October 27, 2004 11:00 pm

Need change in leadership

To the Editor:

Examining the past term of Colleen McLeod shows a woman of untiring energy.

She has been involved in countless projects and has always put herself in a visible position. Unfortunately this does not make her effective in her job.

I wish that political elections did not put us in the position of downgrading one candidate in order to support another, but it seems the practice.

I have not agreed with the decisions made for our county by Colleen and think that we have not even begun to feel the results of them. Hopefully all of you will not be swayed by the advantage an incumbent has.

I have known Jack Johnson for 26 years and cannot say enough about his honesty and dedication. His knowledge of land-use issues would be invaluable for the county along with his extensive financial background.

It is time that we make a change in leadership for the benefit of the future. Please join me in voting for Jack Johnson for county commissioner.

Gloria Bowman

La Grande


Plans already in place

To the Editor:

The Granges of Oregon have traditionally supported sound management of forest range and other agricultural lands. However, Oregon State Grange District 6, Hurricane Creek Grange 608 and Wallowa County Pomona Grange 22, would like to go on record in opposition to Measure 34.

It has become obvious in recent years that continual planning on national forest and other federal lands has resulted in a virtual gridlock regarding forest management.

The constant tug of war between experts in a wide variety of disciplines has created an atmosphere of confusion. A whole generation of foresters has given up on sound forest management in favor of de-emphasis or exclusion of timber production.

Highly qualified experts have already prepared sound management plans for the Tillamook and Clatsop County forests. Why not apply those plans that are already in place?

We realize that management must be dynamic, but sooner or later we must begin to test existing strategies rather than continually coming up with a new angle.

Derrell Witty

Bob Casey

Melvin Lathrop

all of rural Enterprise


Honest and respectful

To the Editor:

I am a former sheriff's deputy for Union County and have spent my entire life here.

The only complaint I have ever had about living here is the small-town politics. In the years I spent as a deputy I witnessed terrible things, but none compare to Undersheriff Dana Wright's outrageous behavior and actions. He causes a hostile environment by berating and degrading employees.

Mr. Wright referred to a female co-worker of mine in a very derogatory way; two weeks later she quit out of humiliation and embarrassment. He also referred to another female co-worker as an embarrassment to the county for being a victim of domestic violence, a claim that was part of her lawsuit against the county.

He made this astonishing statement during a labor relations meeting after discharging her from employment with the Sheriff's Office. The two sides eventually settled for an undisclosed sum of money.

As Deputy Voelz pointed out in his letter, Dana is very approachable. I would counter that when the jail staff were required to transfer the garbage from the jail up to a dumpster around the block, and we went to Dana with our concerns that someone might get injured because of the weight of the containers, he countered that we should just do our jobs. A short while afterwards two deputies were injured and both required surgery. The county fought both cases and after a year of legal battles they were found to be negligent and had to pay more in legal fees than both surgeries combined.

Boyd Rasmussen may not have all the experience Wright has but he is honest, respectful and has morals.

Vote for Boyd Rasmussen for sheriff.

Bobby Crader



Time for a change

To the Editor:

Colleen MacLeod has been an aggressive volunteer for just about every cause in this valley. We need people like her to keep some of the programs alive.

Being an involved citizen does not always mean that you have the ability to be a good judge of financial endeavors for the community. Having a business head is an acquired attribute that comes from years of experience with financial institutions, targeting funds to the most valuable areas of need and listening to the public's opinion.

We have such person in Jack Johnson. Please join with me and put the best person for the job in office in November. We need a change.

Malin Doles



Wrong kind of conviction

To the Editor:

John Kerry is continually criticized by conservatives for lacking conviction. However, he demonstrated sufficient conviction to rush out under enemy fire in Vietnam to aid a fellow soldier and was wounded in the event.

The president has exhibited strong convictions as well. He and his VP continue to argue that Iraq harbored terrorists, produced and stored weapons of mass destruction for use against others. They have done this even after they were proven utterly wrong.

They also showed great conviction in the reporting to us the danger presented by Saddam Hussein and Iraq even as they lied to all Americans including our military forces.

The vice president showed conviction when he stated, in his recent debate with Sen. Edwards, they hadn't met before the debate, even in the Senate.

