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The Observer welcomes letters to the editor. Letters are limited to 350 words and must be signed and carry the author’s address and phone number (for verification purposes only).

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Email your letters to news@lagrandeobserver.com or mail them to La Grande Observer, 1406 5th St., La Grande, Ore., 97850.

My Voice

My Voice columns should be 500 words. Submissions should include a portrait-type photograph of the author. Authors also should include their full name, age, occupation and relevant organizational memberships.

We edit submissions for brevity, grammar, taste and legal reasons. We reject those published elsewhere.

Send columns to La Grande Observer, 1406 5th St., La Grande, Ore., 97850, fax them to 541-963-7804 or email them to acutler@lagrandeobserver.com .

Smith: Emergency roof escape hatches would benefit all

To the Editor:

During or after one of these emergencies, someone always suggests we need federal legislation requiring emergency roof escape hatches in all buildings in hurricane/tornado/flood/fire zones in America, or even all buildings and homes in America, but nobody in Congress ever writes the legislation or sees it passed into law.

Imagine the hundreds of millions of American jobs that would be created building and installing these universal emergency roof escape hatches.

Imagine the hundreds of thousands of lives that could be saved by having these universal emergency roof escape hatches.

Nicholas L. Smith

La Grande

Carbiener: Idaho Power overwhelms with massive data and statistics

To the Editor:

When the editor of the Baker newspaper called a couple of years ago out of the blue and asked why an 81-year-old from Bend was concerned about the Oregon Trail and Idaho Power’s Boardman to Hemingway power line, it was difficult to give an adequate answer. Neither my wife’s nor my family had anyone who came on the Trail, except someone on my wife’s side who came in 1849 to Utah.

I don’t count myself an environmentalist. Heck, I grew up in the oil fields of California. As a kid, I went to the mountains a lot: church groups, summer camps and scouts. When our family arrived, we always fished, camped and hiked in the Sierra. All continue to do that today.

So now that I am 83, it is easier to see that the B2H is in direct opposition to what I believe and have enjoyed all my life. I look at the existing power line next to I-84 in Union County and the clear-cut for the right-of-way in the forest, and in the Baker Valley near Flagstaff Hill and down through Durkee, over to Huntington and across the BLM Birch Creek Oregon Trail ruts, across farm fields of alfalfa in Willow Creek in Malheur County.

I try to envision the B2H being twice as big in a brand new route.

Idaho Power continues to press on. They have presented the Oregon Public Utility Commission with 890 pages of their 20-year Integrated Resource Plan, which includes B2H, and they sent to the Oregon Energy Facilities Siting Council 13,000 pages for their site application. They overwhelm individuals with massive data and statistics.

Good folks are speaking up. Union County and has held public meetings, so has Baker County, and early on Malheur County folks got IPC to move the line off of agricultural lands. What if all these folks just said “stop”?

I wonder what IPC could do if some effort was spent trying to determine how to provide 20 years of service without B2H. I believe there are some within Idaho Power who would like that challenge.

Gail Carbiener


Farnam: It is time for third-party politics

To the Editor:

There appears to be ample evidence indicating a high degree of volatility and turmoil in the executive branch of the U.S. As of yet, the echo chamber is only admitting to leaks and fake news, and now “they” (the bad other/your neighbors) are trying to rewrite Civil War history to sabotage Trump’s efforts to make America great again. Donald Trump can’t speak in complete sentences, let alone for me. I am at peace with my Trump-supporting neighbor. Yes, I will gladly take your business. I would love to hear you out.

What I don’t condone are obviously opportunistic politicians who continue to perpetuate this myth that Donald is some how going to make it through his first term in office. That he still has a claim to a legitimate mandate. If he did, Republicans would pass legislation for him to sign.

Our politicians can’t see the writing on the wall and act in their own best interest to save themselves. These politicians who won’t speak truth to power are already doomed.

Donald Trump has failed. It’s not a conspiracy. Just look at how far apart we are. He has divided this nation more completely and painfully than any of us ever pictured possible. It is time for Greg Barreto and Greg Walden to abandon the swamp Trump has created and lead us all away from conspiracy theories and malice among ourselves toward a brighter future where we work for common goals.

We should not be sabotaging our democracy for the profit of billionaires. We are the people. The enemy isn’t you or me — it is bad politics. America needs a populist leader, and we hoped Donald Trump would be it. We must have been wrong, and it is our responsibility to drain the swamp. We must elect competent, well-spoken, farsighted, ethical people to our offices or we will face the consequences.

It has become my prayer that those candidates in Oregon will come from the Independent party, because it has a centrist platform that we can all come together around and begin to get our state’s affairs in order. A small number of Independent seats, neither Democrat nor Republican, would hold a great deal of influence in the Oregon Legislature. At a national level it would be huge. It is time for third-party politics. We cannot accept Democrats and Republicans exclusively any longer — they have led us too far astray.

Skye Farnam