Letters and comments for May 11, 2012

By Observer Upload May 11, 2012 12:47 pm
Letters and comments for May 11, 2012


Vote for Davidson 


To the Editor:

I’m running for re-election as Union County commissioner in the upcoming election because I want to continue making positive contributions to Union County.

I’m a lifelong conservative Republican and have called Union County my home for 41 years. I have been a self-employed small businessman for more than 20 years.

My business and elected official experience, along with my volunteer work for both local economic and community development organizations, have shown that I have the skills and ability to be a problem solver, a positive consensus builder and an effective project team leader. These are leadership attributes that Union County deserves from its commissioners.

As Union County commissioner, my areas of responsibility have included oversight of economic development programs, natural resource issues and management of the Wallowa Union Railroad. I have worked to maintain and preserve vital county services through efficiencies and fiscal responsibility. I am committed to the economic prosperity of Union County. I pledge to continue my work to expand Union County’s diverse economic base while supporting our existing businesses and industries.

With my leadership, our accomplishments include retiring $2.1 million of Wallowa Union Railroad debt with revenue from the railroad car storage contract; obtaining a grant for construction of the new Elgin Railroad Depot, a $1.25 million investment in downtown Elgin; recruiting a private railroad contractor with a 1915 Baldwin steam locomotive to operate the Wallowa Union RR; a tourism promotion and marketing program with increased funding; increased economic development funding resulting in programs for business recruitment and business retention and expansion; collaborative working groups for the Wallowa-Whitman and Umatilla National forests to increase commercial timber harvest and establishing the Union County Wolf Predation Compensation Program.

My record of proven accomplishments speaks for itself, but there is much more that needs to be done and I am committed to Union County. I have a positive vision for our community’s future. I believe that my background and experience as a conservative, fiscally responsible businessman and public servant makes me the best choice for Union County commissioner and I ask for your vote on May 15.

Mark Davidson

Union County commissioner





Vote for Hansell 


To the Editor:

We were appalled at the poor campaign choices of Featherstone in her attack of Bill Hansell in publications sent to registered voters. 

It was a misrepresentation of information and is an assault to the leadership and community of Umatilla County who have re-elected Hansell into office many times over. 

We expected a higher level of professionalism from Featherstone, especially considering that there will be a need for cooperation and collaboration long after the election is over. 

Bill Hansell stands for integrity and honesty and always has. His campaign is about what he can do for Eastern Oregon, not about the shortcomings of his opposition. He is committed to our region and has been working for the betterment of our community for many years, determined to pass it on to the next generation in a better state. We are very proud to be members of Hansell’s camp.

Deacon and Erin Heideman






Vote yes on levy 


To the Editor:

The Union County Vector Control Board is asking for your support in renewing the operating levy for the Union County Vector Control District. 

As board members, our objectives are to protect you from discomfort and the adverse effects of mosquito bites and minimize the risk of human exposure to mosquito-borne disease, such as West Nile Virus.

The program has achieved mosquito control through direct and indirect intervention by eliminating or reducing the size of mosquito populations in areas identified throughout our county. Mosquito control is a public health necessity. Not only can mosquitoes be nuisances, they can transmit potentially fatal diseases.

Our board implemented an integrated pest management plan to control mosquitoes here in Union County in 2000. This plan includes physical control or surveillance, biological control, chemical control and a public information program. 

Control efforts are monitored and approved by the Environmental Protection Agency, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Oregon Health Department.

If we are to continue to successfully carry out this program, the local operating levy must be renewed at a rate of .1639 per $1,000 assessed value.

This is the same amount you are paying right now. No increase is proposed.

We ask you to vote yes on the Union County District four-year operating levy.

Shirley Roberts, Mary Koza,
Shaneen Bergette, Marlene Perkins

board members, Union County Vector Control District 





Vote for Jenson 


To the Editor:

Northeast Oregon voters are very fortunate to have an array of candidates for Oregon House District 58.

I have had the pleasure of meeting all of the candidates more than once during the last few months. All of the candidates have great ideas and visions for our area and our state, but only one has the experience and ability to provide effective representation for Northeast Oregon and that candidate is Bob Jenson.

Bob Jenson has provided strong representation for N.E. Oregon and has had many accomplishments. One of his many accomplishments was defeating a proposal to increase the fee on forest land owners for the Forest Fire Prevention Program.

Rep. Jenson has also provided tax relief for Oregon wheat farmers and local logging companies.

Rep. Jenson has been endorsed by several community leaders such as State Sen. David Nelson, State Rep. Greg Smith and Dixie Lund, the former president of Eastern Oregon University.

Bob Jenson will stand up for rural Oregon in the legislature.

N.E. Oregon does not need a representative who needs on-the-job training, but a representative who can start representing us from day one. 

Please join me in supporting Bob Jenson for state representative.

Evan Bryan

chairman, EOU College Republicans

La Grande




Vote for Gilbert 


To the Editor:

I can whole-heartedly endorse Irene Gilbert for Union County commissioner. I have known her for over 30 years — she is a smart and wonderful person and also my mother. I never thought she would run for politics, but I’ve seen changes in her since becoming a “nana.”

I think she is more and more concerned about what is going to be left behind for future generations. As I watched her become involved in
government issues such as the forest travel plan, I saw how frustrating it was to get government to listen. I am confident that she will listen and be available to all sides and take these perspectives into account when making a decision that’s best for the county. What a great idea. Government run by the people. 

She has a host of professional experience from all the things that go along with a small business to the floor of the senate as a state worker. She is not a politician, and that’s critical to the future of Union County. 

