Letters to the editor for Sept. 30

By Observer editorial September 30, 2013 11:02 am


Guilt or innocence should be decided in court, not newspaper

To The Editor:

I am disturbed by the rush to judgment in the unfortunate situation now facing Dr. Joel Rice as reflected in the letters page and the editorial page of the Observer. I am especially disturbed by the recent letter suggesting that lynching is an appropriate response to Dr. Rice’s transgressions, whatever they may prove to be. Lynching is a page in our history that is appalling and not to be glorified.

With regard to the op-ed pieces presented by the cattlemen’s association’s spokespeople, let’s be real clear: they are delineating rules and regulations regarding livestock grazing as they see them, not the facts surrounding this case.

Those facts will be presented in court, and after that Dr. Rice’s guilt or innocence will be decided, as it should be, by a judge or jury, not in the pages of this newspaper.

David Moyal
La Grande

Farm bureau condemns shooting of cattle

To The Editor:

The Union County Farm Bureau condemns in the strongest terms the alleged unlawful shooting of seven cows by La Grande psychiatrist Dr. Joel Rice. Under no circumstances does the Union County Livestock District or the Oregon Revised Statutes allow for any landowner to shoot and/or kill any trespassing livestock.

Farmers and ranchers strive to be good neighbors. Livestock and crops are our livelihood and we work to take the best care possible of them.

The statutes and ordinance spell out a process that landowners should take in the event of a livestock trespass. A landowner should first contact the Oregon Department of Agriculture Brand Inspector to help identify the owners and notify them to retrieve their livestock and fix the fence that allowed the livestock out. If that fails, the landowner is to call the Union County Sheriff’s office to enforce the ordinance.

Current law provides a process for landowners to recoup costs as a result of damages from trespassing livestock. Again, there is no provision for a landowner to shoot to kill the offending livestock and endanger the lives of neighbors and others.

The Union County Farm Bureau strongly urges the Union County Court to prosecute Dr. Joel Rice to the full extent of the law.


Gene Hardy
President, Union County Farm Bureau
Doctor fails to differentiate between right and wrong


To The Editor:

I’m writing about the seven cows that were shot by an Eastern Oregon psychiatrist. 

In the time it took Dr. Joel Rice to shoot seven cows that did not belong to him, did he once ask himself, is this right or wrong? Is it right or wrong to have these animals suffer and die on his land? Is it right or wrong to destroy someone else’s income and then buy off one’s own conscience? 

For all his patients who see him for some stability in their lives, is it in their best interests to see someone who may have trouble judging right from wrong?


David Milner


Educate yourselves about 
the health care act

To The Editor:

We are nearing the implementation of the Affordable Care Act with sign up beginning Oct. 1. This provides an opportunity to extend health insurance coverage to most Oregonians. Now no one should have to go without. You can go to www.CoverOregon.com, which is the online marketplace, to check rates and sign-up.

This has been a long struggle but a real windfall for health insurance and drug companies. I must confess that I was hoping for a simple extension of Medicare or another single-payer option, which I think is administratively much simpler and more efficient and cost effective.

I could not help but pause when I saw our own ODS Insurance Co. change its name to Moda Health and spend $40 million to purchase branding rights at the Rose Garden. So those dollars went to advertising that could have gone into service. This means that my premium dollars are subsidizing a sports arena rather then purchasing medical services. And we wonder why our premiums keep going up while our coverage is diminished. 

This is not rocket science, but it is hard, and we will need to continue to press our legislative leaders to continue to move this system of health care financing along. When enough of us decide that we need a different system of financing, it will happen.

In the meantime, I urge you to use the www.HCAO.org website to see what your friends and neighbors are doing to educate themselves about Health Care for All Oregon. 


David B. Still