OUR READERS OPINIONS

Advertisement

Wolfram is experienced as court commissioner

Proven ability in the law is the paramount requirement for a Superior Court judge. Scott Wolfram meets and surpasses this requirement.

Civil law cases comprise approximately 40 percent of the Superior Court docket, criminal cases approximately 40 percent. As the active Superior Court commissioner Scott has been sitting as judge for the past nine years on both civil and criminal cases.

We have the opportunity to elect the experienced court commissioner as Superior Court judge. Remember to vote for this nonpartisan position on the primary ballot on Aug. 7.

I urge you to vote for Scott Wolfram for Superior Court judge.

Chuck Austin

Walla Walla

Line in the sand blurs library dispute

What is a library? Beyond the bricks and mortar that both the county and city are seemingly focused, a library should have the ability to provide the information required from an interested population that enhances our community. "An informed citizenry is the only true repository of the public will." Thomas Jefferson

Understanding the Rural Library District’s position that the city of Walla Walla Public Library has had a diminishing commitment of funds from the city general fund along with a stable county cash flow the consolidation of the two libraries appears to be the best solution. However to achieve consolidation City of Walla Walla voters and elected officials will have to agree, which could prove to be a major obstacle.

Through years of conservative management the RLD has amassed a reserve of around $3 million that has been identified for capital improvements. I suggest that the RLD board re-identify some of these funds for services rather than buildings when the city of Walla Walla proposes a workable solution.

As we stand now, the RLD and the WWPL are so focused on the lines in the sand that they are unable or unwilling to provide quality services that are the expectations of our Valley.

Andrew Pryor

Dixie

Blackman will partner with others

In tough times we can’t get everything we want, but how much time do we have to wait before our county commissioners learn to get along, cooperate and work as a team. Teams take trust.

If you read the U-B or listen to the county commissioners’ meetings, it’s not hard to figure out there’s no trust with certain elected officials. And that’s not how we are going to get things done in Walla Walla County.

For example, what if there’s a budget shortfall yet the service or safety equipment is still needed? We need to know that our county commissioners have a plan in place for when that happens.

Yes we have lots of money in reserves, but how should that money be spent. We need a plan and that takes being and acting like a team.

It’s easy for county commissioners to work with the department heads because it’s the county commissioners who appoint the department heads. Have you ever tried to speak up against your boss? That can be hard to do if your position lacks a certain level of security.

Teams also require the desire and ability to meet and interact with the public on a regular basis. The more people they know, the better our county commissioners understand what’s important to the people.

Our commissioners work for us, but if they only work part-time on a full time salary we are wasting our money. I want every dime of my tax dollar to count and that’s why I am voting for Chris Blackman for county commissioner.

She has the experience to team with others, won’t let back-office politics interfere, and will make darn sure she reaches out to the entire county on a regular basis.

Chris will give up her job as a high school teacher and work full time for Walla Walla — that’s how much she believes in this position. She doesn’t want to be distracted by another job like other commissioners in the past have been. She wants nothing more than to serve the people of Walla Walla.

Vote for Chris Blackman, Walla Walla County commissioner District 2.

Jesse Goodwater

Walla Walla

Being called a liberal is a compliment

Have you ever seen a child throw a tantrum? The language used is said in exclamation marks. I suppose it’s like the know-it-alls who throw their tantrums (Take a stand for America, U-B, July 15).

In the letter, 16 of the 25 sentences are followed by exclamation marks. Unfortunately, like tantrums, such clamorous punctuation leads to exaggerations, falsehoods, dire predictions, disrespect and condemnation.

Perhaps it would be kinder to describe these remarks as a diatribe. A diatribe is a malicious or bitter criticism. The criticism is usually based on fear. It often masks an unconscious need to convince the self of being right.

To define liberals as Constitution-hating is wrong. Liberals do not always agree with Constitution interpretations.

To define liberals as capitalism-hating is wrong. Liberals oppose the abuses of capitalism.

However, to define liberals as God-hating is not just wrong. It’s offensive.

