January 21, 2003 11:00 pm

Anderson victim of politics

To the Editor:

Sean Rasmussen's Dec. 28 letter in The Observer was nothing more than a pathetic attempt at political spin-control. His statements are suspicious in regards to details that could have only been provided by the sheriff or undersheriff.

It should also be noted that Mr. Rasmussen is married to the former wife of Sgt. Chuck Anderson and therefore his motivation for signing this letter is suspect.

Being a former deputy and co-worker of Sgt. Anderson, I place no credibility in any of Rasmussen's statements. I observed Chuck Anderson to be one of the most dedicated and honest law enforcement officers I have ever seen. He did everything by the book and expected the same from his co-workers.

Anderson has assured me that all of the allegations against him are lies and total fabrications. I believe Chuck because I know first-hand how Sheriff Steve Oliver and Undersheriff Dana Wright do business. Wright's long history with the sheriff's office has not always been exemplary. His managerial style has caused plenty of controversies and his poor judgment will cost the taxpayers millions of dollars.

In September 1998, I told Sheriff Oliver that he needed to make some changes. By that statement Oliver understood that I meant he needed to fire Wright. Had he done so then, the $21 million Pooley lawsuit would not be an issue now.

Oliver's failures in the past are catching up to him now. I can only imagine what Anderson's civil lawsuit will ask for in damages.

Chuck Anderson is the victim here, the victim of overzealous political ambitions, the victim of his own desire to see honesty, integrity and professionalism return to the sheriff's office.

Douglas R. Jones


Watch for invasion of privacy

To the Editor:

The 2001 Legislature, in its infinitesimal wisdom, created a bureaucracy called the Road User Fee Task Force.

This is the bunch of bureaucrats who want to tax those of us who use studded tires to pay for the damage done to the roads in the Willamette Valley. Now they have come up with something they are calling "a vehicle mileage tax." That's right, another tax! That's just what we need. Bureaucrats with more of our money to waste!

The vehicle mileage tax, quoting The Observer, "to be equivalent to the gas tax now, the substitute fee would have to be 1.25 cents per mile."

Of course it would have to be "slightly higher" for "additional administrative costs." The gas tax would remain the same, although we would graciously be allowed a credit for tax paid.

To track our movements (i.e. invade our privacy), they plan to install an electronic device in our vehicles that would be linked to the Global Positioning Satellite System. New cars would be required to have the GPS technology.

"Owners of older cars would be allowed to take part by retrofitting them," The Observer article said. They claim to protect the driver's privacy by making it illegal to track vehicles in real time.

Not only do the bureaucrats want to invade our privacy, now they want to tax us to do it.

Lord, save us from the bureaucrats!

Doug Batten


Trail Blazers showing promise

To the Editor:

Many critics were convinced that the 2002-03 Portland Trail Blazers were an inevitable meltdown.

After a season opening 12-point victory against the former powerhouse Los Angeles Lakers, playoff visions crept into Oregonians' heads.

Unfortunately the high point led to a sudden, painful low, as the Blazers lost to their next three opponents (including the Denver Nuggets).

If you are a fan of roller-coaster rides, and don't mind getting smacked by an occasional towel, the Blazers might be your team.

Although they are infamous for their off-court drama and on-court inconsistency, this year's squad still poses as a threat in the Western Conference.

Portland sports a commanding array of point and shooting guards, and power forward Rasheed Wallace has led the team in scoring, averaging nearly 18 points a game. The Blazers have Derek Anderson, Bonzi Wells and Ruben Patterson, all who are capable of scoring 20 points a night on a team that is overflowing with talent.

The national networks have airtime for the Chicago Bulls at higher priority than Portland, and locals don't seem to expect much from their "Jail Blazers."

With two-thirds of the NBA season left, Oregonians rightfully should be cautious not to get their expectations too high ... after all, we are talking about the Blazers.

But, keep at least one eye open — this year could be different.

Dan Jones

La Grande

GOP wrong on taxes

To the Editor:

My fellow Oregonians, "Can you spare $6 a month for the next three years to support the education of children, provide more adequate police protection, and help the elderly and disadvantaged in our state?" The answer is obvious. "Yes we can." But will we? That is the real issue.

In the Voters' Pamphlet explaining Measure 28, I counted at least seven state representatives and eight state senators who say, "no." I also heard our own state representative, Greg Smith, say no at the candidates forum in La Grande.

Perry Atkinson, chairman of the Oregon Republican Party, also says no and quotes the Republican platform: "We (the Oregon Republican Party) support the reduction of all taxes to a level needed only to maintain minimum government that can protect life, liberty, and property."

This is a platform that says nothing about supporting the education of our children and young people, nothing about sustaining a healthy environment, nothing about assisting people who cannot help themselves, nothing about maintaining an adequate health delivery system which can be accessed by everyone, and nothing about maintaining an adequate and clean transportation system.

The $6 per month is not enough to change anyone's lifestyle, but it will support education and other necessary state services and provide millions of dollars of matching federal dollars.

To vote no to all taxes is downright stupid. A vote no on Measure 28 will not eliminate waste. It will only hurt education and Oregon's future. No doubt there are things in government that need to be corrected to become more effective and less wasteful, but voting no on Measure 28 will not accomplish this.

I appeal to all thinking and intelligent people to set aside your prejudices against taxes and government and vote "yes" on Measure 28 to support our children's education and other necessary services.

