OUR READERS' OPINIONS - 11/21/10

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Parents and police must do their jobs

I suppose we'll soon see the budget cuts affect the plan to increase traffic enforcement near schools.

It is hard to believe drivers would consider their personal needs to permit them to endanger children. The police certainly need to strictly enforce the rules of the road in school zones and neighboring areas - no warnings, just an expensive citation with an annotation on the license.

But children going and coming to school also engage in risky behavior. Here parents are those with ultimate responsibility. Watching children on skateboards and bikes blithely crossing streets or in the streets without looking around is truly frightening. Why parents think children can exercise good judgment when surrounded by their friends is beyond me.

And watching drivers talking on cell phones while driving children to and from school is even worse. Such behavior is stupid, illegal and engaging in it simply demonstrates the arrogance of the attitude, "I'm special. The law doesn't apply to me."

The police are the ultimate law enforcers, but parents are the ultimate educators. Both are needed to prevent injuries to students.

Dick Swenson

Walla Walla

Why not blast Fox News for its lies?

Regarding your critique of Keith Olbermann's monetary contributions to his favorite election candidates, I conclude it was inspired by your desire to cater to your predominately right-leaning readers.

As further proof may I ask why you have missed frequent opportunities to blast the evil lies told by the Fox News commentators, right-wing radio and dear ol' Sarah?

They are surely doing more harm to "We, the people" and the "American way of life" as so loudly trumpeted by their adoring supporters than a mistaken contribution to a few souls brave enough to run for office as Democrats.

Mike Petersen

Walla Walla

Election a repudiation of Obama agenda

The political commercials are over, and there are no more fliers in the mail to try to sway my vote. It truly was a waste of time trying to convince me which oval to black out. I knew the issues and I voted the first day I received my ballot in the mail.

We also received our daughter's ballot in her maiden name like we have for years. Each time I have sent it back with "does not live here" on it, but we get the ballot each time anyway. She also gets a ballot in her married name. What a great and fair system we have.

Leading up to the election there were all those endorsement letters in the newspaper that I didn't read, but I did read some that were biased toward one party or the other. People were angry and they expressed it in sometimes a very hateful way.

One letter published was amazing. The writer wrote in threatening the voters that if they voted for Republicans we would be going back to all those horrible days under Bush. He never once mentioned Congress was controlled by the Democrats for the last two years of Bush's presidency.

He talked about how bad the wars were but never mentioned that Obama didn't stop them like he said he would, or that Gitmo is still open after Obama said he would close it right away. He didn't talk about the back-room closed-door deals to shove a health-care bill down our throats when we didn't want it.

He never once mentioned the economy or the high unemployment. It was all about the same thing we have heard for two years. Blame Bush!

This election was a repudiation of the Obama agenda and if you try to spin it any other way, then you are dead wrong. Perhaps we could ask those 30 million people who had jobs two years ago if they would like to go back to the Bush days.

Beam them back Scotty!

Dan R. Clark

Walla Walla

Thoughts on taxes and the octopus

I want to commend Mr. Jones for pointing out how Main Street has been improved. I worked on Main Street for several years. I worked for Sears, Montgomery Ward and Electric Supply at Main and Colville streets.

There was Penney's, Sears, A M Jensen on those corners at that time. Sears moved to the Mall, Penney's moved to Kennewick, and Jensen became The Bon Marche, which is now Macy's. I thought we had a very good Main Street at that time, and I do not see that much improvement. It still looks the same, except for the name changes. I believe we should leave things as they are. Again I say, get off Main Street.

The city is having shortages and needs tax money, and are considering raising the property tax "only" 1 percent. Well, I called the assessor's office yesterday. At the present rate it will raise my tax burden over $99. So again, I am going to make a suggestion. All city employees will take home $5 less per week in salary to help alleviate this shortage. The department heads will "donate" $10 per week. That should not create any more havoc on those paychecks than it will for the elderly who will feel the brunt heavier than employed people. Then the business manager will "donate" $25 per week. This will hit everyone about evenly.

You can also quit the suit on the octopus. I heavily suggest you listen to opposition you have stirred up. Again, you made this ordinance, you have the option to amend it, or delete it. Get to work.

I mentioned listening, so I suggest if you cannot hear well go get a hearing aid. But then what enters that area of the ear has to be mulled over between them.

There is across the street (Main) a clock, and has been in use since I have been here. It's an advertising gimic and used by this merchant for a long time. Therefore I believe the mural is an advertising logo for this merchant. Wake up, if he makes a sale, you reap the tax. Let him do his business.

L.G. Valiante

Walla Walla

Prosecutor's integrity not in question

Recently a gang-related case received a great deal of coverage from your newspaper, and rightfully so. This case involved Jacihel Contreras taking a plea agreement that would allow the judge to sentence him from 17-22 years.

Having been one of the investigators involved in the case and having intimate knowledge of the details of the act perpetrated against the victims I felt compelled to speak at the change of plea, expressing my concern over the sentencing range failing to reflect the heinous nature of the crime.

I feel equally compelled to speak of the prosecutor who handled the case, Joe Golden.

