Saturday, August 14, 2010
Ready to start the debate?
A few suggestions vis-a-vis the recent letter to the editor suggesting a conversation be created between writers, readers and the editorial staff.
1. All congresspeople with more than 20 years in office should be voted out.
2. Term limits would be established - six to 12 years and out you go. Period.
3. Required trips to visit their constituency (i.e., area of responsibility) at least four to six times per year. A mingling with the common folk to find out what they feel, think and want from Washington. Foreign junkets only as absolutely necessary.
4. Social Security - same retirement plan for politicians as for regular folks.
5. Five-year waiting period after retirement before lobbying anyone in Congress, or
6. Eliminate lobbyists.
7. Disallow the efforts by congressmen to double dip after retirement.
As a starter, I have a feeling these could create lively dialogue, with pros and cons on both sides.
John Turner best choice for sheriff
I am saddened and disappointed that Pam Ray, a former Walla Walla County commissioner, would be so misinformed and/or so misleading to the public. In her campaign letter, Pam Ray wrote words to the effect of we don't need L.A.-style policing in Walla Walla.
Does she realize that community-based policing, basic car plans, neighborhood watch, SWAT, DARE and gang reduction and youth development programs are all nationally adopted successful LAPD developed and initiated programs that we currently strive to have here already? What is she talking about? Is she saying we don't need community-based policing, SWAT and DARE?
She also writes she's voting for Bill White, "a good cop," but let's look at some facts as to who really is a "good cop" and the best candidate.
All three candidates have been promoted twice in their careers, however the WWSO promotion to captain is simply an appointment, not a competitive promotion like Turner's, which included written and oral examinations.
White has made only a small number of arrests in his 30-plus years, Turner has made thousands. White never bothered to go to college to better himself, compared to Turner's academic accomplishments including a law degree.
Under White's management we lost our K-9 program and, by his own admission in a debate, has let the reserve deputy program fall into disrepair.
Back in March at the Lincoln Day and county convention speeches, White stated the county really doesn't have a gang problem and he'll keep doing things the same way. He has sure changed that tune in the last couple months.
He now sounds like he's reading right off of Turner's website, which hasn't changed since Turner first announced his candidacy back in February.
Do yourself a favor and read Turner's letters of recommendation on his website. It's time to pull heads out of the sand and be honest with ourselves. We can't afford the same old same old anymore. Please help me elect an optimistic, energetic, professional sheriff - John Turner.
Support urged for John Turner
In regards to the sheriff's race, comments have been made that we don't need change, pick a local candidate, pick someone with leadership. Well, I'd like to offer my opinion and ask you to support John Turner for sheriff.
I have had the honor of calling John Turner my friend since we met in 2004. As our friendship grew, I learned of his local roots and family connection to this land. I learned of his service to the LAPD, one of the most renowned law enforcement agencies in the country. I quickly found out he is a very upstanding and loyal individual.
John was approached by a group of local businessmen in 2006 to run for sheriff, but declined citing timing. Then, John accepted an offer to serve our country by working with our military in Iraq. While there, the wheels of the candidacy started turning, and upon his return, the campaign was launched.
John has the experience and leadership necessary to move the Sheriff's Office into the 21st century. He hasn't sat behind a desk for the last 12 years; he's actually been in the field making a difference.
During his time with the LAPD, he has made thousands of arrests and conducted numerous investigations. He will bring fresh energy, new ideas and a fresh approach to law enforcement for the department.
As a member of the Walla Walla City Council, I had the recent opportunity to help choose our new city manager.
It was a difficult process, with two great candidates. In the end, the decision was made to hire the person who we felt could take our city to the next level.
There's an old saying, "If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got."
Working for the Sheriff's Office for 30 years doesn't qualify you to be the next sheriff. It's what you've accomplished during your time there that matters.
Finally, one of the candidates has stated the county doesn't have a gang problem; it's only in the city.
Apparently, that candidate hasn't see the old Clyde School House or the restrooms at Charbonneau Park in Walla Walla County. It's worth mentioning that he has now changed his tune.
