OUR READERS' OPINIONS - 07/18/10

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Working longer tougher for laborers

Sounds like a great idea - since people are living longer let's raise the retirement age to 70 to salvage Social Security and Medicare!

How does that work for the hard working men and women who carry the nation, literally, on their backs? The carpenters, machinists, concrete workers, farmers, factory workers, loggers, roofers, dancers, floor nurses, heavy equipment operators, truckers, cooks, waitresses, symphonic musicians, janitors - the many who make their living using their bodies?

Yes, we live longer lives because there is less childhood disease, better nutrition, medications to control high blood pressure and cholesterol, and other factors; but not everyone makes their living talking for a living like our representatives and senators! Don't be silent - any other ideas?

Barbara Hetrick

Walla Walla

Jim Romine has experience in many areas

If you have had the opportunity to watch the Walla Walla County Sheriff's Office grow over the years to keep up with changes in society and the corresponding changes in law enforcement one could understand how government really grows.

Before moving into Walla Walla, my wife and I lived in Burbank and Jim Romine was the local deputy. He was always available any time of the day or night and made it known to Burbank citizens that this was the case.

In larger jurisdictions there are more people to rely on to get the job done but it's hard to believe that someone could come from a large police department and expect to be an effective sheriff of a small county. There is far greater opportunity and need to "specialize" in a larger department, whether it be robbery, drugs, vice or gangs. We're looking at totally different environments.

Jim Romine has experience in all areas. Many nights Jim would be the only deputy on duty for the whole county. Communication wasn't as advanced as it is today and in areas of the county there was no communication whatsoever. This holds true today.

Jim started the canine unit on his own time and money. He had the forethought to get extra help with very little output of budget.

Jim has written and been awarded many grants for the Sheriff's Office to the benefit of all. Look at what Jim has done with the county jail. Because of his experience coming up through the ranks, he has learned the ropes and how to get things done.

Of the three candidates, the one who will provide Walla Walla County with premium protection and service is Jim Romine.

Bob Sack

Walla Walla

Enough about experience, fairness of ‘good ol' boys'

Oh, come now! I've read and heard about the experiences and fairness of the "good ol' boys" just about long enough. Let's inject some truths into who's best qualified.

First, let's determine a few things about what has and hasn't happened in sometime.

Do the "good ol' boys" park, hide, point their radar guns at local drivers who may possibly be going one to six miles over the speed limit? Heck yes!

Do some act and talk like judge and jury when they stop you? Heck yes!

Do they list their names and positions in the various law enforcement departments when they become overly biased in their pressures to convince voters who to vote for? Heck yes!

Do they "gang up" on a very considerate, fair-minded coroner who's done an excellent job for Walla Walla County shortly before campaign and election time?

The answer is the same ... Heck yes!

This didn't arise by coincidence. Three different officers from three different departments? They absolutely got together one or more times to "gang up" on Frank Brown (a guy who is severely underpaid for his work ethic) and by "coincidence," a relative of one of the "good ol' boys" decides to run for coroner during that same time span? Let the voters decide!

Let's consider what we feel they should have prioritized and perhaps accomplished before now. Go after the "criminals," you know ... the gangs! What is it, the 14th Street Society of punks and others? Yes, they've made some arrests and some convictions. Have they eradicated the gangs or come close? Heck no!

The gangs have started shooting up houses and people. They are dealing drugs. They preach contempt for the well being of others. There are other priorities to consider also.

I have met another candidate who has vast experience including war-zone duties, gang-control experience, years of police experience, including narcotics, and a top-secret security clearance.

I appreciate the time spent discussing these topics July 4 at the Park with John Turner and I'm going to vote for him.

By the way, I'm extremely pleased I voted for John Lohrman, common-sense plus.

Robert Phillips

College Place

Air passengers must take responsibility

So people missed a flight out of Walla Walla. It may be time for some people in Walla Walla to take personal responsibility when flying.

The airline tells passengers to arrive 90 minutes before the flight. Passengers are told to proceed through security. If passengers followed those simple steps they would make the flight.

Yes - they would make the flight not "may" make the flight. But now the Port of Walla Walla wants to "badmouth" Horizon Air because some individuals feel they are special and don't need to follow airline or security rules.

If people miss a flight due to their own irresponsibility then the burden is theirs. Mr. Jantz is wrong if the airline tapes show late arrivals and people not going directly through security. I say he is wrong because Horizon Air has a schedule, the employees have many jobs to do to get the plane safely off and security can't just rush late arrivals through. It is simple to arrive at the airport 90 minutes early, go directly to check-in and proceed directly through security. Then you will be able to make your flight.

