February 08, 2004 11:00 pm

Strip reflects sleaze-wing

To the Editor:

Amazingly, I try to read Mallard Fillmore every time he appears in your newspaper, for fear that I would miss what might be the latest target of our sleaze-wing politicians.

The current target seems to the dime. I think Mallard is lobbying to put Ronald Reagan's head on the dime in place of Franklin D. Roosevelt's. Mallard has shown us a Reagan dime and called it, "The dime for those who worked for it."

He also shows us an FDR dime and calls it, "The dime for those who want a hand-out." Another FDR dime is shown inscribed with, "In Stalin We Trust." To be generous, these misrepresentations are, at best, disappointing.

Roosevelt's features are on the dime not simply because he successfully addressed the greatest challenges any president faced during the 20th century, but also very much because he was the prime sponsor of a national health movement called the March of Dimes.

During the 1930s and 1940s the March of Dimes attempted desperately to find a cure, a means of preventing or treating successfully the crippling disease called polio.

During the first part of the 20th century, polio was an utter horror among children. Roosevelt, because of the paralysis he suffered in his legs, and because of his position as president, served as the national exemplar for the March of Dimes cause.

This alone is a just reason for Roosevelt's features being on the dime; a remembrance of a worthy and eventually successful effort.

Incidentally, during the 1936 and 1944 presidential elections, the sleaze-wing encouraged the rumor that FDR's paralysis resulted from a venereal disease not from polio.

Good heavens. Is there nothing new in politics?

Don Paul

La Grande

Considerate responders

To the Editor:

The La Grande emergency dispatchers, the La Grande Police Department, the EMTs and the Union County Sheriff's Department are all to be commended for their professionalism and thoughtfulness on Jan 8.

I had the misfortune of finding a good friend deceased at his home. I was in contact with many people from the above-mentioned departments and although they had a job to do, they were not only professional in doing their jobs, but they were considerate and helpful with me dealing with my feelings.

Deputies Boyd Rasmussen and Cindy Wyatt were especially considerate.

Jeff Brence

La Grande

Evidence awaits objective council

To the Editor:

In response to Leslie Graham's letter to The Observer Jan. 12, I would like to clarify a few things. I apologize to anyone who may have been confused about my position on the current affairs of the city of Union.

I wrote a response to Gary Graham's editorial because of his attack on my mother's character. Councilor Graham has just as much right to an opinion as my mother, but the fact that he holds a public office should restrain him from expressing his in a newspaper. Someone who holds a public office is supposed to remain objective until the time comes to make a decision on city policy. He should not feel obligated to weed out and publicly ridicule citizens he sees as troublemakers.

One reason I decided to write is because of the TOTAL meeting that Councilor Graham attended. His wife read the transcript, but the words on the paper do not carry the tone with them. Everybody that I spoke with that had been at the meeting told me that Councilor Graham was not very nice at all to my mother, and they were worried that she had been shaken up by the experience.

The letter that Leslie Graham wrote was very concerned with seeing evidence that my mother has collected. She wants to know when she might see this evidence. My mother is most likely waiting for a chance to present her evidence in front of a council that is willing to be objective.

I would certainly be willing to make a public apology to Councilors Alexander, Zimmerman and Graham. It wasn't my intent to get caught up in the drama. I just wanted to let Councilor Graham know that I didn't really care much for his letter.

Roger K. Clark Jr.


James letter corrected

A sentence in Barbara James' letter to the editor that was published in the Jan. 13 Observer was rewritten incorrectly.

The sentence should have read: We have a good council who all work hard together, and it makes me wonder why we have one councilor and possibly the mayor who can't seem to work with the rest.

Shoveling snow helps

To the Editor:

I thank those of you who took responsibility for removing the snow from your sidewalks. I am sure many others feel the same. Getting around on packed snow and ice is tricky if not treacherous for us all.

Now, if you take people like myself and others who have a disability, getting around becomes very frightful and a whole lot more dangerous.

A member of the Union County Sheriff's office showed his kindness and concern for my safety. It was Tuesday morning, Jan. 6. I had some errands to do downtown.

I was having a tough time walking with my cane on the slick and uneven surfaces. This very kind officer stepped out of his vehicle. I greeted him with a "good morning;" he smiled and returned the greeting.

I started across the street when I heard him shout something. My first thought was, "What the heck could he want me for?" I turned to respond and he was standing there with one arm extended, holding something.

He said, "You need chains." At first I did not understand what he said, and then I saw what was in his hand. He made me a gift of shoe chains that made my return walk safer and a bit warmer than my walk to downtown.

Thanks to all who shoveled the snow from their walks and especially the officer who helped me.

Rex Watson

La Grande

Deserve kindly care

To the Editor:

We now know a lot more than we really want to know about our meat and our cows.

We have been happy in the belief that the meat we buy at our favorite stores was and is from beef animals.

We are shocked to find that much of the hamburger at the stores and the fast food outlets is from aged, worn out dairy cows.

We learn that after a dairy cow has given her all — calves, milk and usually friendship — she is slaughtered for the few remaining scraps of flesh that still hang on her aged frame.

These old ladies are not given the peace and dignity of a quiet and comfortable old age. We require them to give that last full measure of devotion to our thoughtless appetite for hamburger, pet food and other unsavory uses.

These old ladies deserve our thanks and kindly care during their last few remaining years.

I speak as one who cared for them, cared for their calves, milked them and received in return their gentle friendship.

Charles R. Cater

La Grande

Keep multi-purpose room

To the Editor:

We encourage the City of La Grande to pursue funding for a multi-purpose room in the new library.

We have appreciated being able to meet in the La Grande Public Library these past four years, especially as there are not any other easily accessible places for our group of 20 members to meet.

