June 13, 2002 11:00 pm

Anderson highly respected

To the Editor:

The May 21 primary election provides us with the opportunity to choose a new circuit court judge for Union and Wallowa counties.

The three candidates are very different in the type and length of experience each would bring to the position. Professionally, I believe Bruce Anderson will serve the counties best. He has an extensive legal career in private practice, including 16-plus years in Northeast Oregon.

This career, both as a civil and criminal lawyer, has successfully served clients from both counties. His understanding of the variety of legal issues, both urban and rural, will serve us well.

He is highly respected by the members of his profession as exemplified by his selection as judge pro-tem and he was the choice of his peers for the position of circuit court judge in a recent poll of lawyers in the two counties.

I have found Bruce to be a bright, hardworking problem-solver with excellent people skills who is always well-prepared, thoughtful and honest.

In addition to his skill and experience, he and his family have been very involved in the community in a wide variety of social, educational, church and civic activities.

This combination of professional, personal and family qualities makes Bruce Anderson the ideal candidate for Union and Wallowa counties' circuit court judge.

Please join me in supporting Anderson in the upcoming election.

Lee Insko


Give responders right equipment

To the Editor:

In the May 21 election, the voters of Union are being asked to pass a special levy to support emergency services.

Union's older ambulance cannot be licensed when it comes due. This will leave us with one ambulance to provide all services. We have always been proud of our fire and emergency people. We need to give them the proper equipment to work with.

I wonder how many know that at every home football game our ambulance is there to provide help.

At stock shows and horse races there has to be an ambulance present. If the ambulance is needed to take a jockey or a contestant to the hospital, everything is held up until another ambulance and crew arrives, or the first one is able to return.

The lives of Union's emergency medical people are ruled by a beeper. Many meals are interrupted. They leave a warm bed on cold winter nights to help someone in need. These dedicated people receive $40 a month in return.

What we are asking for is a levy of $45,000 for a period of five years. We know the citizens of Union do not want more taxes. We don't either. But we feel it is very important to our citizens to have this service.

To put this all in perspective, look at your property tax. Take the assessed value of your home and multiply it by .00087. That will tell you what this levy would cost. If the assessed value is $100,000, it amounts to $87 a year, or $7.25 a month. How many of us spend that much foolishly each month? One pizza, one show, one lunch out a month. Of course a $50,000 assessed value reduces the levy to $43.50 or $3.62 a month.

Barbara James


West prepared to serve

To the Editor:

As a local attorney who has practiced as a deputy district attorney under Russ West, and later as a criminal defense attorney, I can say with confidence that West is the judicial candidate with the most to offer Union and Wallowa counties.

Because the vast majority of a circuit court judge's time is spent on criminal matters, the chosen candidate's primary responsibilities will be to preside over criminal trials and administer justice within the parameters of Oregon law. Russ West has the ability to do just that. His experience in the courtroom far exceeds that of either candidate opposing him.

Isn't experience what we want in a judge?

What makes West even more qualified is his devotion to victim's rights. This is not a passion he has developed simply for the judicial campaign trail. Rather, it has been his priority since he began his service as district attorney. Certainly being a proponent of victim's rights is an unpopular position with defendants who by their actions create victims.

And frankly at times it's not very popular with the attorneys representing those defendants when trying to negotiate a favorable plea agreement. I've been there. But victim's rights is a passion I understand and respect, and it is unquestionably one I wish to see in a judicial candidate.

Russ West will make an excellent circuit court judge. He will follow the constitutional principles designed to afford defendants the rights to which they are entitled.

I know this personally from working with him over the years. Equally as important, as circuit court judge, West will ensure that those wronged are also afforded a voice in court.

Brian C. Dretke, attorney


EMS team stands ready

To the Editor:

The community of Meacham is once again raising funds for the volunteer fire department and the quick response team. I would like to answer a few questions about our response team and how your donations are used.

