February 29, 2004 11:00 pm

Times, needs have changed

To the Editor:

The David Arnott letter in the Jan 28 Observer needs answering. It is true, as he points out, that times have changed since 1928, or even 1948 or 1968. A major change, Arnott should remember, is the price of everything is 100 percent, 300 percent, 500 percent or even higher than before.

More people live far longer. The majority of jobs now require a high school diploma, often a college degree, and what is learned and taught today is far greater than it was. Of course, technology has given us new necessities, and those cost money to have and to use.

Few tax-supported services are inane, as Arnott proclaims. Services, by and large, are provided for needs, as defined and often demanded by the public. Services such as schools, libraries, parks, fire protection, law enforcement, courts, senior centers, home nursing, pre-natal care and health insurance for the poor are just a few of the services the citizenry says is necessary for a just society. And every year the costs to provide these services go up. Not because of greed or avarice but because prices on everything we use or depend upon go up.

Perhaps Arnott can talk the Bush administration and Congress into putting in a WPA, CCC or PWA to spend our money on, but I seriously doubt too many folks want to go back to the 1930s, '40s or the '60s.

At least Arnott didn't put his Measure 30 denunciation in the same terms as did a letter writer to another newspaper. That person said he would not voluntarily contribute for food, shelter or transportation for anyone other than himself.

Or is that what Arnott is saying?

La Nita Anderson

La Grande

To the Editor:

In regards to the Summerville resident about the road department: I too live in Summerville. I think the road department should be given congratulations for doing a great job.

We have lived in Summerville for over 30 years. We have had some great years and some not so good years. I appreciate them getting up at the break of dawn and working late at night.

They make it possible for me to get home in the evening and to make it back to work the next morning. They plow many miles of road each day — many days in blizzard conditions.

I want to tell each and every one of them job well done.

B. Baker


To the Editor:

Road conditions vary greatly throughout the valley. Snow patterns, winds, drifting and traffic all dictate different responses.

The road department could be on the way to our road which might have a foot of snow, but yours only has four inches. Why not plow on the way out?

Please don't criticize the road department for plowing the road. They have to hit it hard when conditions are bad, and then they can take advantage of milder conditions.

A winter like this costs a lot of money. If people want to get around, then we have to pay the piper.

Nelson and Vicki Correll


To the Editor:

In regards to E. W. Mickey's letter to The Observer of Jan. 26, we have been residents of the Summerville area for over 40 years.

We would like to express our gratitude to the Union County Road Department for the great job they are doing this year. We hope you guys keep up the good work in the future.

Thank you for clearing the roads for the safety of us all, our children getting to school, Mom and Dad getting to work, the mail and paper being delivered.

We will keep paying our taxes gladly.

LeRoy and Betty Smith


Chairman's behavior offends

To the Editor:

Thank you for publishing the fine article by Gary Fletcher on Wallowa County's approval of the building of two homes on the Wallowa Lake Moraine ("Moraine houses get county OK," Jan. 28).

I was particularly saddened by the report of the untoward and perhaps illegal behavior of the county's planning commission chairman toward Milley Fraser. It reminded me of all too many times when I have witnessed that very sort of behavior by that very same gentleman in that very same capacity.

The continuation of that repugnant behavior seems to have the approval of not only the other members of the Wallowa County Planning Commission, but also of the Wallowa County Commission.

How such behavior can be expected somehow to lead to achieving the public interest, not to mention foster public participation in our public life, is beyond the grasp of any sane imagination. Why it is condoned by so many officials in Wallowa County is a shameful statement on the routine political life in our beautiful county. It is also a terrible mystery.

Milley Fraser is one of the most intelligent, best informed and most civic-minded citizens of Wallowa County. One can only hope that the publication of that report, along with the formal complaint she filed with the local peace officers immediately after the incident, can create a small opening for other citizens to follow Milley's lead against the politics of subverting the law, the politics of bullying citizens for pointing out the law is being subverted, and the politics of protecting the bullies.

Walter J. Smith, Ph.D


Statements challenged

To the Editor:

I am writing in response to Brett Baxter's letter to the editor dated Jan. 23. Mr. Baxter said, "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?"

Mr. Baxter's "Hitler democracy" statement was never made at any council meeting by any member of TOTAL. At the January city council meeting there were questions asked of TOTAL, but this response was never given. In fact, Mr. Baxter was not even present at that meeting and has only attended one city council meeting in the last 12 months. If Mr. Baxter chose to be fully informed about the issues, as he encouraged others to be, he would have been interested enough to attend the meetings and see what is really going on.