That is provably false even though delivered with the same kind of conviction as that exhibited by Geo. W. Bush.

But is this the kind of dishonesty — coupled with conviction — that we want in the administration of the war, our foreign policy and in solving our domestic problems?

I don't think so.

David R. Bishop



Issues need to be addressed

To the Editor:

My 4 1/2-year-old daughter hurt her finger doing somersaults so I took her to the emergency room. As we sat in the lobby waiting I could view the desk in the ER and saw two or three nurses standing around.

After almost an hour we were called in. We were told they were busy and it would be a while before the doctor could see us, that there were at least four people waiting in line for x-rays. When I opened the blinds on the door in the small waiting room a nurse rudely asked if I needed something. I told her "yes, I need a doctor to look at my daughter's finger or we're leaving."

When she came back she said the doctor would see me in five minutes. So all of a sudden, he's not busy anymore? I only noticed one other patient at the time.

When the doctor came in he did not introduce himself. He started bending my child's finger back and forth and told me it could be sprained, dislocated or broken, but she couldn't get an x-ray for a while yet because other people were here before us. He told me to give her some Tylenol or Motrin for the pain. I told him that we were going to leave and I'd take her to her own doctor the next morning.

If this is the service that a patient receives in our emergency room, let us hope that none of us get injured or are seriously ill. Before we were called I took my daughter back to the restroom near the radiology department. I heard no one back there at all.

There are some serious issues that need to be addressed about this facility.

Kristin Smith

La Grande


Hospital deserves support

To the Editor:

Ten years ago Grande Ronde Hospital was among the top 100 U.S. hospitals two years in a row. People ask what happened. But if you could see behind the scenes on a typical day at the hospital, you would see that it's still mostly the same nurses, managers and personnel giving the same top-quality care to every person who comes through the doors.

There has been a turnover in physicians, but we need to take time and ask our doctors why they are leaving. Some have left because of family issues calling them to be closer to elderly parents, a spouse who misses things back home, a move to be closer to a child in college. Still others have simply retired. GRH has managed to meet the challenge to fill their shoes.

Time and events have taken their toll on the financial aspects of our hospital, complicated by skyrocketing malpractice insurance and inadequate Medicare funding. GRH was obligated to become a Critical Access Hospital, which means only 25 patients can be admitted as in-patients; but even under the CAH plan, we have cared for 19-20 patients recently on the Medical-Surgical floor alone.

It's a matter of shifting beds between the Intensive Care, Medical-Surgical and OB. On occasion a small number of patients will have to be cared for elsewhere. Please be patient and help us through this transition so we can continue to have a hospital.

Let's take pride in GRH and see all the good it has done for us. Let's support it and the people who work there because they are our friends and neighbors who care for you, shed tears with you, and rejoice with you. We are here to help.

Phyllis Kemp, R.N.

La Grande


Look at last four years

To the Editor:

I opened up my paper recently to read the letters because I always get a kick out of reading what inspires people.

Well I got a real stimulation or inspiration to write about Evelyn Donnell's letter about getting her Bush-Cheney sign taken from her property.

My heart really goes out to the poor people who lost their signs but, come on, let's get real here. If it bothers you, just get another sign. I really don't understand how anybody could support Bush after what has happened in the last four years. It's as though a third of the country's population has blinders on.

In my eyes I see Bush as a bully and a warmonger. In fact, there are a lot more terrorists now after we invaded Iraq and more forming with each day that goes by.

I don't really believe everything Sen. Kerry has to say, but I'll tell you what, I don't believe one thing Bush has to say.

So on that matter, my vote goes to Kerry.

Matt McIntyre

La Grande


Tireless effort for county

To the Editor:

I would like to share with readers of The Observer two of the many reasons I will vote to retain Colleen MacLeod as our county commissioner.

First, the fact that she with the other commissioners did not lose the right of way on miles of public access when they purchased the railroad. Unless you have had experience with rights of way you may not know that once lost it is nearly impossible to retrieve.

The whole river corridor could have been privately closed to any trespass on either side.

Second, the City of Union would have gone into bankruptcy if the commissioners had not come to their aid and taken over the golf course. Now the city of Union is part of Union County and I for one would not have wanted that action to happen.

Colleen is tireless in her best effort to promote Union County. It is a hard job and she has done well.

