OUR READERS' OPINIONS - 10/03/10

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Lighten up - leave octopus mural alone

Every city is represented publicly by characteristics that become part of its culture and reputation. Walla Walla is no different. As a lifelong bird lover, I was totally impressed by Walla Walla's status as "a sanctuary for birds," as posted on Wilbur Avenue off U.S. 12.

I was enthusiastic about the bird sanctuary in Pioneer Park before I arrived in the area in 2006. I loved the Inland Octopus store as an eclectic and colorful piece of the culture of Walla Walla, and I was deeply impressed with the restoration and promotion of the historic downtown.

In no way do I believe the city has any right to dictate removal of a piece of art such as has been painted on the Inland Octopus store, as is being discussed. This city seems often to take itself too seriously. This whimsical painting will potentially create more interest in the downtown area and should be applauded as adding character to the city.

I find it ironic that this issue should even arise in a community that is rather rabid about government involvement as unacceptable when it strikes at individual liberties. It is also obviously a politically generated intervention that is just plain unfair and ill-founded.

I am deeply concerned about the potential closure of the aviary in Pioneer Park. Though I don't live in Walla Walla, I visit the park on a regular basis, taking pictures of the aviary birds and flowers. People of all ages enjoy seeing the birds in a natural environment.

The aviary offers a rich educational experience to visitors. Another solution can be found - if you look for it. Visitors will contribute if they knew it's necessary. There are precious few places and events for families to enjoy in this area, and especially if they do not have much disposable income.

Walla Walla has so much to offer. The octopus on the "Octopus" poses no threat or insult to anyone. It adds uniqueness and color to downtown Walla Walla. The aviary in Pioneer Park enhances residents lives and increases Walla Walla's appeal.

Please, let's lighten up on what's appropriate downtown, and loosen the budget to keep an important community resource intact!

Peggy A. Jennings

Touchet

Fort Walla Walla Museum a source of pride

At least once each week as a volunteer at Fort Walla Walla Museum, I meet the tour buses that bring 60 to 100 tourists from cruise ships that ply the Columbia and Snake rivers.

Through each year, they arrive from every state and many different countries. This year we have seen several visitors from New Zealand, the German father and his teenage sons who were fascinated with the history of European immigration to this country, a retired South African orchardist and Texans who know that the breezeway of our Ransom Clark Cabin is called a "dog trot" or "dog run" in their part of the south and that former President Lyndon Johnson's home was built that way.

Beyond having an inspiring time talking with these interesting people, I end each experience bursting with pride as a result of their impressions of our community's primary museum. Our new entry hall and exhibit galleries amazes them.

They tell us our pioneer settlement is impressive, particularly since all the buildings are actual, well-preserved structures from within 20 miles of the museum and not simply more replicas they've seen elsewhere. Most wonderful of all, these museum-savvy visitors say we have "the best museum we have ever seen," it is the "best laid out and organized," they don't have enough time to absorb it all, and that "Walla Walla should be very proud to have accomplished this."

I hear these and similar comments over and over each time they arrive. Local folks have until Oct. 31 when the museum's regular visitation season ends to see our wonderful new building, though I know the staff is discussing the possibility of remaining open on a limited basis in November and December. Visitors might find an ancestor's name embroidered on the World War I-era Red Cross quilt. They can see the breathtaking gowns worn by some pioneer women, as well as the Lewis and Clark diorama, the 1880s American flag that once flew over Fort Walla Walla Army post, and so much more.

That's just a part of what you'll see here; there are four more large exhibit halls filled with wonderous things from the region's past. It won't take you long to see why we have so much reason to be proud.

Vi Jones

Walla Walla

Flowery speeches on Islam are propaganda

I read with interest the article appearing in the Sept. 20 edition of the U-B titled "Muslims: Americans may worship where they please." The referred-to discussion groups are for the process of breaking down the resistance to the construction of the ground zero mosque.

Their talk and flowery speeches will present the portions of worship they know will be acceptable to Americans. In reality it will be propaganda or a filibuster stage.

This is a childish accusation of "you can do it, why can't we?" The implication is all worshipers are American citizens. Immigration officials can give you data on illegal Muslim people who also are trying to get into the U.S. through all four of our borders.