I agree with the need to take our country back. Back to the super-rich paying more in taxes. Back to greed being somewhat unacceptable. Back to finding a little commonalty. Back to having a measure of respect for others. Back to a certain amount of reasonableness.

When we become so consumed with political ideology and our own truth — and others just don’t get it — we might do well to consider the words of Nietzche: "When you look long into an abyss, the abyss looks into you." (Nietzche died hopelessly insane.)

Bleeding-heart patriotism is not scriptural. For some it borders on idolatry. But for me to be called any kind of liberal (even a bleeding-heart liberal) is a compliment. It is scriptural.

Susan J. Day

Walla Walla

Support urged for water park facility

Wake up Walla Walla! Time to come into the 21st century.

Let’s not damage our reputation as a great place to live, and vote "yes" for the water park facility.

It was only a few years ago that Walla Walla had four adult pools and one wading pool. Now we have only the Jefferson Pool, 2-1/2 feet deep, for public use. Our neighboring communities have or are spending millions for new swimming facilities. The measure on the ballot is offering a minimum cost water park at the most optimum financial time. Let’s do it!

Walla Walla is making an extensive effort to break down juvenile delinquency. Swimming is a wonderful outlet for juvenile restlessness and not all young people enjoy team sports.

Young people of this age also need employment and the latest inventions in farming and the advent of child labor laws and practices make employment opportunities in our area limited to fast food junctures. It is healthier and better to have young people working outside.

Many families with multiple children have a very difficult time finding even one dollar per swim. Maybe one of our local philanthropic trust funds could conjure up a fund to allow their kids to enjoy one of the most pleasurable and healthy recreational opportunities we can offer.

Gregg Loney’s letter to the editor in the July 11 Union-Bulletin was easy to understand and explained the financial implications perfectly.

So, come on Walla Walla. Vote "yes" for the water park facility.

"Doc Bob" Thomsen

Walla Walla

People distracted from real library issue

The Library Working Group did not identify an economically feasible model for a consolidated library system covering residents of both jurisdictions (Rural Library District and city of Walla Walla). However, progress was made.

Existing costs and expenses were shared. Elements of a mutual service plan emerged. I encourage residents of Walla Walla to participate in crafting a city budget for library services in 2013 that supports the strategic plan, soon to be unveiled by the city library. The city submitted two "proposals" to the LWG. Lacking much definition they appear to be more "ideas."

The few specifics proposed the district decrease its revenues and match the city’s per capita allocation from the General Fund to support the operations of the public library. Logic dictates that since the city’s portion is inadequate and steadily declining, neither party’s vision for library services in the county would be realized.

Consolidation of library services with the city, under the terms proposed, would prove a fiscal liability for the RLD and continuation of the status quo for WWPL. More discussion is needed.

An annexation proposal from the city was never made. Barbara Clark and Beth Hudson stated in early year meetings with the Library Users Coalition, "The city residents will not accept control of the WWPL by the RLD. Annexation is not an (likely) option."

I would be willing to pay as much as RLD residents do for library services — if it was dedicated.

Will I be given the chance? More discussion is needed.

It has been a popular strategy to demonize the RLD Board for not gifting the city its capital funds and "fill the gap" in services/funding between the city and RLD libraries.

This "attack" strategy distracts people from the real issue. The city, for over a decade, has been dependent on the RLD to pay for staffing as well as collection and other operational costs at WWPL. City allocation to WWPL revenues fell from $0.987 cents per thousand (1999) to $0.339 ($21.86 per capita) (2010). Even when the RLD contributed 40 percent for doughnut residents, service and staffing levels were not maintained for city residents — let alone supplemented for non-city residents.

The City Council hopes to increase allocations for the WWPL. Our city library can be of value in the contribution it would make to a district — but not at current funding levels — too large a disparity in services for good partnership. Let’s strive for self-sufficiency first.

