OUR READERS' OPINIONS

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Antes will be fair to all property owners

I am writing to express support for Debra "Debbie" Antes’ candidacy for the position of Walla Walla County assessor.

Debbie has an extensive background in assessment from over 20 years of public service. She has worked in three different counties as an appraiser and statistical analyst.

Debbie began her career in the Walla Walla County Treasurer’s Office, a department the Assessor’s Office must work very closely with, and later transferred to the Assessor’s Office. Three years ago she returned to Walla Walla as the architect of our new "annual update" program and statistical analyst, reviewing values each year.

Additionally, because of her appraisal experience in residential, commercial and farm properties she became the obvious choice as chief appraiser upon the retirement of her predecessor. In that capacity she oversees the work of our appraisal staff.

Debbie is completing training in office administrative procedures such as levy calculation, senior citizen exemptions, historic property exemptions and open space farm and agriculture exemption calculations.

She will be fair and equitable to all the property owners of Walla Walla County when elected as your new county assessor.

Bill Vollendorff

Walla Walla County assessor

Some of ‘Footloose’ questioned

Walla Walla, where have all your little girls gone? Faded like sweet images of Hannah Montana, singing and dancing innocently to the beat of Disney’s drums, are they now Miley Cyrus, 17 and sex symbols in her "Can’t be Tamed" music video?

"No, never!" you say. But a capacity crowd at the local amphitheater saw three girls portraying 17-year-olds while dancing like sex toys in a bar in one of the opening scenes of the summer musical, "Footloose." This unnecessarily explicit act serves to depict the rebellious pastor’s daughter and her boyfriend’s crowd but it is far more extreme than any dance in the ’80s musical film production.

And the crowd chimes, "No matter!" The message is redeeming, the set was creative and the female voices outstanding.

Yes, Walla Walla has abundant creative talent and its youths deserve a venue and an audience to entertain with vibrant and energetic performances in song and dance.

But what price do our teenagers pay to develop their skills and rsum? Is lewd dancing a ticket to honorable wages, self worth and respect in a country that desperately needs heroes and heroines?

"I think not," says the quiet voice, lost in the crowd.

Sally Walter

Walla Walla

‘Footloose’ not best musical

I disagree with the person who said "Footloose" was the best musical. Suggestive sexual moves, immoral language (swearing) does not add to a great "family" play.

I feel sorry for the young people who were at the mercy of a director who did not know good taste if she faced it square on.

The young people did a marvelous job under the circumstances. But the best musical the foundation has done in years is "Fiddler on the Roof," which was about a down-to-earth real family, not some out-of-control teenagers.

Where your values lie is where your opinion is about the summer musical.

I have to say Ariel was superb and a great talent. A good share of the teenagers today have skewed values and morals. The play depicted these values.

I blame the director. Just my opinion. I disagree with anyone who says this was the best. It was good, not the best.

R.T. Swanson

Walla Walla

Sometimes government is the solution

I am near the end of "The Death and Life of Journalism" by Robert McChesney and John Nichols. The solution to local elections is good local journalism. The right and the crazy right will not go for anything like what the Founders did, e.g. creation of the Postal Service and Postal Roads.

About 95 percent of the weight the postal service carried in the beginning was gazettes, pamphlets, newsletters and papers. They thought it an essential part of a workable solution to self government. Huge subsidies and tax breaks for printers and all kinds of government help were given.

The highest voter participation is where the most government help to journalism is — Denmark, Sweden, etc.

Some papers are opting for L3C because they can endorse candidates unlike the 501(c)3 status prohibition. The corporate model is no longer working and the crisis started before the Internet and economic downturn due to that model seeking to increase the bottom line by laying off journalists. It costs around $250,00 for infrastructure, salary, support and expenses for one journalist to hit four good stories per year.

It’s not true that government help leads to censorship. Anyone brainwashed by the corporate media is likely to use that argument dismissively and kill the conversation about how government can help. It’s too bad, and it’s hard to be optimistic about journalism’s future.

Sometimes government isn’t the problem, it’s the solution, but try to tell that to your Republican representative.

M.J. Smith

Walla Walla

Elks’ support for veterans appreciated

I think the local Elks Club should be patted on the back and given kudos for the members show of appreciation to all veterans.

Elks members went out their way to treat all veterans to hot dogs, drinks, chips, etc, and to the Walla Walla Sweets ball game.

I can’t speak for all veterans, but I personally want to let them know I appreciate their show of support of the veterans.

Richard Bardsley

Walla Walla

Can we keep secrets from government?

It appears many in the top levels of government and the military think the release of the 9,000 documents is telling us what we (who is this "we?") already know. If so, then why is the release of these documents considered a "leak" and why were they apparently classified?

