May 09, 2002 11:00 pm

We must protect our sovereignty

To the Editor:

Add to our current national situation the following: a couple more million job losses, U.N.-imposed taxes on gas and on international currency transactions, a few more million tax dollars to foreign aid, and some supercomputers to the communist Chinese.

According to information I've received, as these things occur, we'll become the poor and huddled masses.

The term "cashless society" will not just mean "electronic banking," it will aptly depict our downward spiraling personal financial


There's a rumor that the federal income tax is a voluntary tax; but most of us accept paying our fair share to the IRS. But when an international organization expects the U.S. taxpayer to "share the wealth" with other nations, isn't it time we said, "Heck, no"?

It's a well-known part of the U.N. agenda to take wealth from prosperous countries and distribute it to poorer countries. Did we as American voters decide to be part of the U.N.? Are we going to be allowed to vote to pay or not to pay a TOBIN tax or a currency tax to the U.N.? Sounds like taxation without representation to me. Didn't we have a grievance with King George over such taxes?

The purpose of the U.N. is to govern the world. Once they have a reliable revenue through international taxation they will take their agenda all the way. For every power they take, we will lose a "right." Have you read the U.N. Agenda? Do you remember why we have constitutional rights? Some say our Constitution precludes another entity from governing the United States. Have we forgotten what sovereignty is?

S. Reed Smith


Troubling double-standard

To the Editor:

Les Brasure in his March 26 letter along with other members of the La Grande community seem to be "appalled by the Texas verdict" of Andrea Yates.

From what I understand, this woman had a husband and all these babies did not come from immaculate conception. Many times an unfair burden is placed upon a woman in raising children. It seems to me that she had a large number of male children in a very short amount of time.

Was this because of failure to practice any type of birth control? Was this failure to practice birth control due to the couple's religious convictions? I'll bet anything this was a pro-life couple.

I happen to consider myself a very spiritual person. I think it's irresponsible to have that number of kids. Each and every child is precious and some thought should go into the time and energy needed to properly raise each one. The parental duties should be shared by both spouses.

During my last marriage, I had three kids. The boys were always full of energy and I had to be after them constantly to keep them from hurting each other in their play. Quite frankly, I felt a need to get out of the house with my wife alone at least once a week.

Now it appears Mr. Yates can go back to fathering more kids for some poor woman to take care of while he plays Mr. American consumer — probably going to the store to buy things made in China, supporting a country that has very stringent birth control and forced abortions.

I find this double standard to be very troubling and odious.

Victor Forsythe

La Grande

Find fair way to fund schools

To the Editor:

The anti-government and anti-tax folks have gone too far and we are seeing the results.

Government is how a civilized society addresses common needs. Unresponsive and wasteful government is a serious problem but in our system we have both the opportunity and the responsibility to improve things.

Taxes are the way our society pays for the services we have asked for; services such as law enforcement, fire control, education, roads, national defense, etc. Taxes should be cut or raised because a hard-headed look at revenues and expenditures says it is good for our society not because of some ideological knee-jerk.

We should not tolerate waste in our government spending but we shouldn't expect a distant "somebody else" to pay for these services. We should have enough self-respect to be willing to pay our fair share.

Our political leaders do us harm when they pander to our selfish instincts — when they tell us we can have a healthy society without having to pay for it, when they tell us we can continually cut taxes (and certainly never raise taxes) with no consequences, and when they tell us we can have a free lunch.

The consequences are here. Our state has a growing deficit that can't be swept under the legislative rug. The services that we use are in jeopardy, especially education. We adults were educated by the generation that came before us. As we were growing up we reaped the benefits of this country, benefits that others paid for.

Tell your legislator that you are willing to pay your share of the cost of keeping Oregon first rate, and that the Legislature should find a fair and stable source of funding for education.

If they refuse to address this need, then we should replace them at election time.

N. R. Munn

Baker City

Walk or bicycle to work

To the Editor:

Isn't it time we got up off our broad backsides and started moving? We're fat, we're lazy, and we are developing health problems at earlier ages than ever before. Disgusting.

There is such a simple remedy — walk or bike to work. We have to go there anyway. Why not get our daily exercise in the process? It's so easy. And here's what we gain: We will shed pounds and start looking and feeling like human beings, instead of amoebae.

We will save money in car expenses. Our air will be less polluted. We will have more energy. We will notice the flowers and animals and sunrises. Our minds will be less cluttered and we will be more relaxed. And we will find that it's fun.

Parents, when you walk or bike to work, you may be able to encourage your children to do the same as they set off to school. The money you save can be used to pay off debt or take the family to a movie or bowling. You don't think you can afford yoga classes or a massage? Guess again. By walking or biking more, every family should be able to reduce the number of cars they own by at least one — a tremendous saving.

