By Observer Upload May 05, 2014 12:47 pm

Cole: Peeples ending one chapter, but not her story

To the Editor:

A couple of years ago, I met a college student who wanted to be a physician’s assistant. I asked him, “Have you met Sue Peeples? You’ll learn how to do the technical aspects of your job in school. Sue can show you the people part.”

Like any of us, that young guy will probably experience loss, betrayal and other tragedies. Given the chance, I’d steer him toward Sue again. Before her ordeal was over, she was regrouping and creating new ways to be in service. She’s ended the chapter, but not her story. Once again, Sue is showing us the people part.

Heidi Bigler Cole



Jackman: LMS staff, teachers care about every child

To the Editor:

The one-sided article “When is it Bullying?” (Monday, April 21) made La Grande Middle School staff look unfair, uncaring, incompetent and even neglectful. It gave specifics on incidents that LMS staff can’t comment on. LMS staff is held to confidentiality laws and can’t share specifics of what they do to stop bullying, past events, victims’ behavior, events leading up to or the aftermath of these specific reports. Basically, law prevented staff from defending themselves.

The article didn’t report the days the administrators at LMS stay working through their dinner hour, take calls at home to help parents and students or the hours of follow up for any misbehavior. It didn’t show what they do.

It was sad to read a horrific event being used by people to justify their anger and dissatisfaction with LMS. Maybe the adults were unaware or in denial of what role their child played. We have all seen the signs that read “Watch That Child.” Parents, take that sign literally. Stop pointing fingers and look at your own parenting skills. Teach right and wrong and take time to teach consequences. Then teach them to accept responsibility. Watch what they do, write, say. It may surprise you. Somehow, families are forgetting it’s their job to raise their children, not the schools. Families, “the most important work you will ever do will be done within the walls of your own home” (Harold B. Lee).

To the community, before you pass judgment to the lack of safety at LMS, stop and ask these questions:

• If it was unsafe at LMS, would Mr. Jackman have his children attend LMS?

• Does the article show both sides with facts, without bias?

• What do you know of the family/victim making the accusations?

• If LMS were truly an unsafe place, why aren’t there more of the 530+ students complaining?

There are many good students at LMS and great staff who care about every child.

Keep up the hard work, LMS. I trust you with my family, and there are a lot more families who do than don’t.

Melissa Jackman

La Grande


McDaniel: Our hands seem to be tied with county, shelter

To the Editor:

I am bothered by the decision to raze the present Shelter From the Storm building and construction of a 13,000-square-foot facility to house only the district court.

I have read the information at www.union-county.org. I do not question the need for a better court facility, but what are we going to get for $2 million from the state of Oregon and $750,000 in general obligation bonds? “It’s going to be bare bones. There’s not going to be anything fancy about it.” I can imagine a flat roof with constant need of repair, no room for expansion or other uses.

Now we are faced with a suit by Shelter From the Storm. The only people who will benefit from this are the law firms involved in the suit. None of these costs will be “bare bones.”

Our hands seem to be tied.

How did we get the money to construct the building housing the county tax assessor, planning commission and clerk and recorder? It’s my understanding that building was built with borrowed money. Could we do the same for the court building? Bare bones, surely, but maybe with better planning and possible alternative uses and expansion.

What are the maintenance and utility costs now for the old Joseph Building? The county court has proposed the shelter use court spaces vacated with no cost to the shelter for utilities, rent and maintenance. In my experience you get nothing for free.

Dick McDaniel

Island City


Hopkins: Mark you ballots for Greg Barreto

To the Editor:

I have been wondering about something. How come Wallowa and Union counties have been represented in the Oregon House and Senate for decades by folks from Umatilla and Morrow counties? Those Republicans representing us have joined the Democrats on tax measures, especially additional income tax. 

If you have liked the moderate voting of Bob Jenson, Greg Smith and David Nelson, you will love John Turner. Now, we have someone on this side of Cabbage Hill who will vote conservative Republican principles. Greg Barreto will not vote to increase taxes.

Union and Wallowa counties do have enough Republican voters to outvote Umatilla county. Spread the word among your communities to get your ballots marked for Greg Barreto and turn them in. 

Doran Hopkins



Burton: System doesn’t need to be fixed

To the Editor:

I have been following the nonpartisan commissioner issue and contemplating pros and cons. I understand the frustration with partisan elections. As a conservative, I don’t always agree with positions taken by some Republican candidates.