Politicians, military leaders and many of the talking heads we all watch use the English language in a way I don’t understand.

But there is a deeper question. Why does the government get to keep secrets from the governed, and not vice versa?

And this applies especially when the secrets have to do with the policies that lead to the deaths of many of the governed, as well as many innocents and to the spending of vast amounts of money?

Is there something in the Constitution about this?

Dick Swenson

Walla Walla

Sanders administers justice his way

I urge the people of Washington state to elect Charlie Wiggins for Supreme Court justice.

I don’t have enough room to tell you why Charlie is the best candidate because I must inform you about the justice Charlie is running against, Richard Sanders. Judges cannot do anything that would create an improper appearance that he or she might favor a party to a case.

Justice Sanders was disciplined by the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct for improperly personally interviewing sexually violent predators with cases pending before him after he had been expressly warned not to go to the facility, that it would be unethical.

Justice Sanders still feels he did nothing wrong. Justice Sanders sued the state for failing to provide him with his legal defense to the ethics complaint; the state Supreme Court ruled against him, holding it was proper of the Attorney General’s Office to refuse to defend his actions.

Judges cannot decide a case in which they have an interest in the outcome, but in 2009, Justice Sanders wrote a majority opinion for the court that directly benefited him, since he was a party in a very similar case on appeal. The court was forced to withdraw the decision and hear arguments again without Sanders.

The Supreme Court makes the final decision for all lawyers accused of ethics violations. In non-unanimous lawyer discipline cases, Justice Sanders has voted for the lawyer 91 percent of the time. Specifically, in 2007 Justice Sanders dissented from the decision of the rest of the justices who voted to disbar a lawyer who sexually molested a former client who was 11 years old at the time. Sanders thought the lawyer should not be disbarred, but only suspended temporarily.

In criminal cases in which the Supreme Court is divided Justice Sanders has voted for the criminal defendant and against the prosecution 94 percent of the time. Justice Sanders administers justice by his own rules, rules that benefit him to the detriment of Washington state citizens.

Vote for Charlie.

Rea L. Culwell

Dayton

Government workers are important

The city of Walla Walla recently did a great job repairing the eastbound left turn signal at Poplar Street and Myra Road. The left arrow lights apparently had been knocked askew by wind many weeks ago and had become very hard to see unless you were the first car in line and were low enough to the ground to see it.

It was mostly annoying and distracting, but it also wasn’t entirely safe. Somebody at the city figured out it needed fixing, and fixed it.

In the midst of all the negative headlines about government that we see every day, this good repair job got me thinking about traffic control being an important and appropriate role for government.

Who else could possibly be in charge of traffic lights and traffic law enforcement? It can’t be contracted out to the private sector because it shouldn’t be driven by profit motives. This is about public safety pure and simple, and government is the most appropriate entity to manage traffic lights and other traffic controls, among many things.

So government and government workers do have very important roles to play. I’m a proud, dedicated and diligent public servant at the Walla Walla District Corps of Engineers. I’m surrounded by many dedicated colleagues working hard and smart on many different projects for the public benefit and safety.

So the next time you see a headline about lazy government workers or ineffective government, realize it’s not universally true. Somebody in government fixed that traffic light. Might even have saved a life or prevented serious injury to you or your family. I’m certainly grateful for it.

Take care out there, and drive carefully.

Bruce Henrickson

College Place

Support urged for Greenwood

Richard Greenwood is a compassionate, caring and honest person who will restore respectability to the Coroner's Office.

It is clear to me that Richard has devoted much of his life to making Walla Walla County a better place to live. He is a humble and diligent individual who will work with the different law enforcement offices, hospitals and emergency medical personnel to make the correct and appropriate information available in a timely manner to those who require it.

He works well at organizing and working within a budget. Richard is committed to mending broken bridges with the first responders and health providers in the county.

He has spent a lot of time shadowing coroners from neighboring counties to understand all aspects of what it takes to make the Coroner's Office the first-class department it should be. I hope you will take the time to get to know Richard Greenwood and learn his vision for the Walla Walla County Coroner's Office.

Fred Conner

Walla Walla

Turner will bring about needed change

I was fortunate to attend the debate by the candidates for Walla Walla County Sheriff at the Maxey Auditorium on the Whitman College campus. My observations:

I heard John Turner ask questions and seek answers.

I heard him make suggestions and present various ideas to make the department better. I heard him ask where the K-9 unit was. He wanted to know why there was an hour when no deputy was on duty. He wanted to know why grants weren't continuously sought after to update the department.

