I found my husband down by the machine shed, dead from a heart attack, Mr. Wright was the first person to come to my aid.

He came as an officer but as a compassionate one. I had never seen him before. In a kind, compassionate, professional manner he helped me through the worst moments of my life.

I will never forget his kindness. Yes, I will vote for him for sheriff. Won't you please do so, too?

Retha K. Bowman

La Grande

______________________________

Family could have helped

To the Editor:

Concerning the events of Sept. 12 and 13 in Cove, we would like to offer our condolences to the family and friends of Abe Gordon, and also offer a few comments.

We are Russell Ross's uncle and aunt. We drove from Idaho when we heard about the sad events. We wanted to help by being there for the Ross family, and to try to help Russell.

By the time we arrived the State Police had taken over and definitely didn't want anyone's help. We asked if we could try to speak with Russell, and were told that family only made it worse.

We are close to Russell, maybe we can help. "No". Are you in contact at all? "Yes, a friend sometimes speaks on a cell phone, but now it's dead." Can you get another phone in there? "We might try." But they didn't.

Then came the tear gas, the loud percussion and the command, "Come out with your hands up." The police stated that they negotiated all day and did all they could. We say NOT! The family should have been allowed to try to talk Russell out, and allowed to tell him we love him.

Then comes the tank to tear Russell's house apart, wreck his pickup and make jokes about it. The family was not kept informed. Maybe the police should appoint one person to keep the family updated. There were certainly enough uniforms there.

We feel that this was handled poorly. It was a scene out of a horror movie. The callousness and disrespect of the State Police was unacceptable and heartbreaking. The residents of Cove were kind to us and had only good things to say about Russell.

We lost a good person. The reasons why we will never know.

Bob and Donna Ross

Cottonwood, Idaho

______________________________

Prevent voter fraud

To the Editor:

One of the greatest threats to democracy in this country is voter fraud and voter-machine malfunction.

We're fortunate to vote by mail in Oregon, but problems have been evident in other states all across America. Please call your representatives in the Senate and House to support bi-partisan bills on Voter Verified Paper Ballots. Congress will leave Washington soon, so this is urgent.

The evidence is now overwhelming that electronic voting terminals are susceptible to manipulation before and after voting. If they malfunction, votes can be lost completely. Voters need to be able to verify their votes on secure paper ballots that can be counted and re-counted.

No matter what one's political party, this is an issue of major importance. Call Sen. Ron Wyden, Washington, D.C., 202-224-5244 or Sen. Gordon Smith, Washington, D.C., 202-224-3753, and ask them to co-sponsor Sen. Ensign's "Voting Integrity and Verification Act" S 2437.

Rep. Greg Walden can be reached in Washington, D.C., at 202-225-6730 and asked to support Rep. Holt's "Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act" HR 2239.

Catherine Matthias

Joseph

______________________________

Turn numbskulls into sheriff

To the Editor:

I am angered to learn that some folks are stealing "Kerry For President" signs off peoples' lawns in Joseph.

If anyone knows who these sorry numb-skulls are, they should turn them in to the sheriff. They are enriching the Democratic Party because those robbed are simply buying new signs, they are giving the Republican Party a bad name, and worse, they are attacking the fundamental necessity of American democracy — free speech.

Wally Sykes

Joseph

______________________________

Kerry health plan falls ill

To the Editor:

Three contributing factors to increasing health care costs are state and federal mandated insurance coverage, health professionals' liability insurance premiums and third-party health care cost payments.

When cousin Fred comes to visit, we go out to eat at his employer's expense. Since neither of us has to shell out, the sky is the limit. This is an illustration of the third-party health care cost payments made by insurance companies.

When someone else is footing the bill, usually less care is taken to economize. A socialized health care system, like John Kerry's plan, would accentuate the problem, leaving an over-taxed constituency with the burden of those third-party

payments.

Health care professionals have experienced a huge increase in their premium payments for liability insurance. To stay in business, they must pass it on to the consumer. A solution to the premium cost increases to health care professionals would be to pass Measure 35, which would limit to $500,000 the non-economic damages awarded in medical-related civil suits. Currently there is no limit to awards insurance companies must pay. Does John Edwards' name come to mind?

Our state and federal governments have enacted over the years mandated health insurance coverage, dictating to insurance companies what they must insure. The consumer is left with few policies from which to choose. Government must make available to consumers bare bones catastrophic health insurance, enabling consumers to set up a Health Savings Account that works like an IRA, except that withdrawals can be made to pay health-related expenses.

President Bush, in his "Health Care Choice Act," advocates choice for consumers, allowing them to shop for health insurance across state lines. President Bush's free-market solution will bring in competition, and competition brings down prices.

Lorraine Swift

Wallowa

______________________________

Sheriff loses respect

To the Editor:

For 12 years I have had the greatest respect for Sheriff Steve Oliver, but that respect went down the drain when I read his paid ad in The Observer saying, "Y'all vote for my boy, Dana; that other boy, he ain't got it."