Join me in supporting a new era of law enforcement for Walla Walla County by electing John Turner as our next sheriff.
Finding housing is a problem in Walla Walla
I read with interest the front-page story from Sunday's (Aug. 8) edition of your paper, "More stores here? Don't count on it."
See, I am one of the (estimated) 17 people who moved here in the month of July. A co-worker and her family are six of the 17 people who will move here in the month of August. And another co-worker commutes daily from the Tri-Cities because she cannot find rental property in town.
The funny thing is all three of us requested transfers to Walla Walla. Yes, we did replace people who were already living in the town, but unlike at least one of the people we replaced, we want to be here.
However, it is very difficult to find affordable housing in the city of Walla Walla (and affordable is a relative term.... in some cases, housing at any price is nearly impossible to find, especially on short notice) Unlike the rest of the West Coast, Walla Walla has no advanced Internet sites for property (the ones that are here were nearly as outdated as the newspapers). A vast majority of the rentals I called on (probably near 90 percent) were already rented out, and yet the ads remained up.
Even more frustrating was, moving here in the summer. All of us felt with so much student housing sitting empty, it would be very easy to find rentals in town at this time.
Walla Walla is a wonderful place (from what I have seen so far), and I am encouraging friends to visit. I can only think that a lot more than 17 people a month would be moving into town if only there was someplace for them to live.
Wind turbines still a threat to Blues
I am writing this letter in response to people who believe the threat of wind turbines being built in the Blue Mountains is over.
The local talk of land contracts with wind companies being terminated is true. But right behind the terminations, new contracts are being picked up by a wind company, Horizon Wind Energy, owned by Energias de Portugal.
Not far from the east side of the Walla Walla River, up the foothills into the Blue Mountains, plans are being made to tear up the landscape and build too many miles of new roads to carry heavy machinery to build and service industrial wind turbines. Oregon land that is zoned Exclusive Farm Use and Grazing/Farm (GF) was changed without public input to allow wind generation on land that is difficult to build a cabin or house.
With the 300- to 400-foot wind turbines also will come substations and major transmission lines that cut swaths of timber and cross lands to reach the closest electrical transmission highway.
Proximity to transmission lines gives reason to build more wind projects in ill-advised, poor wind resource areas.
More plans are being made to the west of the Milton-Freewater area to fill-in between projects already in place. Why add more blinking red lights to disturb the beautiful sunsets and star-filled western night skies? That is the second reason for the push to build more wind turbines in our area, to get a place at the public trough of Oregon's BETC credits and federal subsidies before they dry up.
Oregon has been generously giving to foreign companies at the expense of properly educating our children, caring for our elderly and disabled, and more. Oregon will be paying for years to be the "greenest state" with the "greenest governor" at an estimated $167 million in this biennium, and $374 million for the 2011-2013 biennium.
Is the cost really worth it?
Oregon says we have added 51,402 green jobs to our economy in 2008 because of this program. State officials didn't tell us they counted a one-day job the same as continuing jobs, and many were not even out-of-work Oregonians.
Want to know more?
Attend the community information meeting, "No Blades on the Blues," to become better informed, get involved and demand the people who represent us to represent all of us.
Debbie J. Kelley
Bring back Garfield
I am 10 years old and my favorite comic is Garfield. I don't like how you replaced the daily comic with Over the Hedge.
I don't understand it and I don't think it is funny. Is there any way you can bring back Garfield?
Some other daily comics are missed in our family, too.
My brother would like the Wizard of Id back. One of my grandmothers would like For Better or For Worse back. My grandfather, who worked at the U-B for 40 years, wants Born Loser back.
Walla Walla needs a community pool
Another typical hot summer is here and still no community pool for our children and families.
Having an outside pool nearby to keep cool, have fun and learn to swim is a rite of summer. Also maintaining the pool and providing lifeguard services would produce jobs for young adults.
My family has wonderful memories of Walla Walla summers and our time spent at Memorial Pool. Now when the family gets together in summer, we must travel to another community for our swimming and water fun. Fortunately, we have the transportation to get us there.