However, I think this effort is an attack on the current system that promotes a move toward a single party system. Parties are helpful because the party platform helps define the foundation from which the candidate’s views arise. Parties differ on their views on the size and role of government, acceptable taxation, appropriate expenditures and the beginning and ending of life. Without a party affiliation, it’s really hard to discern what a candidate thinks about a given issue. This can happen even when a candidate belongs to a party. Making these positions nonpartisan does not remove ideology, it only tries to hide it from public view. Not knowing a candidate’s party will limit the amount of information available for my choice.

Why would I want to limit the information to make my choice?

Also, in the event of a mid-term vacancy of a commissioner with non-partisan system, the decision for a replacement is made by the other two commissioners or even the governor should there be two resignations.

Why would I want to risk losing local control of our elections?

Finally, I am always frustrated voting for judicial candidates because I don’t know what these folks think as nonpartisans. Some people don’t even vote for judges.

Why would I vote for my local officials the way we vote for judges?

Everyone has the opportunity to vote in the general election for the commissioner of their choice — even independents. Independents have run and they lost. They lost because their views didn’t reflect the views of the voters. Registered Republicans outnumber Democrats by almost two to one in this county. I see this attempt to blur the parties as an attempt to reduce the power of the majority in favor of a minority. They can’t win elections, so change the system.

The system isn’t perfect, but it’s not broken. Please don’t break it by changing it to a one party. 

Mike Burton

La Grande


Nelson: Support Turner for District 58 rep

Dear Editor:

 Please support John Turner for Oregon state representative of House District 58 in the May 20 primary election. John is an lraq War veteran who served our country in the Marine Corp for 28 years. 

As a result of his leadership, he was awarded a Bronze Star for heroic or meritorious achievement in a combat zone.

Oregon legislative service and successful leadership demands a unique set of skills for representing all of the people in a district whether they agree or disagree with one’s basic principles. At the same time, it is of importance to earn respect while building working relationships with colleagues. An elected representative must listen to all sides of an issue and give each thoughtful consideration before reaching a practical, educated decision.

Today, John is the person who has the capacity to do the best job in dealing with the diverse world we call the Oregon Legislature. He can handle anything the Legislature throws at him, for politics is rough and tumble. He has patience and compassion yet his leadership has been tested in battle. He will listen to your ideas and thoughts and constructive criticisms. He will be concerned about your welfare and your ability to support your family and will fight to bring jobs and financial security to this district.

John Turner is a 30-year member of the National Rifle Association and an avid hunter. He has been married to Gail for 34 years and has two grown children. He is one of us. You can make a difference by voting to elect John Turner as your Oregon state representative on May 20.

David and Alice Nelson



Lindsley: Small towns need better representation

To the Editor:

During my time as mayor of Union I have learned the county is not balanced. Not only are the commissioner positions not equally represented but so are several county committees. What I mean by this is the commissioners and boards and committees of Union County can be filled with representatives from one location, that being La Grande. While there is nothing wrong with La Grande citizens, La Grande residents shouldn’t represent the county as a whole. The following is what I’ve learned:

Household hazardous waste steering committee

• All of Union County members are from the City of La Grande, as is the Waste Pro;

• Union County Solid Waste District Steve McClure

• Union County at large Kyle Carpenter

• Waste Pro Darin Larvik

Out of over 2,000 square miles of Union County, less than 100 square miles represents the entire county. There is no representation from the second largest city, Union, or the third largest city, Elgin. Thus these people decided where the waste facility would be located. 

Union County budget committee

• Mark Davidson, La Grande

• William Rosholt, Island City

• Dale Case, Cove

• Kyle McAndie, La Grande

• Cedric Shanks, La Grande

Again there is not representation from the second largest city or the third largest city. If you believe this is not the correct way, then we need a different way to elect county commissioners. We need better representation. Creating five positions from four districts is what I propose. This will take a large effort by volunteers to accomplish.

William C. Lindsley

Mayor of Union


Hill: Barreto not being truthful about Parks issue

To the Editor:

Greg Barreto’s last campaign mailer sniped at John Turner for receiving campaign contributions ($5,500) from public employee unions and said, “Can you imagine the pressure the public employee unions will put on John Turner because he took their money.” My thought was can you imagine the pressure Loren Parks will put on Greg Barreto for taking $30,000. 

Alas, Barreto will now return Parks’ $30,000 because, “My opponent has made an issue of that contribution thus taking attention away from real election position issues between candidates.” Sorry folks, that is a lie. John Turner has never taken issue with Barreto’s association with Loren Parks. 

The Parks issue aside, my vote goes to John Turner because of his experience and his proven ability to work with dissenting voices to build solutions around water, jobs, work-force training and natural resource issues.