Marie C. Lester

La Grande


Public experience, good character

To the Editor:

I am endorsing Dan Pokorney for La Grande City Council.

I have known Dan for about 20 years and can vouch for his good character, honesty and service in the public good.

Dan has served on the school board for eight years, on the board of the La Grande County Club for two or three years, the Riveria School PTA for four years, the K House campus ministry board for 12 years, 10 of which was as board chairman.

With his public experience and good character I believe he will be a benefit to the city of La Grande.

Jim Wimer

La Grande


Can make difficult decisions

To the Editor:

Union County is lucky to have two such capable individuals running for the position of sheriff. The choice will certainly be tough for many citizens, but I'd like to share why the decision is easy for me.

I have had the pleasure of working with Dana Wright for the last six years on the

La Grande City Council. I have come to rely on Dana's thoughtfulness and his steady hand in decision-making. Being a member of the city council is a very public position. It can be very rewarding to make a difference in your community and, at times it can be fun.

But it also requires you to absorb lots of information, at times very complicated information, and to be willing to make tough decisions that may impact your neighbors and friends and cause hard feelings.

Dana has never shied away from such issues. He is willing to make those difficult decisions, even if it means some people will disagree with him and hold grudges against him.

In my opinion, Dana's calm personality, his honesty and integrity, his vision, his policy insights and his ability to bring people together have been invaluable assets to the council and to the community.

I've come to know Dana as a friend over the last six years, but more importantly, I have come to greatly value his contributions to the council, and to respect his unwavering commitment to public service.

Colleen F. Johnson


La Grande


Moral issue

To the Editor:

Measure 36 is not about discrimination. Society did not invent marriage, God does. To change God's purpose for and definition of marriage is to discriminate against God.

We must discriminate against that which destroys an individual and leads to the destruction of society. Your interpretation of Oregon's Bill of Rights is faulty reasoning. It would allow a pedophile to marry your four-year-old if he consents. Pedophiles, too, believe they are born that way. They should also have a right to marry according to their orientation. Lobbyists already are gearing up.

Your interpretation of equal rights would open the door for liars, murders, rapists, extortionists, polygamists to be free to engage in their activities.

You say this is an emotional issue. It is much more. It is a moral issue. You say religious organizations differ on the issue. Neither my church or any other is the measure of morality. God's word is.

There are many arguments against Measure 36. This does not contest them all. It simply addresses the lack of logic 101, faulty reasoning and the straw man named discrimination used by the editors of The Observer.

Rev. Mouse McKinney

La Grande


Right characteristics

To the Editor:

In the race for Union County Sheriff, much has been said relating to the experience of the candidates. It might be well to remember that the sheriff's foremost role is one of leadership, and leadership is not necessarily a derivative of a long tenure or management responsibilities.

A leader inspires, thinks, motivates, initiates change, challenges the status quo, creates, sets the pace, drives and inspires loyalty.

Boyd Rasmussen has the characteristics of a leader. His past leadership opportunities in addition to his well run, effective and issue-focused campaign has rallied and motivated many. His focus and vision have further inspired numerous fellow and former law officers to support him. Under Boyd's leadership, the sheriff's department will be united into a more effective, efficient and cohesive public service agency.

Harry S Truman said, "Men make history, and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better."

Union County needs a leader with vision, a leader who inspires loyalty among those he leads and among those he serves, a leader who is not afraid to challenge the status quo. Union County needs a leader who will initiate change and who will make our communities safe.

Boyd has exemplified strong character and maturity in his campaign, on the job as a deputy and throughout his life. Boyd Rasmussen is a man of respect and integrity and is our choice for Union County Sheriff. Please join with us to help Boyd seize the opportunity to improve the Union County Sheriff's Department, and thus the safety of our children, friends and neighbors.

Andy and Michelle Perry

Island City


Has right background

To the Editor:

I attended the candidates' forum at the middle school on October 12, and came away astonished. Colleen MacLeod's response to a question regarding the Wallowa Union Railroad Authority was at best irresponsible.

The question was, "When will the railroad and golf course support themselves?" Colleen's response was without logic. She suggested that the rail line and Buffalo Peak Golf Course were "right on target", but she did not predict if or when they would reach a break-even point.