I don't want to be late to my connections because irresponsible people can't follow rules. It is high time they are left holding the bag. In addition I have always found Horizon, Alaska and other airlines helpful and bending over backwards to accommodate my needs if an error was on their part.

I have seen Horizon accommodate people who don't follow rules for security or get to the airport on time in Walla Walla nearly every time I fly. This is a small airport so the check-in employee is also the person who unloads luggage, loads luggage, loads handicap persons and de-ices the airplane for your safety.

Bill Wolford

Walla Walla

Simplify, don't complicate, traffic patterns

It is obvious the new wave of highway engineers did not grow up in the days of simplicity. Apparently they think the way to solve a problem is to complicate it.

The triple roundabout complex at Myra Road and U.S. Highway 12 intersection is ridiculous in itself, but the situation elevates to horror when a person considers the mind-boggling layout of interchanges at Burbank, Highway 12 and Highway 124.

In July 9 Union-Bulletin coverage of Highway 12 alterations is a twelve point list of how to navigate a roundabout (I know how to navigate roundabouts and understand their goal in maintaining flow.) I am staggered by the pomposity of point No. 2. Whereas perhaps half of the incoming traffic is unfamiliar with their destinations and how to get there, how can they choose a proper lane before entering a roundabout? Remember, there are three roundabouts interconnected at the Highway 12-Myra Road junction.

Choosing a lane and maintaining it seems simple, until your car is in competition with a long-haul truck. Can a truck-trailer rig negotiate a roundabout?

Perhaps the following information will be "too much" for an engineer's brain, but here it is:

The accidents on Highway 12 have been caused by "impeding" the flow, due to cross-traffic intersections.

If the main flow (Highway 12) is not impeded, the vehicles will not crash!

Curing the situation can be done by overpassing the lesser highway. For example, Highway 12/Highway 124 at Burbank. Building a ramp to take Highway 124 over Highway 12 and having on and off ramps on both sides of Highway 12 will maintain "through" traffic and take potential impeding traffic off to the side, where it will be anticipated. A "diamond" pattern of on and off ramps.

The concept of roundabouts is good, until one vehicle does not know which lane to flow into and hesitates or stops, impeding traffic, including accidents. I suppose engineers' hopes are that roundabout accidents will be at a lesser speed.

Maintain Highway 12 flow. Take "entering' and "leaving" traffic off to the side. Simplify the patterns, do not complicate them. The proposed interchanges impede traffic flow and confuse drivers.

Al Johnson

Walla Walla

Glenn Beck may be Obama's Waterloo

President Obama's megalomaniacal view of himself invites Churchill's quip regarding pompous Sir Stafford Crips: "There but for the grace of God goes God."

Obama proclaimed "judge me by the people I surround myself with." You know them - Chicago political grads, 39 ultra-radical czars, wealthy radical backers, aggressive union bosses and power-starved congressional leaders.

Obama's ominous campaign promise to "transform America" was misinterpreted by most Americans. His "change" meant overthrow to a socialist/Marxist state. We are 19 months into it. Several phases are accomplished: Ramming through Obamacare, seizing financial and business assets, expanding federal land to lock out drilling and mining, closing Yucca Mountain to deny new nuclear plants, expanding regulation and placing independent czars in charge of sectors. It includes protecting Freddie and Fannie, Frank and Dobbs, the culprits who started the financial crisis; and expanding those dependent upon government.

Obama wants to seal the overthrow using massive programs passed during the "lame duck" session to beat the Jan 3, 2011, deadline. They include climate control, carbon taxes, card check, VAT, championing illegal immigrants for Mexican votes, etc.

His desperation shows when he bypassed Democrat leadership naming super-liberal Donald "Death Panel" Berwick as czar of Obamacare. Berwick claims England's socialized medical services are better than in the United States

His quotes: "The decision is not whether or not we will ration care - the decision is whether we will ration with our eyes open.

"Any health-care funding plan that is just, equitable, civilized, and humane must, must redistribute wealth from the richer among us to the poorer and the less fortunate. Excellent health care is by definition redistributional."

Say goodbye to America's flawed but finest health care!

Obama's shallowness surfaces as anger whenever his positions are challenged. Questioners are handpicked and coached. Speeches are read. Responsibility terrifies him and he abdicates major problems and responsibility to others. He handles small problems contradicting himself using the eraser "on the other hand" to endorse both sides of arguments.

Beyond my comprehension are millions of Americans wearing blinders in a parallel state of political willful ignorance. Out of sight, out of mind. That is childish. Face facts. America needs you. Join the fight.

