January 07, 2003 11:00 pm

Store owners not responsible

To the Editor:

On Wednesday, I read Ray Linker's article, "The second coming of Wal-Mart." This article states several times that La Grande business owners are not organized and are not motivated to oppose a Wal-Mart Supercenter.

I found Mr. Linker's article disturbingly irresponsible. His article by the way it was written implied that business owners don't care one way or the other if a supercenter is built. His article also implied that it is up to the business owners by virtue of their protests to stop Wal-Mart.

First, I would like to say that La Grande business owners were never elected by the community to make decisions regarding the local economy. It's not their job.

Second, I want people to realize that most business owners remember when we had a chance to say no to the first Wal-Mart. There was very much protesting at that time. However, due to the incompetence by the leaders of our community back then, Wal-Mart was allowed to be built.

In Wednesday's article, La Grande City Manager Wes Hare was quoted saying, "I

feel most of the damage has already been done."

I find this comment to be naive and insensitive. Such a comment is easy to make if your business and livelihood are not at stake. It's sort of like saying, "Oh well, things happen, too late to worry about it now."

Is Mr. Hare thinking, or should I say "feeling" that once a supercenter is built, Wal-Mart will completely stop any plans for further development into other areas, crippling our economy even more?

I must compliment Mr. Hare for his comment that "Wal-Mart doesn't advertise in the Observer." I hope people realize that our local paper is our only truly good source for information about what is happening in our community. Shop'n Kart, Safeway, Albertsons and the canned food store all purchase advertising from the Observer.

Roger Beickel

La Grande

Contribute to pot of gold

To the Editor:

It was a blustery December morning when, en route to school with my 13-year-old son while northbound on Fourth Street, we couldn't help but notice a big, beautiful rainbow seemingly arching from Mount Emily and landing atop the La Grande Middle School.

In an effort to share in communication with my son, I posed the thought that the rainbow was ending on the rooftop of the middle school and that he should ask Doug Hislop, the building principal, to check the roof to find the proverbial pot of gold.

In the usual smirk that is so familiar among adolescents and the quietness that generally pervades young men, I inquired further as to what he would do with the pot of gold. I anticipated a typical adolescent response, something like, "I'd buy a Play Station II for all of my friends."

After continued pondering silence my son responded that, he would use the gold to keep our schools running.

After dropping him off and returning to work, I reflected on our conversation, which inspired me to write this letter to remind all Oregonians that we have an opportunity to contribute to the pot of gold by supporting Measure 28.

Jim Mollerstrom

La Grande

Include nicotine patches

To the Editor:

Rather than pictures and warnings on packages or higher taxes (see Dec. 17 Observer editorial), it should be required that each pack of cigarettes include one or two nicotine patches.

Dan Thompson


Slaves freed by Congress

To the Editor:

Since the debacle with Sen. Trent Lott, I am amused at the Republican politicians who are saying, "We want to prove to all Americans that we are still the party of Lincoln."

I think most Americans know very little about Lincoln.

During Lincoln's first and only term in the Congress he introduced legislation to buy up slaves in the South and return them to Africa.

While campaigning for the Senate in 1858, Lincoln said blacks were not equal to whites, could never live compatibly with whites, should not be allowed to hold elective office or be allowed to serve on juries.

While president, Lincoln entertained a group of free blacks in the White House, led by Frederick Douglas, and told them the same things he had said in 1858.

In the Emancipation Proclamation, Lincoln freed the slaves in "those states presently in rebellion against the United States and under the control of the Union Army." He did not free the slaves in any state still in the Union. Those slaves were freed by the Congress months after Lincoln's death.

I think the assassination of Lincoln and Carl Sandburg's biography of him elevated him to deity, which was a little more than he deserved.

Most of us who were raised and educated in the deep South are somewhat prejudiced, but I judge every person by that person, not by race, creed or color.

At Moody Bible Institute at least one third of my classmates were black. My dearest friend was a black brother who often grabbed me in a bear hug shouting "Brother Roy."