More alarming was her statement that if she had it to do over, she would do the same thing again. From a business point of view, I do not see how the residents of Union County can afford to have Colleen as a commissioner for another four years.

Having worked 20 years for both prior owners of the rail line, Union Pacific and Idaho Northern, I know that it was originally purchased in early 1990s for a fraction of the $7 million that Wallowa and Union counties paid for it.

If the loan is repaid in 22 years, they will have invested close to $12 million in the rail line, to include interest. More discouraging is the fact that the rail line lost nearly $300,000 last year in their operations.

Jack Johnson has work experience as an agent for Union Pacific Railroad in Wallowa. He has the background and interest needed to solve the current problem. I will be voting for Jack Johnson for county commissioner.

Beverly A. Lousignont

La Grande


Lives in bubble

To the Editor:

I've got a question for the voters of Northeastern Oregon.

It's the same question, regardless whether you work in town or in the country, indoors or out, for yourself, a local business, or a national chain.

It doesn't matter whether you have to deal with an employee who isn't doing the job, a boss who won't give you a fair shake or an obnoxious client or customer you have to be patient with: it's the same question.

One question, and I don't care what you're worrying about: how to afford a big new piece of machinery, where to find that second or third job you've got to have, or how to look after a troubled teenager when your job keeps you away from home.

In fact, it doesn't make a difference what part of your body is paying for the work you do: your carpal tunnel, your lower back, your tired feet, your strained eyes. I've had all of those, and the question is still the same.

It's the question that won't stop nagging me ever since I saw a certain presidential candidate stand up before a select audience of wealthy donors and charm them by saying, "Ah, the haves and the have-mores." They laugh. "Some people call you the elite. I call you my base." They laugh some more.

These candid and shameless words, recorded on videotape, were uttered by George W. Bush, a man brought up in a bubble of wealth and privilege, whose policies favor wealth and privilege. What the tape shows is that he not only lives in that bubble to this day, but gloats in the fact.

And to you who have to work for a living, the question I ask is: why are they counting on you to vote for this man?

Al Habegger

Lost Prairie


Oregon needs land use system

To the Editor:

Recently I attended a forum sponsored by the Eastern Oregon University student body and the Republican women which gave us information about four of the measures that are on our ballot.

I want to thank these two organizations for providing this service to the community. However they were not able to review both sides of two of the measures.

Measure 37 with the ballot title "Government must pay owners, or forgo enforcement, when certain land use restrictions reduce property value" was only given the Yes arguments.

This measure sounds fair when you read the title but it will completely upset our present land-use laws. Cities, counties and states don't have the money to pay for reductions in property values so they will have to forgo the restrictions and then our good land-use laws, which have kept our forests and farmland from being divided up into small pieces, controlled urban sprawl and kept our beaches open to the public, will no longer be possible.

We are the envy of the nation with our land-use system. Let's not destroy it. Please vote no on Measure 37.

Camille Hawkins



Not discrimination

To the Editor:

In the Oct. 15 editorial urging a no vote on Measure 36, The Observer reasoned that 36 is discriminatory, using the buzzword, "discrimination" seven times.

Few people would ever want to be guilty of discrimination so the use of the word multiple times is propagandist and coercive. This issue is hardly comparable to the plight of African Americans in the 1950s and ‘60s. That was discrimination.

All of the rights that you list can be addressed by homosexuals with living wills, benefit designations, etc. You also quote the Oregon Bill of Rights stating that no law shall be passed that would not apply equally to all citizens. One man, one woman has been the law all along in over 300 Oregon statutes. Have we been in violation of rights all this time?

Under your reasoning, marriage would have to be extended to bigamists, parent and child relationships, animals, etc. By redefining marriage, you are undefining it.

The original design for marriage was the Designer's idea. "So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him: male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, be fruitful and multiply." Genesis 2:27-28

There is no alternative given throughout the 66 books of God's love letter to the world to contradict this design. In spite of some religious organizations' support of the concept of same-sex marriage.

It is my opinion that The Observer editorial board has joined the ranks of the liberal left, forsaking reason, heritage, culture, tradition, law, scripture and practical truth for a lie.

Rob Collins



Choice is clear

To the Editor:

If we don't learn from history we are destined to repeat its mistakes.

