BUNN DOWNPLAYS ALLEGED VIOLATIONS

February 06, 2002 11:00 pm

Stan Bunn, the state superintendent of public instruction who is facing accusations of various ethics violations, was so moved by a newspaper editorial that defended him against the charges that last week he faxed copies of it to other newspapers. He did so on an Oregon Department of Education letterhead and through an Oregon Department of Education fax machine.

The fact that Bunn sent out copies of what might be the only editorial opinion that has come to his defense isnt an unusual move for a politician caught in a controversy. But considering the fact that Bunn has been accused of using a state car and cell phone for personal use, his decision to use his office, its letterhead and its fax machine to help sell his defense doesnt appear to be a wise move. Bunn has developed a pattern of eventually making up for bad choices.

The Albany Democrat Herald editorial that Bunn distributed via fax basically excused the superintendents alleged ethics infractions as oversights with at least a plausible explanation. It explains Bunns responses to accusations ranging from continuing his law practice after taking office and using a state car for commuting from Newberg to Salem to using frequent flyer miles for a family member and making about 2,000 personal calls on state phones. The editorial concludes that Bunn may be condemned by those salaried workers who have never inadvertently taken home a pencil stuck in their shirt pockets, and who have never used the office phone to make a dentist appointment ... But to most Oregon voters and taxpayers these charges look picayunish and the flap about them is overblown.

To Stan Bunn and at least one editorial writer the alleged violations might appear exaggerated. To others they are a reflection of an elected official who has a track record of ignoring or at the very least not understanding Oregons ethics laws. What if the accusations had not surfaced? Would the reimbursements have been made? Stan Bunn doesnt get it. For that reason, he shouldnt bother seeking a second term.

JACK LAURENCE

1941 to 2002

He was one of La Grandes movers and shakers, especially when it came to promoting downtown or doing good things for people through involvement in the Elks Lodge. Jack Laurence, who died Sunday at his home in La Grande after a battle with cancer, will be missed.

Laurence believed in and advocated for

La Grande. His jewelry store has been a downtown fixture for 38 years. He was active in the downtown association and was an ambassador for the chamber. When he wasnt serving La Grande, he was working on behalf of the Elks. Laurence joined the lodge at age 21 and rose through the ranks to twice serve as the lodges exalted ruler, as a state trustee and district vice president. He was president of the Oregon State Elks Association at the time of his death.

Jack Laurence set an example for service. His family and his community can be proud of his contributions.