August 26, 2002 11:00 pm

Wright showing prejudice

To the Editor:

I was very excited to see that our city council is finally going to write an enforceable ordinance regarding undesirable and dangerous residences and buildings in La Grande.

After having to live next door to a junk-heap residence that has had no water or sewer for some years, I can finally see some hope.

I was appalled at this same televised public city council meeting Wednesday to hear Councilor Dana Wright, our county's under- sheriff, say that this ordinance would be hard to enforce on the north side of town as their standards were different than the south side of La Grande.

Pardon me, but the taxpayers on the north side of town deserve the same consideration as other citizens. Are we, the north side residents, considered to be second-class citizens? This is just another example of Wright's disregard for people's feelings or rights.

Wright and Union County are currently being sued for many millions of dollars for his alleged mistreatment of an employee in the sheriff's office. This lawsuit states that he harassed and verbally abused a domestic violence victim who wished for full employment.

Is this the type of incompetent administration that the citizens of La Grande wish for in their councilmen?

I hear Wright is running for sheriff in the next election. I know the north side of La Grande does not need nor can it afford this type of prejudice in any administrative position.

Donna Knox

La Grande

Americans look for loopholes

To the Editor:

"There's always a loophole." I heard someone say that just the other day, and they're right.

Right and wrong take a backseat to the loophole. Anyone with enough gold can find an attorney to search for it.

Landowners, businessmen, politicians and all Americans seem to believe the myth that "more is better." Endless silly quotes in defense of having more and getting ahead are readily available for any who choose to justify selfishness.

Unfortunately, selfishness is promoted in almost any direction we choose to look. Most of us accept and advocate its compelling charm. What is the American dream if it's not the belief that having more will make us happy? It's not true, but the silly quote is generally more acceptable than facing our own selfishness.

As we walk through life, I hope it is still important to some of us to choose good over evil, to choose selflessness rather than selfishness. Admittedly it's a difficult task.

Our own legal system promotes finding the loophole. We can escape the penalties of the law if we find the loophole. The more laws we make, the more loopholes are created.

It's a rude-awakening to honestly assess our descent into the self-serving creatures we are becoming — individually and corporately as a nation.

I read the religion section of The Observer frequently. Seldom do I read an article in which we don't pat ourselves on the back for our good deeds.

The loophole in religion is to flaunt the good deeds in our attempt to obscure the fact that our relationships with our creator are buried under billions of dollars of self-indulgence.

Roy E. Mercer


Late-night whistles annoying

To the Editor:

As I write this letter it's 11 p.m. on a Saturday and I know people have asked this question in the past, but about 15 minutes ago I was awakened by not one, but two train whistles blowing in intervals.

Will someone please explain why this is necessary in the middle of the night? Why do two trains passing each other in opposite directions need to do this while passing through a town with automatic guards at every crossing?

I realize that people can be careless and stupid, hence the need to blow train whistles, but others need to sleep, hence the need to cease and desist. Maybe the city should pass a noise ordinance that directly confronts this problem.

This is an idea I will ponder as I try to return to sleep — that is until the next train, which will probably be passing through around 3:45 a.m.

Tom Dalton

La Grande

Slam on north-side residents

To the Editor:

I have attended many of the city council meetings in the past and often I left with mixed feelings, since we, as a group, accomplished nothing.

I watched the meeting on TV Aug. 14 and was really impressed. The board was suggesting the passing of an ordinance to clean up some of the old dumps throughout the city. In my opinion it is a problem well overdue.

I wasn't impressed with a council member who voiced his thoughts about the people on the north side of town. I have heard those same remarks many times in the past.

I live on the north side because I like it, but I do resent his remarks. We pay taxes and support this city so in my opinion there is no difference what side of the tracks you live on. We should all work together to help clean up these old dumps.

For years I have complained to the city manager, building inspector and all that would listen to me with the same old song "I'm sorry, lady, I can't help you."

In my opinion it's time. So, city council, go for it.

North or south we can do it together and make this community a place we can be proud of.