The key words and phrase in the article are "tolerance" and "ethnic bigotry." Both are, again, statements of accusations to break down resistance and impose guilt on the listeners. However, Peter Hammond's book " Slavery, Terrorism and Islam: The Historical Roots and Contemporary Threat," gives a different slant of what happens when resistance is broken down and the Islamic lifestyle is allowed to grow in opposition to the invaded (country/community) culture and its order of law. It shows a direct, paralleling, relationship between the percentage increase of Muslim growth and atrocious acts perpetrated against the people of the host country or community.

The "National Week of Dialogue" and "open houses at mosques to promote understanding" again serve to impress visitors of their supposed good intentions. Where is their concern and understanding of the suffering of the victims and people of the United States, and especially New York, caused by Sept. 11, 2001?

Check out the organizational statements of the four groups mentioned. What are their "ties" with agencies and groups not disclosed in their "discussions."

It appears that these "discussions" are nothing more than subtle demands for the U.S. to be tolerant of Islamic religious privileges, the results of which are readily seen all over Europe and other world countries dominated by Islamic religious cultures.

Evron Barber

College Place

John Turner is impressive candidate

Ash Hollow LLC was our introduction to John Turner - he was the managing partner.

What Bill and I saw was John's people-oriented leadership increased Ash Hollow's production, built a very loyal customer base, created critical business relationships and interestingly built a national distribution network for a relatively small winery. We also saw ethics, responsibility, respect, lots of hard work and always a positive expectancy for the future.

Yes, there were challenges along the way - and now accusations are being made. "Politics" have become battle grounds in the past 10 years - I think we all see the negativity and dislike it.

Have you ever noticed two well-intended people experiencing the same event with different stories afterwards? Well, that seems to be happening here. John has historically not engaged in negativity, and I don't believe you will see that now either.

So the two-fold question looms:

1) Is John the man you want to represent you?

We can say that John's Ash Hollow leadership created a wonderful place for our customers and our employees, he conducted himself in a manner that inspired trust and confidence, and he instilled mutual responsibility and accountability. He is a committed, high-energy, happy, team-oriented experienced negotiator, a clear-thinker and innovator.

And, if you go to his web site (JohnTurnerForSheriff.com) - the testimonials from prior colleagues are stellar. Who wouldn't want to work with him?

2) Can he do the job for you?

John brings his wide range of experience and expertise from being a local businessman and family farm owner, from working "in the trenches" in the Los Angeles Police Department, from being a lawyer representing law enforcement, and from his recent Iraq counter-terrorism experience.

Communities need someone who has the ability to pull it all together in these new challenging times. Read the letters of recommendation from the professionals he worked with.

Go meet John, listen to him and listen to his opposing candidate. John's character exudes from his persona - his ethics are heard in his words. Notice if ethical campaigns are being run, and especially who is talking the best solutions for the safety challenges your community is facing and who has the track record of accomplishing them.

That is who to vote for! I think your conclusion will be John Turner.

Barbara Meyer

Bellevue

I-1082 is worthy of support

In my opinion the letter from Charles Vigneron on Sept. 26 misconstrues I-1082.

I-1082 does not "... privatize Labor and Industries." Under I-1082 the Department of Labor and Industries will remain and offer worker compensation insurance just as it does now.

Insurance companies will not "replace" the current system. I-1082 will authorize private insurance companies that qualify to offer worker compensation insurance, not by a termination of the Department of Labor and Industries state insurance fund, but in addition to it and in competition with it.

Competition can encourage efficiency, both on the part of the private insurers and the Department of Labor and Industries.

Mr. Vigneron states, "Employers ... will be required to use an insurance system modeled after our health care insurance industry." The fact is, employers will not be "required" to use the private companies. They may if they so choose. They may also stay in the current system. Currently they have no choice. I-1082 adds a choice into the picture. I think that's good.

Mr. Vigneron states, "Section 2, paragraph 7, of Initiative 1082, provides that the BIAW could collect a "fee" when their members seek care." I find nothing in this or any other paragraph of I-1082 that correlates "fees" with members seeking care.