Walla Walla lost two chances to build a new pool. I hate to see us also lose the site that is now available with its easy access by bicycle or just walking.
Come on Walla Walla, let's provide a community pool that all ages can enjoy. Yes, there will certainly be changes and different ideas for a new structure, but we need to keep an open mind.
Remember, pools are cool!
Shirley Clem Farmer
Take steps to make a difference
An amount of $8 billion lost in a transaction in an Asian war! Really? Let's demand an honest accounting and retrieval system.
That amount of money would accommodate educating our own citizens, refurbish our collapsing infrastructures or apply to Medicare.
Why are we bleeding billions in the holy lands that have been warring among themselves for centuries? God helps those who help themselves. Let them help themselves.
In a civil and friendly way, let the world know we can no longer be their cure-all for their problems as we need to take a breather to take care of our own neglected needs. Bring our troops, money and fuel spent home to our borders, not to be isolationists as we would still trade with the world fairly. And fight if necessary. Chasing bin-Laden is like chasing a ghost who might not even exist. If the natives won't fight for themselves, then so be it.
Let's go on a campaign to bring our jobs home. The big corporations outsource our jobs so they can reap bigger profits for the executives who suck up ridiculous "wages" and retirements not to mention stock options that might be better shared among the "little" stockholders.
Some might reply, "It's the unions!" Then straighten the ways of unions, insurance companies, fraud, lobbyists and politicians.
Thinking of these issues places me in a state of angry fatigue. I am an elderly woman who can't make a dent by myself. But I implore you younger folks to take steps to "make a difference" for ourselves and the legacy of yours and my heirs.
Why was help for Gulf refused?
The Deepwater Horizon well blowout was a disaster. The problem is the Obama administration didn't do all it could to correct the situation.
Three days after the spill, Dutch officials offered a fleet of ships designed specifically to handle disasters such as this, but were refused. One alone could have cleaned up more oil than all of the other ships assigned combined. Thirteen other nations also offered help that was refused.
The Obama administration refused under the guise of the Jones Act (to those who have never heard of the Jones Act, it is a law that bars foreign vessels from carrying cargo between ports in the U.S. waters). Far more likely, but not something the environmentalists would like the public to know, was that current Environmental Protection Agency rules were more likely the cause.
The Dutch ships could virtually skim all of the oil, but EPA rules required that the water must be 99.985 percent pure before the water is returned to the ocean (nearly impossible, so U.S. ships store the water and dispose of it later, greatly hampering progress). So, the EPA rules nixed the use of the Dutch ships.
So, we have transparency? No, we have a president who is disingenuous at best and a liar at worst. They just want to beat up on the oil industry, and do nothing to actually help when something like this happens.
Let's make a final statement
We must begin construction right away. It will take years to complete; but it is vital we finish while we still have time.
We can use our vast technological power to build a monument to humanity so inspiring as to be a testament to eternity.
It would be visible from space so any visitor to our planet might have a billion years from now could read through the smoky haze onto the dead world an enormous billboard reading "Too Stupid to Live".
Special-needs child brings love
Have you ever imagined what it would be like if people did not look at your children because they appear or act differently and respond with a glare, gawk, pull their own kids away, or make the audacious assumption that its bad parenting or your kids are simply brats? I have. Every day!
The uncomplicated truth is that discipline does not cure autism or the effects of fetal alcohol or prenatal drug exposures. Bad parenting does not cause the incredible spectrum of personality and behavioral issues.
Individuals who stare, give dirty looks and pull their children away are the people who need to work on their own social skills and perhaps benefit from some form of discipline.
Take the opportunity to educate yourself on autism, fetal alcohol and the effects of prenatal drug exposures. Don't condemn parents of those children or assume that they created the problem. Many families, like ours, made the choice to welcome two very special and incredible children into our family.
And unbelievably, after embracing our new children, many of our defined friends gave the dirty looks, pulled their kids away, or quickly uninvited if our special needs kids might be coming along.
