Letters and comments for April 30, 2012

By Observer Upload May 01, 2012 11:17 am
Letters and comments for April 30, 2012


Vote for Gilbert 


To the Editor:

Irene Gilbert, candidate for county commissioner, is showing herself to be more a public servant than a politician. 

Irene took quick action after the April 6 Wallowa-Whitman National Forest Travel Management Plan meeting held at the Blue Mountain Conference Center. 

Understanding that there will be a travel management plan and the importance of people filing their appeals and concerns, she quickly organized four meetings across the county to assist them. This is the type of proactive stance we can expect from Irene when she is elected county commissioner.

For four eight-hour days, Irene tirelessly helped folks understand the maps she had obtained from the U.S. Forest Service showing the roads in Union, Baker and Wallowa counties. She also explained the relevant rules and the appeal process for those asking for assistance and made forms and information available as well.

There are those among Irene’s supporters who may not agree fully with her stance on the travel management plan, but have found her to be someone who will actively listen and respect their views. Once elected, I believe Irene will incorporate varying views when making decisions.

Irene carefully studies and researches issues. Delving deep into the data and the applicable laws, she has a clear understanding of what the laws allow and how we can be protected by the enforcement of legal statutes.

Irene’s campaign slogan is “Leadership that Listens.” But I can tell you when Irene speaks, I listen.

Join me in voting for Irene Gilbert as our Union County commissioner.

Linda Bond






Stewards of the forest 


To the Editor:

There are as many opinions on the Forest Service Travel Management Plan as there are people in Union, Baker and Wallowa counties. 

It may be motor vehicles today. What’s next? By setting a precedence of closure, the Forest Service opens the door for targeting the next recreationalist. Are extreme cyclists next, because they are off the main trail? Or maybe it is horses because they poop in the forest. Or the extreme hiker, blazing a trail because they can.

Regardless of our type of recreation, we all know people that show a bad example of the rest of us. Let’s individually do our part to be better stewards of our land, and together keep our forests open to everyone for generations yet to come.

Jack Hagey





Shelter does good job 


To the Editor:

This is concerning the letter written about viewing dogs at the Animal Shelter.

I have been a volunteer at the shelter for the last three months. I volunteer at least 12 hours a week.

I am sorry that Miss Knecht had a bad experience at the shelter, but I can say from personal experience that viewing the dogs by walking through the kennel does stress the dogs and they will not show their true nature in such a state.

We are willing to bring out as many dogs as you would like to see and you can walk them or interact with them in a private room. See the dogs and cats available for adoption ahead of time at http://bmhumane.org/wordpress/. 

If you would like to walk the dogs and show them affection, I would suggest volunteering. Volunteer trainings are available. Call 541-963-0807 for details.

The Blue Mountain Humane Association Animal Shelter is run by caring people who truly love these animals and their only concern is the safety and well-being of the animals and most of all finding them all loving homes.

Tammy Gilstrap

La Grande 



Keep forest access 


To the Editor:

The Wallowa-Whitman Travel Management Plan was supposed to be about “unmanaged recreation,” but like any government bureaucracy, the Forest Service turned a molehill into a mountain. Instead of solving a problem, they created problems that never existed.

Some people still think the TMP is about ATV use, when in reality it is about everyone’s access to, and use of, our forest.

The Forest Service says they can’t maintain the current road system. That is because of the mismanagement they provide that has become an excuse to restrict the public’s use of their land. When the Forest Service spends only 20 percent of its budget actually managing the forest and 80 percent on litigation and fighting fires, what can we expect?

Under the current system, there is minimal conflict. This new plan will create additional conflict by moving more people into a smaller area. Families or groups that have used specific places for generations may find they can no longer access that area and will have to find a new place. With fewer places accessible, this may lead to conflict with others’ traditional use of an area. It will be like dominoes falling, one conflict leading to another.

I hear complaints of not enough “quiet areas.” There are seven wilderness areas in Eastern Oregon. By my calculations, they take up over 970,000 acres.

I don’t think there is a town in the tri-county area that is over an hour drive from at least one of them. There are also approximately 500,000 acres of roadless areas on the Wallowa-Whitman. How much more “quiet” do we need?

What is sad is that the person that made the final decision never looked into the faces of, or talked to the people who actually use the forest, the people who are actually affected by the decision, and the people whose way of life will be changed forever. It’s just another government bureaucrat with a “they’ll get used to it” attitude, as if “they” were nobodies.

It’s time the majority stood up to the continual taking of access to our public lands and fought back against the minority.

Mark Barber

La Grande


Vote for Smith 


To the Editor:

We are fortunate to have Union County resident Brent Smith running for state representative.

I have known Brent personally and professionally for many years and have found him to be very approachable, honest and hardworking.  

Brent always listens to both sides of an issue, which will serve him well if elected to represent Union and Wallowa counties.  He also understands the rural lifestyles and values we hold dear.

Brent’s energy and enthusiasm will be an asset as he works with other state representatives in strengthening law enforcement for our communities.

Brent is a strong supporter of the Oregon State Police and understands their critical role in supporting rural Sheriff’s Offices, particularly in the areas of drug investigations and major crimes.  Brent has made public safety for our families a priority, which I greatly appreciate. 

Join me and many others in supporting Brent Smith for state representative. 

Sheriff Boyd Rasmussen

La Grande



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