Letters and comments for March 19, 2012

By Observer Upload March 19, 2012 06:57 pm
Letters and comments for March 19, 2012

Residents do care


To the Editor:

I’m writing in response to the letter “Homeowners Disappoint” printed on March 12.

We are homeowner/residents of the City of Union. We are proud of the efforts made by the Union High School FBLA students in developing the survey that Linda Dudley referred to.

I and several other homeowners read the survey. Some tried to respond to each question but we all soon felt that the questions did not really address our needs or concerns. I feel certain that the students developed the questions through the guidance of our city leaders and not through the individual residents. 

I once pointed out to our city leaders that they really did not listen to the residents when they expressed their concerns or needs. My comment was met with an angry response. Gee, even I wasn’t being heard.

I was informed that our community members suffered from apathy and lacked initiative. Well, gee, what we have learned from experience is that if we don’t go along with the City Hall folks, than we best keep our noses out of their business.

It’s a “my way or the highway” leadership. And, yes, most of us folks prefer to stick to the “highway.” I think perhaps this is where the expression “You can’t fight City Hall” originated.

In a nutshell, the survey was well done and the students and their leaders did an excellent job. I commend their efforts.

One item stands out for me on that survey. It was the question regarding lack of parking. Lack of parking in Union? How could that possibly be a concern? I cannot think of a single business in Union that might have a parking problem. 

I wonder if the low survey return (84 out of 1,000) might be a message to our city officials that they need to rethink their ideas on ways to promote more business activities in Union. Please, Linda, don’t refer to us as being shameful or say that we do not care. 

Lee Adams



Left and Right at fault 


To the Editor:

The Christian Right (of which I am one) and the Left act like people jostling to sit on the highest pedestal. As they scuffle, they don’t see each other as equal members of mankind. And both appear self-righteous.

Many Christians assume that we should say that something is an “abomination” because God has said so. We, as humans, will never know all the experiences and reasoning that go into why people do what they do and are as they are.

So, we shouldn’t judge or condemn by telling some of God’s children that they are relegated to hell or that their behavior is an abomination. God will decide that.

So, what is our job? To love our neighbors. To see people as equal members of humanity, because they are God’s children as much as we are. All while also respectfully living and defending our values.

The Left is supposed to be the bastion of tolerance and diversity. Yet it seems there are some on the Left who are as hateful as they accuse the Right of being, evidenced by the joy pronounced by some with Andrew Brietbart’s death, and also wishing for Rush Limbaugh’s death.

If the Left truly embraces diversity and tolerance, then they will respectfully allow those who disagree with them to stand up for their values, just as they themselves do. Instead the Left often reduces the views of the Right into two boxes: fear and hate.

For me, gay marriage has nothing to do with bigotry or homophobia. It is about defending what I do value (traditional marriage). I should be able to respectfully stand up for what I value, while hoping that others will not peg me inaccurately as hateful or phobic.

Do we want people to give up their values? That is what many call for. Or do we want a society where, though we may not have the laws we seek (speaking more here than of gay marriage), we are free to respectfully speak and have heard our points of view? Such exchanges will allow us to see each other as equals in society.

Michelle Babcock

La Grande 


Free to disagree


To the Editor:

Constitution of The United States, Amendment 1: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

When Mayor Dan Pokorney used his Facebook page to express his opinions, he was not required to seek permission from any government authority and no law enforcement action was taken.

This is the First Amendment at work. As long as our speech does not violate the rights of our fellow citizens, we are free from any governmental interference to say whatever we wish.

However, there is no clause, no article, nor any semblance of a suggestion that the right to free speech protects one from debate, criticism or condemnation from any who disagree. The First Amendment not only preserves this right to voice one’s objection but equally protects the right of the people to peaceably assemble for just such purpose and express their collective dissent.

Attempting to protect Mayor Pokorney from public criticism by a plea of “free speech” is at best a display of patent failure to understand the most basic tenets of our Bill of Rights. It is a hypocrisy of judgment that doubtless would not be offered by these same defenders had the mayor instead posted “Washington state, doing the right thing and supporting marriage equality for all.”

Mr. Pokorney was not “forced” to apologize for his opinion. He forced himself into the obviously foreseeable circumstance of having to make a choice — defend his position and further alienate those of us who disagree, or backpedal until the voices of dissent quiet down. The First Amendment no more protected him from this dilemma than the Second Amendment protected him from shooting his own character in the foot.

By writing my opinion here for public consumption, I have willingly invited those who disagree with me to exercise their rights.

Roger Barnes

La Grande 


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