Employers, support your employees in their health plans. Meet them half way. Allow them to take the amount of time off, at either end of the day, that it takes to walk or bike one way. You will gain so much in improved productivity that you won't miss that half hour or so.

So what do you think? Talk to your co-workers and pledge to try it for a month. Resolve as a family to walk or bike more and drive the car less.

Round up your neighbors and hit the sidewalks.

Janet Nedry

La Grande

Situation not as positive

To the Editor:

I appreciate all the positive news in The Observer. It is always a pleasure to read.

However, I found the March 15 article, "Bid will save the city $755,000 on project," misleading. The article was about the City of La Grande's wastewater treatment facility phase II construction.

Mike Becker bid just under $100,000 from the next lowest bid and was awarded the project. The headline suggested that Becker bid $755,000 from the next lowest bid. The project was originally estimated at $2.5 million. All the bidders were able to underbid that estimate.

Mike Becker was instrumental in the purchase of the property for the City of La Grande. Becker purchased the land for $565,000 and within one year he divided the property, selling part of it to the city for $487,000 and the remainder to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife for $506,000. The overall difference in his favor was $428,000

I appreciate a good article that shows the community and environment working together.

The story regarding the wastewater treatment facility was encouraging and the fact that it is coming in under the original estimate is a relief to the taxpayers.

However, the article should have pointed out the cost of purchasing the land for the project, which was heavily inflated at the taxpayers' expense. And Mike Becker, contrary to the headline, did not save us any money.

May O'Malley

La Grande

West right candidate for judge

To the Editor:

All over the county, we are seeing the signs for the circuit court judge candidates.

As far as I am concerned, there is only one candidate for the judgeship. That is Russ West.

West has for some years been our district attorney. He has prosecuted successfully almost every crime we are likely to have occur in our county.

He has prosecuted rapists, drug users, spouse abusers and drunken drivers.

Along with the sheriff and the state police, he has been in the forefront on many drug busts.

Russ has prosecuted cases before every judge in our area, I believe, and is highly esteemed by all of these judges.

I see Russ and his lovely wife, Mary, at just about all of the Imbler School functions. He has a heart for the youngsters in our county.

I believe West is the man for the circuit judgeship and I hope you will join me in supporting him.

Roy Hills

Island City

Philly trip well worth it

To the Editor:

In response to Cheryl Coe's March 30 letter, I am one citizen of Union County who does believe in the Philly trip.

I went on the trip during this last spring break, and I think that it is well worth it. I don't know how I should go about saying this, since I have seen Crater Lake and Maryhill Museum and other such places. But here I go:

Kids like me need help getting money to go to the other end of the United States more than we need it to go to the other end of our state.

Yes, the Philly trip raises money all year round. If we didn't need that much time to raise money, then we wouldn't take that much time.

Citizens can donate to any project that they want to; it's their money, and if they feel like the Philly trip doesn't need more money than the FFA, FBLA, Little League or 4-H (and the list goes on), then they can donate to those groups instead.

I don't think that it's against the law to donate items or money to schools, either, but, considering the Philly trip is an educational project, the people donating to the Philly trip are helping with our education anyway.

The "few at a very high price" are the ones who choose to go. If all of the students wanted to go, then they could, at the same price. People of Union County can put the same time and effort into the schools if they want to. It's not as if students in schools now aren't getting the best education.

Signed, "Your future."

Anna Snook,

La Grande Middle School


CEO busy raising funds

To the Editor:

It seems that there is more interest in sports these days than there is interest in education. More interest than in how to make a living — that's why when I drive down the street I see the young son bouncing the ball on the tarmac while Mama mows the lawn.

Now, let's turn this phenomenon into the national political scene. Not long ago we had a civil war between the University of Oregon and Oregon State University on the football field. Each army had a commander-in-chief, called a coach. They also had a general called a quarterback.

Now suppose, as the war was being staged, the coach was in a far-off place like Texas or New York on a campaign to raise money for a special friend to become a principal of the alumni association, shall we say, at education expense.

This is far-fetched, but is it not what is happening in the national arena?

We have a coach called the president and commander-in-chief. He has a quarterback named General Tommy Franks, and while the general is trying his best to win the game against terrorism, the coach is off on a fund-raising campaign. To be sure, this is simplistic, but then we sometimes think that other governments are corrupt. Is it not time to look at our own?

The bottom line is, should the CEO of the largest industrial complex in the world be getting a paycheck and stockholder perks for using company time to raise money for his friends?

What is your opinion?

David Arnott