Darcy Dauble

Walla Walla

Wolfram has been role model

We have a race for Superior Court judge. The race will be decided in the primary election on Aug. 7. We usually see only one name in the box for judge. No choice you get what’s on the ballot. But then again this a nonpartisan position. We have no clue how to pick the right person to be our new judge — do we?

I am a former teacher. I am now, and have been for the last 24 years, a small business owner. I work with people every day. Over the years I have met people who are truly stand-up people, those people who are there for you in good times and in bad. People who are willing to give of themselves, their time and ask nothing in return.

Scott Wolfram is one of those people.

How do you know who to vote for in a race for judge? Being a neighbor reveals much about a person. Scott was my neighbor for over 20 years. We raised our children in a close, friendly "open to all" neighborhood.

Scott put his family first and always found time to be involved in their activities. He had strong family values — a role model for us all.

The Wolfram’s left the neighborhood — we remain good friends. Scott has continued to be a role model for other children and their families through countless hours of volunteering in our community.

Scott is honest and of strong character. This time we have a choice — we have somebody to vote for. Scott Wolfram for Superior Court judge.

Bill Wolford

Walla Walla

McMorris Rodgers’ stand is troubling

Cathy McMorris Rodgers has been representing Washington’s 5th Congressional District in Washington, D.C., since 2005.

In 2009 the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was signed into law. It restored workers’ rights to challenge illegal wage discrimination in the federal courts. It restored women’s rights as well as men’s rights as defined under the act.

Specifically, the law was the result of one woman’s struggle for fair pay in relationship to her co-workers at Goodyear Tire. That relationship was highlighted by the fact there was an inequity in women’s pay when compared to men’s pay with regard to men and women employed for the same job description.

McMorris Rodgers voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Thankfully it ultimately passed with little thanks to the GOP — and restored worker’s rights to challenge illegal wage discrimination in federal courts.

I am puzzled why any woman would have voted against this act, whether as a congressional representative representing her district or by any woman in the 5th Congressional District through her vote for McMorris Rodgers.

I am puzzled why any man, married or unmarried, in a relationship, where the wife/partner also works thereby defining that marriage or relationship as a "two-income household," would vote for a congressional representative who voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, thereby in effect potentially reducing that voters combined household income.

How could anyone vote against their wife’s or partner’s right to a fair wage based on the relationship between men and women in their place of work, if not for the obvious fairness of it, then at least for the obvious financial impact it would have on a two-income household?

If you voted for and/or still support McMorris Rodgers, your vote was and is against your wife’s or partner’s right to a fair wage based on the relationship between men and women in their place of work. How can that be?

R.L. McFarland

Walla Walla

US should return to land of opportunity

Lewis Carroll in his wildest imagination for the Wonderland of Alice could not have concocted a more bizarre scenario than what we are seeing in the national election discourse.

We have a president who has been a failure in handling the economy. Unemployment over 8 percent for months and a 60 percent increase in food stamp recipients since 2008. He has a very mediocre record in foreign affairs and a run up of national debt that matches the entire deficit spending of all prior presidents put together.

His campaign operatives are pointing the felonious finger at his opponent, Mitt Romney, for falsifying his record of being a successful businessman.

Romney managed Bain Capital, a company that does commercially what a responsible national leader should endeavor to do for the country. His company studied companies, bought some of them, cut out the deadwood, restructured the management and put them on the road to success. The firms too damaged to be saved were liquidated, employees released and assets paid to stakeholders. Some pain was caused in the process, and it is difficult to see how our nation’s financial situation can be corrected without causing some discomfort.

He spent three years managing the Olympic games while taking no salary for himself. How many of Obama’s Chicago chums have ever done anything for anybody without pay?

It is difficult to imagine a campaign involving a high government official who earnestly believes that making a profit is an evil enterprise. One in charge of a campaign where success in business is classified as an activity to be scorned.

We need to return to a environment where we view the U.S. as a land of opportunity and not one of entitlements. A rather famous president once noted at a brighter time that we should " ...ask not what our country can do for us ..."

