November 12, 2002 11:00 pm

Scheeler right for our region

To the Editor:

I have had the opportunity to interact with Elizabeth Scheeler on numerous occasions during the course of her campaign for the District 57 House of Representatives position.

I have been impressed by her grassroots approach to running for office. She has been pro-active and spent many hours meeting with teachers and community members to hear what they have to say about a variety of issues. Elizabeth is an excellent communicator and a good listener.

Currently Oregon is 45th in overall per capita taxes in the nation. However, Oregon depends more on one tax source than any other, that being the income tax. This is where the rub comes. In Oregon, 74 percent of state tax collections are from income taxes.

Currently, our economy is in the dumpster and state revenues are in a free-fall due to a huge shortfall in anticipated income taxes. After five special sessions of the Legislature the central problem remains. Funding streams tied to the income tax will always be and always have been cyclical with highs and lows.

In contrast, schools, state police and services to the elderly require a dependable source of revenue. For example, 25 children in a first-grade classroom need one teacher and this does not change because the economy is bad.

Elizabeth Scheeler is beholden to no special interest groups. She is a member of the Pendleton School Board and a volunteer in the schools.

She has a history of public service for the sake of community improvement and not self-aggrandizement.

Scheeler is honest, sincere and genuinely interested in solving the financial dilemma that besets our great state. Elizabeth is precisely the kind of person eastern Oregonians need in the Oregon House of Representatives.

Larry Glaze

La Grande

Compare operators' salaries

To the Editor:

In response to the article from Island City Councilor Sandi Donnelly, you are on the right page for questioning the $64,000 annual salary for the sewer operator of Island City.

I do all the public works for the city of North Powder, population 500. Some of my duties include maintaining the water system, wastewater collection and wastewater treatment system lagoons. The city has its own and this job alone takes up approximately 40 percent of my time. Our council does budget $4,000 for emergency extra help.

My annual salary is $28,000. I have 12 years experience in public works and all the required water and wastewater certifications. The city offers a 2.5 percent cost of living increase annually. I am not by any means complaining about my salary, but I wanted to give some comparisons.

Island City does not have a wastewater treatment lagoon to maintain which, as I stated earlier, is very time-consuming. I feel they are being taken advantage of by the good ol' boy relationship.

The sewer operator should be making $35,000 annually with his assistant earning $29,000, making the total salaries $64,000 combined. Their council needs to be doing salary comparisons and job descriptions with other Eastern Oregon communities to get comparable wages.

Jim Gordon

North Powder

Be aware of card scams

To the Editor:

I'm sending this to let people in the area know there are some scam artists working our area now.

On Oct. 7 someone called saying I needed to buy protection for my credit cards. He was going to cancel my cards and charge me $799 if I didn't buy his "protection policy." I called my card companies and asked if these people were at all legitimate. They said they had no one who would use such tactics.

The next day, someone called me pretending to represent the Visa Card companies. He said I needed to give him information regarding my banking and savings. He said this information was needed in order for me to continue to have any credit cards.

I asked him for a phone number so I could call him back and he would not give it. He then said, you are not cooperating so I'm going to cancel your Visa card and charge you a cancellation fee of $299. This was supposed to scare me into sending him my information. I hope no one has been conned into giving these people what they are after.

Gary Poole


Keep Goldstein on council

To the Editor:

George Mason, one of the architects of the American Constitution, remarked that "Government is, or ought to be instituted for the common benefit, protection, security of the people, nation or community."

As city councilor, Joel Goldstein reminds me of George Mason's principle of good government.

I urge the citizens of La Grande to re-elect Goldstein. He has committed himself to completing the new library and the ODS complex. He will continue to seek funds for the downtown streetscape project and continue to seek new urban renewal projects and historic district renovations.

Those of us who own historic buildings downtown may now take advantage of the historic district to gain grants and low- interest loans to improve our buildings. Goldstein will work toward completion of the wastewater treatment expansion and will continue his support for the award-winning urban forestry program.

Goldstein is a problem-solver. He speaks out on the difficult issues, and he resolves them in a fair and determined manner. I urge the citizens of La Grande to re-elect Goldstein as city councilor so he can continue to work toward completing the innovative projects he and the current city councilors have begun.

Wes Williams

La Grande

Smith fights for rural area

To the Editor:

We need to send State Rep. Greg Smith back to Salem to continue the fight for rural Oregon.

Greg's opponent is a vocal advocate for higher taxes, bigger government, the delaying of Ballot Measure 88 and raising the vehicle registration fee.