Obama's Waterloo may be Glenn Beck, who shakes politics seismically. Beck exposes deceit, crimes, lies, ignoring the Constitution, Bill of Rights and law then challenges Obama to prove him wrong.

Beck's lie detector - the Red Phone - never rings.

William L. Kelly

Walla Walla

Get entire Highway 12 project done now

Congratulations to the state of Washington and everyone responsible for the new eight miles of four-lane highway on the outskirts of Walla Walla. This will save lives and give motorists peace of mind as they drive over this much improved highway.

It was the result of years of effort to stem the loss of human life and injury by the people of Walla Walla.

On the other side of the coin, I saw a recent article in the Tri-City Herald about the different phases of highway construction for the remaining 22 miles of four-laning between here and Tri-Cities. One state highway official predicted it would be a decade before completion. Outrageous, ridiculous and absurd.

Local, state and federal officials need to fund the entire segment of highway with the next several years instead of breaking the project into five-and-a-half mile segments. It already cost $56 million for the eight-mile segments. It will cost an enormous amount as we fund each of those small segments because of rising highway costs.

Members of Congress need to get off their rear ends and get to work. I've been commuting on this dangerous highway for more than 14 years. It's about time lawmakers fund the entire project instead of dragging it out for another decade.

James Hackett

Walla Walla

Capt. White is sound choice for sheriff

All the glowing, resplendent adjectives used to describe Walla Walla County Sheriff candidate John Turner are beyond words!

Having viewed hundreds of performance evaluations during my four decades plus of military service as an NCO, warrant and commissioned officer in two different branch of the armed forces, I was repulsed to see the same pattern of "fluff" being utilized in describing a sheriff candidate for an elected office.

What are the qualifications and professional knowledge required as to demographic and logistics in coping with the myriads of personnel, field and administrative processes of rural county law enforcement? Comparing LAPD to Walla Walla County Sheriff's Office operation is quite absurd as is the comparison of some opinionates, relative to the import of a city manager, education superintendents and a music teacher as being of similar type transistion.

There is by comparison no commonality with effective law enforcement and quality personnel management, other than perhaps personnel utilization. What have those imported administrators, mentioned in various issues of the U-B opinions, accomplished to date, of any significance? Has local crime been reduced? Is Wa-Hi producing world-class musicians as in the past?

Has our education system reached minimum standards? As a former member of an empirical police force, with numerous levels of decision making, how does Mr. Turner plan to implement his objectives to improve his department? Will the deputy cadre be required to transition the newly elected sheriff until he is fully familiar with his area and duties of command?

Reviewing the qualifications of each candidate, I am fully satisfied with Bill White's straight-forward, conservative approach and his philosophy for an effective department with his actual experiences as qualifications for the position. If life experience has not taught me anything different, the damaging effects of "fluff" can "hood-wink" some, but long range, could have a profound effect on the unaware.

During brief contacts with Capt. White, I was quite appreciative of his humble approach to a solution without my experiencing feelings of total inadequacy. Your consideration for Capt. White for sheriff of Walla Walla County would be a wise and sound decision.

Reuben T. Tsujimura

Walla Walla

Jim Romine is better qualified

Jim Romine should be the next Walla Walla County sheriff. He has the leadership skills the job needs, and I've been in a position to know because I've worked with him in three different settings.

From 1974-1979 I was a reserve College Place police officer. Jim was a patrol deputy, and we often backed each other up. In those days officers were spread pretty thin, and you felt good if your backup was Jim Romine.

He was serious about doing a good job, always professional and used excellent judgment. From 1971 to 1999 I worked at the penitentiary, retiring in 1999 as a lieutenant. Jim became commander of the jail in 1998, so I'd see him when I escorted inmates to the jail or court. Jim was smart and security minded.

I was work crew supervisor for the jail from 2003 to November 2009. Jim was always supportive as my supervisor. He backed us 100 percent.

Jim listened to us if we said someone was causing trouble on work crew or wasn't suitable for the crew. He has a good understanding of criminal thinking and can read people well. He's always seen things most other people don't notice. Jim thinks ahead, and he treats everyone with respect.

In a way it's too bad he's been running the jail for 12 years because it means some of the younger patrol officers haven't had a chance to be trained/mentored by him. But, by having been jail commander, Jim knows how much liability can go with being responsible for the safety, medical and psychosocial needs of the inmates.

He knows how important it is to keep the public safe by working with the Walla Walla and College Place police departments and the federal agencies.

I don't have anything against the other candidates. I can just see that Jim Romine is better qualified. We need to elect him.