First a short history. We first formed our EMS unit in 1984. We pay for all our own training; if we attend a training conference it comes out of our own pockets. We respond with, but are not a part of our volunteer fire department.

Meacham is not an incorporated town so we have no tax base and receive no tax money to help. Our funds are used for supplies, unit maintenance and insurance. We have a 1978 Ford response unit and it is kept in good order.

You might ask why donate to another town? Ninety-five percent of our responses are motor vehicle accidents on the freeway. How many of you travel across the Blue Mountains?

We thank all of you who have donated or who are considering a donation.

Also we are grateful to those in our community who are working so hard to support us.

Jeanne Swartout


Kulongoski shows leadership

To the Editor:

Ted Kulongoski has a record of accomplishments that makes him the most qualified candidate for governor. Ted began his public service career in the Marine Corps 40 years ago and has since become one of Oregon's most experienced political leaders. He is the only candidate for governor who has served in the executive, legislative, and judicial branches.

Kulongoski has deep convictions on the issues, but is willing to reach out and compromise for the good of all Oregonians. One example: Ted is a strong supporter of workers and their unions and was the author of the 1973 bill that allowed public employees to collectively bargain. However, when Oregon's workers compensation costs were out of control in the late 1980s, Kulongoski led the commission that brought the costs down from one of the highest to one if the lowest in the nation. Most unions opposed much of the plan, but Kulongoski did what was best for the overall economy of our state.

There are many other examples in his career where Kulongoski has provided strong leadership and an ability to bring opposing groups together to achieve a positive solution. With our state's current budget problems, I feel that those qualities would serve Oregon well, and that's why I'm supporting Ted Kulongoski for governor.

Jan Schott


West helps in preventing crime

To the Editor:

Later this month the voters of Union and Wallowa counties will have the opportunity to select a circuit court judge to fill the position vacated by retiring Judge Eric Valentine.

I, along with many in the law enforcement community, am supporting Russ West for 10th District Circuit Court judge.

During my 26 years as an Oregon State Police officer, which included five years as the La Grande-Enterprise station commander, I had an opportunity to work with a number of district attorneys and judges from throughout the state.

I have found that Russ excels in promoting a balance in the judicial system for the victims, recognition of community concerns and utilization of recovery programs for the defendants has brought him admiration and respect.

His aggressive prosecution of sex abuse and crimes against women and children, plus support for family victims' programs such as CASA and Shelter From the Storm has helped provide a safer environment for families.

West is not only instrumental in the necessary prosecution of criminal offenses but he plays an important role in prevention and intervention programs to address improper conduct before people enter the judicial system. These are but a few of the many successful programs he is involved with on a daily basis.

West's outstanding leadership in the judicial process is secondary to his commitment to his family and community. He and his wife, Mary, are actively involved in school, community and agricultural programs.

I believe that Judge Phil Mendiguren's background as a defense attorney and West's experience as a prosecutor would bring an excellent balance to the court process for the people in Union and Wallowa counties. I will be voting for Russ West for circuit court judge as I feel he is the best qualified candidate.

Please vote on May 21.

Gerald L. Hays

Island City

Bag it, don't toss it

To the Editor:

In response to Kelli Jo McKee's May 4 letter about dead animals in the creek, I too have a very disturbing situation.

I live on Dog Feces Alley although the real name of the street is East Dearborn Street in Union. I prefer to call it Dog Feces Alley because some of the residents like to throw it out in the street. Since there isn't a sidewalk on this section, people are forced to walk out in the street dodging the piles.

I have complained to the local police and they tell me this is an offensive littering violation and they would take care of it. To this day it is still going on.

So neighbors, I am asking you, please while you have it on your shovel drop it in a baggy instead of wasting all that energy to throw it out in the street where we have to walk.

George Blanton


Roberson will remain impartial

To the Editor:

The voters of Union and Wallowa counties have an opportunity to select their next circuit court judge. Supreme Court Justice William H. Rehnquist pointed out that, "the right to one's day in court is meaningless if the judge who hears the case lacks the talent, experience, and temperament that will enable him to protect imperiled rights and render a fair decision."

