Clueless team

As one of the few members of the Airline Pilots Association here in the county I felt that I must respond to your unfortunate and inaccurate comments regarding the situation at United Airlines.

I think with a little more research you would have found that the Airline Transportation Stabilization Board (ATSB) rejected UAL's loan request even before the mechanics union voted a second time to take a pay cut.

The ATSB found that UAL's business plan was so flawed that even the pilots and other employees taking pay concessions would not save the airline.

Among the finding by the ATSB was the fact that UAL, at a time when they were losing millions a day, paid a bonus of $7.5 million to the current CEO (who doesn't have a bit of aviation experience) so he would come lead the company. I know I have to fly a bunch of passengers around safely for two weeks without killing anyone or doing damage to a $60 million airplane before I get my paycheck. Shouldn't CEOs also have to prove themselves before they make their millions?

Also, how many times do you think employees should take concessions before they figure out that it isn't themselves that is the cause of the problem?

The mechanics at UAL took various concessions, even during the 1990s when the economy was booming. Nothing changed.

If you take a look what the majority of aviation analysts say, you will see that UAL's problem is that they have a bunch of dedicated employees lead by a clueless management team.

Tim Locke

Joseph

The pretenders

Surprise! Surprise! The Hollywood crowd has a signed petition advising Bush what to do about Iraq. Such excitement! To be an "actor or actress" you have to be good at pretending. These people are good enough at pretending to make a living at it and because of that they and their cronies have signed a petition to "advise" THE REAL PRESIDENT.

So where were these pretend experts on foreign affairs when Clinton bombed the aspirin factory, gave our missile technology to the Chinese, allowed the inspectors to be ejected from Iraq, rendered the CIA useless, and committed other boo boos?

What is it about pretending to be someone with a brain that suddenly gives these people credibility?

When little boys play "cops and robbers" does that make them experts on robbing banks and being policemen? When little girls play "mommy" with dolls, does this qualify them to tell their mother how to do all it takes to run the household? All children, who have any ingenuity at all, engage in these make believe scenarios every day. The difference between children and people like Martin Sheen, Barbara Streisand, Alex Baldwin, and friends, is that children have enough sense to know the difference between "playing like" you are the president and "being" the president. I know Hollywood has inside information from those who imagine they are James Bond, Mike Hammer, Nero Wolf, and other such imaginary characters on which to base their opinions about foreign policy. However, THE REAL PRESIDENT has inside information from the REAL FBI, the REAL CIA, the REAL foreign policy advisors, and REAL generals, to guide him in decisions as to when and where to act in such matters.

Some of these make believe experts have stated that a war with Iraq will destabilize the region. That is about like a man standing in the edge of a hurricane saying that he should hold his breath because breathing might cause a wind storm. What have those folks been smoking that makes them think there is stability in that region now?

Whether we ever go to war with Iraq or not, the inspections going on right now should make it apparent to leaders of other governments, and the critics in our own country, that if our "diplomats" are to successfully "negotiate" with Saddam at all, HE NEEDS TO BELIEVE WE WILL GO TO WAR. There would not be inspectors in Iraq now if Bush had not shown that America is willing to use force, if necessary, in order to have "The Butcher of Baghdad" disarmed. We saw how well the pretend to have a foreign policy approach worked when Bill Clinton was in office - Saddam threw the U.N. inspectors out and thumbed his nose at both the U.N. and the U.S. A person would have to be seriously delusional to imagine that a power mad bully like Saddam didn't go "full speed ahead" on weapons of mass destruction the minute he ejected the inspectors. If he isn't willing to comply and disarm on his own, and give open and ample proof of such disarmament, the world community should go in and do it for him.

PLEASE! Martin, Barbara, Alex, and friends, keep your word and leave the country like you said you would if Bush was elected. We don't need your help.

Gary Poole

Wallowa

Forgiven

To Jesse Eaves:

All of us at one time or another have made mistakes we're not proud of but we learn valuable lessons from them. Even great teachers make mistakes. I believe you would not have done such a thing had alcohol not been involved. Although I've only known you for one year I know you care about what happens to people.

you're not a person who goes around hurting others for the heck of it. I forgave you the night you told us at Taekwondo class of your actions, and I believe, in time, others will, too.

god forgives us of our wrong doings, so others should be able, too.