We all know that wasteful government programs need to be cut before we give more of our money to the State of Oregon.

Mayor Bob Jepsen

Suzanne Jepsen


No endorsement for race

To the Editor:

Unfortunately, my name was included on a list of endorsers for a candidate for county commissioner on page 8A of the Oct. 17 Observer. I have not and will not endorse any candidate for any office.

The candidate and his campaign were diligent in quickly tracking down the source for this mistaken endorsement, and I appreciate their effort in doing everything possible to remedy the error.

Scott Morrison


Democrat supports Lamoreau

To the Editor:

I am a lifelong Democrat and resident of Union County who is voting for the Republican candidate for Union County commissioner, John Lamoreau.

I wasn't surprised when I read that John won a $1,000 shopping spree at a local supermarket and then donated the entire prize to a single mother of three. Mr. Lamoreau has always been involved with and caring about the people of Union County.

Over the years John has helped many from stranded motorists, to youth soccer teams, to the frail elderly and never asked anything in return. Mr. Lamoreau has actively raised money for organizations like Court Appointed Special Advocates, the Salvation Army and the Union County Senior Center.

Visit Mr. Lamoreau's home and you will probably find it filled with youth and college kids plus an assortment of dogs and cats. Visit during a holiday and you will most likely find John and Nena with their family hosting men and women on leave who serve our country and are stationed at nearby military bases.

John Lamoreau has been a successful local business person, actively involved in community affairs, who would make a progressive county commissioner. Please join me in voting for him.

Ann Oliver Flower

La Grande

Good column on economy

To the Editor:

Ted Kramer wrote a great column Oct. 11 on the economic woes we are dealing with in the United States.

I would hope that other papers would pick it up and run it. It should be front -page reading for every American and I would hope that the editorial would be a discussion topic in our schools.

Gary L. Feasel

La Grande

Bring back Show & Tel

To the Editor:

I agree with the Oct. 12 letter from the Richters of Elgin. I, too, miss the Show & Tel section that was included with your Friday edition.

It always contained pictures and articles about the future presentations of the artists and musicians of our community. Many of my musician friends have mentioned that they really miss it.

The new version on Thursday nights, Arts & Entertainment, is not a separate section but is interrupted by editorials and other articles. It is not the same.

May we please have our Show & Tel section back? Please?

Lanetta Paul

La Grande

Scheeler provides bright spot

To the Editor:

Every once in a while we are privileged to feel the warmth of a bright spot on an otherwise sober and somber horizon. Elizabeth Scheeler, candidate for state representative of District 57, is one of those political bright spots.

She is a wife, a mother, a committed community leader including service on the Pendleton School Board, and a very talented and knowledgeable woman. She committed to running for office in order to try to help stop the downward slide of Oregon's education system. She knows first hand how under-funded our schools are and how our quality education system is sinking into the morass of mediocrity.

Elizabeth also knows that Eastern Oregon has needs and priorities that are different from the western side of the state. When Elizabeth goes to Salem, she will not be voting the party line just because it is the party line. She will be looking at the issues and deciding to vote in a way that best serves her district.

How refreshing that would be if our other legislators would put their constituents first and contributors and political loyalty second. We might not be in this mess. Please vote for Elizabeth Scheeler if you want a refreshing and committed representative for District 57.

Rusty Fisher


Taxes produce something

To the Editor:

We want better schools, smaller classrooms, more teachers — but no new taxes!

We want statewide health care, better care for the elderly and help with prescription costs — but no new taxes!

We want to bring new industry and business to Oregon and create new jobs — but no new taxes!

We want more and better police and fire protection — but no new taxes!

We want better roads, clean air and clean water — but no new taxes!

Well, people, all these things cost money — LOTS of money!

We can't keep robbing Peter to pay Paul, or taxing special interests so that a few pay for all of us. No matter what the politicians are promising in their election campaigns, the only way to have what we say we want is a higher income tax — so that all of us pay for what benefits all of us. We also need to hold our elected officials to cutting costs wherever possible, but the plain truth is we are going to have to put our money where our mouths are.

Face reality, folks, you can't have something for nothing.

Barbara Gray


Goldstein shares skills with city

To the Editor:

I met Joel Goldstein while working as a kindergarten teacher at Greenwood Elementary School in La Grande.

I appreciated Joel's support working with kindergarten students, having educational or behavioral issues, and their parents. He demonstrated his ability to facilitate meetings that included parents and various school staff members. By working together we were able to develop appropriate education programs to meet the individual needs of the students involved. I am pleased that Joel is willing to use his skills by continuing to serve our community on the city council.