The current election offers us a chance to avoid such a mistake. We have a choice between Sen. John Kerry, whose record is replete with efforts to foolishly compromise or surrender, and President George W. Bush who makes sound decisions and displays steadfast resolve.

The historical parallel is clearly Neville Chamberlain versus Winston Churchill. Kerry epitomizes Chamberlain while Bush closely resembles Churchill. All one has to do is examine their records.

In the early 1970s Kerry betrayed his comrades, sought accommodation with the enemy and abandoned our Vietnam allies. During the latter stages of the Cold War, kerry continued to advocate questionable compromises instead of supporting President Reagan's efforts to win. The same was true in Nicaragua. In 1991 even though the U.S. apparently met the global test to lead the world in ousting Saddam hussein from Kuwait, Kerry was opposed.

More recently with regard to Iraq, once again Kerry appears to favor the Chamberlain approach. On the other hand, Bush has consistently supported his country and has shown Churchill-quality leadership and resolve in his response to 9/11 and his prosecution of the war on terrorism.

The conclusion: if you liked Chamberlain, you'll love Kerry. But if you admired Churchill, your logical choice is Bush.

Gerald J. Perren



Vote clique out

To the Editor:

Only a couple of weeks left to our own local judgment day here in Union. We must, as mature-minded Unionites, demonstrate that we will not tolerate the continually arrogant behavior exhibited by the infamous power clique and its ringleader, Gary Graham.

Union's residents showed their dissatisfaction with the impertinent, arrogant actions of the council members by a recall and yet a recallee, Dick Alexander, is seeking a seat on the council while Graham and his clique arrogantly placed recalled councilman J. Zimmerman in Searles' vacated position as interim city administrator when it was clearly Mayor Dave Thomas' duty to fill the vacancy until a qualified individual was hired.

It is difficult to believe the clique can't realize two of their members were recalled because Union just plain didn't want them, and that Graham would have the gall to shove Zimmerman down Union's collective throat just to show he had the power to accomplish it.

This same group in City Hall had more than a year of diligent searching for some flimsy excuse they can charge or smear Dean Muchow with. Why such a long time and why such a huge effort to destroy him? Is it an effort perhaps to cover their own culpability in questionable or even nefarious activity regarding the Muchow-Searles fiasco?

Vote these less than honorable people back into office? I should hope not.

When our fresh, decent new electees take office in January, they should honestly investigate this past year. I expect there will be a very interesting paper trail to follow, one that should exonerate Dean Muchow and expose the truth about Searles' and his cronies' vendetta.

Jim Bovard



Still voting Bush

To the Editor:

I want to say something to the person who took my Bush sign from my yard:

Perhaps you wanted to put it in your own yard and maybe not.

You can take my sign, but you can't keep me from voting for George W. Bush.

God bless him and God bless America.

Doris Robertson

La Grande


Need new leadership

To the Editor:

I am writing this letter in support of Boyd Rasmussen for sheriff of Union County.

I have been associated with Boyd for over 15 years. He is earnest, resourceful, dynamic and honest. He is a true leader. Attesting to his leadership skills are the endorsements and support of local law enforcement agencies, many retired law enforcement officers and community groups including the Farm Bureau and Optimist Club.

They have observed his character, integrity, his driving commitment to excellence and good judgment. You cannot lead or build a team without the commitment of the members of that team. The jail employees that work closely with Mr. Wright support Boyd Rasmussen. They understand what is best for Union County and look forward to new leadership.

Someone out there is afraid Boyd Rasmussen will be sheriff as they have stolen over 150 of his campaign signs.

Don't let this kind of criminal behavior be rewarded. Vote Boyd Rasmussen for sheriff.

Verl Miller

La Grande


Study facts of matter

To the Editor:

The grand jury indictment of ex-Police Chief Muchow and the Oct. 14 article in The Observer concerning the matter are the culmination of a year of toxic buildup kicked off by Muchow and Clark and their formation of TOTAL. As The Observer report chronicles, Muchow was at the heart of TOTAL.

The people of Union need to study this material carefully, and objectively assess the methods used by TOTAL, the unfounded allegations, implications, character assassinations and misinformation. Then ask: "Are these the kind of people we want making the decisions and setting the policy for our city?"

