July 24, 2003 11:00 pm

Jenkins doing job well

To the Editor:

Oregon's innovative land-use laws had their 30th anniversary recently.

Having done some traveling in other less visionary states, I realize how Oregon's laws have controlled the cancerous illogical development that goes unchecked elsewhere.

Human greed sometimes motivates us all to seek personal profit without regard to neighbors or the greater community. I feel particularly fortunate to live in an area where I feel the laws have been pretty uniformly enforced.

The Oregon Rural Action zoning committee supports close observance of land-use laws as a counter pressure for the ever-present good old boy syndrome that seems to sway county commissioners everywhere.

I feel this area has been well served by Union County Planner Hanley Jenkins. Many people who have been denied individual freedom on their land later admit that they got fair treatment. They didn't get to skirt the law and neither do others.

The job of land-use planner has to be a thankless one. I commend Jenkins for a job well done.

Mary McCracken

La Grande

Don't blast Mexico

To the Editor:

In numerous letters our good friend, Jim Bovard of Union, has let us know that he thinks the United Nations is good for nothing and the United States should distance itself. Nowhere does he suggest improvements, only that the U.S. should isolate itself. We could not do this even in the horse and buggy days. The Roman and British empires tried it.

In his June 4 letter to The Observer he expresses hatred of a Mexican "enemy." I doubt that Bovard has traveled in Mexico to meet the people nor has he worked the border as a law enforcement officer to control "these aliens who are Mexico's real invading army." I have done both and as a result cannot in good faith damn Mexico for our home-made problem.

Bovard seems not to recognize that this democracy we like to force on the rest of the world is no longer a government of the people for the people but a government of the monied for the monied. You can't be an Abe Lincoln and become president nowadays or even a successful politician.

Mexicans flock to our country for our welfare system, the desire for cheap labor, our factories, the confusion of our justice system and many of our personal freedoms.

We are not going to end the Mexican invasion as long as our politicians and their backers can make a buck out of things as they are. I am not at war with Mexico, just disgusted with our political agenda.

Blasting Mexico does not make for good neighbors. Let us correct our own deficiencies before we blame our troubles on the other guy.

David Arnott


Standard unfair to bidder

To the Editor:

Eastern Oregon University needs to clearly state: Local bidders need not apply.

Eastern is not interested in greater commissions, more personalized service, or substantial investment in the La Grande-Union County economy.

They created the exclusionary standard; they decided our company, Grande Cuisine, did not meet that standard in awarding a food service contract. They excluded the local business without considering its proposal, period.

Last Friday, in a letter from Darlene Morgan, EOU's vice president of business and finance, we were informed that our protest of the bidding process was rejected. As it seems, the same reviewers who rejected our original bid also evaluated our protest. Should we be surprised that they agree with themselves?

There were at least three points in time when this situation could have been avoided:

1. When they wrote the original bid specification requiring a list of university clients they should have considered that a local bidder would be unable to list a number of Northwest university clients.

2. When they evaluated the proposals, they should have seen that we met the letter of the request if not their preconceived intent and allowed the bid through.

3. When our protest was submitted, they could have reconsidered their decision or at least allowed input from unbiased outside sources; they did neither.

Throughout this process, the university has dug in and fought for their right to maintain an exclusionary standard.

The rejection notice suggested that we could have protested the RFP (request for proposal) in the beginning of the process.

We suggest that it was not our responsibility to fix the university's inadequate bid request, especially when it was released months later than originally targeted.

We had only 30 days to build a complete proposal competing against teams of individuals who do this hundreds of times each year.

Rich and Marianne Zinzer


Sad day for America

To the Editor:

Monday, June 23, was a sad day in America's fight against racism. On that day the highest court in the land concluded that racism is acceptable.

The Supreme Court affirmed that race- based selection of students in the University of Michigan undergraduate program is acceptable. It affirmed that diversity is more important than excellence.

Around the nation the term "dumbing down" is becoming familiar. On June 23, it was demonstrated on a grand scale. The court decided that a less-qualified student with the proper ethnicity may triumph over superior achievement. Dumb.

I love song lyrics and these spring to mind:

"Has anybody here ... seen my old friend Martin?

"Can you tell me where he's gone?"*

Martin Luther King Jr. was not here on June 23. He said in his "I Have A Dream" speech in 1963:

"I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." Dream on.

(*Lyrics from "Abraham, Martin, and John" by Dion DiMucci)

Al MacLeod