I think Lott really blew it with the remark he made. I don't believe he is a racist but he surely hurt his political future and possibly the Republican Party.

Roy Hills

Island City

Give gift of life next week

To the Editor:

During this holiday season, as you think about sharing presents, dinners and memories with your friends and family, consider giving a gift to a total stranger.

Many people will need blood this holiday season. When you give an hour of your time donating blood you may be giving the gift of a holiday dinner with grandparents, a ski trip with friends or a walk through this winter wonderland with Mom.

While you are out enjoying the snow and celebrating the holidays, stop to consider that not everyone enjoys the good health it takes to appreciate the winter months. Every day, people in our area need life-saving blood. Maybe you yourself have needed blood at some point in your life; if not, you probably know someone who has.

Blood donations are needed to treat people who have gone through surgeries or experienced accidents. This is in addition to the patients of cancer and other diseases who depend on an adequate blood supply every day.

As long as you are in the giving spirit this season, give someone the greatest gift of all. Give an hour of your time and a pint of your blood to help save a life and make sure that an adequate supply of blood is available when people need it.

Give blood — it's the gift of life.

Call Sarah at 975-2032 or Mark at 963-7265 to schedule your blood-donation appointment for the upcoming blood drive Monday from 1 to 5:45 p.m. and Tuesday from 8 to 11:45 a.m.

Together, we can save a life.

Mark Karl

Red Cross blood drive chairman

La Grande

Anderson brought on problems

To the Editor:

This letter is in response to the letters that have been published in The Observer since Chuck Anderson's dismissal from the Union County Sheriff's Department.

Donna Knox retired from the department over a year ago. She had no involvement in the investigation and has no idea how it was handled, bringing to question her claim of how poorly this investigation was handled.

Internal investigations are common practice when dealing with complaints and personnel issues. Undersheriff Dana Wright is fully trained to do just that, being dual-certified to the executive level. Wright has also received a great deal of training to handle internal affairs through the Oregon Executive Development Institute.

In answer to the claim that Anderson's dismissal is due to his running against Sheriff Steve Oliver and being a threat to Wright, I and many others don't see that. Sheriff Oliver could have dismissed Anderson the day after the election without consequence and did not.

Wright's training is far superior to Anderson's, who holds only basic police certification. This entire investigation has come about due to, in my opinion, Anderson's lack of honesty and integrity, two very important qualities that are necessary in law enforcement. Anderson's lack has led to many acts of misconduct that he has been held accountable for. The grand jury did not clear him of all charges; they ruled for a continuation of the investigation.

Anderson does not have an exemplary work record. He is also aware that his work record is publicly protected and that the sheriff's department cannot respond and lay to rest these ridiculous allegations that he is promoting.

There are two sides to every story. Anderson's problems have not been brought on by revenge but by his own actions.

Sean Rasmussen

La Grande

Work to defend borders

To the Editor:

Are Americans being betrayed by their congressional representatives in serving the power-gathering federal establishment rather than our constitution?

They have placed us under the control of a budding police state in the name of Homeland Security through the passage of HR 4757.

I quote Doug Batten of Enterprise who is "appalled that the House would approve such sweeping, anti-freedom, anti-privacy legislation and call it Homeland Defense." Many of its provisions echo United Nations' edicts proposed at the U.N. convention in Mexico. The bill is ostensibly a vast, Orwellian scheme to data-base every move Americans make.

An inordinate number of its provisions reflect U.N. policies in compliance with our domestic Clintonesque efforts to achieve a U.N./U.S. look-alike New World Order as already accomplished in Europe through the Euro-dollar system.

Please note that Homeland Security does nothing to control the flood of border-jumping enemy aliens and terrorists, but instead imposes freedom-dissolving, privacy-nullifying federal controls on innocent Americans.

Our constitution allows our military to defend our borders from the threat of an invasion which would pose an unprecedented threat to our national security. Then let us do just that — protect our borders rather than welcome avaricious, America-hating terrorists while forcing innocent Americans into submission to federal edict and control.

