January 18, 2005 11:00 pm

Wright knew risk when he ran

To the Editor:

Are you kidding? What the county commissioners are proposing as a severance package for Dana Wright is not right.

If I were to quit my job and go out to find another job, and did not find one, do you think my employer would give me a severance package? Heck, no. They would give me my last check and say sorry about your luck, if that.

Wright knew what the risk was to run for sheriff — at least he should have — since he also proposed to cut the undersheriff position.

But that was OK for him, since there would be nobody in that position, and he could say "see how much money I saved the county." But not the new sheriff; the package comes out of his budget, plus the county's contingency fund.

Sounds as though it would be cheaper to leave him in his job and pay for it out of one fund.

I have a better idea. If the county commissioners pass this, we recall all of them who voted yes and pay Dana Wright out of their salaries.

But then I guess we would have to give them a severance package also. You just can't win against the good old boys.

Kevin Ludviksen

La Grande


Result of Measure 37

To the Editor:

In the Jan 3 issue of The Observer, "Lake housing development could grow to 72 lots under M37 claim" the statement by Steve Kreiger, K&B owner, that this is the "poster child" for Measure 37 should send the voters of Oregon screaming into the night.

Do the people in the Joseph area who have lived or moved there for its rustic nature and small population really want up to 72 more homes near scenic Wallowa Lake?

No? Well then they might as well get ready to start handing out money to K&B and others like them all over the state. And where is this money going to come from? Good question. The State of Oregon and its counties are not exactly rolling in extra money.

The only people to benefit from Measure 37 in the Joseph area are the businesses and of course K&B Family Limited Partnership. More people in the area puts more money in their pockets.

It would appear that the voters of Oregon were led to believe the poor little people of Oregon were losing their homes and ranches left and right to the Big Bad State of Oregon and not being compensated.

But what you can get ready to see are lawsuits all over the state. The property that someone once wanted to turn into a mini-mall down the street now the state will have to pay or allow the mini mall. As Kreiger said, we're going to rewind to the early 1990s and start a whole new development.

Is this what the voters intended when they passed Measure 37? I don't mean to single out K&B, but it's just as Kreiger said, they are the first, but I deeply fear they will not be the last.

Robert Warren

La Grande


Loving care and support

To the Editor:

In the last few years we have heard nothing but negative things about Grande Ronde Hospital. I believed many of these things myself.

Thanks to Dr. Bryan Conklin, the second-floor nursing and aide staff, the ICU staff and therapists, my mother's care and ultimate passing was made much easier on her and her family.

Before believing what we hear and read, check into GRH services.

My mother and my family were given the most loving care and support, and everyone involved did a good job in the most difficult circumstances.

Betty Knapp



Keep readers informed

To the Editor:

I would think that a challenge to the electoral certification in Washington D.C. — the first time since 1877 — secondary to some major problems with our voting process here in the United States would have a little more weight then the announcement of the break up of Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston on The Observer Web site.

Thank you for printing something in your newspaper. It is important that the newspaper inform our community about what is going on outside of La Grande, too.

Many people I talk to are unaware of the voting irregularities that went on during this last election, especially in Ohio. The Constitution of the United States guarantees the right to vote for every citizen in our country. These problems are a threat to our democracy.

I am especially concerned about the electronic voting machines that have no paper trail but are popping up all over our country and the ability to disenfranchise large groups of voters. Luckily, Oregon has a paper trail with our send-in paper ballots.

This is not a partisan issue but something we all should be concerned about. We need to fight for uniform election rules in every state that cannot be changed at the whim of a partisan election officials.

Please help keep our community informed about this issue.

Linda Densmore

La Grande


Severance not warranted

To the Editor:

Reading that the county is going to give Dana Wright a severance package because he lost his position is without a doubt the most ridiculous thing that I have heard of.

What in the world are they doing with our tax money?

He lost the election and that is that.

How many other county employees have been compensated beyond what is owed them in accrued time when they lost their employment due to an election?

