December 14, 2001 11:00 pm

There arent a lot of issues that can raise the ire of us all; yet one issue that should make us angry is the inconsistency coming out of City Hall.

The city council and those who manage City Hall established a policy many years ago that required residents to remove the snow from the sidewalks in front of their homes and/or businesses. This mandate may ruffle the feathers of some libertarians but in essence it is a safety issue and a good policy.

What is bad is that the city does not do its part by keeping the citys streets plowed and cleaned, especially at the crosswalks. Friday provided a perfect example of this.

Driving around town you will see hundreds of sidewalks neatly cleaned of snow and ice by residents, only to come to the street and find a treacherous area that creates a potentially deadly hazard for those who are trying to walk. Think of how imprisoned the elderly or disabled must feel.

La Grande officials might like to say they only have a limited amount of money to clear streets of snow and ice. One former city councilor said the city usually budgets enough money to clear the main arteries two or three times each season.

What are the public road crews doing this time of year? We have plenty of city staffers who are collecting a paycheck each month, so why not divert them from the tasks they are currently performing to clear the streets? So what that some maintenance work is delayed for a few days. It would be far better to protect the people of La Grande by keeping the crosswalks cleared of ice and snow.

Downtown La Grande has become the discussion topic over whether to build a public library at the old Safeway site near Max Square and City Hall. The hazards downtown are incredible for those who want to shop. Just go downtown and watch pedestrians try and navigate between blocks.

The city council needs to upgrade the snow removal policy and require that the city keep the streets cleared of snow and ice, especially near sidewalks. The council must ensure that the sidewalks and streets are safe to walk on year- round.

Bin Laden, really?

The Osama bin Laden videotape, recorded in November and released this week, tells us something we already knew. The Saudi Arabian indisputably is tied to the Sept. 11 East Coast terrorist attacks.

Family members of the thousands of victims can take comfort in that they know for sure who was responsible. Their Christmas will be brighter, however, if the United States and its allies smoke bin Laden out of his cave by then and put him behind bars. The world will be much safer once this man is out of circulation.