He further questioned the mentality of the 150-plus voters who participate in TOTAL. That certainly tells me something about how he feels about the voters of Union.

If a former city councilor such as Mr. Baxter thinks Union's voters are mentally challenged and presumes to belittle their opinions, I can't help but think that those who spent time on the council with him feel the same way. Could that explain why they all think that voters should be treated as mushrooms?

Charles Hazen


Kudos for arts coverage

To the Editor:

I'd like to compliment The Observer staff for its excellent ongoing coverage of the arts—from regional high schools to visiting professional companies. The Observer's notices, feature articles, and photography continue to make us aware of just how much is going on in this area.

As president of the executive board of the Eastern Oregon Regional Arts Council, I was especially appreciative of the fine front-page coverage of the recent performance by the Tears of Joy Puppet Theatre under our sponsorship.

Lyle Schwarz


Family needs family

To the Editor:

I read a letter to the editor in your paper by Internet. I still try to keep in touch with LaGrande as much as I can. I went to school there some 22 years ago, when EOU was EOSC. I have two sons going to school at EOU now. I will also send all my children to EOU hopefully if I can afford it.

To me LaGrande is my second home. I am from the Pacific Islands. People in La Grande are very different from other areas. They say hi to you even if they have no idea who you are, or they just nod their head in a hello or greeting.

The reason I am writing this letter is that I read Mrs. Charlotte Bauer's letter to the editor. I think to myself at times if I were to lose any one of my children, tears come to my eyes for the simple fact that I would not be able to handle it. I love my children so much and would give my life for them if I had to without thinking twice of it.

Sometimes is seems our legal system doesn't look at family values but rather what is written in law books or a trial that has set a precedent.

I have a new baby and he is less than two months old but he smiles and I can hear him laugh. I believe the reason he can do this at such a young age is family caring for family.

Grandma Bauer, give the red tape and power-crazy people a chance and I hope they will realize that family should be with family and nowhere else. That is the LaGrande I knew.

William Hawley Sr.

Pohnpei FSM

Pacific Islands

Union city employees lend hand

To the Editor:

With all the negativity about Union recently, we want to be sure the positives are pointed out as well.

On Thursday evening, Jan. 29, we had something of an emergency at our place in Union and the troops, they came a running. When ice jams caused Little Creek to threaten our property after 9 p.m., it took just one call to Union's Public Works staff to get an immediate response.

Not only did Paul Phillips and Robin George come out, but Officers Ronetta Prince and Tony Humphries were also quick to respond and offer assistance. Ray Riomondo also disregarded the late hour and came right out to help. City Administrator Bill Searles and Fire Chief Bill Hooker also came to assess the situation and help, if needed.

These city employees worked until after midnight making sure that our property and others were safe. Each and every one of them did this, not grudgingly, but with a positive and friendly attitude. We want all of them to know how much we appreciate their efforts. Our friends Susan Boyd and Jan and Gary Koegler also came to help that night. Thankfully, we suffered very little damage in the episode.

Cathy Nowak and Cindy Frick


Too much regulation

To the Editor:

While reading the letter "Thanks due to home-schoolers" in The Observer Jan. 30, a warning bell that has been ringing in my head for at least two years finally reached a level not to be ignored. I have homeschooled my children for around 10 years, and my children are currently enrolled in the home program.

My argument is with the words "we are proud to have moved $14,970 La Grande's way." I am not proud of this, I am appalled.

Parents have a God-given right to teach their children at home, free from government intervention. If I disagree with the system and feel the government should stay out of my right to educate, why would I want to take government money and raise further government money for a system I repudiate? Why would I intentionally increase the tax burden by participating in a government-funded program? If we think we pay too much, shouldn't we be the first to act responsibly and refrain from an entitlement mentality?

Currently the home program is quite free of strings, but consider the words of Cheryl Walker, former legislator, in a letter she wrote opposing the Oregon home education freedom bill that the governor vetoed last year.

"I suggest that if they really want freedom from state control they stop accepting state Department of Education Money. Currently many of the home-schooling institutes receive approximately $4,000 per home-schooled student they have enrolled. Taxpayers who are paying for home-schooling should have accountability from the students."

This screams of increased regulation of homeschoolers. Is our participation in these programs endangering our freedoms? These reasons, among others, are why I will not be enrolling my children next year.

I found it ironic that this letter was followed by one crying for tax relief.

Jennifer Garinger

La Grande