November 30, 2003 11:00 pm

Republicans, gather and talk

To the Editor:

I'm getting tired of seeing so many American flags around town. Flags on cars, flags on buildings, flags in people's yards.

I suppose it is a way of saying to our armed forces that we support them. But are we proud of this war? Are we proud of killing our National Guard (read "national guard" literally) in Iraq?

I was tired of this war the day it started. It was started against the will of most nations. It was started without provocation. I'm tired of paying for it.

And speaking of paying for it, what was the ridiculous idea behind that tax refund I got? Some folks got thousands of dollars. Many folks got nothing. What a way to help the rich get richer. And what lousy economics when at the same time you are stealing money from the federal budget.

I'm tired of being lied to by my president. I'm tired of his party. They don't pay attention to the needs of us folks who elected them. They don't pay attention to education, health needs and the needs of old folks.

Theodore Roosevelt set aside more public land as national forests, national monuments and wildlife refuges than any Republican president before or since. The old Rough Rider would be appalled by many of today's Republicans who don't have the environmental sense God gave a goose.

If you are a Republican, get together with your fellow Republicans and talk. Are you really happy with what your party is doing? Do you want our country to try to run the rest of the world? Do you like the way we are being taken care of. The Republicans seem to have lost a love for the values of nature.

You folks in Northeast Oregon could help rebuild that in your party.

William Oberteuffer

Island City

Invest in children, not building

To the Editor:

The voters of the Imbler School District are being asked to finance the building of an elementary school for $4.25 million over 20 years.

This is a very expensive project for about 160 students. Enrollment has been shrinking so we are likely to be paying for a building that will not meet the needs of the district before it is even paid for.

The current public education system is in crisis, and change is already starting, as seen by the growth in alternative schools, charter schools and home-schooling.

Spending all of our community's resources on this school building will leave no money for true investment in our children. The proposed tax rate will require many families to make sacrifices, far above the actual benefit to children. Vote no. This is not the best investment for our children.

Cheryl and Brian Campbell


Legislature needs diversity

To the Editor:


That's my assessment of the Register Guard's calling for the resignation of Greg Smith as legislator in the "other views" column of Saturday's opinion page. The Eugene paper called for Smith's resignation because of his position as executive director of the Oregon Cattlemen's Association.

The related Observer editorial on Thursday calling for new legislation regarding conflicts of interest by legislators was also shortsighted.

Show me any legislator who never has a conflict of interest on some issue and I will show you a legislator not worth electing. How about the professional backhoe operator who also serves as statewide president of the union? Should she be deprived of legislative service? Or the president of Columbia Gillnets, a manufacturer who has a passion toward fishing issues? Should he be precluded from legislative service? Of course not. Is "trusting a legislator" an oxymoron? I hope not.

Our Oregon legislative system is under severe threat from the run-amok initiative process. We don't need additional legislation to limit or discourage good folks from running for office. If they violate standards, we have an ethics commission as a checkpoint. If they betray our trust or neglect our interests, the next election should take care of that.

We need incentives to encourage those who can initiate, who can provide leadership and who have talent and skill and interest to address hard issues.

Minimize the disincentives such as more legal restrictions. It already is hard enough to attract people with the needed personal resources, stamina and commitment. Our system thrives best on broad representation from across Oregon including fisherpersons, ski resort workers, teachers, recyclers, cherry pickers, business executives, and yes, even a lawyer or two.

We cannot afford a Legislature comprised solely of those who are rich or who represent one or two professional sectors.

Doyle Slater

La Grande

Community comes through

To the Editor:

We don't often think about the community we live in until something happens.

On Oct. 3 a fire took our home. The shock of disaster is unbelievable — to stand and watch everything destroyed after 48 years.

Our first thoughts are thanks for the lives of loved ones, but then of the loss of some pets. And then comes the reality. Things we spent every day with — pictures, clothes, knickknacks, keepsakes and all the household items hauled around over the years.

The roof over our heads is gone. A favorite pillow — even the margarine cup you put your teeth in at night.

The Red Cross made arrangements for a place to sleep. The staff and owners of the motel were most gracious. All the phone calls and messages, and they allowed us to keep our dog, Jitters, with us.

The messages came, one after another. Individuals, family, organizations, businesses and churches, all offering help of all kinds.