To publicly support one deputy over the other is, I believe, out of line. If the sheriff is asked privately and personally whom he would recommend, that is fine, but not with a huge color billboard on Highway 82.

I will just more strongly support Boyd Rasmussen since the sheriff has done this.

Roy Hills

Island City

______________________________

Stop fighting George's war

To the Editor:

When are you moms and dads going to quit sending your sons and daughters to Iraq to fight George's war for him?

We weren't fired upon. Iraq didn't declare war on us. We are not defending an ally. George ordered the first shot to be fired.

We are sending mercenaries over there to be paid by the American taxpayers for a long time to come. Dick Cheney has said the war will continue for a long time to come. George's announcement from the deck of that aircraft carrier that the war was over was a sick joke.

The president and his higher staff planned this war to keep themselves in office for another four years. At the Republican convention they only talked about Sept. 11 and terrorists to keep people riled and ready to fight, to keep them from thinking about what they really wanted their federal officers to do for them in the next four years.

Thousands of miles of streams in the eastern U.S. have been so polluted in the last three years that they are dangerous to swim in or eat the fish from.

They invoke Christianity to justify the rape of the land, violating manifold Christian precepts that require us to be careful stewards. They are assaulting our national forests.

Theodore Roosevelt said, "Shortsighted men in their greed and selfishness will, if permitted, rob our country of half its charm by their reckless extermination of all useful and wild things."

I don't want to permit them.

Bill Oberteuffer

Island City

______________________________

Kerry supports gun control

To the Editor:

I just realized that John Kerry, who wishes to be the 44th president of the United States, is a rabid gun control enthusiast. Although he has been campaigning across the country telling anyone who would listen that he is a supporter of our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, the truth about his real attitude and position on guns is as follows:

He does not believe the Second Amendment guarantees our rights to own guns.

He has voted with Senate gun-ban extremists Dianne Feinstein, Charles Schumer, Ted Kennedy and Al Gore more than 50 times to place limitations or outright bans on guns.

He applauds the works of gun-hating celebrities such as Michael Moore, Rosie O'Donnell and George Clooney.

With Kerry as president, imagine the following scenario:

Bill Clinton, ambassador to the U.N., working with Cuba and Japan to ban guns by international treaty.

Charles Schumer as attorney general with powers to harass and control gun owners, dealers and manufacturers.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission classifying one firearm after another as unsafe, eventually taking most or all firearms off the market forever.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention once again spending millions of our tax dollars to prove that gun ownership is a disease that needs to be cured.

When you vote for the next president of the United States, remember this: John Kerry has voted against our interest in owning and using firearms not some of the time, or most of the time, but every time on every key vote for his entire career in the Senate, nearly a quarter of a century.

Jeanette Reynolds

Enterprise

______________________________

Soldiers get benefits

To the Editor:

I would like to make a correction to the editorial in The Observer of Sept 21, "Guard deserves state, nation's support."

The editorial said that Oregon doesn't provide group insurance, but it does. Tricare is available to active-duty title 10 soldiers and their dependents. All soldiers deployed are title 10. What we really need are more network providers that will accept Tricare rates.

The editorial said Oregon doesn't provide college reimbursement. In fact, soldiers who complete basic and AIT training are eligible for the Montgomery GI Bill, which pays roughly $300 a month directly to the soldier, and if they qualified for the Montgomery GI Bill Kicker, there is an additional $200 a month.

In addition to this, Oregon soldiers are eligible for Federal Tuition Assistance which will pay 75 percent of tuition cost and up to $500 in fees within a 12-month period.

The editorial said Oregon doesn't provide injury or death benefits for its members. Actually we just had a soldier injured in Texas. It was a lengthy process but it works. The soldier returned to Oregon, working light duty out of the armory, still getting active-duty pay, and receiving local medical care.

As for death benefits, every soldier is afforded the opportunity to buy the Servicemen Group Life Insurance up to $250,0000 designating who the beneficiary will be. The total cost is $16 a month.

Major Ricardo Gloria

Detachment Battalion

Commander

3-116 CAV (AR)

______________________________

TV channel loss disturbing

To the Editor:

I'm sure I'm not alone in my distress over the imminent loss of Channel 7-KTVB out of Boise. When I received word from the Charter Communications folks this week that the channel was destined to be pulled, I was nothing short of heartbroken.

Granted, what I was told made perfect sense. Charter doesn't own the equipment that brings us that hour earlier channel out of Idaho. And it was in poor working condition, which we all were well aware of, given that Channel 7 has been flitting in and out of our television sets for several months now.

But my life as I have come to appreciate it will take a drastic turn with the departure of my favorite channel. I am an Idaho native, and I have always kept tabs on the happenings back there — the news channel out of Boise helped me do that. I feel so much more connected to their news and their weather patterns than I do with metropolitan Portland, which tends to ignore Northeast Oregon as if we truly did belong to another state.