I would like voters to join me in re-electing Joel Goldstein for La Grande City Council Position 6.

Kit Morello

La Grande

Reject Ballot Measures 21, 22

To the Editor:

On Nov. 5 you and I will decide on two critically important amendments to Oregon's Constitution.

Proposed constitutional amendments, Ballot Measures 21 and 22, will hurt Oregon's proud history of impartial courts, take away voter choice and slow justice.

Constitutional amendment 21 will add "none of the above" to ballots in all judicial elections, which will cause vacancies and will give special interests the power and means to defeat judges whose impartial rulings hurt those special interests.

Constitutional amendment 22 will limit the number of Appellate Court and Supreme Court justices we vote for from 17 to three. It will also strip voters of the right to vote for the most qualified candidates and allow the Legislature to create new judicial districts.

I urge you to vote no on both of these constitutional amendments. Ballots have been mailed and are due at the county elections office by 8 p.m. Nov. 5.

David C. Baum

La Grande

State can recover money

To the Editor:

We received a letter recently telling Social Security recipients that they can save money and get free help from the state Medicaid Services. It does not tell the Social Security recipients that all monies given to them are recoverable by the state from their estates when they die.

It does not tell them that their children cannot keep their family homes and must sell them to provide estate liquidity to reimburse the state for its Medicaid payments of medical expenses and prescription expenses paid for the Social Security recipients during their lifetimes.

That is so cruel, unethical and immoral that it defies description. My only response is to ask you to have SSA Commissioner Jo Anne B. Barnhart, and SSA Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Thomas A. Scully, taken over to the parade field at Ft. Meade and horsewhipped.

Nicholas L. Smith

La Grande

Lamoreau will return to basics

To the Editor:

Quite a few months ago, John Lamoreau told me he was considering running for county commissioner. I asked him why he would interrupt a rather orderly life to be a commissioner. I was only half kidding.

With a great burst of energy and enthusiasm, Lamoreau told me of his love for Union County as well as his vision for its future. That vision painted a picture of a place where anyone would like to live. It included a refocus on county-provided services, improved roads, stability in law enforcement and incentives for attracting business. In a nutshell, returning first to the basics then expanding from a solid foundation.

Along with John's vision is an ability to get things done. He has proven talents in running a large budget efficiently. In short order, John turned around a private business that was swimming in red. He did this mostly by demanding the maximum efficiency from everyone. John will apply this attitude to the county.

I have been impressed with John's compassion, particularly with the elderly he cares for. On one occasion John and I went to a Veterans of Foreign Wars meeting where the heroes of Union County shared their real-life tales with us. John's respect for these men and women was obvious.

It is becoming rare that quality men and women are finding any interest in politics these days. We will be well served with John Lamoreau as our county commissioner.

Please join my family in voting for John Lamoreau.

Phil Hassinger


Provides thoughtful voice

To the Editor:

As a lifelong Republican, I can count on one hand the number of times that I have endorsed a candidate from another party. However, I am very pleased to speak on behalf of Elizabeth Scheeler, who is running for the state Legislature.

I became acquainted with Elizabeth because she serves on the Pendleton School Board. She is also a recent graduate of Leadership Pendleton. Elizabeth is bright, articulate, well-read and is considerably more interested in what is right than in playing politics.

Wherever she speaks, she delivers the same message without adjusting it to please her audience. It would appear that more and more Oregonians are asking for this kind of courage from their elected officials.

There are some who believe that Elizabeth is a one-issue candidate based upon her commitment to quality education for Oregon's children. That wouldn't be all bad since Oregonians have consistently said education is their No. 1 priority. However, this isn't the case. Elizabeth shares a deep concern about the current status of the economy and would be a welcome addition in Salem as solutions are considered.

On the subject of education she will be a strong voice for schools at a time when they are in crisis. This state's largest district operates the shortest school year in America. More and more districts find themselves on the brink of bankruptcy as they consider cutting school days, closing buildings, increasing class sizes and eliminating programs.

We need something more than vague, trite and worn rhetoric. If we want to continue seeing schools operating in rural Oregon we need thoughtful voices like Elizabeth Scheeler.

After five special sessions and a continuing crisis, it is time to be represented by quality individuals like Elizabeth Scheeler.

George Murdock


Name wanted on bullet

To the Editor:

As expected, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and other gun-haters are jumping on the "ballistic fingerprinting," riding the Washington, D.C., area shootings for all they're worth.

Schumer says the gun industry test fires new guns anyway, and wouldn't object to providing fired bullets. The industry doesn't object to giving government a fired case from a new gun, although it raises the question of who is responsible for making sure the right case stays with the right serial number, and how the courts are going to view the chain of possession.

