August 19, 2001 11:00 pm

Property rights in jeopardy

To the Editor:

We expect our local government to be honest and law-abiding, but that is not what we have in La Grande. We spent

1 1/2 years fighting city hall in their approval of a land-use decision that violated both the comprehensive plan and the local land-use codes.

The city council approved the actions of the planning director and city manager. We appealed this decision to the Land Use Board of Appeals. The city spent much of the taxpayers money not providing the record that LUBA required. The result was that the city revoked their approval of the home occupation permit. By revoking the permit, LUBA would not require the full record which enabled the city to conceal the record of wrongdoing to the state government.

For a period of more than a year, our property rights were violated because the city refused to enforce its land use codes and city ordinances as written. Our only option to protect our property rights was to fight. The city knows most people do not have the money or knowledge, so they can get away with violating citizens rights.

We have owned different types of property in Oregon over a period of more than 40 years and never had any problem with our rights until we came to La Grande. La Grande is supposed to be a democracy where there is equality of rights, opportunity and treatment, not a dictatorship where your property rights can be violated.

Our advice to the citizens of La Grande is not to trust your city council to protect your rights. If you have a problem, be sure to bring your own tape recorder to avoid any malfunctions of the citys equipment. When you go to the polls to vote, remember your property rights can be violated too.

Lanny and Juanita Robson

La Grande

Get word out on open class

To the Editor:

Concerning this years Union County Fair, I did not hear about the open class exhibits and neither did a lot of others who had items to enter.

I think the advertising for this was handled very poorly. I hope they do better next year.

In the past, Ive entered an afghan and got the judges choice award and a blue ribbon. I know what a thrill it is to know someone liked my work.

I hope others will get the chance to win. I hope more men will enter. They do beautiful work.

Irene Patton

La Grande

Enjoyable style of football

To the Editor:

I had the pleasure of attending the Oregon Eight-man All Star Football game June 16 at Linfield College in McMinnville.

The game, as are most eight-man football games, was very close from start to finish. The final score was West, 28, East, 26.

The players on both teams did an excellent job of representing their schools and themselves.

I feel the players should be recognized and congratulated for the way they have performed throughout their high school years, both on and off the athletic field.

Representing Union County were Trace Baxter, Eli Bingham, Zach Culver, Kiel Gekeler, Jeremy Maddox, Cody Puckett and Ty Robinson.

I congratulate these players and urge everyone who likes to watch wide-open competitive football to attend a Cove or Powder Valley game this fall.

The next eight-man all star game will be held at Eastern Oregon University in June.

Pat Gekeler

La Grande

Seeking old photos

To the Editor:

The Union County Museum Society is preparing a new photography exhibit. We are seeking more historic photos of Union County.

We are interested in early mining, agriculture and timber-industry pictures as well as cars, trucks, equipment and people hunting, camping, picnicking, weddings and all special events.

Our visitors enjoy photos of all aspects of life in the county.

Do you have photographs you would like to add to our exhibit? If you are unable to donate the original, we can make copies.

Please contact me at 963-0901 or Myrna Edvalson at 963-2694.

Thank you for your help.

Carolyn Young

La Grande

Started day with prayer

To the Editor:

I was interested in the picture of Riveria School on Page 1 of the Aug. 6 Observer.

I was born May Clay on May 31, 1910, at 2902 N. Fourth St.

I started school at Riveria in 1915. My first-grade teacher, Mrs. Neal, was also the principal. Every morning we had a flag salute, a short Bible reading and prayer in each classroom. Jake Rostock was the janitor and kept the furnace going.

My son, Ed Vowell, went to Riveria from 1947 through 1952. Riveria has a very special place in our lives.

Mrs. May Matoon

Winlock, Wash.

Try circus without animals

To the Editor:

The circus is coming and isnt it time we rethink this archaic treatment of animals.

In the wild, bears dont ride bicycles, tigers dont jump through hoops of fire and elephants dont stand upright on their hind legs unless they have been muzzled, whipped, bullhooked and beaten.

Swaying elephants, bar-biting lions and pacing tigers are just a few of the stereotypic mental distress behaviors seen when looking at circus animals in their confined cages and in the ring.

The thing that no circus wants you to see is the suffering of the animals.

Circus animals are not like beloved children, taught and nurtured their whole lives. They are packed up immediately after the show and carted off to the next destination, usually in dirty, poorly ventilated cars and are often deprived of food and water for extended periods. Many animals are leased from dealers following seasonal contracts and move from circus to circus.