Muchow and his supporters tried to convince us that he was railroaded, that it was a personal vendetta. It is clear these assertions are not true. The grand jury does not indict on rumor or whim. The allegations came from the district attorney's office, the sheriff's department, the state patrol, Children's Protective Services, and other sources.

In my view, TOTAL's support and the support of some within the city government show contempt for the citizenry and a lack of character and ethics. It is one thing to support someone falsely accused. To deliberately support someone when you are privy to facts that indicate wrongdoing creates a conspiracy to perpetrate a fraud on the good people of the city.

Think carefully, Union, about the character and morality that have characterized the actions of TOTAL and about the importance of keeping Integrity, Ethics and Morality in capitals not lower-case.

We have honest and independent people in the race for council. We have a young, energetic person with new ideas running for mayor. I will support Gary Graham for position 1, Richard Alexander, position 3, Arlie Gordon, position 5 and D. J. Lequerica as write-in candidate for mayor.

Hank Rodman



No friend of gun owners

To the Editor:

Attention gun owners, if you are a hunter or just own a gun or two you cannot afford to vote for John Kerry. He has stated that the Second Amendment is not an individual right and has a 20-year record of voting against gun owners.

He voted this year to ban gun shows. He voted against protecting gun manufacturers from predatory lawsuits. He voted against the Firearms Protection Act. He voted to impose severe criminal penalties on lawful citizens who had their guns stolen and used in a crime. His voting record is the same as Sens. Ted Kennedy, Charles Schumer and Dianne Feinstein.

The anti-gun organizations who are supporting Kerry are the Brady Campaign, Humane Society, the Sierra Club, Fund for Animals and Americans for Gun Safety. The National Rifle Association gives him an F rating and the Gun Owners of America rates him a 0.

If Kerry gets in to the White House all his appointments will certainly be people who pass the anti-gun litmus test. We can't let that happen.

E. H. VanBlaricom



Expressed paranoia

To the Editor:

Just when you thought you'd seen everything, and the situation couldn't get any worse, along comes election time.

In a recent letter to the editor in The Observer the writer stated that he wants George Bush to remain president because he doesn't want to have to pray in a mosque and have his wife wear a burka.

Hello! We live in the United States of America! If you want to pray in a mosque or wear a burka you have the choice, but no one will force you to.

The fears this man expressed were paranoia, and that's what the terrorists want. As long as we think terrorists have the power to change our core values and way of life, they will win. Are we going to allow that?

George Jr. has mismanaged this country's international affairs and done such damage to the economy he must be fired. The "Get them before they get us" strategy is what got us into this war.

It's estimated the cost of this war will be $200 billion, and with Bush cutting taxes and losing jobs, messing up the healthcare system how is this cost going to be covered?

We need someone in the White House who's looking out for all the people not just the folks in his tax bracket, and is respectful of other governments, religions and cultures.

I'm glad we live in a country that's not ruled by a totalitarian regime, and that we the people have the power to create a transition in government peacefully. Kind of hypocritical of us to bring our method of government to the people of Iraq in such a contradictory manner, isn't it?

Let's see if we can stop George from filling any more body bags.

Tom Dalton

La Grande


Address questions

To the Editor:

Many voters have asked me whether the comments and issues I raised in the primary were genuine.

My intention at that point was to go back into private life. But the questions have persisted. To clear the air, I make the following statement.

All the issues and the facts stated by my campaign were completely accurate, not inflated or misleading. The loss of jobs and population has continued. The last jobs report showed another loss of 140 jobs. The railroad is doing no better. I said the golf course would lose over $100,000 and it did. Again economic development funds will have to be diverted to operate the course for another year.

So I am asking both candidates to address the following questions. How would they change the course the county has been on for the last six years? What will they do differently with economics development funds to attract to new industries to the county? What will they do to help steer the county into the 21st century? What is the time frame for the golf course to become profitable?

Although natural resources jobs will remain an important part of the local economy, we need to expand opportunities in the county. When our children complete their education they should not have to leave to have a prosperous future.

Find the truth before you vote. The state and federal Web sites provide information on the condition of the county free of charge. Take advantage of these. They are unbiased facts that cannot be disputed.

Finally, honor our veterans' sacrifice. As a veteran, on behalf of all veterans and especially those presently on active duty, please get educated and vote so they can return to a home that has a bright future for all of us.