And then there's the vitally important matter of my sleeping habits. How many others out there enjoy the opportunity to watch our favorite prime time shows an hour early, allowing us to turn in for the night so much earlier? I know I do.

I would much rather sacrifice those questionable channels like 40 with outrageous Howard Stern or Spike TV with its endless police chases and car crashes. I would much rather some of my monthly cable payment go toward purchasing and upgrading the Channel 7 equipment. How about the rest of you out there?

Can't we have any influence on this decision? Isn't there some reasonable solution here? Let's hear some noise on this issue.

Di Lyn Larsen-Hill

La Grande

______________________________

Kerry unfit to be commander

To the Editor:

John Kerry is clearly unfit to become commander-in-chief. Although he may have served honorably in Vietnam, his actions after his return bordered on treason. He led numerous anti-war protests, met with enemy officials, repudiated his medals and lied about the service of his comrades and superiors in testimony before Congress.

He essentially served as what Lenin called a "useful idiot." As a result he prolonged the war, vastly increased American, Vietnamese, Cambodian and Laotian casualties during and after the war, and seriously degraded American credibility.

Support for this claim lies in the fact that the Tet offensive was actually a devastating failure for the Viet Cong. In fact, a North Vietnamese Communist general later said that after 1968 he and his army had "emotionally quit." He added that the only thing that kept them fighting was the anti-war movement in the U.S.

Recently, top North Vietnamese General Vo Nguyen Giap reiterated appreciation for American war protesters when he said, "I would like to thank them."

Now, while we fight for survival, anti-war protesters are again capturing headlines and the Vietnam turncoat is now a serious contender for president. This is certainly not lost on our enemies. Just as happened in Vietnam, the terrorists are pinning their hopes on an American pullout. Kerry, the anti-war crowd and some Democrats are once more negatively impacting the morale of our armed forces and lending aid and comfort to our enemies. They are also keeping moderate Iraqis from joining their new government because of a real fear that America will once again desert an ally.

Gerald J. Perren

Enterprise

______________________________

Wright's experience counts

To the Editor:

Concerning the race for Union County Sheriff:

I have read articles in The Observer and visited both candidates' Web sites:

rasmussenforsherif.com and thewrightsher

iff.com . I don't know either man personally, so all I have to go on is what I have read. I can't count on what I have heard to be accurate, as most of it is prejudicial, depending on which person one is

supporting.

In looking at each candidate's qualifications, it appears that Dana Wright has more working knowledge of how the sheriff's department is run. Also, the facts that he has vast knowledge of grant writing, a county funding necessity, and is currently undersheriff are beneficial.

I agree with Sheriff Oliver's recent newspaper article, that while Mr. Rasmussen is probably an excellent road deputy, he doesn't appear to have any actual administrative experience. There is none listed on his Web site. I can see his friends and neighbors like him, but that does not qualify him to run a county.

We need a sheriff experienced in administrative areas of the department, as well as patrol. If we were to lose funding for some of the programs implemented here in Union County, because of lack of experience in obtaining it, that would be a travesty.

If I were hiring someone for a job, experience and qualifications would be major considerations. In voting, that is exactly what we are doing — hiring an applicant to do a job — and I believe that Dana Wright is the most qualified for the job as sheriff of Union County.

I encourage you to visit them and read for yourself both candidates' resumes. Please, before you decide for whom to vote, make sure you are well informed about the qualifications and experience of each.

John Petersen

La Grande

______________________________

Police deserve respect

To the Editor:

I came across this poem the other day and would like to share it with you. The author is unknown.

Ronetta Prince

Union

Me, the Lousy Cop!

Well, Mr. Citizen, I guess you've figured me out! I seem to fit neatly in the category where you've placed me.

From birth you teach your children that I'm the bogeyman, and then you're shocked when they identify with my traditional enemy, the criminal.

You accuse me of coddling juveniles until I catch your kids doing wrong.

You take an hour for lunch and several coffee breaks each day, but point me out as a loafer if you catch me having just one cup!

You pride yourself on your polished manners, but think nothing of disrupting my meals with your troubles.

You talk to me in a manner that would assure a bloody nose from anyone else, but expect me to take it without batting an eye.

You cry, "Something has got to be done about all the crime!" but you can't be bothered with getting involved.

You have no use for me at all, but of course it's OK if I change a flat for your wife, or deliver your child in the back seat of my cruiser on the way to the hospital, or save your son's life with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, or work many hours overtime looking for your lost daughter.

So, Mr. Citizen, you stand there on your soapbox and rant and rave About the way I do my work, calling me every name in the book, but never stopping to think that your property, your family or maybe even your life depends on me or one of my buddies.

Yes, Mr. Citizen, it's me — the lousy cop!

 
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