PEDESTRIAN SAFETY ENFORCEMENT OVERDUE

July 18, 2001 11:00 pm

Motorists, pedestrians and police officers take note: La Grande is in for a lesson about pedestrian safety in the coming weeks. We all can stand to benefit.

The La Grande Police are gearing up for a pedestrian safety enforcement program. Beginning next week, the department will be devoting extra resources to pedestrian safety by concentrating on intersections and watching for drivers and pedestrians who violate the law. The purpose of the program, which is funded by a grant, is to increase awareness of the importance of pedestrian safety both from the perspective of people crossing streets and drivers cruising streets.

The department will use officers in plain clothes who attempt to cross streets at crosswalks. Other officers will be keeping their eyes out for motorists who neglect to give the right of way to pedestrians. The program will also involve keeping an eye out for pedestrians who might be careless about

safety.

The special enforcement effort will continue through the rest of July and August. People who violate laws could receive warnings or citations.

The effort should serve as a good reminder to all of us that pedestrian safety is important. Too often we see motorists ignoring pedestrians at crosswalks. Sometimes we see pedestrians being careless in the way they approach an intersection or by jaywalking. And rarely have we seen much in the way of enforcement action.

Pedestrian safety is an issue that needs to be addressed. We all should be able to learn from the police departments program. For some of us, it might have to be the hard way.

A RELUCTANT LEADER

The newspaper industry, and the American people, lost a friend Tuesday with the death of longtime Washington Post Publisher Katherine Graham.

Over the past 35 years Graham became one of the most influential women in America. She was born into privilege as the heir of the newspaper empire she came to oversee. But it wasnt until her husband, Philip Graham, committed suicide in 1963 that she decided it would be up to her to make or break the business that her parents had left her. Through hard work and determination she built a newspaper that, in the 1970s, was committed to telling the truth and wound up changing the course of history.

Common sense, not ego nor political agenda, guided Grahams oversight of the Post. She approved publication of the Pentagon Papers against the advice of her business counsel. She refused to put the clamp on the Watergate investigation despite the financial havoc it could have had on her business. And still the once-reluctant publisher built an empire but it was one based on respect.

Perhaps most importantly, Graham proved to millions of Americans that women could and should stand on equal footing with men. And that they can do so even when the odds seem against them.