Letters to the editor for March 22, 2013

Written by Observer Upload March 22, 2013 01:11 pm
Letters to the editor for March 22, 2013

Pursue fresh paths
to vibrant future

To the Editor:

According to “Council eyes UCEDC funding,” Observer March 11, the La Grande City Council questions further funding for Union County’s Economic Development Corporation. Attracting businesses to build new facilities is UCEDC’s only goal and it’s been a complete failure.

Years ago, Walmart was “attracted” here and subsequently many established downtown businesses failed. Since occupied and vacant buildings generate the same property taxes, Walmart was “economic development” even while bleeding the economy at large. Smart economic development, especially in rural areas, would invest in locally owned businesses that recycle money here. Walmart sends our money out of state, literally, at the end of the day.

Designating a flood plain as an industrial park was either a sweetheart deal for the former owner or simple stupidity. The new infrastructure was costly and unused. Now Union County borrowed from UCEDC to buy more industrial land. Where did UCEDC get money to loan? Are county taxes now paying interest to UCEDC? What kind of shell game is this?

Enlightened economic development would encourage self-
sufficiency.

Supporting community renewable energy would reduce money loss to utility companies. Industrial wind farms extract money monthly from the 99 percent to the top 1 percent. Yet our commissioners actively support industrial wind.

Advancing tourism constitutes meaningful economic development. With our scenery that should be cheap and easy. Yet county commissioners supported logging Mount Emily Recreation Area thus devaluing it to the level of an average piece of Forest Service land rather than protecting what was a tourism jewel. The counties purchased the railroad right-of-way between Elgin and Joseph, but rather than create a world class recreation trail they clutch a failed excursion train dream.

Without maintenance, infrastructures become salvage material at best.

Already the ties in Wallowa County are beyond salvaging but could be incorporated as a trail base. Developing a Rail to Trail system would create broad economic benefit.

Union County desperately needs leaders eager to collaborate with residents to pursue fresh paths to a vibrant future. No more squandering of funds on golf courses, excursion trains and vacant industrial parks.

Mary McCracken

La Grande

Vote Chase
for OTECC board

To the Editor:

Baker City resident Charlene Chase is a candidate for the Oregon Trail Electric Consumers Cooperative board of directors, position No. 9. I have known and admired Mrs. Chase for many years as she has held administrative positions in the field of education. She is very professional and while being goal oriented, she also is a team player.

Her current experience as a court appointed special advocate (CASA) points out that although being retired, she continues to serve our community. She understands business and would bring her expertise in communications to the board. Also, as a consumer, she would be able to work with citizens on their concerns. Being a “real person,” she is enjoyable to be around.

Some of her goals are as follows:

• Provide economical power for OTECC members

• Engage OTECC’s power supplier to ensure current and future needs are met

• Keep abreast of technology

• Explore OTECC’s role in economic development

• Continue to control and reduce operating costs while providing quality service

• Keep in mind that the board represents the interests of the members

Here is our chance to put a capable, accessible and willing candidate on the OTECC board to replace retiring Peggi Timm, who is the only female member of the board. Please vote for Charlene Chase as a member of the OTECC board of directors.

Bruce Rafferty

Baker City

Quit trying to disarm
the rest of us

To the Editor:

An open letter to the people who want to live in a country without guns:

Go ahead, move to one of them. But if you want to live here, remember that your right to live freely here was won with the lives and blood of a legion of people with guns who fought and killed with those guns. In fact, they are still doing it. So quit complaining, quit trying to disarm the rest of us and be happy. God bless and keep you.

Nicholas L. Smith

La Grande