He wanted to know why the department was "still working" on so many necessary procedures and processes, especially after 12 years. He wanted to know why deputies had to be used as paper servers when there is a better and less expensive way.

I saw youth trump age and experience. I saw a young man seeing new and different ways to do things. I saw a young man who questions procedures and processes. I saw someone willing to try to make things better, no matter what people say. I saw a young man willing to listen and understand.

What I heard John Turner say was: "Some people see things as they are and ask why. I dream things that never were and ask why not?"

Ask "why not" and join me in voting for John Turner for Sheriff. We deserve a change.

Al Conetto

Walla Walla

County fortunate to have Frank Brown

We would all like to think we have people of integrity in public office.

Those of us who know Frank Brown know he is honest, conscientious and dedicated. He works hard to do his best for the people of this county. During difficult personal circumstances he offers people professional, compassionate service.

We are fortunate to have someone of his character in office.

Virginia Gregg

Walla Walla

We once had rights in America

Last night while watching the news on the ticker came a news alert stating that the Obama administration has asked for the authority to allow the FBI to go into people's computers and get their e-mail addresses and also go through their browsers without a search warrant.

I thought this was America and that we had certain rights. But I guess that isn't the case any longer.

When I read this I called a couple of friends to turn on their TV and read it also. They read the same thing and feel the same way I do. We are losing everything that makes us America.

Jean Trudgeon

Dayton

Sen. Murray has earned support

I see the U-B editors have mastered the obvious that the grand political choice is between balancing the budget and eating the pork. Now for a few things that aren't so obvious.

Sen. Murray couldn't balance the federal budget if she held all 100 seats in the Senate. Her wannabe opponents even less so. As the U.S. devolved into the empire, with 800-plus military bases, simultaneous wars on two or three continents and 854,000 federal employees diligently working on homeland security issues, the budget cannot be balanced.

The president as commander-in-chief can, if he chooses, have some say over how these bases are operated and which wars to fight when and in what manner. The executive branch has very little actual power in domestic matters. The Supreme Court and the court system rule on law, and Congress legislates.

It is small wonder that along with the devolution of the empire, congressmen and congresswomen also devolved to looking out for their districts and states. It is a credit to Sen. Murray that she is effective in this tradition, harking back as it does to that old Fabian socialist Sen. Warren Magnusson, who built the federal system in Washington with borrowed money, including the dams the right wing now has to protect 24/7.

Who speaks for the nation? It was once the United States, now buried under an empire. I realize we're supposed to believe that the Congress of the U.S. speaks for the nation. We've heard them speaking, 545 voices at a time, and remain unimpressed. What is the congressional approval rating anyway, 15 percent?

The American task will be to discover how to keep using half of the world's resources for 5 percent of the people without arousing the enmity and hatred of the other half of the world. The nation is gone and until the militarists get slapped around enough they give up their foolish dream of ruling the world, not much can be done about it. The cacophony of hysterical voices from Congress is also structural. The powers are so well separated that they are completely gummed up.

I am an old man and we Americans have been living beyond our means all my life. We're about to discover what it will be like to live within our means. And on the rocky road into the future, we will be well advised to protect our local institutions, U.S. Highway 12, the veterans hospital, the farmers and the land.

Murray has earned her spurs in this regard and deserves to continue serving the people of Washington.

Charles Potts

Walla Walla

Tea Party Patriots will answer your questions

Want answers to simple voting questions? Contact the Tea Party Patriots. Want information on serious issues and candidates? Ask a Tea Party person. He or she will respectfully give you information so you can make your own informed decisions.

This has been my experience over the last year. I have learned that many citizens here in the Walla Walla Valley actually care about what is happening in Washington state and to the rest of our country. They care enough to take some of their valuable time to educate themselves, become involved and do what they can to help others become better informed on the important issues facing us today.

Stop by the Tea Party Patriots booth at the fa irgrounds this fall. Many good folks have donated time and money just to be there to give you free information.

Young voters, check us out at the fair. Take advantage of this opportunity to learn more about the founding principles of these United States as set forth in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

Learn how today's politics are going to affect your future wellbeing. You have a voice! Use it!

Bette Wilson

College Place

Camper enjoyed events at library

We are a group of children from New Beginnings Chapel - Champion Builders Summer Day Camp.

We want to say how appreciative we are to our public library for the many events it has put together that we have been privileged to have participated in this summer.

Some of our favorites have been: Meet the Sweets, Oceans of Magic, Summer Dancers, Kinder Queen, Dragon Puppet Theater and Fort Walla Walla. We want to say how much we appreciate Miss Liz George and her team for all their hard work in putting these events together for our community.