Kenneth Johnson

La Grande


Fortunate for ER

To the Editor:

I don't work in the emergency room so I can't comment on the typical wait time for minor injuries, but I do have a few insights regarding Kristin Smith's complaint about the service her daughter received in our emergency room.

The ER is for injuries or illnesses that threaten life or cause serious damage if not treated promptly. Trauma and serious illness such as heart attacks, sepsis and pneumonia will be prioritized over sprains.

The fact that Ms. Smith considered leaving before her daughter was seen attests to the fact that it was a minor injury.

The assumption that several nurses talking means there is nothing going on is erroneous. There is only one physician on duty at a given time in a small ER like ours, but several nurses are typically on duty at the same time. They might have been waiting for lab results, patients to come back from x-ray or possibly waiting close by to be accessible to the physician.

There is only one x-ray tech on duty after hours who may be busy with CT scans that are higher priority than a minor injury. The tech performs portable exams in the emergency department and develops them in an area away from public view. The x-ray department can be backed up without looking busy.

The doctor who was diverted from another patient to satisfy an impatient mother did not introduce himself because he didn't have the time to make social talk.

The ER is a high-stress job that fosters a no-nonsense approach to work, which can come across as rude to someone not familiar with the workload.

This community is fortunate to have a high quality hospital; don't underestimate what you have.

Stephen Christensen, M.D.

La Grande


Clear distinctions

To the Editor:

I read the editorial in The Observer about Measure 36 and was surprised that a paper would take sides on any measure.

I was particularly concerned about comments made on discrimination. Discrimination is not something that can be eradicated. Every day when we make moral decisions, we are discriminating.

To discriminate means to make a clear distinction. The news discriminates every day when they try to print the truth, or their concept of the truth. This concept of truth could be biased and show prejudice, but people know that and take it into consideration when they read the paper or watch the news.

People who do not discriminate are like the waves tossed by the wind — they do not know what they stand for or believe in. Anyone can persuade them. Our society will completely fall apart if we do not have some foundation to stand on, and that foundation is going to look discriminatory because someone is going to be offended no matter what.

If your point was to create controversy, job well done.

Tonya Poeling

La Grande


America needs Bush

To the Editor:

There are several points of interest that I would like to address. To preface those points I'd like to say I believe that President Bush, after consulting with and getting input from many other of our leading countrymen, made the decision to go to war following what they believed to be a threat to our nation.

Point 1: There is such an uproar over the approximately 1,000 Americans killed in Iraq since the war began less than two years ago. Yet according to our news media, there were over 14,000 college students alone killed in alcohol-related accidents last year. But we don't see or hear of anyone protesting against the availability of alcohol. Rather it is being made more available by putting it in grocery stores.

Point 2: Laws have already been passed legalizing abortions, and more laws are trying to be passed to kill our citizens on both ends of the spectrum. Killing babies in the womb by partial-birth abortion and at the embryonic stage with stem-cell research. Then there are those in favor of physician-assisted suicide of the elderly and others.

At the ratio that some of the powers-that-be would have it, we would not need terrorists or any other enemies. We would do a good job annihilating ourselves.

Point 3: Now there are those who favor same-sex marriages. What are we trying to do? Do we not want to preserve our nation's prosperity? Where do we expect our next generations to come from? Clones?

God save our nation. For an America that will last and stand the test of time, vote for President George W. Bush.

Rebbeca Ross

La Grande


Infringing on rights

To the Editor:

"I can't take what is an article of faith for me and legislate it for someone who doesn't share that article of faith, whether they be agnostic, atheist, Jew, Protestant or whatever — I can't do that."

This is a quote from John Kerry when asked about abortion during the last debate with President Bush.

By contrast, President Bush is using his beliefs to infringe on our rights. He has tried to stop Oregon's Death With Dignity law, has called for an amendment to the U.S. constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman, and has asked for legislation to take away a woman's right to choose.

The separation of church and state as called for in our Constitution is one of the reasons we have a strong democracy. Don't let the U.S. drift toward a situation like in Iraq where clerics control all aspects of citizens' lives.

Vote for John Kerry who will represent all people in the nation and not legislate his personal religious beliefs.

Donna Skovlin