Richard Streck

Walla Walla

Frenchdown history should be preserved

Our communities have a great opportunity to increase cultural understanding as well as tourism through the opening of the Frenchtown Historic Site two miles west of the Whitman Mission.

The Frenchtown Historical Foundation hopes to open the 27 acres around the Frenchtown Cemetery where the Battle of Walla Walla was fought in 1855 and the St. Rose Mission was established in 1876 if it can raise an additional $20,000.

The foundation has just received title to the property from Alfalfa, LLC, along with a contingent $55,000 grant from the Sherwood Trust that requires it to sign construction contracts and raise the balance of its $105,000 project budget before the end of the year. Only $20,000 remains.

Frenchtown is important because it tells the story of the first European settlement in the area by French Canadian employees of the Hudson Bay Company and their Indian wives more than a decade before the Whitmans arrived in 1836. The different relationship of the French Canadians and their Mtis or "mixed" children with the local tribes as well as the dramatic battle with Oregon Volunteers, in which Walla Walla Chief Peopeopmoxmox was killed, are important additions to our history to be interpreted at this significant site on the state historic register.

The foundation's plans call for the October construction of a driveway, parking area, walking trails and interpretive signage on the site, all of which has been planted to native grasses providing important habitat for birds and other wildlife.

The Frenchtown Historical Foundation is a charitable preservation organization to which contributions are tax deductible. We invite you to help us complete this project for the protection and interpretation of a site that is sacred to people from a variety of cultures, and important for all of our history. Our website is frenchtownpartners.org .

Claro Bergevin

Walla Walla

Give Democrats the boot in Oregon

Probably the biggest mistake the people of Oregon could make would be to pass a sales tax.

Our present Legislature and governor have raised the budget 46 percent in the last two budgets. Really the Democratic legislators and the Democratic governor have raised the budgets even when the unemployment rate was going up and the jobs were disappearing.

They added thousands of state jobs as the private jobs were disappearing. The foreclosures in this state have been going up dramatically as we lose our banks and see private business leaving this state and taking more jobs with them.

We have watched the Democratic legislators and the governor spending money like drunken sailors on their first shore leave. This last session they raised the tax bill for every family in this state. Every tax, every license, every fine, every fee was raised and more of each was added.

Now I like to see our highways clean and safe, but $6,000 for littering is a little much when we only fine drunken drivers $1,500.

What we need is to see a bunch of Democrats in November get the boot. Send them home. But make sure their replacements understand if the knife does not come out and cut and slash the pork from this state's budget they will get the boot the next go-round.

A sales tax would only allow them to spend more, more, more. Get smart people, your last chance to save this state and this country is to change course because the one we are on right now with the Democrats is heading for the worst depression this world will ever see.

Give the ex-governor, Kitzhaber, the boot also, he did the pay-off-debt-with-debt game while he was governor. It would only be more of what we have had for the last eight years with Kulengoski.

James Burns

Weston

Well, at least weeping birch not crying

Just in case anyone is interested in the continuing saga of the tree trimmers versus our trees, here's an update.

Last Wednesday, the tree trimmers, also called tree contractors, stopped by our place to trim our weeping birch. We were told the trimming would be minimal. My brother and I were concerned that "minimal" has a different meaning to the tree contractors than it does to us.

From our perspective, any amount of trimming on our trees is too much. Still, we understand that power lines must be kept clear. Our weeping birch is close to the power lines so trimming must occur. We just want it done as respectfully and carefully as possible.

We still cringe when we look at the stumps that used to be our fir and spruce trees!

So, did the trimming process turn out to be a nightmare? Actually, it wasn't. Well, if the weeping birch could talk, it might have a different opinion! But for us, the experience was better than we feared it would be.

The two tree trimmers were very courteous. They took the time to explain what was necessary. They patiently listened while we communicated our concerns, and shared the painful feelings we still have over losing two trees. The contractors may not have tender feelings for trees, but I think they understand that our trees have sentimental value to us.

My brother and I closely watched the trimming process. To be fair, I must say that it was a minimal trim, even though every falling branch made me cringe. When the trimming was done, the branches went into the chipper. The contractors left no mess.

Our weeping birch looks … well, not bad. Branches are gone, but the tree doesn't look butchered. Of course, we'll keep an eye on it for any signs of distress. I hope and pray we don't lose it some day.

If my wish could be granted, power lines would be underground. Not only would this save trees, and their owners, from the stress of repeated trimmings, but would keep lines safe during storms. I know, too expensive. Maybe some day. In the meantime, I wistfully echo the words of the poet, George Pope Morris ... "Woodman, spare that tree! Touch not a single bough!"

Roberta Bardsley

Walla Walla

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