Tom Baker

Waitsburg

Humane Society appreciates community help

Commendations to the entire staff of Blue Mountain Humane Society for a job well done! Since the power failure on June 29, the shelter has been without any air conditioning or proper ventilation because a vital part of the system was damaged at the time of the failure.

It is a very complex system due to the fact that fresh air has to be brought in at all times to keep the animals healthy and prevent the spread of disease. The employees have endured the extremely hot days and have gone above and beyond in not only performing the daily duties of their jobs, but in their care and concern for each and every animal.

As word of the excessive heat in the building spread, the public stepped up and helped as well - from the loan and setup of two swamp coolers by NAPA Auto Parts to the milkshakes delivered one afternoon to the employees, to the people who have fostered young kittens in their homes to help avoid stress and sickness due to the heat. What a wonderful, caring group of people inhabit this community. You are all appreciated.

I am grateful to report that as of today the air conditioning has been restored. Join me in praising all involved by thinking adoption first when you are considering a new pet!

Tish Watts

BMHS Board President

Walla Walla

Give today's kids memory of fun in the water

As a boy growing up in Walla Walla, I lived at Memorial swimming pool during the summer. I would ride my bike every day to the pool. Once in a while I would switch off and go to the Natatorium, otherwise known as the Nat - mushroom in the middle of the pool. Or to Greybeal's pool with the high dive. Walla Walla had three swimming pools and every kid I knew hung around them. Those are some of my fondest memories.

As a life-long resident and businessman in Walla Walla, I completely support the new water park proposal. We have way too nice a town to not have a public swimming facility that all the residents can use, not just the children.

The children should be able to have the same memories as I do and I feel we are cheating them out of the positive experience that a swimming facility such as this can bring. I urge all residents of Walla Walla to vote "yes" on this issue come election day.

Jim Abajian

Walla Walla

Wernette has experience in criminal, family law

For the same reasons I'll miss being Richard Wernette's law partner, he's going to make an excellent Superior Court judge. Whenever I decide to get a second opinion about an unusually difficult family law or criminal defense case, Richard has wise and practical advice.

He's been helping clients every day for over 25 years now with those two kinds of cases, and they are the very two kinds that take up most of our judges' time and talent.

Richard knows the law, and he knows how it affects the people who have put their trust in him over all these years. There is no substitute for that kind of experience.

Robert Van Dorn

Walla Walla

Wolfram will make a great judge

Scott Wolfram should be your choice for Superior Court judge. He has a strong record of service to our community and has the scholarship, integrity and expertise to make a great judge. His legal background includes 33 years as an attorney and former prosecuting attorney, all in Walla Walla.

He has experience in all aspects of the legal profession trying cases as both a prosecutor and civil attorney. Currently, his specialty is personal injury and civil litigation.

He has argued cases before the Washington Court of Appeals, Washington Supreme Court and United States District Court.

Scott has been a Special Assistant Attorney General. In 2003, he was appointed over other Walla Walla lawyers as the first acting court commissioner of Walla Walla County. A court commissioner has his own docket and also presides when either of the judges is unable to do so.

He serves the community in a variety of vital local programs, committees and clubs. He is highly involved in his church and also serves on the Walla Walla Catholic Schools Board of Directors.

Recently, he was appointed to the Board of Regents of Concordia College. Scott and Laurie have been married for 35 years and have four high-achieving children.

For these reasons Scott Wolfram will make a great, conservative judge who will be tough on crime. Please join Maureen and me and vote for Scott Wolfram for Superior Court judge, Department 2.

Bill Vollendorff

Walla Walla

Wernette's experience and integrity is an asset

I support Richard Wernette for the nonpartisan position of Superior Court judge. Citizens residing in Walla Walla County have always been fortunate to have excellent candidates step forward and be willing to serve impartially and objectively as Superior Court judges. In my opinion, Richard will continue this legacy.