Since 1990, unpredictable captive elephants have killed 47 and injured 100 people; and of course the only solution we can find to rectify the situation is to destroy the elephant.

One of Websters definitions of circus is any riotously entertaining person, thing, etc.

I urge future consideration be given to events that do not support the practices described above.

Perhaps a circus without animals could be scheduled, or a tractor pull or concerts, etc. There are many to choose from that could be riotously entertaining.

More important, what could be more responsible than to provide children with entertainment that includes compassion.

If you feel the need to take your children, be honest and tell them the whole story.

Susan Castles

Baker City

Actions more important than words

To the Editor:

Regarding Mondays opinion page column by Donald Kaul. I have known a number of intelligent men and women over the past 70 years who were poor speakers and were not any closer to being ninnys because of it, than writer Donald Kaul.

Some were poor speakers because they were nervous in front of a crowd. Others were poor speakers because they tended to allow their minds to run ahead to other subjects too quickly.

President Bush strikes me as being guilty of both. But I think what he does should govern our view of his presidency rather than whether he can deliver a speech like he was auditioning for the lead in a Shakespeare summer theater.

Lots of talk and how such talk is delivered is a high priority for some people but action rates higher for others.

Bush may not give extra interviews because he doesnt get turned on by play acting in front of a crowd like Bill Clinton does.

Has Mr. Kaul considered that?

Gary Poole


Recall threat wont silence councilor

To the Editor:

Wednesdays Baker City Herald printed your Aug. 14 editorial concerning recalling public officials.

The attempt to recall me from my office as Baker City councilor is the subject of the second part of that editorial.

Im writing to commend The Observer on its stance on recalls, free speech and broad representation.

I do not believe I did anything for which I should be recalled.

The recall threat wont deter me from voicing my opinion that prayer at city council meetings is illegal and intolerant of those who do not share the religious beliefs of the majority of city councilors.

Thank you for your editorial in support of my right to do just that.

Gary Dielman, city councilor

Baker City

Consider restoring old school building

To the Editor:

If it is determined that a school building in La Grande should be closed, maybe the La Grande City Council should consider discussing with the library committee the possibility of it fitting the new librarys needs.

Alterations to the old school would be less expensive than putting up a new building.

Dan Thompson


Comments try to scare

To the Editor:

The Observer in its Other Views column on Aug. 14 printed the article on altered crops by Charles Margulis, a purported specialist on genetic engineering.

Margulis was critical of food researchers and findings generally, though he mentioned only Monsanto by name and used such nebulous phrases and terms as the promised benefits of genetically altered crops have not panned out, moreover, dozens of polls show that Americans are increasingly concerned, and faced with little evidence . Each of these loaded comments designed to scare, was made with no specific reference or citation. Lets be cautious of such statements!

Further, the author, in his criticism of genetically altered foods research, and efforts to address food needs of developing countries, really uses a writers license to condemn the practice of food modification with his reference to purported statements made at conferences and from reports, without ever once including a specific citation, except the science journal Nature, which last year reported... .

All of us are concerned with food safety, but we need to read with caution reports that make such unsubstantiated condemnations and frightening generalizations.

The world can be a frightful place without such hype, and efforts to improve the quality and supply of food should be supported without the fear that there is a devious intent.

Perhaps we should applaud rather than condemn folks in agriculture, biological science and the food industry for their efforts in enabling us to enjoy food abundance and quality, and making an effort to provide for those with less.

I for one am grateful this time of year for the improved, modified varieties of hearty, full-eared, smut-free corn, far healthier and better than varieties we raised just a few years ago.

Doyle Slater

La Grande

Common-sense solution

To the Editor:

I have been encouraged to write letters to our elected officials in Washington concerning benefits received through the Social Security Administration.

I wrote, asking that acupuncture be added to our coverage through Medicare.

I received the following response from Sen. George Allen of Virginia:

In a time when advancements in medical care are allowing more of us to live longer and better quality lives, there is a greater need for proper, logical provision of our health care services.

I feel it is imperative that we work closely with the health care providers to make sure that everyone has reasonable access to the care that they need, while preserving the future of Medicare.

I will be working diligently to meet this goal during the 107th Congress, and I am optimistic that we will finally be able to find a common-sense solution for the proper funding of health care providers and institutions.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me. It is an honor and a privilege to work for you in the United States Senate. Do not hesitate to contact me again about issues important to you.

Leona Steen

La Grande