Our obvious counter-move, next to secession from the U.N., is to declare a five-year moratorium on immigration, protect our borders with already seasoned American troops who needlessly defend Kosovar and Bosnian borders under U.N. authority, and never again declare amnesty for illegal aliens.

We need to do this now and tell the United Nations to buzz off. We just don't need them. Secession is already under way in Union County. Call me at 562-6151.

Jim Bovard


Antler poachers waste meat

To the Editor:

I was reading the Dec. 23 Observer regarding the elk poachers in the Blue Mountains.

Being in charge of the food banks for Union, Baker, Grant and Wallowa counties has really made me sensitive to these kinds of issues. We serve only a portion of the needy families in these counties. We are always seeking meat and protein items for the food bank recipients. We could have fed a lot of hungry people with that meat.

I would estimate conservatively that a trophy branch antler elk would weigh about 500 pounds, which means that we could have put 7 pounds of meat in each food box we distributed in November.

That means that 1,223 households that received emergency food boxes that month could have had protein to feed their hungry kids.

I can't even imagine someone killing these elk just for their antlers. What's wrong with these people? The article labels them as serial killers and I agree with that.

I just hope that each time they look at the mounted antlers they picture hungry children. Approximately 1,500 of them in our service area went without meat in a meal at one time or another in November.

It seems like there are more and more cases of poaching in the past couple of years. I don't think the justice system is hard enough on the people who commit these heinous crimes, or let's face it, they would stop.

Here's looking at you on my wall.

Carmen Gentry


Does United need major loan?

To the Editor:

We wealthy taxpayers making all of minimum wage are now being asked by United Airlines to loan them $1.8 billion, which is supposed to keep them flying the friendly skies so that the poor affluent people will not have to put up with such deplorable service as provided by some other profit-making people-movers.

Now last September our free-spending legislators in Washington tied some flimsy strings to the handout of money to airlines called an "employment agreement" which was filed with the Securities Exchange Commission. This provided that an airline getting a loan guarantee could not compensate its executive more than they received from the airline during the calendar year 2000.

What has United done to sidestep this restriction? It is reliably reported that United filed on Sept. 5 with the Securities Exchange Commission an employment agreement reportedly hiring CEO Glenn Tilton.

He gets a $3 million "signing bonus," a $950,000 base salary, an "extraordinary bonus" for "superior performance" each potentially worth as much as his base salary, 100,000 shares of United stock plus options to buy 1,150,000 shares at a price averaged during the period in which he was hired and $4.5 million placed in trust to make up for pension rights he gave up from his previous employment (Chevron Texaco) – I wonder if there is an oil connection to the administration — just a thought.

This is all possible and legal because Tilton was not employed by United during the year 2000.

Does United really need a $1.8 billion loan? Think of our poor underpaid CEO, the president of the largest corporation in the world, the United States, upon whose shoulders fall the responsibility of thousands of aircraft, thousands of ships, millions of service men and the economy of a vast country. Something is wrong with our executive payscale. I thought you would like to know where part of your $1.8 billion is going.

David S. Arnott


Help innovative idea prosper

To the Editor:

I have had the fortune within my lifetime and even more so recently in dealing with wonderful organizations and agencies of a caring kind: Neighbor to Neighbor Ministries, Community Connection, the Red Cross and the Salvation Army, as well as individual churches. But as of late, times have have been becoming more difficult for people in need to get help.

All of our Good Samaritan agencies we have available now are out of funds most of the time. Like some of us, they seem to be going from paycheck to paycheck and still not getting by.

My church, the United Methodist, is starting a special fund for throughout the year. On special holidays and during special events our offering for that day will be going to a person-in-need fund.

My thoughts are as we feel the crunch of the times, can this be a collective idea, perhaps getting all the churches in our valley involved? Possibly one person from each caring church or outreach organization involved can form a group to collectively decide how the funds are organized and used.

I believe this can be a new very beneficial activity for our caring community. Please help with ideas or the actual building of this innovative idea.

Louis Michaels

La Grande