We don't realize how fortunate we are to live here in the Grande Ronde Valley. The concern and pulling together of the pioneers who settled here long ago is still alive. Like an old-fashioned barn raising, a neighbor miles away comes and helps rebuild a home.

We found a place to move into, and furniture to get us started. My husband is disabled and recently broke his hip, resulting in surgery and a long recuperation.

We have asked, Why us? But we know now. It was to bring us together with concern, love and a binding of the community once again.

There are no words to cover the emotions of these last few weeks. God bless every one who helped us, beginning with the fire department.

Don't stop the prayers; we can still use them.

William, Anna and Theresa Curtiss

La Grande

Consider consolidation

To the Editor:

The question of whether or not to vote for the Imbler school bond levy raises some interesting questions about the future of education in Oregon.

Facing reduced state support and increased spending at the local level, I wonder if we can afford to retain small school districts and commit large sums of money on new school buildings. We are facing a state income tax surcharge, and the La Grande district will see a 7 percent increase in its property tax.

We need to support education, but we also need to avoid unnecessary expenses. Maybe the time has come to consider school consolidation. If we can avoid the duplication of building costs, energy bills and administrative staff, and if in the process provide a greater variety of programs, and increase their quality, we might make education more affordable.

I know that local sports teams are important to a community; however, it is the future of our educational system that is at stake. We must examine new and more efficient ways of providing education to our youth.

Established bureaucracies tend to perpetuate the usual order of things. We, however, prefer to spend our limited resources wisely. The consolidation of school districts in this area might accomplish this.

John Gregory

La Grande

Children feel better

To the Editor:

This past Saturday, about 50 people gathered at Mamacita's International Grill to participate in a fund-raising event for the Mount Emily Safe Center.

The center is a safe place for children to talk about being victims of abuse. There are many such centers throughout Oregon and the United States. Children are referred to the center by Department of Human Services staff or by law enforcement agencies in Union, Baker and Wallowa County.

The children are given a full checkup by one of the community health nurses. The checkup helps children to know their bodies are OK or will be OK very soon.

During a videotaped interview, an officer observes and makes a determination on the level of risk to the child. The officer is also looking for possible criminal acts. Sometimes the reported abuse does not reach a criminal level but in all cases, the children and families are referred to appropriate counseling services.

I have been interviewing children for 14 years and I want you all to know that children leave the center feeling much better because they gave their burden to the adults who are there to help them.

Saturday's fund-raiser may not have raised much in funds but it did help to raise people's awareness and understanding of why we have child-abuse assessment centers and most important, why it's all about the children.

Lee L. Adams, executive director and forensic interviewer

Lyndall Shick, resource

development specialist

Joy Bristow, volunteer

Mount Emily Safe Center


Not tired of America

To the Editor:

In response to the Oct. 27 letter by Bill Oberteuffer, "Republicans, gather and talk." I am the Republican referred to.

I'm tired of old socialists who can find no other thought besides blaming the rich.

I'm tired of election-year hate-speeches that Democrats are blathering these days, especially about our positive action in Iraq. I'm tired of Americans who work to undermine the efforts of their own protectors.

Iraq is a battle not a war. The war is against terrorism. According to Oberteuffer's letter, he's tired of everything. But you're not tired of hearing Saddam lie to buy time so that he might assemble his attack on us. You are only tired of what you perceive as "being lied to by my president."

Well I'm tired of the Clintonian standard of truth.

I'm tired of Americans who think terrorists are justified, and that rebuking terrorism is proof of American bullying.

I'm tired of being accused of hating nature because I'm Republican, and because I don't have faith in the interpretations of environmental leftists. There are environmental rightists, they are scientists. Democrats do not own nature or science.

I'm tired of taxpayers who are unable to do the math necessary to figure out why those who have paid more in taxes should get more in refunds.

Finally, he's "getting tired of seeing so many American flags around town." Seeing such a statement from a grown man really does make me tired. If I didn't have such strong convictions about what that flag represents, I'd probably just give up.

I'm not tired of America. I'm not tired of the flag that represents it. I'm not tired of a society of individuals who risk their lives to protect the rights of man who chooses to be tired of everything.

Al MacLeod, chair

Union County Republican

Central Committee