It's too easy for people to be critical and hold grudges.

as jesus once said to a group of men who wished to stone a woman for a wrong, "If there be any among you without sin, let him cast the first stone."

Not one in that group could throw the first stone, for all had sinned, and they dropped their stones and walked away.

Jesus forgave the woman by saying "go and sin no more."

So before anyone decides to hold your actions against you they would do well to remember they've done wrong things and have no right to cast stones, for they may be living in a glass house.

It takes a big man to apologize for his wrongs, and you are that man. we trust you.

Connie and Morgan Martin

Wallowa

Amazing bunch

The people that care about the children that go to Enterprise public schools are an amazing bunch. Not only are you generous beyond belief with your money, you are even more generous with a more precious commodity - your time. You volunteer without being asked.

On March 20, we cane together with a single goal in mind: "save our Schools." Since that day nearly $100,000 has been donated to the Enterprise Education Foundation, and an additional $200,000 has been pledged over the next four years to save the programs we care about.

Without your generosity there would be no home economics or ag/shop program at the high school. Without your generosity there would be no art program in the elementary school Your gifts purchased equipment and supplies for the music program and the video productions class. In all, more than $80,000 of your donations are being used to fund current programs.

The students of the Enterprise School District and the members of the Enterprise Education Foundation want to thank each of you for your sacrifice. In the coming year we are going to face many challenges but working together we can accomplish anything!

The members of the foundation and the students of Enterprise school district wish you all a happy and joyous holiday season and a prosperous New Year.

Michael W. Wiedeman, president

Enterprise Education Foundation

Marcas Bridges, president

Enterprise student body

Improve PERS

First, I do not consider myself as an expert on the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) but would like to volunteer to provide factual information to the Chieftain so it does not print the half truths, partial facts and other inaccuracies observed in many other newspapers.

I also agree with Mack Birkmair that credentials should be part of an article so we have a better idea of who to believe. My limited credentials are being an Oregon State Employee, covered by PERS for 31 years, and as a current retiree receiving benefits.

The folks at Associated Oregon Industries (AOI) have some reasonable ideas. I only hope that they realize that the savings (in billions) they plan to save in section 6 would be taken by reducing the salaries paid to all state workers. I do not know the story on other public employees but the state side goes something like this: The state was low on money, if one can imagine that; inflation was high; and Oregon state employees were falling behind other employment sectors' incomes, again. The state offered to pay the employee portion of the retirement contribution as part of the payroll package to improve employee salaries. In plain English, that meant that the state would start paying the retirement contribution in the employees' name instead of providing a normal raise to each state employee. That saved the state money because a benefit has less taxation than straight salary.

Normally with any employee compensation plan, a raise is considered part of the new package and becomes the base line for any new package. If the State were to grant the employees this as an equal salary increase and take away the contribution it would actually increase the employees retirement in many cases because the defined retirement is usually based on final salary and thus the retirement payment would be higher. So when you read that the PERS employees do not contribute to their retirement, remember that they really do. A cost of living raise was not granted and the state agreed to pay the contribution as a part of the salary package. It does not matter what benefits are included in a salary package, it is what helps recruit and keep good employees. With lousy pay, poor health care benefits, and public service rules a good retirement benefit seemed to make it all worth while.

The difference between the current PERS plan and purposed AOI plan is an employee could no longer earn extra income by placing a part of their retirement fund in the stock market. That is the major way they can receive more than a defined plan would produce and that only occurred during the years of high market returns. Since the market down turn many accounts will revert to a defined plan level of payment. Maybe we should improve PERS instead of throwing out the baby with the bath water.

John Isley

Enterprise

Birthday tree

Christmas to me is very special. Something happened to my family over 40 years ago that I would like to share with all people of this county.

Every Christmas Eve, my husband would read the Christmas story from the children's bible to our two sons while sitting in front of the fireplace eating all the goodies of Christmas.

When the story was finished, I asked my oldest son what he thought of the story and he said, "Mama, how could a baby just appear?" I had to think for a minute and then replied that it was the miracle of Christmas and God's special gift to us. "OK," he said, and looked at his younger brother. With a very innocent and excited look on his face looking over our large tree that was decorated with bubbling candles, he shouted, "Mama, I know! I know! Look! It's Baby Jesus' birthday." Today that is still the rule in my son's home and my grandchildren do not call the tree anything but "Birthday Tree."

Juana Gilliams

Joseph

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