Kip Roberson is capable of neutrality. In his campaign material you will find that he simply states his background and experience as a lawyer and pledges himself to be impartial. This may be bad politicking, but it is what we require of a judge.

What helps Roberson remain neutral is the breadth of his law practice. He handles a diversity of legal problems and is forced to understand the plight of others. He knows what it means to have the bankrupt debtor cry at his counsel table, as well as the embrace of the successful litigant after the jury has returned the verdict. As judge, he would be able to understand the unspoken complexities and problems faced by the litigants before him.

I have had the pleasure of litigating against him, and he has earned my respect. He is a zealous advocate for his clients and is honest and fair with opposing counsel.

Roberson's integrity was recognized when the lawyers of Union and Wallowa counties voted on their selection of judge. Out of the 24 lawyers who voted, Anderson received 10 votes and Roberson nine. The lawyers of Union and Wallowa counties have learned that Roberson is fair and honest.

Roberson will treat those before him with respect and remain faithful to the law. I urge the residents of Union and Wallowa counties to vote for Roberson.

Wes Williams, attorney

La Grande

West not in private practice

To the Editor:

The Oregon Code of Professional Responsibility, DR 1-102, Misconduct, provides:

"(A) It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to: "(3) Engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation."

The Oregon Code of Judicial Conduct, JR 1-101, Maintaining the Integrity of the Judicial System, provides: "(D) A judge shall not engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation."

These are standards by which voters should evaluate judicial candidates.

Deceit and/or misrepresentation can be intentional "acts of commission" or intentional "acts of omission."

As licensed attorneys for 34 and 25 years, respectively, we reviewed with interest the recent paid advertisement of Russ West.

(1) "Over 17 years experience as district attorney." (True)

District attorney for the immediate past 17 years. (Omitted)

(2) "Served last 10 years on county counsel." (Meaning not clear)

(3) "Offers the balance as a lawyer in private general practice dealing with criminal defense, family law, real estate, wills, estate and civil cases."

This statement implies that West currently is a lawyer in private practice. (Not true).

In fact, his Voters' Pamphlet statement reveals his only "private practice (was) 1983-1984."

Does this intentional representation by Russ West of his private practice experience disqualify him as a judicial candidate because of possible "deceit or misrepresentation" by omission?

The voters of the 10th Judicial District will decide on May 21.

D. Dale Mammen, attorney

Sam Ledridge, attorney

La Grande

Benefits outweigh sacrifices

To the Editor:

Few, if any government operations produce a direct profit. What they do produce is a foundation for private enterprise to build profitable businesses upon, something every healthy economy needs.

I can't think of any business, huge to tiny, that doesn't rely on a number of unprofitable government activities to support their operations.

I hope the discussion on whether to join in the purchase and operation of the railroad from Elgin to Joseph will not be limited to a narrow game plan that considers only the direct profitability of its operation. A successful operation could produce a direct loss but an overall profit when the jobs and economic activity it could stimulate are taken into account, including increased tax revenues.

My feeling is that the long-term benefits of purchasing the railroad will outweigh any short-term sacrifices needed to acquire a valuable foundation for economic activity in the area.

Dan Thompson


West best man for judge

To the Editor:

In his May 3 letter to the editor, Ronald Schenck gives the word against Russ West and Bruce Anderson.

I talked to several who stood before Schenck when he was a judge and they had nothing good to say about him.

I don't know Anderson so I don't say anything good or bad about him, but I feel Russ West would be a good judge. Russ spent 18 years as a prosecutor in Union County. If he was a liar and misrepresented people he would not have spent 18 years in a reliable position.

Also Mr. West came to my home in person to ask for my vote. This makes points with me. I urge you to vote for Russ West, the best man for the job.

Florence Palmer

La Grande