Lewis R. Currie

La Grande

Times could get worse

To the Editor:

I guess better late than never that people in charge of lottery money that was meant for education when the people voted for it are leaving.

This seems to be the trend from Sewer City, D.C., on down to Salem to spend funds frivolously instead of on more serious things such as health, schools and economic problems.

If you don't want to pay the cost of mental health, then stop the sales of hard drugs that are rampant in this town and all over the nation.

But be sure to fasten your seatbelt or you will surely die, and then I guess it won't matter that you voted all wrong in 2001.

I predict there will be less obesity by 2004 and times will get worse before they get better.

Letha Johns

La Grande

People put out of business

To the Editor:

Concerning the article by Johannes Spronk in the Dec. 27 Observer, Mr. Spronk and I have been friends for many years and while I do not particularly like to disagree with him in print, I must do so, and vehemently.

His column was about the Wal-Mart expansion proposal. He admonishes us all not to be "driven by irrational fear," but I wonder how much the fact that his wife works there has to do with his views.

Let us look at the reality of Wal-Mart. Their public relations personnel have informed us what a good neighbor Wal-Mart is, but I suggest we look into their actions.

Their claim is that they bring jobs to an area. On the contrary, in a community like ours which, while growing slightly over the past few years has a relatively constant population, they in fact take jobs away from other businesses. Good, honest, local business people in every location where Wal-Mart settles are being put out of business so that Wal-Mart stockholders can make more money. Some call that capitalism, but I call it piracy.

Wal-Mart used to tout itself as the establishment that provided us with goods made in America. I also remember their reaction when it was discovered not to be the absolute truth. They are experts at disinformation.

Wal-Mart has just lost an important lawsuit in Oregon, and will probably lose the other suits in other states, because it knowingly and willfully violated labor laws. They are not honest or honorable in their dealings with their employees and, in my opinion, they are not the sort of business that we should even want in our community, much less one we would intentionally assist getting even larger.

Anthony Marks

La Grande

Businesses must pay their share

To the Editor:

While studying the Voters' Pamphlet concerning Measure 28, I found a compelling reason why this measure should be defeated.

This reason is not found in the opinion section but in the factual explanatory statements.

In this section the current and proposed tax rates are described. The tax rate for individuals making over $6,450 per year — well below poverty level — shall increase from the current 9 percent level to 9.5 percent. For corporations the current rate of 6.6 percent would increase to 6.93 percent.

Why should individuals, even those below poverty level, now pay 37 percent more in taxes than wealthy corporations?

It seems obvious to me why. Many of these corporations donate money and promise influential positions to the legislators who drafted this measure. This double standard of taxation has transferred the burden of government from corporations to individual taxpayers in this state.

This discrepancy is increased when you consider the many other incentives offered by state government for corporations to locate and continue to do business here.

While paying less in taxes, these business leaders complain about the cost of raising minimum wages, the inability of the school system to create qualified workers and the cost of environmental controls needed to keep our state unsullied.

It is time to stop the corruption of our legislative system.

Vote no on Measure 28, but don't stop there. Write to your representatives and demand that corporations pay an equal amount of taxes as individuals do in this state. Ban lobbyists in government and disallow corporate contributions to legislators.

Pass laws forbidding former legislators from accepting highly paid positions with corporations after leaving office.

Don't let them scare you into paying for the millions of dollars they then turn over to the corporations in the form of reduced taxes and incentives.

Jim Tejcka


Don't slop the trough

To the Editor:

After reading the voters' pamphlet, I find Measure 28 can easily be equated to hog farming.

The majority of those in favor are like those round-rumped, curly-tailed hogs screaming for food. They squeal: it is for the piglets. It's all for the piglets.

The clamor gets loud, louder and louder the closer you get to the pen, or in this case the Jan. 28 special election. Once the slop hits the trough it's every hog for itself and the piglets get squeezed out. After the hogs have had their fill, and if there is anything left, the piglets get to eat. Then silence until the next feeding.

Vote no on Measure 28. Make them rout through the pen, gleaning all those hidden morsels before the trough gets slopped.

Kirk Achilles

La Grande

Integrity upheld in department

To the Editor:

In response to Douglas Jones' Jan. 6 letter in The Observer: To question my intent because I am married to one of Chuck Anderson's former wives is both self-defeating and contradictory to his own argument.

Doesn't the fact that he is a former deputy and personal friend of Chuck Anderson discredit and make his own argument suspect as defined by his statement because of assumed bias?

My intent was to raise community awareness and dispel the false claims that had been generated. Jones' letter did not challenge or even attempt to deny any of my statements. His only rebuttal was that Chuck Anderson had assured him that he was innocent. Jones followed up with personal speculation as to the outcome of the pending lawsuits against Union County and the sheriff's department.

The statements I made in my Dec. 28 letter are true and indisputable. The process of Anderson's decertification as a law enforcement officer by the state adds further strength to my statements, and to the idea that the charges against him are not false.

My statements did not put a political spin on the issue but denounced it. Anderson has claimed that he has been discredited because he ran against Steve Oliver for sheriff, an easy out for Anderson and not true as the election results show. He has attempted to divert attention from himself and onto Sheriff Oliver and Undersheriff Dana Wright in an attempt to gain public support.

Jones' letter is a desperate, unprofessional and, in his own words, pathetic attempt to use spin-control when, in fact, misconduct and not politics was the cause for Chuck Anderson's dismissal. Honesty, integrity and professionalism are in fact upheld and honored in the Union County Sheriff's Department now.

Sean Rasmussen

La Grande