I think this careless misuse of money is something the county commissioners need to explain in full detail.

Perhaps an investigation really should be conducted to determine if there has been any other absurd expenditures of our tax dollars.

Shirley Lester

La Grande


Salute to Oliver

To the Editor:

I am a captain with the Alameda County Sheriff's Office on Oakland, Calif. I was in

La Grande recently to attend the retirement dinner of Sheriff Steve Oliver. Sheriff Oliver and I were roommates at the FBI National Academy in the fall of 2001.

I thoroughly enjoyed my stay in La Grande, and thought that the retirement dinner at the Elks Lodge was wonderful. The turnout and location were great and I enjoyed hearing stories about Sheriff Oliver from those who have worked with him during his service to Union County. Of course, he had not told me about all of the stories I learned at the dinner. I'm just glad that whenever we went somewhere, I drove.

While Union County is losing a great public servant, his wonderful wife, Kathy, is going to enjoy more time without interruption — hopefully.

As Steve's friend, it is nice to know that in retirement he will continue to have the support and friendship of some many people.

Congratulations to Sheriff Oliver. I wish him a happy and long retirement.

Capt. Casey Nice

Alameda County Sheriff's office, Oakland, Calif.


Strong program

To the Editor:

I'd like to commend the students from Union who were selected to participate in the state choir. I don't know how many students are in the LHS choir, but Union only has about a dozen.

Out of that small group of students, Kyle Corbin, a tenor, and Tom Stratton and Colt Haney, basses, were chosen. Also, Whitney Richards, who plays the tuba, was selected for the state band.

I think this shows a lot of talent for a town 1/16th the size of La Grande. Kyle Corbin and Tom Stratton were also selected last year and went to state choir.

The new music teacher, Eric Schwartz, needs to be commended on a job well done.

Linda Boettcher



Santa Mall proves success

To the Editor:

Another year has gone by for the annual Santa Claus Mall here in La Grande, and it was a tremendous success.

The National Guard and the La Grande Lions sponsored the wonderful event. Many businesses, clubs, organizations, church groups, sororities and individuals donated cash or items to be sold to help with financial assistance for the children to shop and to buy Polaroid film for the children's pictures with Santa.

There were approximately 300 families that attended the mall this year. There were 40 vendor tables available with a wide variety of items to be purchased. We would like to extend an open invitation for everyone to come see us next year. You'll be pleasantly surprised at what you see there.

Santa Claus Mall Committee,

Donna Brownlee, Darleen Hendon, Cheryl Hafer, Mary Tolles, Sandee Fox

Stick to facts on Iraq

To the Editor:

I have friends and family who have served, are serving and will serve in Iraq so I have refrained from debating the merits of the war.

I believe dissent is patriotic, and this administration's policies are in need of some public scrutiny. However, the men and women who are serving our country need to believe in their mission in order to execute efficiently and maintain their safety.

But if I read one more letter claiming a link between Sept. 11 and the war in Iraq I am going to blow a gasket. If we are going to have a productive dialogue about terrorism, security and national priorities we must first agree upon a set of facts.

Fact number 1 is that Iraq had no connections to al-Qaida or Sept. 11.

Fifteen of the 19 terrorists directly responsible for the attacks Sept. 11 were from Saudi Arabia. Although Iraq is in the Middle East, has lots of oil and sand and is home to many brown-skinned people, it was the wrong country.

Perhaps there were legitimate reasons for the invasion of Iraq. But no legitimate reason has been offered to justify the occupation aside from inefficiently ousting a lame duck dictator, which, if argued as the justification for war, would set a frightening precedent.

And as we rushed to war the debate process was suspended as treasonous.

Dissent is patriotic. So is bi-partisan debate. But in order for our divided country to engage in dialogue, we must cast aside political rhetoric and focus on the facts. As citizens, we are obligated to demand facts before we ask our brothers and sisters to make the ultimate sacrifice.

It is the most patriotic thing we can do.

Benjamin Morgan

La Grande