Karen L. Hill



Ridgway: Turner’s qualifications hard to beat

To the Editor:

It is to be presumed that any candidate running for public office puts their best foot forward in listing their background, experience and qualifications in the voter’s pamphlet. In comparing the voter’s pamphlet submissions for the candidates for the Republican state representative position for House District 58, it is obvious that the qualifications are heavily weighted in favor of John Turner. Additionally, it is apparent from the advertising of Greg Barreto that he has no intention of going to Salem with a desire or ability to compromise. One only needs to look to Congress to see how much stalemates accomplish.

It is not the time to have our representative in Salem go with a “my way or the highway”attitude while on training wheels. John Turner has the background, experience and attitude to represent House District 58. 

Bob and Mary Alice Ridgway



Johnson: Vote for Castilleja for county commissioner

To the Editor:

Paul Castilleja is a Wallowa County commissioner and he is running for re-election.

I have to say when writing about Paul’s “civic” duties it should be spelled with a capital “C.” Paul served as a city council member for 12 years and mayor for four years. He has been a school board member, he served with the Joseph Fire Department for 18 years — 12 of those as fire chief. Paul is serving as commander of the Wallowa County chapter of the American Legion and he is the chairman of the Wallowa Valley Improvement District No. 1. He has served our country as a Vietnam veteran where he was wounded in the war.

Paul owns and has operated the Chevron gas station in Joseph for 45 years. He is also a hay farmer and cattle rancher. 

The story I want to share with you is about Paul’s dream of installing lights on the Joseph High School football field.

Paul read that the Texas Rangers baseball team was building a new stadium and they were tearing down the old one. Paul called Rangers management and they agreed to sell him the lights. In less than a week, Paul was headed to Dallas by himself to pick them up.

The project was estimated to cost $33,000. Paul did not want to ask people or businesses for money. So he organized a committee to help raise funds. Many people helped by volunteering time, money and materials to get the lights up. The committee came up with an idea for a raffle and some folks made cash donations which raised $9,000. Paul and I were concerned that we were $24,000 short of our goal. With little fanfare, Paul went and personally borrowed the money from the bank and paid off the balance that was owed.

Character, integrity, honesty, loyalty are not just words in Paul’s world, they actually have meaning. Speaking the truth should be the least we require from our leaders. After all, it is the person in the arena, willing to take responsibility and risk potential failure for a cause and not the critic that really counts.

Denny Johnson



Clark: Barreto supports lower taxes, more liberty

To the Editor:

It is a rare thing in Oregon politics that there is a candidate for office which voters can be confident will actually represent them in a manner consistent with the campaign promises issued. 

So often we are frustrated by those who claim to represent our values and then proceed to seriously compromise or completely capitulate once they reach Salem. It is time that our representatives exhibit integrity and demonstrate the fortitude to take on liberalism in its many forms. 

There is only one candidate running for House District 58 that meets this litmus test — Greg Barreto.

I have known Greg for 10 years and have an in-depth knowledge of his character, beliefs and ethics. Our capital is rife with those who know nothing but government employment, who continue to be elected based on some sort of notion that because they have been a government employee, they can better represent their constituency. What a bunch of garbage this idea is. We don’t need another representative whose resume is only filled with government references. 

What we need is someone who understands sound economic principles, having put them into practice for the past 30 years. We need someone with the moral fortitude to stand up for the rights of parents against the overreach of government, someone who believes the politician is accountable to the voters.

Greg Barreto is a man of the highest integrity who will not be beholden to any special interest group, including socialistic union leaders, who take the hard-earned money of the workers and promote an agenda that most of their membership opposes. 

Unfortunately, John Turner has those union leaders’ full endorsement. These union leaders support the most far left candidates available; however, they know in Eastern Oregon that the Democratic candidate won’t win. Their next move then is to support the furthest left-leaning Republican possible.

In electing Greg Barreto, northeast Oregon will have a representative supportive of lower taxes, less government interference in our lives and more personal liberty, a man whose principles are not for sale and whose values are based on the same foundation as the greatest of America’s founders. 

Jeff Clark

Former Cove School District superintendent


Palmer: Time for John Turner in Salem

To the Editor:

When the Oregon State Legislature convenes in Salem next January, our elected representatives will face a long list of complex issues. The decisions our legislators make during the 2015 regular session will have a profound and lasting impact on our children and their children. Finding workable solutions will require strong leadership, patience, integrity and courage.

Fortunately for Republicans in the 58th House District we have John Turner as a candidate for state representative. A decorated U.S. Marine officer, Turner is an experienced leader who has the ability to bring people together to make things happen.

Please join us in voting for John Turner for the Republican primary for House District 58.

Scott Palmer and
Barbara Hodgen Palmer



Taber: Turner has proven track record

To The Editor:

We are supporting John Turner for District 58 representative.