Richard is an excellent candidate with a broad background that will allow him to start the first day with experience and tenure. My comments are supported by the following facts:

• Nine years as a Municipal Court judge

• Seven years Superior Court commissioner

• Twenty-one years District Court judge pro tem

• Twenty-six years criminal and family law private practice

Richard has been involved in many community and civic activities. He has the right judicial experience to be successful. However, he also has other qualities that I admire-integrity, common sense, judicial temperament and the most important qualities is his ability to be fair, impartial and practical.

I believe Richard when he says he is committed to a safer community. Join me in electing Richard Wernette as our next Superior Court judge in Walla Walla County.

Jerry Cummins

Walla Walla

Blackman won't waste our time

As I compared the candidates for Walla Walla County Commissioner District 2, I noticed that only one candidate has never stopped learning, never stopped trying to improve on what she already knows. To me, that's an important fact because as county commissioner, there is a lot to know.

Every job has a learning curve, but some jobs are just harder to learn because they are so complex. When you look at Chris Blackman's resume, I have no doubt that she has the intelligence and the determination to learn everything possible about the job.

Fortunately because of her professional experiences in education and social services, Chris already has a good understanding of the issues facing working families in Walla Walla County, but rest assured Chris won't be satisfied with that level of understanding. She will hit the ground running in her role as county commissioner.

She won't lay low or do the minimum amount necessary. She will be visibly active from day one, talking to county employees, meeting regularly with elected officials and attending committee meetings. Chris won't wait until the last year of her first term to be visible. No, Chris won't do that.

Chris has spent the last 20 years learning and doing. There's no reason to think she'll change now. I want an elected official who will serve the people and their interests, working every day full time. Anything less is a waste of money and a waste of our taxpayer's time.

Chris Blackman has my vote for Walla Walla County commissioner, District 2.

Shelli Fullen

Walla Walla

Relic of unions will be replaced

In reading Mr. Raddatz letter this morning I must say I agree that union "noise" as he put it probably had a little to do with changing an environment that caused such things as the "packing of putrid meat, leaded paint and gasoline, peddling asbestos, keeping kids out of coal mines" etc. Except for getting kids out of coal mines, which I am thankful to the unions for doing, I am wondering how the rest of it figures in terms of some sort of credit to unions?

Human invention, innovation and human knowledge are the three things that have contributed more to the elimination or near elimination of most of these problems. Innovation, invention and knowledge are the three things responsible for most of the things we take for granted these days, including the computer I am writing this with, not unions.

A great deal of this innovation and invention was done for none other than, (oops! I am going to say the P word), the potential for profit. The freedom we enjoy in this country makes it possible for all of us to profit from our invention and innovation. I am wondering when was the last time a union boss invented anything?

Maybe they did. It is just a question. To give credit to unions for solving some of the above mentioned problems or to think that unions have some sort of noble right of existence, because unions helped us grow a stronger middle class and did such heroic things for us in the days of J.P. Morgan and Henry Ford, is sort of like saying "gee the steam shovel deserves our praise and we really should find a place for it in our society because it did such a great job digging the Panama Canal."

I agree with anyone who thinks there should always be advocacy for people who "work for a living." I for one am not interested in lending my support to any organization that pays its leadership through mandatory dues, from the people it has charge over, an average of 10 times what its members earn.

I believe the days of this type of union are numbered. I also believe that given the freedom we need to remain a great country, human innovation and invention will replace this relic with something more useful.

Steve Reiff

Walla Walla

What is Plan B for aquatic center?

I know everyone is acting in good faith in regard to "the aquatic center," but it was my understanding last year when I ran for City Council that the desire was for a substantial swimming pool. How did we drift so far away?

The economic forecasts do not show just how sensitive the financial aspects of the proposed center are, and the engineering estimates don't do so either. Frankly, my attitude toward economic forecasts is they are only slightly different from astrology and engineering forecasts are always very optimistic.

Be that as it may, no one has asked the following. Suppose "we build it and they do not come?" Is there a plan B that will prevent us from sinking into some sort of financial mess? Or is this not a possibility that anyone wants to discuss? And, where is the maintenance plan?

Dick Swenson

Walla Walla

Comments

Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment