Letters to the editor for September 16, 2013

By Observer Upload September 16, 2013 10:48 am
Letters to the editor for September 16, 2013

Habitat for Humanity is looking forward to OYA help

To The Editor:

Those of us that volunteer a lot know that good ideas and donations (in my case as donation coordinator for the Habitat for Humanity ReStore) can go south in a hurry, and we find ourselves trying to minimize the effects to our respective businesses. In my case, WC Construction removed 28,000 square feet of vinyl siding from an apartment complex and asked if we wanted it at the ReStore. WC Construction is an exceptional donor to Habitat affiliates in the Northwest, so with a bit of trepidation, I said yes. As luck would have it, it was all spoken for and I was relived. Nearly all was moved to the new job site and stacked in three enormous piles of all lengths and pieces. Regrettably, the job was canceled, leaving all of it to be removed from the job site and taken to the ReStore. 

It was a formidable task as I started to load a flatbed trailer. Pieces were interlocked and it was immediately obvious I was going to need help if it was to be moved to the ReStore this decade. So I called for help. The Calvary came in the form of the Oregon Youth Authority. In five hours, Luis, Robert, Christopher, Michael and Sean, with the help of Rick, their supervisor, loaded and unloaded four horse trailers and three flatbed trailers of siding at the ReStore. 

There wasn’t much time to make the stacks at the ReStore pretty, but it was all moved. I cannot thank the Oregon Youth Authority enough for their work ethic.

The Grande Ronde Valley Habitat for Humanity is looking forward to their help on our next build, beginning in October. The skills the young men learn from building has lead to construction jobs after they graduate. And, by the way, we have all the tan vinyl siding you will ever need. Come by the ReStore at 2304 East “R” in La Grande and have a look. That’s behind Wendy’s and McDonalds in La Grande.

Larry Knowles

Island City

Shooting raises some troubling questions

To The Editor:

The arrest of a La Grande psychiatrist on charges of shooting and killing his neighbor’s cows raises questions of who should be counseling whom (“Police make arrest in case,” Aug. 30). 

For someone to take such extreme action against harmless animals suggests a serious lack of empathy and impulse control. Based on ample evidence linking animal abuse to other forms of violence, there is every reason to be concerned about community safety.

Should Dr. Rice be convicted of aggravated animal abuse, I strongly recommend that he be ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation and counseling using a national program called AniCare, which was developed specifically to get to the root of violent behavior toward animals to prevent it from recurring or escalating. 

If he’s that easily provoked into using deadly force, it might be high time for him to be on the receiving end of some psychiatry.

Claudia Kritz


Health care dollars keeping rich people rich

To The Editor:

I recently inherited a few shares of stock in companies. I’ve been sent proxy statements so I could vote the shares at annual meetings. In those statements, the salaries and other compensation for key executives of the corporation is listed. 

I Googled “Humana proxy statement” and found proxy statements online. I picked Humana because I knew
they were a big corporation whose focus is hospitals and other health care
interests. I found the section titled “Executive Compensation” named five executives.

Michael B. McCallister is the chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Humana. He has degrees in accounting and business administration and was compensated $7,306,861 in 2011.

The president of Humana is Bruce D. Broussard. He is a certified public accountant and has college degrees in business administration. He was compensated $10,532,282 in 2011. He is new to Humana. 

He only worked for Humana starting in November of 2011. Much of this compensation was a gift of stock and stock options.

James H. Bloem is the chief financial officer. He was compensated $3,991,872. He is educated in law and business administration.

James E. Murray is the chief operating officer. He is a CPA and was compensated $6,052,556.

V. Rajamannar Madabhushi is the chief innovation and marketing officer. He is educated in chemical engineering and business administration and was compensated $2,547,032.

Somebody once said, “The object of business is to make money. If you happen to make a product or provide a service, that is incidental.” These five men seem to have been chosen to make certain the company is profitable. Not one is a health professional. They were compensated to the tune of about $30,000,000 during 2012.

It is up to us to decide if we want to continue spending 30 percent of our health care dollars keeping rich people rich. We need single payer universal health care. Our current system is not what most of us want. 

Ira Mark Cohen