LETTERS: Highway of Tears to Heroes

Penticton Western News letters to the editor for the Nov. 7, 2014 issue.

Highway of Tears to Heroes

The forgotten didn’t see the hearse or hear its wheel across the pavement in the process of getting a body to its final resting place.

The forgotten do not remember the momentary — the shock but not the purpose of a soldier, a man, a woman, father, a mother, a husband or a lover.

It is as if no one wants to remember except for the one that does, who stands and still holds the cup of water in his/her hands.

The forgotten do not wish to remain forgotten in the one, but fight for voice to be recognized. In the one who cannot sleep; the one that stands guard on the hearts of many a household; the one that seeks solace in the tears that drop quietly from his or her face.

The one that will be forgotten except for the voice of others to speak. The one, another, and another who will not forget the one that loved them, comforted them, cradled them.

And what of the solider(s) who have guarded thus with their heart? They will not be forgotten. The one, the two, the three will see to that. A country, my country, holds its breath against the sky of their deaths, and cries out inside and out for their loss.

And so, down the Highway of Tears to Heroes, the hearse goes for the ones that know and decided to guard anyway the route of the many, freedom for us and so it goes. That heavy moment that burden to lay down to its final resting place when all hearts have turned and not forgotten what it means to sacrifice extremely beyond what the one could do for another and another. How difficult it is to see past the forgotten and to know them not. To not know how they fought for the life they then could not live. And so it goes? The ones and the forgotten know what it means, and yet they do ache in consciousness to say to us to continue the fight.

Fight for justice and liberty in the land. Do more than stand and watch me pass by. Do not live a life that was not betrayed by us. We gave you your heart back. Guard it. Breathe in the air and chase your dreams, but remember the forgotten. Guard your heart as we guard the land. You were not outside our hearts when we, the forgotten, guarded you. Hold us there in your heart; hold us there.

Wendy Tarasoff



Alan Whitman misguided

In the election for director for RDOS Area D, candidate Alan Whitman has made the major platform of his campaign to stop incorporation.

What Mr. Whitman fails to understand is that incorporation is a democratic process guided by the principles that it be locally initiated and focused, that the decision to incorporate must be made by the electorate through a referendum and that the vote should be made by an informed electorate.

What Director Tom Siddon (and his predecessor, Bill Schwarz) is asking of the government is a study to compare the services and costs of incorporation with those of the unincorporated area as it presently exists.

A number of citizens, including myself, from Okanagan Falls and neighbouring communities participated in an incorporation committee whose task was to present the community with an opportunity to examine the pros and cons of incorporation. During the better part of two years, the members acquired a good understanding of the process of incorporation.

After that time and work, I can honestly say that I do not know whether or not I favour incorporation, however, I do want the right to make an informed decision based on the study, which Director Siddon is seeking, and to chose the option whether to incorporate or not. In his misguided campaign “to stop incorporation,” Mr. Whitman would take this choice away.

Bob Daly

Okanagan Falls


Deer taking over

What to do about our domesticated deer population? They are born and grow up in our backyards and even those of us that resent this invasion have to admit there is nothing cuter than a fawn.

There are others of us that hold to their truth that the deer have as much right to be here as we do, maybe more and that is not an argument, only the practicality of them living on our streets is at issue. Wildlife is just that. There would be no question if said animal was a bear of a cougar that was walking on our streets. Even the most ardent animal lover believes this, but then what is really the difference between any of these animals, they are all capable of violence when they or their young are threatened and therefore put us all at risk. This problem will not go away, we are not dealing with Canada Geese here. ICBC cannot help us with putting up a fence like they did in Banff, not very practical.

The reality of this situation can only be recognized by the mortality of our deer friends. I have witnessed deer being chased down by dogs and cars running into them on a regular basis. Almost all the deer in our neighbourhoods have lacerations, hide missing or broken bones on various parts of their body. We would not tolerate it if this was happening to our pets, why then do we allow this carnage to escalate while doing nothing but talk about what to do.

Is it the cost, is it having to defend our position against those who see the deer as only another natural beauty but fail to see that these animals in actuality are being abused by our apathy and lack of fruitful decision making.

There is in all likelihood 200-300 deer in the city limits, maybe more and these figures will grow exponentially over the years until it becomes impossible and deadly. People, it’s a small matter that they destroy our cedars, gardens, flowers and shrubs, but these things are incidental compared to the pain and suffering these animals go through all the time.

When this town was young, a deer found wandering the streets would be up in someone’s garbage before nightfall, now we let them roam unhindered to breed like rabbits.

