Bill will help stop animal fighting in United States

The Humane Society of the United States wishes to congratulate U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) for passing a bill to strengthen the nation's laws against dog fighting and cockfighting, by a landslide vote of 368-39 in the U.S. House of Representatives. Rep. Blumenauer's bill, the Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act, will provide felony-level penalties for interstate and foreign animal fighting activities, and outlaw commerce in cockfighting weapons.

Animal fighting not only fosters unspeakable cruelty to animals, but also spawns other criminal activity, such as narcotics traffic, illegal gambling, public corruption and violence toward people. Rep. Blumenauer's bill brings us one big step closer to eradicating the dog fighting and cockfighting industries.

When animal fighters can earn tens of thousands of dollars wagering on a single fight, a slap on the wrist is considered just a cost of doing business. Stronger penalties are needed to stop this organized network of criminal activity, and that's why the National Sheriffs Association and 400 law enforcement agencies from across the country have joined The Humane Society of the United States in backing this bill. Thank you to Rep. Blumenauer for working to give animal fighting the knock-out punch.

Michael Markarian

Executive Vice President, External Affairs

The Humane Society of the United States

2100 L Street, NW

Washington, DC 20037


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Bush responsible for more brain injuries

I am responding to Jane Pluemke's letter of March 28 regarding the slashed funding for the Brain Trauma Center for Veterans. I feel like I am banging my head against the wall trying to talk to a neocon. Jane, let's go over this one more time.

The executive branch proposes, the legislative branch writes and enacts the laws and budgets. What you have failed to mention is that the Republican controlled 109th Congress budgeted for the vets before it became readily apparent that the absolute mess in Iraq, thanks to Bush, Cheney and the rest of the misguided neocons, would create far more victims of IED damage than anyone could have imagined. Hence, the $7 million didn't go quite as far as it was supposed to. This resulted in many, many vets not getting the proper care due to lack of foresight and funds. I call that a cutback. The Democrats in the 110th Congress are trying to get more funding for treating brain trauma specifically and more funding for veterans in general, but are running into Bush's veto threats and desire to pour more money into the lost cause in Iraq. Jane, you should try to watch the ABC News special by Bob Woodruff, who experienced brain trauma firsthand when he was hit by an IED and almost lost half of his skull. He has great health care insurance at ABC, but did you notice the vets he interviewed later who were still missing half their skulls because the VA hasn't got the funds for the necessary operations? I want to propose a rule that if you want our country to go to war, YOU have to be willing to go yourself.

End of story.

Mike Mattingly


Roberts puts in plenty of hours with county

I have seen a number of articles and letters that negatively reflect on Commissioner Lonnie Roberts' work ethic and the going-away stipend to his chief of staff, Gary Walker.

I have volunteered with Commissioner Roberts and have sat in on some staff meetings and watched the interaction among his staff. Not much doubt about who ran the meetings, but I had no doubt about who was in charge. Lonnie listened and made his opinions known, and they were accepted with little challenge. Lonnie is the elected official, and his opinions were cast and accepted.

Who assigned work hours for our county commission? Commissioner Roberts was elected to represent East County. How can he receive information as to what is going on out here if he is at his desk downtown at the Multnomah Building? Do any of the commissioners work an 8-5 shift? Is he unavailable to his staff? I do get out occasionally myself, and I have seen Commissioner Roberts at numerous functions in the evening hours and have seen him at breakfast meetings as well. We all need a life, and it would get pretty easy to suffer burnout if 16-hour days were the norm. Take a real look before making decisions as to being critical of Roberts' work hours.

Apparently, an agreement (verbal contract) was made with Commissioner Roberts and his chief of staff that on leaving the county, there would be a going-away thank you check from the county. This was reportedly to make up for the poor salary and many hours that Walker worked. It has been reported that the amount was $35,000. Granted, 35k is a lot of money. But when you compare a lot of money, take a look at the county chairman's chief of staff annual salary and benefit package. He makes $117,000 per year salary. His benefits above that brings the amount to about $170,000 annually. Let me ask, is he overpaid?

Ted Wheeler said that he doesn't like to see severance packages for county employees. Does his chief of staff have a contract calling for one when he leaves? Maybe not any more.

Larry Ward


Christians can agree to pray for peace

The Wednesday, March 21, issue of The Outlook ran a cover story on 'A Vigil for Peace,' sponsored by Trinity Lutheran Church, Gresham. In the issue of Wednesday, March 28, George Schneider responded to the cover story (and the vigil) by advocating 'war to the death, theirs or ours.'

Schneider begins his letter with a reference to 'the Christian pacifists,' and then goes on to chide them for having ignored the 'lessons of history.' He suggests that history's chief lesson has to do with the destruction of the perceived enemy.

If Mr. Schneider did not attend, I would inform him that 'A Vigil for Peace' was not 'A Vigil for Pacifism.' Christians (and everyone else) can work toward peace in a variety of ways.

Many Christians work toward peace through service in the military. The majority of prayers offered at the Trinity event were for the safety of service men and women and for the well-being of their families. As The Outlook story pointed out, our preacher that evening was awaiting assignment as a military chaplain.

The New Testament uses the word 'peace' more than 90 times and calls on Christians to 'pursue what makes for peace' (Romans 14:19). As pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church, I was pleased to have the opportunity to sit, to pray and even to light a candle with people who answer that call (for example, the two women in the photograph accompanying The Outlook piece).

As was said repeatedly at our vigil, we may disagree on what makes for peace, but Christians (as followers of the Prince of Peace) can agree on the need to pray for peace.

Larry Jorgenson

pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church


Cox family thankful for community support

I want to thank everyone who had a part in putting together and participating in the Scott Cox Memorial Dinner/Auction/Fund at the Historic Springdale Pub and Eatery. A special thanks to Dick Wand for the fund, 'Rocky' for the auction and the Historic Springdale Pub and Eatery for the dinner.

Scott would have been so touched by your generosity to myself and our children. I thank God for people such as yourselves in helping us get through this devastating tragedy. There are no words to express my gratitude.

God bless and thank you, with great appreciation and love.

Cindy, Rachael, Chelsea and Jordan Cox


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