The big problem comes in recovering a relatively pristine bullet from a barrel of water or other medium used to stop the bullet with minimal damage. That takes costly employee time while increasing the possibility of the bullet being mismatched, confusing the custody chain.

The biggest reason such a database is useless is that while it could include new guns, it would never include any significant number of the 200 million or so guns now in private hands — certainly not those in criminal hands.

Forensic marks are unlike fingerprints and human DNA, neither of which change in a lifetime. Barrel wear changes the rifling striations engraved on bullets, though not as rapidly nor as radically as shooting a dirty bullet, or one deliberately made abrasive with valve grinding compound or dipped in oil and sand.

The extractor, ejector, firing pin and bolt face change slowly, but are easily filed, stoned or simply replaced. A forensic database can work well only if two bullets are fired closely together.

The technology isn't perfected. They are correct, and it can't be perfected.

What Schumer and his gun-haters want is the name of a gun's owner on its bullet. If they have that, they have national gun registration: the necessary predicate of gun confiscation.

Doug Batten


Program good for families

To the Editor:

I have been the director of Kids Club for the past three months and worked as a teacher at Kids Club last summer.

This program has given me the chance to work with children in a place that is fun for kids and reliable for parents. I have had the opportunity to plan activities that directly involve children from 5 to 12 years old and provide a positive atmosphere for learning.

Kids Club was created to fight the issue of children being unsupervised while their parents work or attend school. It's a non-profit organization that focuses on helping low-income families become more independent and in attaining basic human needs. However Kids Club does not limit itself to low-income families. Everyone is welcome.

The highlight of this program is that children are safe, supervised and in a caring environment which incorporates enjoyable daily learning experiences. Kids Club offers bowling, swimming and visits to the local library. In addition to field trips, we offer hands-on fun such as arts and crafts, cooking and science projects.

Kids Club is an excellent program to get your child involved in meeting new friends and learning new skills in a place that makes them feel accepted. I strongly support Community Connection of Northeast Oregon Inc. in providing a healthy environment for children while parents are on the go.

Katie Slaybaugh

La Grande

Stark right for council

To the Editor:

I support Dan Stark for the La Grande City Council. Dan will bring valuable experience and a unique perspective to the council. As a member of La Grande's budget committee, Dan understands the financial framework in which the city must operate. As a former member of the Enterprise City Council, he appreciates the collaborative process necessary for policy-making.

As the Wallowa County planner, he recognizes the role of local government in helping to solve local problems. As the director of the non-profit Regional Services Institute, Dan knows the value of small business to our city, as well as the importance of bringing people together for the good of the community; and Dan's experience in economic development will bring valuable expertise to help us promote job growth in La Grande. In the past four years, La Grande has seen many accomplishments, but there is still much to be done.

The council needs someone who has the experience, thoughtfulness and passion for the good of the community to get the job done. Please join me in voting for Dan Stark for Position 3 on the La Grande City Council. He's the right choice at the right time.

Colleen F. Johnson, mayor

La Grande

Restaurants won't be included

To the Editor:

I've recently had the pleasure of talking to audiences in Pendleton and La Grande about Measure 27, which would require labeling of genetically engineered (GE) food. Attendees asked very good questions that I hope I addressed and I'd like to reach a wider audience through The Observer.

First, Measure 27 was never intended to require labeling in locations that serve ready-to-eat food, such as restaurants, schools, hospitals, bake sales, etc. Both advocates and opponents wish to exclude these locations. If the measure passes and the Legislature writes it into law, it is a foregone conclusion that they will not be included. This being the case, the annual estimated cost for the Department of Agriculture to regulate the program is $2.4 million, only 71 cents per Oregonian per year.

Second, almost 30 nations all over the world require GE food labeling and all of them have experienced little or no consumer price increases. Most of the major food processors have already segregated GE food from non-GE for foreign markets, so much of the infrastructure is already in place to do the same for Oregon.

Finally, there was a question whether wheat currently grown by Oregon farmers is considered genetically engineered. The answer is an unequivocal no. Even though people have played a major role in developing this wheat, it is still considered a natural product under the definitions of the measure. Actually, since McDonald's stopped using GE potatoes in response to consumer health concerns, there are almost no farmers in the entire state that grow GE crops.

We simply believe we should have the right to know what is in our food. Informed choices are the basis of our free market economy.

Rick North, spokesperson

Vote yes on 27 Committee


Just who are ‘outsiders'?

