Letters and comments for March 2, 2012

By Observer Upload March 02, 2012 01:27 pm
Letters and comments for March 2, 2012

Doesn’t speak for me


To the Editor:

As a former resident of this community, I was saddened, though not surprised, to read that the current mayor of La Grande, Daniel Pokorney, is vehemently opposed to equal rights for same-sex couples.

As a former city councilor for the city of La Grande, I was outraged to find that Mr. Pokorney’s views were published in a public forum where his hurtful and
discriminatory narrations could be taken as some sort of official edict from the city that I once called home. 

Mr. Pokorney is certainly entitled to his own opinions and to express those opinions privately, in a manner that doesn’t adversely affect others. The issue here is that he publicly posted his personal condemnations on the same site that he uses to post material referencing his position in the community — like photographs of him taking the oath of office — which creates the perception that he speaks for the residents of La Grande when he attacks law-abiding gay and lesbian couples.

I lived and worked in La Grande for seven years and Mr. Pokorney does not speak for me. He does not speak for my friends and former neighbors. He does not speak for the values that I believe most people in this community — gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, and straight alike — share. Values like respect for one another, kindness and an understanding that our differences do not entitle us to make public judgment about others. 

Mr. Pokorney owes an apology to the community at large, not just for making offensive remarks, but also for having taken liberties with his position by allowing his personal and professional perspectives to blend in a way that detracts from important city business and further marginalizes those community members who already shoulder the burden of discrimination.

Jessie Zimmerer

Waltham, Mass. 


Free speech 


To the Editor:

With reference to Mayor Pokorney’s unfortunate comment on Facebook regarding homosexuality, I would like to address those who have reacted so vehemently against him, both by letter and in meetings.

First of all, I believe he realized he used poor judgment and sincerely apologized for it.

Secondly how many of those people demanding his recall are actual permanent residents of La Grande, or simply attending college here? I have a problem with a group of people demanding the resignation of a mayor, whatever the reason, when this is not even their hometown. The bigger problem here is the perceived right some people feel they have to state their own opinions and live the lifestyle they choose, while condemning those who disagree with them. What about free speech? 

Mayor Pokorney simply stated a fact that he, as a Christian, believes — a fact that many people in our community believe. He has that right. As he stated, I do not believe he meant to offend anyone — it was not a personal attack. The reaction of the gay and lesbian group at EOU was an overreaction to say the least. 

I, for one, am sick and tired of everyone being allowed to say what they believe in the name of free speech except the Christians, who are automatically accused of being bigoted, homophobic or whatever condemnation can be placed on them. 

By the way, I have several friends whom I love and care for deeply, and who have chosen the gay lifestyle. That does not mean that I condone their choices.

Pamela Moore

La Grande 


Religious bigotry 


To the Editor:

Recent events on the EOU campus do not come as a surprise to many. Colleges often claim their campuses to be havens of diversity.

In reality, college campuses are some of the most repressive of our First Amendment freedoms of speech and religious expression. These freedoms, that so many Americans have given their lives preserving, have too often been sacrificed on the altar of political correctness. 

EOU President Bob Davies in his letter last November was right to encourage respect of diversity. In the latest issue of The Voice, the EOU newspaper, there is a column deeply offensive and hurtful to the Christian community. And, apparently, this is not the first occurrence. 

Where is the concern? Where is the outrage of the EOU community at this religious bigotry? Where and when will the meeting be held where the author can explain his comments to the community?

Steve Boe

La Grande 


Moving forward 


To the Editor:

As concerned citizens, we were disappointed to see our mayor’s recent public posting on Facebook regarding gays and marriage. We understand there are differing opinions on gay marriage and we certainly support free speech and the difference of opinion.

We also recognize there is a great deal of “hate speech” that is a precursor for much of the bullying and violence against the gay community.

As the mayor himself recently noted, caution needs to be taken when posting on social media, as some things said can be hurtful to others.

In this case his postings were not only hurtful but using the word “abomination” (which refers to something that is to be loathed and abhorred) can result in real harm to the very citizens that he was elected to represent.

At the meeting with the mayor on Feb. 20, we were pleasantly surprised by not one but two public apologies. Believing in second chances and forgiveness, we continue to move forward with education and awareness.

The mayor and all of Union County are welcome to join PFLAG (Parents, Family/Friends of Lesbians And Gays) for regular meetings and future events in hope of
creating a more respectful, responsible and safe community. Reach PFLAG in Union County at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Ryan Minor, president, PFLAG Union County and members of Union County PFLAG

Union County


Letters From Readers

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