John Turner is county's best hope
The message Mr. Harris sends in his letter ("Support either White or Romine for sheriff") rings loud and clear: Unless you are part of the "good ol' boys club" of Walla Walla, you are not qualified to be sheriff.
After my retirement from a 30-year career in the U.S. Navy, I had intended to come back home to Walla Walla and run for office myself. I guess it is good that I now have a federal job preventing me from seeking office (due to the Hatch Act) because, according to Mr. Harris, I would not be qualified.
What is really at play here is his fear of breaking down the barriers he has hidden behind so long, that it is only he and his "brothers in law enforcement," who have had their careers strictly in Walla Walla, who have a right to the office of sheriff.
The office of sheriff is an elected position, not appointed as is the chief of police. This process is supposed to ensure that the sheriff remains directly responsible to the citizens of the county and protects them from undue political influence. When the sheriff is subject to political whims of others, such was done recently in conspiring with others, including the chief of police and the county commissioners, to tarnish a good man's name and reputation in that of Coroner Frank Brown (who just happened to support John Turner), then it is a sign for change.
Electing either White or Romine would mean more of the same "good ol' boy" mentality, much to the public's detriment. Mr. Harris insinuates that John Turner lacks experience and commitment.
One only needs to review John's resume to see he has more experience in all areas of the law than any other candidate: A police officer for one of the largest police forces in the country; a police attorney working in the administration, civil, and criminal areas of the law; a 15-month voluntary deployment to Iraq embedded with the U.S. Army as a counter-terrorism law expert; and a successful businessman in Walla Walla County.
It is obvious that John has committed himself to not only his family, but to his country and the police profession. John Turner is unequivocally this county's best hope to make the Sheriff's Office free once again from political influence.
Rodeos are out-dated barbaric sideshows
The world famous Pendleton Round-Up is about to start again soon and I have a few things that I think are worth mentioning about all rodeos in particular.
Animals used in rodeos are not wild or mean and they are not naturally able to buck on demand.
Wild animals, obviously, are not bred, fed or held in captivity to be used specifically for the entertainment industry. In fact, I don't think many people would endorse an event that advertised capturing free roaming herds of wild mustangs or the like to be used and abused for profit. Although many semi-domesticated horses and cattle are injured and killed in rodeos every year, it is not considered abuse - it is considered wholesome family entertainment.
A mean animal will not tolerate being touched. When I was a kid, the only part of the rodeo I liked was being able to pet the bulls in the holding pens. They would willingly come to the gate for a good scratch on the neck and some gentle affection.
These so-called "wild and mean" animals were not "born to buck." Behind the scenes, their tails are pulled, sensitive groins are tightly cinched and electric prods are often used to hurt and anger them to the point that they will eventually buck and entertain the awaiting crowd.
To learn more about this out-dated barbaric sideshow, go to youtube and type in "Showing Animals Respect and Kindness." You will find videos from a very informative viewpoint - which includes footage of the Pendleton Round-Up - rather than the glorified famous version we all have grown up with.
John Turner is most qualified candidate
Recently, through a United States military operation utilizing law enforcement officers, I became acquainted and developed a professional and personal relationship with John Turner.
During this time, I spent many hours working with John. I met his family and gained insight into the man that has spent his life serving others.
As a police officer for 36 years and captain of police for 26 assigned to the Criminal Investigation Command of the Houston Police Department, I have written many letters of recommendation.
Many of John's professional associates will write recommendation letters for him depicting his integrity, honor, courage, loyalty and professionalism so necessary and required to serve the public. Possibly other candidates attempting to become sheriff of Walla Walla County will provide similar letters. At some point, the typical letter of recommendation loses the impact of what the person truly represents. For that reason, I will address only two issues concerning John Turner.
After multiple years in any profession, it is common to state that person has countless years of experience. The question readily becomes, "Do you have many years of experience or year upon year of the same one-year experience?"
John Turner's resume reflects that throughout his adult life he has expanded his knowledge and expertise and is always improving himself in new environments and job challenges. From his beginning as a small-town police officer, to the Los Angeles Police Department, to a practicing attorney and recently serving with the United States military, John's experience enables him to bring a vast knowledge and proficiency to law enforcement and the citizens of Walla Walla County.
He has worked with all manner of people in many different settings, addressing important issues and at times in exigent circumstances. John Turner's diversity and work productivity make him the most qualified candidate.
In the law enforcement community, there is an old axiom communicated among officers to determine a man's value and merit. "If you had to go through a door and you did not know what was on the other side, would you want him to be with you?" When you consider John, the answer is always, yes, without a doubt. Any officer would feel safe and proud to have John with him or leading the way through any door or the challenge of being sheriff.
I encourage citizens to vote for John Turner. In the near future, when you have the most professional police agency in Washington state, you will be glad you did.
The robot cardiologist
This is a real news and I'm a little bit shocked because I'm not sure what to think about it.
I have gotten the chance to actually chat with one of the schedulers for the robot cariologist at Orofino Clearwater Hospital in Idaho.
Believe it or not, this "automated thing" is, sort of, a specialist in cardiology. After about two years of experiments, officials finally started using it on real patients starting March 2010.
The robot does cardiology follow-ups. The specialist is actually in another city. The robot is able to take the vitals and monitor the heart beat. The scheduler said that it works well.
So, the doctor gets the message from the robot and based on that message he then orders labs, medication changes or tests. The thing is that the heart is one of the most important muscles of the body and it seems hard to believe that it could be just checked by a robot. Most of the patients actually don't quite get they are going to see a robot instead of the doctor and they just get surprised at the time of the appointment.
Other patients ask: "Am I really going to see a robot?"
"Yes," the scheduler replies with confidence. The patient is not sure of what's going on but at last they will say: "All right, then, I'll see the robot on such and such date and time." The patient is now scheduled but to me, it still sounds a little bit strange.
Pacific Power's ‘tree maintenance' creates tension
It's that time again. The familiar "Tree Maintenance Notice" slips are showing up on doorknobs around town. My brother and I got ours on Monday. Tree trimmers are on the way again. To put it bluntly ... we aren't happy!
OK, let me make it clear that my brother and I understand the need to keep the power lines clear. We know the bad consequences of limbs and branches coming in contact with the lines. No argument there. What upsets us is the way the "pruning" is done!
About 40 years ago, my brother planted two little trees, a spruce and a fir. As the years went by, they grew to be beautiful trees, giving shade to the yard, and providing shelter and sanctuary to squirrels and birds. We loved those trees.
As the trees grew taller, the frustrating inevitable happened. Power lines and trees competed for space. So, the trimmers came around. Our spruce tree was topped. Our fir tree was not only topped, but was then pruned so that it had a V-shape. The trimmers call this "proper pruning."
Of course, this all happened over a period of years, and every time the trees were pruned, they looked worse!
The pruning is supposed to be "healthier" for the trees. Our trees were never healthy again. They began to die. Their appearance could be called comical, but what happened to them isn't the least bit funny!
This April, we had the trees taken down. Sad, but far better than watching their slow-but-sure death. And now, we get to look forward to yet another pruning session. This time, the object is our weeping birch. It's been through the pruning process before. It looks distressed.
I know Pacific Power is trying to prevent dangerous problems. I know that the tree trimmers are part of that prevention. I also know that we lost two dear, beautiful trees, and may lose a third down the line.
I've been told the upcoming trimming of our weeping birch will be light and minimal.
My brother and I will be watching very carefully. We want our weeping birch to be treated with respect. We'll see what happens. I may have to write another letter!