School district's open process appreciated

I felt fortunate to have been invited, as every community member was, to take part in the hiring of the new superintendent.

What an opportunity. By spending only 4.5 hours, I could actually weigh-in on the candidates for one of the most important jobs in Walla Walla! I took advantage of it and was I impressed!

The process was totally open, except for the allowable School Board executive sessions. There was not just lip service to "transparency" (not my favorite word but much used).

There truly was access, openness and participation. I applaud the School Board, district staff and community selection committee volunteers for those exhaustive but critical days of questions, answers, discussions, references and contributions from myriad audiences.

Most of all, I appreciate they considered my opinion at every turn. I regret there were not hundreds of community opinions for their consideration but urge each of you, now that a selection has been made, to get to know Mick Miller.

Welcome him. Share your dreams for our students and your concerns about the district with him as he takes on the enormous challenge of leading a school district of our size in tough times.

Cindy Widmer

Walla Walla

Reach out to ‘prisoners of conscience'

March 21 marked the beginning of Naw Ruz, the Baha'i new year. For centuries Persians have celebrated Nowruz with a meal of seven dishes whose names each begin with the letter ‘S.' The dishes represent life-rebirth, health, happiness, prosperity, joy, patience and beauty.

In acknowledgment of this significant, hopeful holiday Amnesty International has suggested we participate in sending cards of seasons greetings to seven cases of "prisoners of conscience" currently being held for reasons that are in direct conflict with accepted international law. Amnesty International considers these prisoners as "individuals at risk," and therefore in need of worldwide attention.

I have previously mentioned the seven leaders of the Iranian Baha'i community who have now been held without trial for nearly two years. According to a letter from Amnesty International, Iranians from six other areas of endeavor have been added to this year's list.

Brothers Arash Alaei and Kamiar Alaei are doctors who specialize in the prevention and treatment of HIV and AIDS. Mansour Ossanlu is the leader of the Union of Workers of the Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company. Ronak Safarzadeh is an Iranian Kurdish graphic artist and women's rights activist. Emadeddin Baghi is a prominent Iranian journalist and human-rights defender. Kian Tajbakhsh is a 47-year-old social scientist who taught urban policy at the New School University in New York. Shiva Nazar Ahari is a member of the Committee of Human Rights Reporters.

Amnesty International has asked that we send seasons greeting cards to these individuals. Take a look at Amnesty's Web site at amnestyusa.org. It provides more information regarding this campaign as well as specific addresses and contact information regarding the individual prisoners.

It's important to remember that political comments could be detrimental to the prisoners' welfare, but notes of well-wishing at this time could be very reassurring and helpful.

Todd Oleson

Walla Walla

Rob McKenna showed guts

Chris Gregoire and Barack Obama do what they want with no regard for the wishes of the citizens. Unfortunately, the governor and the president have a loyal band of yes men and women who also have no regard for the wishes of the citizens.

We citizens are too smart to swallow the hook, line and sinker that Gregoire and Obama have cast upon the water. So, the determined duo is going to shove their tax increases and forced health care down our throats.

Fortunately, there is Washington state Attorney General Rob McKenna, who is joining with attorneys general from other states to fight Obama's unconstitutional health-care fiasco.

Poor Chris Gregoire is beside herself with indignation that McKenna has not only joined the lawsuit, but didn't consult with her first. In regard to McKenna, Gregoire says, "I don't know who he represents. He doesn't represent me."

Well, bring out the violins! Gregoire not only doesn't consult with us, she totally disregards the wishes we've made known with our votes! I have news for the governor - she doesn't represent us! I think it's only fair that Chris should get a taste of her own medicine!

I applaud Rob McKenna. Times like this call for men and women with intestinal fortitude, otherwise known as guts. But don't confuse guts with what Gregoire and Obama have, which is a lot of nerve!

Roberta Bardsley

Walla Walla

Obama got socialist bill he wanted

Well I guess the president and his party have finally shown us what he meant by change, and what a change it is.

The president has signed a bill into law that was approved assuming amendments would be added. They say the bill will be amended but think about this: They could send amendments to the bill to the president to sign but all he has to do is veto them and he will get the so-called health-care reform he wants.

And believe it, this was the bill he wanted, not the one he said it would be. This is the first step to single-payer health care that he said he wanted.

So now the government will set the rules for insurance providers that will eventually run them out of business due to the fact they will have to raise their rates, which will cause people to leave them and take the rationed-but-free government plan.

And if you don't have insurance, the IRS will collect a penalty fee from you. Sounding like socialism to you yet?

Well it should since they did all of this even when people said they did not want this to happen.

So now we have a social program that the country doesn't have the money to pay for. Well, with control of the health-care system, banks and business they have three of the 10 pillars of communism done. Which one will they go after next?

Something to think about I guess.

Greg Laughery


Build new pastoral leadership

This letter is not really directed to you, dear editor. Nor is it directed to the millions of priests, bishops and cardinals around the world, nor to the pope himself. Instead, I speak to the billions of faithful over the centuries who have allowed their children to be raped by those entrusted to their care.

Let's not mince words; this is not "child abuse" - it is criminal, plain and simple. There is no society anywhere, civilized or not, that allows its children to be taken and laid out upon its altars (or behind them, or under them?) - other than one: The papacy and the hierarchy upon which it sits.

Where is your outrage, mothers and fathers? Where is your demand that the screaming voices of your young boys be answered? When will you see that the evil in all of this is not the pedophiles you ordain, but rather the very institution itself to which they claim wedlock?

Jesus does not speak to such monsters with his words of "Father, forgive them, for they know now what they do." Instead, He condemns those who offend any child - "It is better for him that a millstone be hung around his neck, and he be drowned in the depths of the sea."

It is time for your Body of Christ to wrench and gag and vomit and cleanse itself of the curse within.

Don't throw out the bums - they will simply find other victims. Put them in prison where others of like persuasion will show them what it's like to be a victim child or dispatch them to the bottom of the sea.

And then start anew to build a system of pastoral leadership that is directly responsible to you, and one that takes seriously its call to lead you through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, instead of preying there upon your children.

John P. Junke Sr.

Walla Walla

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