Eddia Lovely

La Grande

To the Editor:

Mankind can live for several weeks without food, a few days without water and a few seconds without air. With that priority list in mind, it never ceases to amaze me that the state of Oregon and Union County permit the pollution of our air by field burning.

Never have so many been inconvenienced by the profit margins of so few.

On Thursday, the entire town of Cove was permeated by a thick cloud of smoke from field burning.

It was so intense that we had to shut our windows on a hot day. If I pour a gallon of oil onto the waters of the Grande Ronde River, I would be heavily fined and looked upon as a polluter, yet that action would affect a very few.

I can't even legally burn a trash barrel, yet it's OK to burn a 200-acre field. Maybe if we all took our burn barrels out into the center of the valley and set them off, it would be all right. {I'm sorry, I tried so hard not to be sarcastic!}

I've heard all the pro-burn arguments before; we must sterilize the fields! What law says that they must grow grass seed?

The long-term health concerns of the masses must surely outweigh the financial profits of a few.

Jan Messersmith


Where's customer service?

To the Editor:

As a resident of La Grande for two years, I enjoyed the exceptional customer service that I received from local retailers. The businesses, driven by increased competition, have raised their level of performance.

However, my recent real estate transaction demonstrated that another industry in La Grande needs attention.

We recently listed and sold our house through one of La Grande's largest real estate agencies and were very disappointed with many elements of the transaction. Unfortunately, due to article space restrictions, I'm not able to detail our complaints.

Our buyer did present some unusual circumstances, however, we didn't feel our agency protected our interests.

We felt our agent failed in many aspects of her job. We realized that we had certain responsibilities as the seller. The actions we had to perform went far beyond that.

I asked our agency if they felt they provided us with the level of service we contracted for. Our question was avoided and eventually ignored. No retailer would survive under those practices.

The minimal monetary resolution our agency gave us was an insult, as it failed to address their lack of performance.

An analogy might be: paying for someone else's parking ticket to avoid your own costly speeding ticket.

We felt we went beyond reasonable expectations of a seller and deserved compensation from the commission we paid.

After numerous failed attempts to contact and resolve the situation with the agency, we are left wondering what ever happened to "Complete Customer Satisfaction."

A recent news segment pointed out the increase of "For Sale By Owner."

A representative from the real estate industry said, "That's taking money right out of our pocket!" My opinion is — that's a poor excuse for not rising up to the challenge of competition.

The real estate industry in La Grande could stand some competition to force them to evaluate how they service their customers.

I'm now hearing stories of other being scorned by various local agencies and then not having any recourse once the commissions are collected.

My challenge to La Grande is — be as proactive in turning around the real estate industry as you have been in the retail industry.

Wendy Heese

Lewiston, Idaho

Update on Cast Iron Mary

To the Editor:

I thought some area residents would like an update on our project to recreate Cast Iron Mary.

Our selected Joseph artist, Kris Gurney, has begun her work and soon we will see a model of the great old gal. Then the bronze work will begin. We will receive the completed project in about six months.

Cast Iron Mary will be placed at Max Square hopefully early next spring at the corner of Fourth Street and Adams Avenue. She is designed to include a drinking fountain for shoppers and visitors. We are still short on funds for the completion of this unique project, so we encourage anyone interested to send donations to the Cast Iron Mary Project, 1305 O Ave., La Grande 97850.

Di Lyn Larsen-Hill

La Grande

Community reaches out

To the Editor:

Every year Eastern Oregon University, and the residents and merchants of La Grande open their hearts, homes and businesses to the East West Shrine game.

This year, our 50th, was no different. We were welcomed and made to feel part of the community.

On behalf of the Al Kader Shrine of Portland, the Hillah Shrine of Medford, the El Korah Shrine of Boise, the Masada Shrine of Yakima, Wash., and the football committee we say thank you for allowing us to be part of your community during our pre-game practice and our Friday evening barbecue for players and parents at Riverside Park.

The community of La Grande and EOU always make us feel welcome.

Ric Bobier

2002 Shrine Game chairman