Joe is a resourceful, intelligent prosecutor who possesses a genuine care about the victims and community whom he serves. He has a long history of aggressively prosecuting gang-related cases.

His professionalism is coupled with honor and I will continue to work with him to hold those who inflict egregious acts of violence accountable for their atrocities.

Although I had brought into question the sentencing range resulting from the deal, I have no questions regarding the integrity and ability of Deputy Prosecutor Joe Golden.

Kevin D. Bayne

Walla Walla

Save the Aviary

I appreciate The Center at the Park for stepping up to the plate by setting up a holding fund to help save the aviary! Now it is our turn up to bat by making donations to the Aviary so their surety bond is met.

Have you been planning to bequeath money for the Aviary in your estate? I have. Can you free up some funds for the aviary now? I have made a tax deductible, one-time donation to this project. If 54 others at least match that donation the $55,000 surety bond will be met. Donations of any amount would help meet the surety bond and the $100,000 two-year goal.

Do you have ideas for a long-term plan and funding for the Aviary? If so, please contact your City Council representative, the Parks and Recreation director or the city manager as soon as possible.

The great recession was slower to reach Walla Walla, but it did come. And it will pass. In spite of the recession, we as a community can hit a home run for the Aviary to keep it open and in tip-top shape for kids of all ages (including seniors and other adults, of course) to enjoy.

Donna Johannessen

Walla Walla

How about smaller parking spaces?

I have several ideas to address the downtown parking problem featured in Sunday's paper. I hope the Downtown Walla Walla Foundation's parking committee had some or all of these ideas in its full report, but your article did not mention them.

First, do away with most or all of the enormous parallel parking spots. Not all of us drive extended-cab F350s or limos. On First Avenue and along Alder Street, for example, you could probably fit four average cars into three painted spaces.

I have noticed some people ignoring the lines completely. We could leave a few large spaces or just paint them all small and let big vehicles go over the lines.

Second, make the angled spots narrower. Again, with the exception of a few types of cars (like Hummers), most cars have more than enough room on the sides.

Third, add more 15-minute spots or maybe some 30-minute spots to each block. Considering the other parking story on Sunday's front page, it makes sense to provide more spots for the people grabbing a coffee in the morning and running an errand or two in the afternoon. Quick stops don't seem to be the problem.

Fourth, give people an incentive to carpool (I know, I just lost some of you with that word) by making one of the downtown lots free, all-day parking if you have more than one person in your car. Maybe that's too liberal and Seattle-like for this town, but it might just work. At least it would still be free.

Personally, I almost never have a problem with parking in town. I guess that's because there are plenty of places to lock a bike.

Richard Sackett

Walla Walla

Ride bus to reduce parking problem

I can't help from commenting on the Sunday U-B front page article; (Too many cars, too few parking spots).

One of the most obvious options available to the citizens to help solve this problem is to ride the city bus system. That option was not mentioned.

The bus system is already in place, at the expense of the community. The parking garage would be millions in expense. Does that sound familiar to the scenario we have with the run- away spending?

Prior to my retirement from Baker Boyer Bank, I along with attorney Charlie Snyder, regularly rode on the bus. It was always warm to get on in the winter, and cool in the summer. In addition we avoided finding that limited parking space and in most cases, a shorter walk.

The drivers of the bus system were most accommodating and became valued personal friends. I had no problem with how I was perceived in riding the city bus.

Don Rosenbaum

College Place

Norsworthy's comments hit bull's-eye

Kudos to Ray Norsworthy (letters Nov. 15) for telling it like it is! I read and reread what he had written and wished everyone could have read it at least once.

I have never before seen a letter more to the point and say just what I have thought and believed for a very long time. One thing I might add is this next Congress plans to continue the tax break for companies to send their manufacturing, etc., outside the United States. How in the world (no pun intended) can we decrease the unemployment rates here if all the jobs are shipped overseas?

The difference between what these companies pay the people in those countries and what is paid in the U.S. is where they are making billions of dollars. Do we want our standard of living to match what it is in Bangladesh or Guatemala?

If so, we couldn't buy the products anyway and then where would they be? Buy made in the U.S.A.

Jane Samples

Walla Walla

Fitness guru worthy of being highlighted

Kudos to Sheila Hagar for last week's fabulous story on WorthFit Studio and entrepreneur/trainer/fitness guru Laura Angulo.

I am a huge fan, and I can't say enough about what Laura's classes are doing for me. I'm not getting any younger, but taking her kickboxing and weight training classes makes me feel - at least a little - like I'm not losing ground!

Praise to the U-B for sharing Laura's story; so nice to see local coverage of folks doing good things for others. I hope many of your readers will be curious enough to go check it out.

I'm sure they'll be happy with the results and have a lot of fun as they challenge themselves. Laura really knows her stuff and is very supportive. Since I started attending WorthFit classes in August I've lost 11 pounds.

But equally as important, I just feel stronger and more fit than ever, and age 50 has been in my rear-view mirror for a few years already! Feels great!

Ruth Wardwell

Walla Walla

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