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Re: Dog park proposal

In response to Kerry Ullery’s letter proposing that the dog park be located at Old River, there are quite simply no direct neighbors on either side of the proposed dog park at the old Creager Field.  The closest neighbors would be down the steps, and across the parking lot and street, which clearly allows for a significant buffer zone for any noise.  

I’ve spent significant time at the dog parks both west and north of town (since my own dear city lacked one) and I’ve never heard much barking.  Dog’s bark when they are confined and frustrated, not when they are happily running around with other dogs.

As in other dog parks, hours of operation could be limited to reasonable hours.  I agree that our fine policemen have much to keep them busy, but I daresay that they would be willing to take the time to unlock a single gate each morning and lock it again each evening.  

One of Oakwood’s greatest charms is that it’s a walking city. Ice cream lovers can walk to ice cream, coffee lovers can walk to get their latte, parents can walk to three different parks (five if you count the grade school playgrounds).  Dog owners in this city should be able to WALK to a single dog park, to exercise and socialize their animals.  

And as for the taxpayers, wouldn’t you rather people took their dogs to a confined space, complete with clean-up bags, instead of those same dogs urinating on your bushes, trees and flowers?

Creation of the dog park is as simple as completing the fencing and running a water line and it is long, long overdue!

Laura Hagan

Military policy set by elected officials

Nicole and Mark Harris’s letter to the editor (June 3) employed the unfortunate tactic of confusing support for our troops with support for the government’s policies. This is a tactic the Bush administration has energetically cultivated, because it allows the administration to hide behind the troops in an effort to dodge criticism and avoid having to acknowledge its critics’ points.

I agree with the Harrises that patriotism does not equate to automatic disagreement with the government (although I disagree that Dr. Uphoff did anything of the kind). On the other hand, true patriotism also is not blind, uncritical boosterism, and true patriotism certainly would not cower behind our troops and proclaim that one dishonors our troops whenever one criticizes the government’s policies.

For example, in their letter to the editor, the Harrises say, “Supporting our troops means voting against cutting their expansion or funding for training and supplies, voting against giving them an ‘end all’ deadline to complete their work, and trusting the military and the generals who guide them to make the decisions of what is best for our troops.” This is almost entirely backwards. What the Harrises are saying is that there is no meaningful difference between support for our troops and support for the Bush administration’s policies, and even more incredibly, that military commanders should set policy, not elected civilians.

The kind of patriotism that views policy disagreements as disloyalty is usually found in places like North Korea and the former Soviet Union, not America. And civilian control over the military has been a core democratic principle in this country since its founding – elected politicians set policies, and military commanders enact them. This concept, evidently, is better understood within the military than outside it.

Should Barack Obama win the presidency in November and decide to change course in Iraq, I’m sure the Harrises will not want to be accused of failing to support our troops for disagreeing with his administration’s policies. Because we are blessed to have two honorable people running for president, I believe the new administration (whether Obama or McCain) will avoid the temptation to cower behind the troops and angrily denounce as disloyalty any criticisms of its war policies.

Tom Castle


Conditional troop support wrong

In regard to Dr. James Uphoff’s article, “Support Our Troops—Teaching Patriotism”- I am disappointed that the Register saw fit to publish this in the “Education” section of the May 27 Register. But, since he is a former school board member of Oakwood schools, he obviously has the bully pulpit, so to speak. But the readers out here don’t owe Dr. Uphoff a ‘pass’ on this or anything else.  And so I must take exception to both the content and the theme of his article.

First, with regard to the content of his article -

1. The war in Iraq is a just war in every sense. I encourage Dr. Uphoff to go to the editorial section of the November 14, 2006 Register  and review “An Unnecessary War?” (by yours truly). Briefly, Saddam Hussein broke all the UN’s own criteria for being removed from control of a sovereign nation. The presence or absence of WMDs was moot. He had already used them twice-once against the Iranians and once against his own people. Ergo, he was guilty of the use of WMDs. Furthermore, in the context of the history of the 20th century, removing Saddam before he (once again) built a critical mass of military power was absolutely the right thing to do.

2. The US military is absolutely the best-equipped and best-trained military in the world. And the last time I checked, a doctorate in education does not afford one expertise in this area. Most of what has been circulated about inadequate equipment has been refuted by the real experts-the troops who use them.