Kelly Roger

Walla Walla

Return extra bond money to taxpayers

I don't know about other voters, homeowners, and property taxpayers in Walla Walla, but I just get "steamed" seeing pictures of the new transportation facility on the front page of the U-B and again in the Walla Walla Pulic Schools' newsletter. Looking at pictures of that new facility just reminds me, yet again, how the Walla Walla School District hoodwinks and abuses taxpayers.

To ask for so much more money than was needed in a bond to rebuild Edison (into a larger-than-needed, state-of-the-art, Cadillac school) and then surreptitiously use all the state matching money to fund some pet project that was not voter-approved is nothing short of dishonest.

But even beyond that, officials padded the bond so much they still had considerably more than a million dollars left over. And do they want to refund that to over-burdened taxpayers? No!

Now they want to use that to do other capital upgrades and repairs that were not voter-approved either. It just makes me fume.

When we can't trust local government, especially our school district, to act justly, openly and responsibly with taxpayer money, it is indeed a sad state of affairs! Upgrades and repairs may be needed.

Perhaps a new transportation facility is a great idea. None of that is the point. We didn't have a voice in deciding that.

To hear that Walla Walla Public Schools routinely over-budget bonds so state matching funds can be used for other needed projects doesn't make me feel better, but condemns their sneaky, back-door agendas all the more!

Most of us have some needed or valid upgrades in our own homes we'd be happy to spend someone else's money to complete, but we can't do that. Schools don't have carte blanche to spend taxpayer money in any way they see fit. That's why we have bond and levy elections. They provide some citizen input and checks and balances, but our Walla Walla School District short circuits the system and spends our money in devious ways.

My vote is for them to return the extra Edison millions to taxpayers, now, and in the future to be open and forthright with their proposals and to most certainly use the state matching funds to reduce our taxes as was its intent instead of fund un-approved projects.

Jan Piercy

Walla Walla

Most respect locker room privacy

"What have we come to, indeed?" - was the heading of a recent letter to the editor from an indignant individual complaining about overhearing (or eavesdropping) on a conversation in the YMCA men's locker room.

After losing a calf to a black bear, one of the participants of the conversation allegedly said he would like to "strap President Obama up next to the black bear," and apparently others who were actually part of the conversation "laughed in agreement."

Permit me a couple of observations:

The men's locker rooms in the YMCA are open bays in which it is impossible not to be overheard by others who are nearby talking in normal conversational volumes. Most men respect the privacy of these conversations whether or not they are actually taking part in them.

Occasionally someone will take the time (and have the courtesy) to come over and enter into an otherwise private conversation, up front and face-to-face, to register his point of view with the others.

It should be no surprise that men's locker room talk is, from time to time hyperbolic (I can't vouch for the women's locker room). The comments overheard and published by our letter writer in his letter were obviously of this nature. For heaven's sake, "strapping the president to a bear?" The Secret Service must have a SWAT team on the way to investigate this threat!

Unfortunately, the writer's inference that this represents "thinly veiled racism" is a charge now used so frequently and indiscriminately to discredit anyone who disagrees with Mr. Obama's policies and is, of course, the "cheapest coin of the realm."

As far as I am aware, the YMCA's core values do not attempt to censor political speech in the men's locker room. It probably would draw the line at lewd speech, however.

I believe that if the letter writer felt compelled to object to the conversation he was eavesdropping on, he should have had the courtesy to walk over to the participants and voice his displeasure directly or ignore it, rather than publishing snippets of private conversations of others in the local newspaper.

We all have an expectation of privacy, especially in a locker room; otherwise, why not have cell-phone pictures and audio/video from the locker rooms uploaded onto YouTube.

Ralph Rampton

Walla Walla

Support urged for Rea Culwell

I ask my fellow Columbia County residents to vote for Rea Culwell. She has done an excellent job, she is tough on crime and under budget.

She has the support of the Deputy Sheriff Association and many prosecutors. Her opponent is from the New Orleans area and his major supporter is a local defense attorney.

Rea grew up in the area and she and her husband farmed for many years and understands what is needed for our county.

Re-elect Rea or what kind of prosecutor will we have?

Mitchell K. Cooper

Dayton

Elect new Columbia Co. sheriff

I concur with Ron Kathren's letter: Mark Franklin is really the only viable choice for sheriff of Columbia County. The current sheriff is a nice man. No, he is a really, really nice man. But he lacks the skills needed for a modern department.

Whether it's not enforcing the no-smoking ban or the clown-like police vehicles, our five-man jail, 20 hours a day of deputy coverage, poor radios and even poorer procedures, then you must question his thinking.