Curious how life works ... right? My family benefitted the most. Our friendships are now true, unconditional and eternal. We are blessed with not one, but two special-needs children who remind us (and our other three children) everyday what is truly important in life: Unconditional love, acceptance and the gift of what is incredibly diverse.
So, the next time you are in the grocery store, at the Little League field or walking down Main Street recognize that you have the privilege to view a child chanting obsessively, thrashing about, repeating every word, wailing on the ground or screaming. Instead of glaring or judging, give that parent a sweet smile.
One minute of that child's behavior may be difficult for you to endure, but that parent has probably already handled it for hours and quite possibly for the past 24 hours straight. Don't offer advice.
Chances are parents are utilizing techniques they have gone through countless trainings to learn. No matter how adorable the child may be (like mine!), do not approach, talk to or touch them. If they are comfortable with you, they will initiate with you. Follow the child's lead. And, most importantly, go ahead and feel jealous. Really jealous!
Incredible diversity, love and acceptance only extend to those who have amazingly incredible special-needs children in their lives.
Have you given and received diversity, unconditional love and acceptance every single day? I have.
Litterbugs ruin swimming spot
As a long time resident of Walla Walla County, I have spent many summers wading and swimming in the lake and rivers close to here. I have passed this love for the water on to my daughter, who is now 9 years old.
In my opinion, there is nothing better than a dip in the river on a hot summer day.
More specifically, there is one swimming hole that has been a favorite of my friends and family.
Just southeast of College Place, the Walla Walla River is a perfect place to spend an afternoon. With the mild current, warm water and several deep swimming holes, this spot in the river is a popular place to be, and obviously, I'm not the only person in the area who enjoys spending time here.
I have to say, however, that I am appalled at the way some people treat our planet. Over the last month, every time we go down to this swimming area, I find it even more littered than the time before. There is garbage strewn around all over the rocks, including empty pop bottles, beer cases, chip bags and even clothes.
But what bothers me the most is the broken glass everywhere. The first time I went there this summer, there wasn't any broken glass there at all. Now it seems every time I go back, there is more. It started with broken beer bottles all along the big boulders my daughter and I use as stepping stones to access the deep pools of water.
Now, there are broken beer bottles all over the place, including the steep hill that leads back up to the road, and all along the guardrail. This is ridiculous!
Where has our respect of Mother Earth gone? What has happened to today's youths? Is there pleasure in breaking beer bottles and leaving thousands of sharp pieces of glass behind for innocent kids to step on?
I am appalled and I blame the parents of these litterbugs for not instilling better morals at a young age. I am saddened to live in this society, where so few people have any respect for our environment.
Sarah L. Rivera
Stranger's help appreciated
I would like to be able to tell a stranger how appreciative I am. This is the only way I can think of to accomplish this.
On Aug. 6 we were traveling from Tri-Cities to Walla Walla when we stopped in Touchet for gas. Unfortunately, my husband left his wallet sitting on our generator. We realized his error after passing through Lowden.
We turned around and came back to look for it. After verifying it had not been turned in to the station attendant, we started walking along U.S. Highway 12 to see if we could be so lucky to find anything.
A stranger to us, a woman, had found the remnants of his wallet, pulled her car over and began waving that she had it. She helped us search for missing credit cards, cash and other documents for quite some time.
I want to let her know we found everything but the pictures and all because of her. I didn't get her name, it was extremely thoughtless of me. Hopefully you can find your way to print this so she can know that what could have been a terrible weekend, turned out nicely for us.
Vandalism is a concern
Lately our quiet neighborhood in Walla Walla has become a war zone. It is hard to stomach when I woke up recently one morning to find a pregnant oppossum dead in the street.
She had been smashed in the head by a huge rock, which I presume caused her death. Worse still, some of her unborn babies were out of her sack and strewn about the pavement. Some still alive but struggling as they died with eyes yet unopen.
I hope what goes around comes around to whoever did this. Also I hope the same outcome for those in the wee, early morning hours before dawn who destroy property by pulling up flowers and tearing up fences and yard decorations.
Is anyone else but me tired yet of our neighborhood vandals? These are your kids!