To the Editor:

I am writing in regards to an article in the Oct. 16 Observer. You interviewed the two mayoral candidates for Elgin and I was very interested in what Mac Letts had to say about "outsiders."

He referred to people who live outside Elgin's city limits but shop inside the city and felt that these people should pay a tax to help support the city since all they pay is Union County taxes. Someone should clue Mr. Letts in to the fact that a rural community like Elgin is not a Marine Base with a perimeter that needs defending. It is instead an extended community with borders flowing from Hamburger Hill to Palmer Junction and from Minam Grade to Three Mile Bridge.

We "outsiders" send our children to school in Elgin and we patronize Elgin's businesses. Perhaps Mr. Letts would like us to shop in La Grande instead.

My husband and I have only lived in Elgin for 17 years. That makes us newcomers, yet we consider ourselves a part of this wonderful and friendly community even though we live a mile out of town. As often as possible we patronize the businesses in Elgin because as small business operators we know how vital it is to a community to keep these businesses going.

Mr. Letts, I suggest you live a little longer in our community and get to know the wonderful and varied people who live here before you draw the line between city dwellers and outsiders.

I hope that the people of Elgin will vote for Boots Churchill for mayor and not let the divisive spirit of Mac Letts prevail.

Nancy-Lee Noell


Fortunate to serve with Stark

To the Editor:

During my tenure on the La Grande City Council I was fortunate enough to serve on the budget committee with Dan Stark.

I have seen firsthand Dan's ability to confront tough issues head-on. He can craft solutions and compromises with a clear, concise and analytical thought process. Dan has shown the ability to balance public safety and the need for community enhancement while helping to guide our city through difficult budgetary times.

I believe our city will be better off and our city council better equipped to grapple with the tough decisions they face with Dan Stark in council position 3.

I urge you to join me in voting for Dan.

Mark Davidson

La Grande

Lamoreau would stand strong

To the Editor:

I take great pleasure in writing to endorse John Lamoreau for Union County Commissioner. I have known John for a number of years and believe him to be a man of noble character. His faith, courage, family values and devotion to the needs of others stand strong at a time when our community and our nation need such leaders.

John is highly educated, highly motivated, very personable and a great communicator. He's not afraid to let you know where he stands on the issues. Further, he's a man who takes the time needed to listen to your concerns.

John Lamoreau has the support and respect of specific state and national leaders. They have promised to work closely with him to meet the special needs of Union County citizens.

John is committed to seeking adequate funding for our county public works department and our sheriff's department. His strong and successful business background will be a definite asset in shaping Union County's future. He understands the crucial importance of careful study, long-range planning, and citizen involvement in the decision-making process.

It's time for a change to more efficient and responsive county government in the next four years. I believe John Lamoreau is the logical choice for county commissioner and I will mark my ballot accordingly. Why not join me?

Phil Kohfeld

La Grande

Scheeler cares about kids

To the Editor:

Northeast Oregon has an opportunity to elect a state representative who shows no reluctance in meeting tremendous challenges.

A woman running as a Democrat, with no financial support from high-dollar special interest groups shows she really cares about our children, our communities and above all the quality of life of all the people in Northeast Oregon.

Please join us in supporting Elizabeth Scheeler for state representative in District 57.

Lenella and Mike Farmer


Extremely pleased with club

To the Editor:

Our family relocated to La Grande this year. One of my biggest concerns was childcare for my 10 year-old daughter, Kelsy. I met with Child Care Resource and Referral, part of TEC, and they referred me to Kids Club.

Kids Club gave me one day of free childcare to help me evaluate their program. The expression on my daughter's face when I picked her up after work that first day said it all. She wanted to go back, and after meeting with several of the staff I arranged for them to keep her the remainder of the summer while I was at work.

I have been extremely pleased and impressed with their program. Not only are they open hours compatible with my work schedule, but now that school has started, my daughter rides the bus directly to Kids Club after school so that I don't have to leave work to get her to child care.

I had quality full-time child care available to me this summer, something I've never been able to rely on in the ten years I've needed childcare services.

Besides the convenience to me, the staff keep the children busy and interested. They have taken field trips, they go to parks, swim, bowl, do arts and crafts and many other wholesome activities. Their snacks are wholesome and nutritious. They have behavior rules for the children so that I don't have to worry about my child being mistreated by more aggressive children.

Most of all, my daughter is happy and enthusiastic about school, relationships, and activities, and I attribute a large part of this to the wonderful environment at Kids Club. La Grande is very fortunate to have such a quality program available to its citizens.

Karen Ludwig

La Grande