March 07, 2004 11:00 pm

Cooperative partners on Lostine

To the Editor:

Gary Fletcher did a reasonably good job of trying to stay abreast of a fairly rapid-fire conversation that took place at the Wallowa County Courthouse last Saturday — "Walden tries to allay dam fears, concerns"

There are a couple of minor corrections that seem pertinent, especially given that I have had some phone calls from irrigators asking, "Why did you say that?"

Specifically, to set the record straight: Water Watch of Oregon did identify the Lostine second on its list of Oregon's 10 "Legally Dry" streams, referring to the diversion of water for irrigation as the cause, and giving no credit to irrigators for their cooperation over the years.

My point in offering that bit of information was this: groups like Water Watch have the irrigators on the Lostine in their sights, and they have a history of litigation. I was mistaken to have used the term "polluted" when the phrase Water Watch used was actually "legally dry."

I don't agree with Water Watch as it references the Lostine, nor do I agree with its way of doing business. The contrary is true. The irrigators on the Lostine have been cooperative partners for years, and I mentioned that during the same meeting from which the previous quote was taken. That just didn't make the paper.

I also did not suggest fish numbers in the Lostine have been on the decline.

The irrigators on the Lostine are at some jeopardy, in spite of all they have done to curtail irrigation withdrawals, improve irrigation efficiency and cooperate with fish managers from ODFW, the Nez Perce Tribal Fisheries Program, and others.

This project, in my view, and the view of many other informed people, is a chance to preserve the customary multiple use of the Lostine River water so there is room for irrigators and fish.

Gary Fletcher is to be commended for taking the time to attend a meeting on Saturday with little notice. While I feel compelled to correct these statements, it should be noted that I appreciate The Observer for taking interest in a project crucial to the people and resources of Wallowa County.

Jeff Oveson

Executive director

Grande Ronde Model Watershed

Outraged at phone threats

To the Editor:

This letter is in regard to a most recent news item concerning Union's city government. I do not know the extent of their

internal problems but I do know Mrs. Zimmerman.

I have known Bonnie Zimmerman for a long time on both a professional as well as a personal level and she is one of the sweetest, most loving people I know.

I am totally outraged as well as embarrassed that someone in our once peaceful little town, would stoop so low as to make potential threats and do name calling by telephone to this sweet lady.

I surely hope this person will be exposed and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and that the entire issue will be put to rest.

Etta Ruberg


Don't blame taxpayer

To the Editor:

I'm appalled at the way some people think the taxpayer should have to pay the bill for everything — government, schools and the Oregon Health Plan.

When we put these programs in force we thought we would have good times forever. Well folks, I'm sorry, the money is not there. Our government is letting business move out of the U.S.A. and then letting them bring back their products at our expense.

The companies don't have to pay taxes to help support the citizens. The government is more concerned with big business and foreign countries than with us. If we don't have jobs then we can't pay taxes. You don't go into a store to get a $2 loaf of bread with only 25 cents in your pocket.

I am sorry for Vivian Brandenburg and Kevin Kennedy and all the other people in the state who are in the same boat. But don't blame the taxpayer. We just don't have the money anymore and the cost of living is going higher. Taxes are higher and wages are lower, and no one in the government or the school system can see it. They say schools bring in more business, but the businesses are going out of the country to places that have little, if any education, low taxes and wages, and no government standard's to tell them what they can do.

So now we get what we voted for. Not much, eh? Maybe if Measure 30 had asked the voter to pay more for the elderly, the medically needy, police, fire and public services and less for education, the measure might have passed.

There really is more to life than the current school system, which seems to be a constant financial drain on the taxpayer.

Paul Caverly

La Grande

Keep Social Security whole

To the Editor:

The headline on page 6 in The Observer Feb. 11 reads "Social Security Needs Overhaul?" Sure it does. But not the way our cash-worshiping politicians would like to do it, and that includes the remarks attributed to Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan.

Many people have great respect for Greenspan and his ability to do his job and weather changes in the presidency, but his comment that the tax cuts for the rich should be made permanent and Social Security benefits be cut by jiggling the consumer Price Index as it effects Social Security payout is wrong.

Then there are those politicians who would privatize Social Security so that stock brokers would be enriched and those who were financially immature would sell out to the comforts of life they could not afford and end up on the welfare rolls paid for by the taxpayer.

Having had the administrative duty during my career of delivering paychecks to hourly workers, I endured many a heated complaint of why I was taking Social Security out of the paycheck.

Of the worst complainers I have kept in contact with, I find that they have exhausted their assets and have only their Social Security, which they paid for, to live on. So much for privatization.

Now there is also the question of immigration to this country that is out of control. The money our president is trying to get for his amnesty program would be better spent in controlling our borders and preventing a run on Social Security by illegals.

David S. Arnott