3. Do we have problems in the area of care for veterans? Yes, there is room for improvement. But is this a CONDITION of his “showing support”? And when was the last time Dr. Uphoff wrote his Congressman to urge better funding for the military? Bet he never has.

4. The mainstream media (MSM) have been anything but forthright in their coverage of the Iraq war. Were it not for nontraditional sources of information—including the troops themselves—we might be deluded into believing the MSM reports. If he ‘buys’ the MSM reports carte blanc, I have a nice bridge I would like to sell him.  And shall we hold up the few cases of run-down facilities and call them the rule rather than the exception?

5. Education funding—the United States now spends far more money on education than it did when I graduated from Oakwood (1973). And, from what I can see, education has not improved since that time.

The theme—and this is the more grievous affront— can be summarized with this: “If I like everything about my country’s elected officials and their actions, I will show support”  (his own words italicized). In short, he espouses conditional support. Our troops have never shown conditional support, and neither have the great majority of our citizens.

I’m writing this on June 6. Sound familiar? Yes, the anniversary of D-day. Where would we be if some of the soldiers and sailors of that time decided NOT to hit Omaha beach because some thought their government had not given them the straight scoop on something? Or if disgrunteld citizens back home decided not to support their cause, but to be an impediment, even to mislead others, because of their own anger with President Roosevelt’s policies?  Or because they had been short shrifted by their government? Where would we be right now if the soldiers in the American Revolution refused to fight until they had been provided “...quality housing and services...”? (For the record, most of George Washington’s army received little in the way of remunerations or other benefits). And more to the point—what if the citizenry had refused to support the military’s efforts because one or another condition had not been met to their satisfaction?

America was built on the SACRIFICES of millions of men and women who, for the most part, were poorly paid while in the service and received little recognition or reward afterward. Those men and women put country before self because they believed in the principles on which America was founded, and because they desperately wanted to ensure a future for their families. THIS should be the message of anyone wanting to teach patriotism to young people. We don’t condone substandard treatment for veterans. But we work those problems through the system—-write your Congressman!!  To suggest that we should show support only if all those things are met to our satisfaction is absolutely wrong. Dr. Uphoff is a highly respected educator and thus has a great responsibility. What he has written has the potential to mislead others on the subject of patriotism. I call on him to retract his article—yes, Dr. Uphoff, apologize—to us. And to the millions who have built our freedoms with their “blood, toil, sweat and tears”. I thank God that they, and the great majority of the citizens of this country, did not withhold their support for
our troops.

Dr.Uphoff wrote that he wants “a positive example of national support..”.  He can begin by acting like one himself.

Theodore L. Reinhart
OHS ‘73
Kent, WA

Stroller/jogger safety concerns at issue

Moms with strollers apparently rule the roost in Oakwood. Last week when dropping off the kidsels at school, I saw two mothers walking abreast of each other, crossing Dellwood Avenue at Shafor Boulevard – in the street. Forgive me if I’m wrong, but I believe there are perfectly serviceable sidewalks running down both sides of both streets. Circling back home and heading southbound on Shafor, I found myself behind one of those big, wide, yellow Oakwood dump trucks. The two mothers were continuing on course side-by-side headed straight toward the dump
truck. I couldn’t believe it when the truck put on its brakes and squeezed as far to the left as possible without running up on the traffic island. The two mothers were continuing their two-by-two tete a tete in the street and not for one minute did the kinder-laden hausfraus think of breaking step and dropping back to a one-baby-stroller-wide configuration to allow the truck to pass safely. It was as if the truck did not exist. Please ladies, at least take heed of the “oversize load” traffic.

The same with the myriad joggers who don’t want to mentally or
physically deal with the “step on that crack – break your mother’s back” syndrome by jogging on the sidewalks. Driving down Shafor Boulevard in the mornings has brought more than its share of jogger/car confrontations where joggers skirt the parked cars and suddenly appear in the single driving lane headed in the opposite direction. I’m all for pedestrian right-of-way policies but the aforementioned examples are a cause for concern.

Lance Winkler
Editor, The Oakwood Register



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June 10, 2008
Volume 17, No. 24

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