Just this year he had to return an $80,000 grant simply because he forgot about it. Take this with the fact we have no full-time detectives to follow up on all the cases and you have a shallow department that is best known for setting speed traps.

The current system was great in the '50s, but it's outdated. This has made Columbia County sheriff's deputies the laughing stock of the state. It's time for a change. If the county needs more money to fund the changes, then I suggest we privatize the golf course.

Bud Mills

Dayton

Tell FEMA its flood map is wrong

You are being ripped off by your government, specifically FEMA. It knows the map it drew up was - and is - wrong.

Yet, FEMA is forcing it on Milton-Freewater and every other town in the United States situated on a stream or river. FEMA officials know there is a dike there and even with the damages it has it would be a trillion to one odds that the entire dike would be wiped out in the event of a flood.

When the dike was breached, it started down by Kilmer's and breached it in four places on one side and three places on the other. Water will run down a diked river inside the dike until its kinetic energy reaches a certain speed and then it starts whipping and will eventually breach the dike. It has already shown it will hold through the city and since then it was deepened, dikes were widened and raised.

So you can all roll over and let FEMA get away with this rip-off or you can tell it you won't stand for it. First call all the City Council persons and tell them to not approve the map. Force FEMA to come back and do it right.

The rates are supposedly going to start at $300 a year, but what will it be next year and the year after that? Officials have already said they will go up. Within three years your rate could be over $1,000 a year and the majority of the people in this town cannot afford that and could lose their homes. If you are one of those homeowners who will be paying $1,000-plus the first year your fee might be over $3,000 in three years.

The place to start is to tell the City Council to vote to not approve the flood map. Then call your state and federal representatives and tell them they need to tell FEMA it can't do this to the citizens of this country.

You are not the only people who it is happening to. Every town or city that is on a stream or river is going to get the same treatment. Be a role model for the rest of the United States. Say no!

James Burns

Weston

VA hospital, Highway 12 not pork

Can Dino Rossi really consider a new Department of Veterans Affairs health facility in Walla Walla, pork, a waste of money?

GIs suffer debilitating injuries, physical and mental, fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, and previously in Vietnam, Korea and World War II. Does Rossi really think it's a waste of money to offer our veterans the best medical care possible?

Sen. Patty Murray doesn't. If she had not fought for the Walla Walla VA it would have been shut down long ago. She has also supported other VA hospitals throughout Washington state. We should thank Patty!

Does Rossi really think making U.S. Highway 12 from Walla Walla to the Tri-Cities a four-lane highway is a waste of taxpayer dollars? Is he aware of the tragic death rate resulting from the two-lane highway? Or does he think saving money is more important than saving lives?

Luckily for us, Patty cares more about human life. Without her support, it's unlikely the federal government would have provided the needed funds to make the highway so much safer. Again, we should thank Patty!

Beth Call

Walla Walla

Make difference, have some fun

Have you ever wondered how to help your community and have fun too? If so, you may want to consider volunteering as a foster care family for the Blue Mountain Humane Society.

The Humane Society is always looking for foster families. The need for foster care is especially high in the early summer and mid-fall when it has high numbers of nursing mama cats.

There are lots of benefits to providing foster care. First, you get to spend lots of time with animals. There are many types of animals that may need foster care.

For example, almost all the time there is a need for foster care for cats and dogs, but sometimes animals like bunnies, chinchillas, ferrets and iguanas may need a temporary home, too.

Second, when you provide foster care the animals have a temporary home. Even if you can only help for a weekend, it is like a "vacation away" for dogs in the kennel.

Third, being a foster family is great for families with children. As a 9-year-old kid, I like it because I have gotten to know animals such as Snowball, Smeagol and Marshmallow the kittens; Poley the lonely puppy; Alphie the bunny; and Pupcorn, Pumpkin, Spot, Ghost, Spook, Bear, Peanut, Moose, Thunder, Boo, Velvet, Pirate and Keko, the family of 12 - yes, 12 - puppies we fostered.

My parents love fostering for the Humane Society because we get to experience all the fun of a new pet and playing with puppies and kittens without making any long-term commitments.

If you would like to volunteer as a foster family for the Blue Mountain Humane Society, simply give it a call and talk to Michelle Miller. It is always looking for great foster families with some extra love to share.

Rika Hinshaw

Walla Walla

Letters welcome

Our address is P.O. Box 1358, Walla Walla, WA 99362.

If possible, e-mail letters to letters@wwub.com.

Letters must be less than 400 words. The writer's name and city will be published.

But to be considered for publication, the letters must be signed and include the full address of the writer and a daytime telephone number. The address and phone number will be used for verification only.

All letters are subject to condensation.

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