October 09, 2002 11:00 pm

Legislators pass buck to voters

To the Editor:

I understand the dilemma facing our state. Elected representatives are handed a heavy responsibility.

When I vote to elect someone, I vote for an individual whom I believe will roll up his or her sleeves and get down to business making hard decisions. If our elected officials would like to be considered leaders, well then, they should lead.

Referring issues to the ballot is a complete abdication of their leadership responsibilities.

If in every difficult situation the state faces, legislators refer a choice to the voters of how to handle it, why should the people of Oregon have a Legislature?

When the Legislature has Oregon's issues resolved through initiative and referendum, then as elected leaders they don't have to be responsible for making the necessary and hard decisions on how important budget decisions should be addressed.

Representatives need to resolve, in cooperation with other legislators, how Oregon can maintain its essential services, such as the state police, schools and prisons, without diminishing other essential services such as senior and disabled services.

I believe the only responsible way to do this is to combine a tax increase with some borrowing and some cuts to nonessential state services.

I support an increase in the income tax for the next three years. I'd even support a sales tax.

My husband, Brad, is a state trooper and former La Grande police officer. I believe it is a travesty that our state legislators have forced the hand of the state police to send 131 troopers pink slips.

I believe that it is our representatives that have everything to lose. It may not be an election, but instead they may be known for playing a part in helping to foster disrespect of public servants among the people of Oregon.

Tara Hessel


Sad to see Sub Shop go

To the Editor:

I would like to add my disappointment along with many others concerning the city's sale of the Sub Shop building.

For several years the Sub Shop has been the favorite dining establishment for my family and especially my grandchildren when they are in town for a visit.

Along with wonderfully fresh sandwiches, we enjoyed the homemade soups. What a delightful, cheerful, clean place in which to eat. We always tried to lunch at an early time as on any day the place was so crowded.

It is just so very sad to think we are going to lose it. Just another reason not to shop downtown.

If these people are successful in closing down the Sub Shop and replacing it, there will be two dining places my family will never go near.

Nell Locken

La Grande

State could pick up mailing cost

To the Editor:

The cost of one 37-cent stamp doesn't seem like much.

You used to be able to walk to your local polling place in most areas; even driving did not cost 37 cents round trip.

Oregon loves its initiative process, which means more ballots to be mailed. The state should be able to pick up the tab on mailing with a bulk mail discount.

Heck, they send out that voters' pamphlet. They can pay to receive my vote.

James Hunt


Why sell city building?

To the Editor:

What is the object of selling the property the Sub Shop is located on? Is the city in this much need of funds.

After all the talk from City Hall about getting downtown businesses, putting a thriving business out of business for a few dollars is mind-boggling.

For the city's own protection, they should own the property adjoining Max Square.

The bottom line is "right is right and wrong is wrong" and selling the property at 2003 Fourth St. is wrong.

N.E. Punches

La Grande

City ignored request

To the Editor:

I agree with Kate Moore (Sept. 13 letter) that the Bakers are an asset to La Grande. Why don't they consider the Figaro's location at Fourth Street and Washington Avenue for their business?

Or why don't all their supporters try to help them find a location — at least that is a positive thing to do instead of openly criticizing the other business owner.

You can't blame the other business owner for wanting to improve a business she has owned for 20 years.

Boycotting the two establishments will not change anything — it will only create negative thoughts and feelings.

Let's not forget that the city is at fault here. They chose to ignore the Bakers' request to buy the building and instead put the building up for public bid.

So let us put the blame where it belongs.

D. Arnold

La Grande

Give ‘yes,' ‘no' option

To the Editor:

The "none of 'em" option suggested in The Observer's Sept. 9 editorial has benefits, especially as a way to reduce giving alternative candidates the false notion that protest votes for them are an indication of support rather than what they really are: a vote of protest against others.

Along with the "none" option, I would like to see each candidate have both a yes and a no column and votes could be cast honestly for or against candidates as an honest representation of the voters' feelings. The highest net yes wins. That would eliminate the need to indicate support where it doesn't exist. Candidates, winners, losers and voters alike, would have a much clearer picture of who really has support, non-support and how much.

Given human nature, being able to vote directly against someone without having to vote for another in order to do so could help increase voter turnout substantially.

Another benefit is that candidates would have to sell their own strengths rather than their opponents' weaknesses.

Oregon could be a leader in opening the process to optimal options for casting honest votes that present honest results, rather than spinmeister interpretations.

Dan Thompson


Move Sub Shop out of town

To the Editor:

The city's mayor and city council of La Grande are all hypocrites — people who pretend to be what they are not, or better than they are. What city government would deliberately run a very successful business out of town? Not a very intelligent one.

I worked for the City of La Grande for almost 10 years. All I heard was, "Make the merchants happy, but keep them off the city manager's back."

Heads up, merchants! You are not appreciated as they want you to believe. Are you next?

I think Dan and Betty Baker should move their Sub Shop to Island City. That community knows how to treat its merchants with respect and dignity.

I agree with Kate Moore (Sept. 13 letter) that two establishments in La Grande have lost three more customers.

I am glad we are getting a super Wal-Mart. Maybe La Grande will dry up and blow away. It serves them right.

Bert Metcalf

(ex-parking enforcement officer

for La Grande)


POWs have given nation so much

To the Editor:

Sept. 20 is a special day set aside each year to formally recognize and honor all former prisoners of war and those servicemen and women who are still missing in action. Statistics show that some 142,257 Americans were captured and interned from World War I through the Gulf War. Today, there are an estimated 43,000 of these men and women still alive.

Throughout our nation's history, the men and women of America's armed forces have gone forward to preserve our freedom, protect our security and uphold our democratic values. The unrest in our nation today continues to serve as a constant reminder of just how vulnerable we are.

Having just observed our first Patriot Day on Sept. 11, we are reminded again of the heroism and selflessness of our fellow Americans when called to serve. We must also not forget those men and women in our armed forces who are fighting back against terror, each day risking their lives to ensure our freedom.

However, few have paid a higher price in the name of duty than our nation's prisoners of war. During those darkest hours, they kept the flame of freedom alive in their hearts. We stand in awe of them for enduring captivity, brutality and extreme deprivation. It is difficult for many of us to truly imagine the suffering they endured and, though they are humble, they are heroes.

We must also not forget their families who also endured much pain and suffering.

On behalf of all staff at the Jonathan M. Wainwright Memorial VA Medical Center, we want you to know that former prisoners of war and their families hold a special place in our hearts and no one is more deserving of our admiration, gratitude and compassion. Today, we want to thank them for their service.

Bruce Stewart, deputy director

Jonathan M. Wainwright Memorial

VA Medical Center

Walla Walla

City clarification needed

To the Editor:

Regarding the sale of the building housing the Sub Shop, my reaction is that of awe toward the City of La Grande.

The Bakers have a very successful, well-maintained business that is a positive asset to the downtown business district. The manner in which they were treated in this sale by the city council is appalling.

In my view, it appears there was some shady politics involved in the bidding transaction. Results of the bidding indicate as though the edge was given to a prearranged bidder and the matter was closed then and there.

In all due respect to the Bakers, they should have been given every option available to make a bid high enough to save their business. The way it looks now is that the City of La Grande wanted them out with no regard whatsoever to fair play.

Perhaps they have some devious master plan involving the area surrounding the old Safeway building project, which just happens to be across the street from the Sub Shop.

I feel the City of La Grande owes the taxpayers clarification regarding this whole situation.

David V. Lester, taxpayer

La Grande