Here is what Sec. 2, Par. 7 actually says: "This chapter does not prohibit or regulate the payment of dividends and savings on unabsorbed premium deposits allowed or returned by industrial insurance insurers to their policyholders, groups, members or subscribers."

An insurer could therefore offer a plan or plans that provide for a partial return of the insurance premiums paid by employers if those premiums exceed the operating cost and profit margin of the insurer. This is analogous to the Return on Industrial Insurance program currently operating between the Department of Labor and Industries and dozens of other trade and business associations.

Mr. Vigneron also implies that receiving such return or refund of premium is "feeding at the public trough." I emphasize here that the premiums will not be paid by the public. Employers, including private companies, will be paying the premiums. Any return of those premiums to their source is no way constitutes the "public trough." It is private capital.

Furthermore, if an employer contracts with his choice of a trade association, business association or other entity to share part of his premium refund with that entity, I see that as a protected right of free association and freedom of contract.

Yes, I'll be voting for I-1082.

Paul A. Abenroth

Walla Walla

Dino Rossi is a straight shooter

It is sad that Sen. Murray has stooped to lies, innuendo and hypocritical statements in a mad attempt to destroy Dino Rossi.

I asked Dino about the Wall Street charge. He said he has not taken a dime from Wall Street.

But just to make sure I checked through his entire list of donors and he did have one personal $500 donation from a stockbroker in Seattle.

Huh? Does that mean Dino Rossi has been bought by Wall Street? I don't think so.

I am voting for Dino Rossi who is honest and a straight shooter.

Vic Phillips

Walla Walla

Our future depends on electing Rossi

Walla Walla, Washington state and America need Dino Rossi as our senator.

This election is not about small potatoes like a little money here for the VA Medical Center and a little money there for a highway. This election is about stopping the downward spiral to the destruction of our great nation.

Since Mr. Obama took office we have had the $787 billion stimulus bill, the $1.5 trillion auto company bailout, the $700 billion bank bailout (which, oh by the way, will probably cost more like $4 trillion), and the granddaddy of them all, Obamacare for $1 trillion and growing! All paid for with borrowed money your children and grandchildren will have to bear as a burdened.

Patty Murray stood shoulder to shoulder with Obama and voted yes on every one of these taxpayer rip-offs. The trivial little amounts she brought home to Washington were just the 30 pieces of silver she was paid to buy her vote on these massive blows to our nation's fiscal foundation.

If Obama keeps going the way he has, by the end of his first four years in office he will have run up three quarters as much debt as all the 43 presidents before him. And Patty Murray will be right there voting spend, spend, spend ... debt, debt, debt!

Dino Rossi has a reputation as a common sense, pragmatic, fiscal conservative. During his time in the Washington Legislature, he worked with the Democratic governor to hold down spending, keep a balanced budget and leave Washington on a firm financial foundation.

Don't be deceived by Patty Murray's claims that, "I got you this" and "I got you that" and all the lies and half-truths she is filling the air waves with. (All paid for by millions from her fat cat special-interest groups back in D.C.) A vote for Patty Murray is like driving a stake in the heart of America's - and Walla Walla's - financial future.

Vote for Dino Rossi for senator and make sure all your friends and neighbors do too. Don't let this election be stolen by the folks in the King County basement, with 129 made-up votes. Our future depends on it!

Dan Nims

Walla Walla

Jim Huffman is choice for US Senate

To the voters of Oregon. Is Ron Wyden the man you want to represent you in Washington, D.C.?

Wyden has voted 14 times to give amnesty to illegal immigrants from 1996 through 2010.

He has voted seven times to block funding for local and federal police agencies to fight illegal immigration from 2005 through 2010. Voted against border fencing. Voted against workplace verification of illegal entry. Voted for chain immigration. Voted for Social Security for illegal immigrants. Voted against increased funding for drug enforcement along the Southern border. Voted against Arizona's Immigration Enforcement Law.

While this country has lost 8 million job to illegal immigrants our people are unemployed and it gets worse. Oregon's unemployment rate is almost 10 percent and if you add the people who have quit looking or dropped off the roles it is closer to 18 percent.