She loves Eastern Oregon and everything it represents and will truly have the best interest of its people in mind. A vote for Irene Gilbert is a vote toward Union County being run by the people, not the politicians.

Andre Rice





Vote for Graybeal-Featherstone 


To the Editor:

Bill Hansell continues to sling mud and rely on outside groups to attack Maryl Graybeal Featherstone because he cannot run on his record as a Umatilla County commissioner. 

The facts are clear and indisputable — under Hansell’s tenure, the county budget and the commissioners’ salaries have grown to many times greater than population and inflation figures would justify. 

Plus, there are those well documented reports of Hansell’s questionable personal expenses charged to the county.

I am glad the Featherstone campaign has pointed out these issues. This election is an opportunity for us to choose what we want our government to be. Personally, I favor a small, efficient and business-like state government — which is exactly what Maryl Graybeal Featherstone stands for. We cannot afford more public spending and questionable ethical standards, like we’ve seen by Hansell’s record.

Featherstone has earned my vote. I urge you to join me.

Rosina Armon

La Grande 





Vote for Jenson 


To the Editor:

When I returned as president of Eastern Oregon University in 2007, I became well acquainted with Rep. Bob Jenson. It was a turbulent time in EOU’s history, and I am pleased to say that Jenson was a strong advocate for EOU then, as he remains now. 

He recognized the clear link between the economy of our region and the health of our post secondary system, both at Blue Mt. Community College and at EOU.

Jenson argued passionately for Eastern and helped convince other members of the Oregon Legislature, who were not especially supportive of keeping our university open, of the vital role the university played in the economy and culture of our Eastern Oregon region. 

Jenson is a wise, strong and “street-wise” veteran of the political dynamics of Oregon. His experience is what I believe is needed at this time in the history of our state. I ask you to join with me in voting for Bob Jenson, for state representative of our 58th District. Thank you.

Dixie Lund

La Grande 


Vote for Davidson 


To the Editor:

Please join me in supporting Mark Davidson’s re-election to Union County commissioner. He has shown a balanced viewpoint that supports local industries and encourages the use of Union County’s natural resources.

Maintaining the county’s roods and other infrastructure that enhances the livability of the county is challenging when roughly half of the land in Union County is under federal management in the national forests. 

Timber and grazing allotments on the national forests used to support a healthy timber industry and transportation system that provided for recreation and fire control access. 

Local concerns for protocol management and use are being ignored while well-funded national organizations force their viewpoints on public lands. Recent examples of this are the road closure plan on the Wallowa-Whitman and the introduction of Canadian wolves to prey on our livestock.

Mark has shown the leadership and innovation on other issues that is needed to break the gridlock that grips the use of our public lands. As Union County commissioner, Mark Davidson is fighting to defend our rights to access our public lands and promoting active forest management to increase commercial timber harvest for the health of the forests and our timber jobs.

Please re-elect Mark Davidson Union County commissioner.

Vince Naughton

La Grande 


Proud of FBLA 


To the Editor:

I am so glad, I would say proud, of the Imbler FBLA. I had two grandsons who were FBLA members at Imbler School. Both show their training as business leaders and teachers.

Imbler faculty, please continue to put out these leaders in the FBLA program. Work hard all of you enrollees in FBLA.

Roy Hills

Island City 


Vote for Hansell 


To the Editor:

Mark Twain said that it is possible to make wholesale speculation from a piddlin’ investment of facts. The claims made by the friends of Maryl Graybeal Featherstone in their mailing about the spending of property taxes by Umatilla County Commissioner Bill Hansell beg to be scrutinized. 

First of all, of course Umatilla County spends more than any other county in Senate District 29; it is the largest county in the district. It is impossible to credit all administrative cost increases to Bill Hansell as some of those levies were approved by the electors of the county to provide requested services 

As for the process of approving commissioner compensation, it begins with the appointment of citizens to a compensation committee to conduct a mandatory analysis of parity to private sector responsibility and compensation.

Their recommendation then goes to the county budget committee that consists of the three commissioners and three citizens and that conducts their deliberations in open meetings. 

Finally, the budget is considered and approved by the commissioners in a duly noticed public hearing. Of course, Commissioner Hansell has been part of these deliberations but he could not have approved an increase alone.

For over 30 years, Bill Hansell has sought funding from other sources to provide the services requested by county residents but unaffordable due to property tax limitations.  Public and private grant funding has increased and is also included in the county budget and administered by the commissioners’ office.

Finally, with respect to the allegation of misappropriation of public funds, these charges have been made and found without merit. Some say that the inquiry was a “red herring” that distracts the audience from the issue in question through the introduction of some irrelevancy.

I urge the Republican voters of Oregon Senate District 29 to reject the unsubstantiated allegations made by the Friends of Maryl Graybeal Featherstone and elect Bill Hansell to represent the district.

Ben Boswell

past Wallowa County judge and commissioner





Still enjoys forest


To the Editor:

In response to Mr. Loren Hughes letter to the editor, I call b.s.

In the ’50s, ’60s and early ’70s, there were by far more passable roads than now. The logging industry was in full swing cutting timber.

I am 20 years his junior with disabilities — I can still enjoy our forests. I am not knocking on death’s door. The current trend by the Forest Service is to close the woods to the average person. In fact, maybe we people who have flaws should contact AARP and demand equal rights under the disability act.

My father, who served in Germany during WWII, told me that the famed Black Forest was closed to the populace. Only the elite were allowed to use the forest. Sound familiar?

I hope Mr. Hughes remembers his times with his family well, because he drove to get there.

John Cogan





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