Judy Snyder


Valley Girls' Investment Club

Citizens can be proud of UBESD

To the Editor:

I was dismayed over the article on Jan. 12 regarding the Union-Baker Education Service District coming under fire.

I don't know the men involved in making such accusations against UBESD and its staff. However, after reading what The Observer wrote that they said, I question their motive.

Ray Stinnett didn't mind trying to get a position in an organization that was filled with "corruption and excess.''

And Dennis Wilkinson — where does he get off calling these men and women "empire builders"? I have been in the homes of some of these UBESD workers and I have not seen excess. I've seen modest, comfortable dwellings. He complains about the amount of salary and benefits given to the top seven people. I bet if someone looked closely at Wilkinson's business we would find a similar structure.

I'm one of the 237 employees of UBESD. I'm proud to work for this fine organization. I don't live in your area but after having worked for nearly 20 years in the education arena I can say to the people of Union-Baker counties that they have an organization they can be proud to claim.

This is a premier alternative education program. They have put together an excellent curriculum for thousands of students who don't seem to fit into schools.

The local colleges and school districts had all the time in the world to pick up these children who don't fit the mold. However, once UBESD began expanding, it seems to me that sour-grapes have hit. They somehow see all the monies they could be pocketing going to some other entity.

There was a direct cash benefit to Union and Baker county school districts of $1,166,468.44 in 2002-2003 because of the Alternative Education and Home Program created by UBESD.

Mr. Wilkinson wants UBESD to service only the local area. But if you have something good and it works, market it! That will only bring in more money for local business.

The laughing stock in this scenario is the men who are trying to destroy something the citizens of Oregon and the counties of Union and Baker have reason to firmly call good.

Charlene Fort

Hood River

Constructive vs. destructive

To the Editor:

A small group in Union has determined it is better to attack city officials, placing blame from a distance rather than become involved themselves in the myriad opportunities for service in their community. The current effort to recall two city councilors is fueled by this same destructive attitude rather than a constructive effort to improve Union.

I have worked for years with Dick Alexander and Jack Zimmerman, as well as Bill Searles. All three men are hardworking individuals who, though they may differ in opinion from time to time, consistently strive to make our city a better place, having the citizenry's best interest at the core of their efforts.

Mr. Searles has one of the most progressive and productive outlooks I've encountered in our city. Mr. Alexander and Mr. Zimmerman, along with a majority of other city officials, have supported him in these worthwhile projects.

When asked about specific allegations against the councilors, members of TOTAL gave no clear explanation. Responses ranged from "I can't give you that information'' to "our town has become a Hitler democracy.'' A Hitler democracy? What does that say about the mentality behind this recall?

If community members have questions or suggestions for improvement of city affairs, they should approach those concerned to share information. The entire council can also be approached — a more formal, and sometimes, less personal situation.

I fully support both councilors in their difficult and time-consuming responsibilities. I urge Union voters to be fully informed by firsthand knowledge from the men involved.

If you are displeased with councilors' opinions or beliefs, use your vote in the next election to choose someone else. Run for office. Make yourself available for numerous committees in town. Be a productive, constructive part of our community.

Difference of opinion is no basis for a recall.

Brett Baxter

Former city councilor


Get involved in Union government

To the Editor:

It hurts me to see people of my beloved Union emotionally and hatefully so divided. We are family in Union and a system is in place through our charter so by a majority vote we elect people we trust to represent us to our council. We have an opportunity to change that every four years.

Our charter is also set up to employ a city administrator — note, not manager — whose decisions are by approval of the council. Differences of opinion while frequent are generally settled looking at the facts and discussing in a courteous manner.

Think of the many ways there are to solve problems when they arise. Various ideas come to mind — ignore it and hope it goes away; crudely beat it down; or be rational, polite, courteous and practical in dealing with problems.

Wouldn't it be nice if we emulated our city, county, state or federal leaders who keep their cool? Even activists Martin Luther King Jr. and Ghandi were courteous and positive in leading the fight for their causes.

I would urge those who are upset and complaining to be on city council or the budget committee or any other city committees to get their voices heard. Also, in the spring all should take the opportunity to be involved in the Northwest Area Foundation's sessions for interactive community team building to be offered in Union.

Additionally, please be sure each and every one votes. Mark and return your ballot. Let Union's 1,000-plus voter voices be heard.

Susan Briggs


Recall is positive step

To the Editor:

I've been following Union's concerned citizens' political watchdog committee with a great deal of interest and have been quite amused at times by the efforts of the Searles gang to give some very obvious spin against TOTAL's legitimate concerns over an unelected city official's administration through subterfuge and irresponsible violation of our city's rules and regulations.

I'm not one to be easily shocked but words cannot express the dismay I felt when I read Saturday's letter by the Searles gang lauding Searles for an accomplishment he in no way deserved credit for.

Case in point: when the golf course deal was made during Leonard Almquist's tenure, he stipulated that the city's urban growth boundary be extended and failure to do so would cost the city of Union $250,000 in a fine. When recently the extension was accomplished, saving Union from having to fork out $250,000 it was Hanley Jenkins of Union County who spoke up, labored for and urged accomplishment to instrument the boundary extension.

All Searles did was affix his signature because it was his job to do so, nothing more. It seems credit for rescuing the city has been deliberately misplaced and personally, I don't feel like thanking someone for living a lie.

A vote for recall is a necessary and positive step toward divesting ourselves of an un-needed, unelected official and his circle of groupies in order to put in place an elected, sensible, voter controlled, fiscally responsible mayor-led form of government.

So ask yourself, when you mark your ballot, do we want a responsible, honest form of voter-controlled government or would we rather continue to be led by a vendetta-motivated, unelected official and his band of sycophants?

Jim Bovard