Maybe it is time to replace Mr. Wyden. He actually lives with his new wife on the East Coast and receives much of his campaign money from the East Coast. It is like we here in Oregon only have a second senator during election time, the rest of the time he listens to his Eastern supporters.

We have an opportunity to replace Mr. Wyden in November and it is time for him to go.

Jim Huffman is a constitutional scholar, has common sense and is a conservative. Let's give him a chance to help change the course this country is on, one that is killing our economy and making us a Third World country. We have gone from first to fourth in almost two years. I ask that you cast your vote in November for Mr. Huffman for U.S. senator from Oregon.

James Burns

Weston

Give Obama's programs a chance

According to Sunday's U-B, the city is facing a $1.3 million revenue shortfall that could mean closing the Pioneer Park aviary, reducing library hours and cutting budgets for other departments, too.

Meanwhile, the state of Washington's budget shortfall could be over $4 billion - meaning cuts in state programs will no doubt be needed as well.

At the same time, a new report released by the National Academy of Sciences indicates there has been little improvement in U.S. elementary and secondary technical education since 2005. The report also says that our stagnant scientific education imperils U.S. economic leadership, and that we face a daunting future if we don't make the needed investments in education and research to compete for high-quality jobs.

How are we going to pay for these things if we keep the Bush tax cuts for the rich in place?

The less money the federal government has to spend, the less can be distributed to the states and, yes, the local governments.

If those tax cuts really spurred investment in the economy - as some suggest - then why has there been little improvement in education since 2005 - the Bush years?

Those voters who want to send the Republicans who created our economic mess back to Washington should perhaps reconsider their intentions and give current programs and proposals a chance to work.

It took Bush and his cronies eight years to destroy the economy - it's going to take President Obama more than two to rebuild it.

Jude Noland

Walla Walla

Open hearts and closets on Oct. 11

Oct. 11 is National Coming Out Day. It is the day that lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals celebrate the power inherent in being open and honest about their sexuality. Oct. 11 is the complete opposite of "don't ask; don't tell."

The military's "don't ask; don't tell" policy incorrectly implies that someone's God-given sexuality is shameful. The policy creates fear and forces people to lie about who they are. The don't ask; don't tell policy weakens our military by kicking out gay soldiers whose valuable skills could help our country's efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

On Oct. 11, I encourage everyone - including politicians and military commanders - to open their hearts and their closets. Let your friends, families and neighbors be all that they can be.

Annie Capestany

Walla Walla

County deserves Turner as sheriff

When I learned John Turner was running for Walla Walla County sheriff I, as then mayor of Waitsburg, wanted to find out what he could do for our fair city. So in March I met with Mr. Turner.

Mr. Turner presented himself as an intelligent, thoughtful, courteous man. Also he looked to have the physical wherewithal for all the tests of active duty.

Mr. Turner expressed understanding that Waitsburg pays a premium of $150,000 per year to the county for a guaranteed 60 hours a week of patrol time. He was also savvy that the county sheriff is the chief executive law enforcement officer and is by state statute bound to patrol, investigate and defend the entire county.

He agreed the sheriff has to provide law enforcement to Waitsburg regardless and our taxes pay for it. We discussed law enforcement issues for close to two hours. Mr. Turner expressed a comprehensive plan for improving the department and making it part of truly community-based law enforcement. He never called a taxpayer an imbecile; nor did he try to intimidate, bully or harass. He never once waved his finger in my face.

Our county deserves an enthusiastic, intelligent, vigorous sheriff.

Please join me in voting for John Turner, Sheriff.

Markeeta Little Wolf

Waitsburg

Let wealthiest kick in a little more

As a small-business owner and citizen of Washington state I support Initiative 1098 and would like to encourage other Walla Wallans to as well.

By asking those in the state with the highest incomes to contribute more to state revenue I-1098 will ensure that basic health and education remain funded. These programs are some of the best and most important the state has to offer. It will also lower taxes for small business owners, helping to create more jobs and lower property taxes.

Many studies have shown that Washington has the most regressive tax system in the nation. Rather than continuing to cut important services and state jobs or raising sales taxes that ask the poor to pay more than their share, let's ask the wealthiest 1.2 percent of residents in Washington state to kick in a little more.

Alice Bagley

Walla Walla

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