Since we don’t know the other candidate, we reviewed his website. He has not had experience in dealing with legislative issues, working with public budgets or managing taxpayer dollars. He has not volunteered to serve on any local non-political boards, commissions or committees.

As president of Blue Mountain Community College, John Turner was responsible for managing a multi-million dollar budget and more than 400 employees. Because of his conservative fiscal policies, BMCC was one of only a few community colleges in Oregon that did not have to cut programs or staff because of fiscal shortfalls.. Due to John Turner’s leadership, BMCC is one of the most financially stable colleges in Oregon, while providing an excellent educational opportunity for students.

One of his most valuable contributions to families in eastern Oregon was development of the Eastern Promise program. This program allows students to earn college credits, at the cost of $10 per credit, while still in high school. 

Please join us in voting for the candidate who has proven that he can get things done and has been willing to volunteer his time for us.

Ed and Terri Taber



Botts: Time to get rid of the same old, same old

To the Editor:

The May primary election provides voters an opportunity to turn back the clock and vote for a candidate that follows in the footsteps of the founders of our great nation; that candidate is Greg Barreto. 

A successful businessman of 30-plus years, Greg has chosen to set his private life aside to serve in the Oregon Legislature, quite like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. These fine examples of statesmen left their successful private enterprises, served terms as U.S. presidents and then returned to their private lives and enterprises. 

Greg’s opponent, John Turner, has no private business experience. In fact, his campaign literature states the following: “a lifetime of service to community and country” with no mention of any private business experience. Please note that as parents of a member of the U.S. Army, we do respect and honor John’s military service.

Another important difference is their views on compromise. The April 18 La Grande Observer quotes Barreto as saying “legislators have to draw a line when compromising, the problem with compromise is you’re always giving something up” and Turner saying, “he has the experience of working with — and compromising with — legislators to bring them to the table.” The article goes on to quote John, “essentially this is what I’ve been doing the last 10 years.” 

As far as we can tell compromising, also known as “reaching across the aisle,” is a one-way street. You give and give until you are bled dry and get little, if anything, in return. 

Do we want a compromising legislator in Salem or do we want one like Greg who stands on principle, who draws a line on compromising, and promises, “I’ll vote like a Republican should.”

The choice is clear: vote for the “same old, same old” (John) and get compromise and a career public servant or vote for Greg, a proud conservative who supports fiscal responsibility — less regulatory control and more fiscal oversight. 

Please join us by voting “like a Republican should” and elect Greg Barreto.

Rodney and Linda Botts



Green: Barreto the right choice for Eastern Oregon

To The Editor:

What is the No. 1 concern of most people in our region? Jobs, and opportunities for our children to come back and work and live here. 

Greg Barreto represents what we all want more of — dedicated owner of small manufacturing business that puts down roots and provides family wage jobs — lots of them. 

I had the pleasure of handling the marketing for Barreto Manufacturing from 2000 until 2008 and Greg Barreto is a man of great integrity, an exceptional leader, family and business man. With no disrespect to John Turner, when you actually have personal experience creating quality manufacturing jobs, adapting to changing economic conditions and what overregulation and taxation does to the small-business owner, you are in a better position to make the changes we need to open rather than close doors on opportunity. 

Greg Barreto is the right candidate to help eastern Oregon become a more thriving region, and I urge you to vote for him.

Stacy Green



Evans: More informed electorate, is stronger

To the Editor:

I view the Union County Republican Central Committee’s recent ads in the The Observer with amusement as well as with a sense of dismay. The ad writers claim people who try to get us to vote in favor of Ballot Measure 31-84 are also trying to pull the wool over our eyes, with a picture insinuating that those who support the measure are like sheep. Might not the opposite be true? 

These Republicans urge us to vote “no” on Ballot Measure 31-84, and they falsely claim it is because the measure’s proponents don’t want people to know a candidate’s party affiliation. Heaven forbid voters should feel compelled to do research on a candidate to learn about that person’s views when, after all, it is so much easier to just automatically vote “R” or “D” without giving it much thought. 

It seems the people who are running the ads in The Observer do not want you to think about your vote. It appears more likely that they simply want you to vote strictly according to party lines. 

We all know our preferences, and yes, the Republicans are the majority in our county. But the passage of this measure is not likely to threaten that control, and that isn’t the reason 31-84 is on the ballot. 

If we all research our candidates thoroughly, it might help us realize there is more to consider when casting our votes than whether the person is a “D” or an “R”, especially at the local level where it really does pay to work together. And the more informed we are as an electorate, the stronger we are. 

Let’s not allow the polarization and negativity of the national political scene to infect our Union County. Please support Ballot Measure 31-84. 

John Evans

La Grande