Ask the city workers how many bodies they have had to dispose of from our streets or call the wildlife officers and ask how many they have had to put down because of injury from threatening behaviours. The abuse on our deer population is being perpetuated by the “Bambi Syndrome.” Those that would prefer this to continue should have a talk with the real eco-people who loath to see animals in distress. This is no longer their natural habitat, just one we have allowed to exist through inaction. We have had as many as a dozen deer in our backyard and we live downtown. Someone must come up with a solution and city council will have to be that someone.

One day, a child, senior with be killed or maimed. Do we want to wait for this to happen because it is inevitable. Will the unfortunate belong to your family?

Brad Hill



Theories are toxic drivel

It seems that conspiracy theories never go out of style. Their popularity stems from an all-too-natural desire to make explicable events that seem to have no explanation.

Often, to borrow a phrase from Theodor Adorno, these conspiracy theories become little more than a “rumour about the Jews.”

Thus, the pages of the Penticton Western News recently showcased a meeting of minds of two letter-writers, Rolf Loth and William Smith. Mr. Loth believes that the Western World is under the control of “Talmudic psychopaths” and that poor Mr. Hitler was duped into starting the Second World War by Churchill and his “Zionist friends.” Mr. Smith agrees and applauds him for his “boldness and objectivity.”

It no longer surprises me that some people continue to believe (and take a perverse comfort) in the notion of a Jewish global conspiracy, but I confess to being startled that a reputable newspaper would expose its readers to such toxic drivel.

Cindy Osheroff

Director, community relations and outreach

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs


Successful Halloween

My wife, Lisa, and I want to give a huge shout out of thanks to all of you at the Western News for another successful Halloween at our haunted house.

It is thanks to the media coverage that we grow year after year and give some serious dollars and food to charity. There are some more to thank, of course as there always are.  This list is not too long but, important none the less. Thanks very much to our understanding and appreciative neighbours that giggle a little bit every time they hear the chainsaws and screams and to all of the actors and spooks, without them we can’t scare anybody. Thanks to London Drugs for providing the candy at cost, to the Penticton Speedway and Underwriters Insurance for the use of the hearse to transport all the ghosts and ghouls.

Erik Laflamme


National Park will preserve

I would like to thank Gary Mason (Globe and Mail) for promoting the concept of a national park in the South Okanagan of B.C.  He is correct in stating that this area represents one of the most important ecosystems of the world and includes nearly 60 federally listed endangered species.  I have been familiar with this issue since my election in 2006 and have met with those on both sides of the debate.

My conclusion is that the proposed park is the best way to preserve this pristine area. This will also create jobs and have a positive effect on our local economy.

The Union of B.C. Municipalities recently passed a resolution in support of the park which has the support of local chambers of commerce, First Nations, environmental groups and many others.

There have been legitimate concerns expressed about the continuing viability of a local helicopter school as well as the ranching community.

These have been addressed by Parks Canada.  It should be remembered that the establishment of a national park is a lengthy process.

A few years ago, I was told by the former federal environment minister Peter Kent that the federal government would resume negotiations should the province of B.C. make the request. Concerns of ranchers and others can be addressed once negotiations resume between the two levels of government.

I strongly urge our provincial government to re-engage in this important process.  We have a chance to do something right for future generations.

Alex Atamanenko, MP

BC Southern Interior

The best choice for mayor

Advance voting begins soon in the Penticton municipal election. This is your chance to choose the leaders of our community for the next four years.

I believe the best choice for mayor is Andrew Jakubeit.

Over the past three years on council I have had the pleasure of working with Andrew and have always found him hard working, dedicated and calm under pressure.

In particular he has done an excellent job building relationships with some big players in the hockey community to help bring the Canucks Young Stars tournament to Penticton. The success of this event is a testament to Andrew’s professionalism and business acumen. Penticton would be well served to have someone with his talents leading our city.

Over the past three years our city retired more than $10 million worth of debt. We saw at least $142 million of private building investment in our community. We strengthened ties with the PIB and West Bench through service agreements.

We sought widespread public input and began rebuilding our Okanagan Lake Waterfront and revitalizing our Downtown. We received awards for supporting business and improving environmental sustainability. We secured a flight to Calgary on WestJet. We negotiated a new deal with Global Spectrum to operate the SOEC that will save us hundreds of thousands of dollars. And we secured labour peace with two unions to keep costs under control and still provide fair wages to workers.

And all of this happened while limiting property tax increases to an average of less than 1 per cent per year.

Some in our city and even around the council table, who unfortunately find any excuse to say “no”, fought these accomplishments every step of the way. Our community succeeded despite them.

I believe this success was the result of forward thinking, professional leadership on council and at city hall. I firmly believe Andrew is the candidate who will continue this leadership as mayor.

Simply put we have come too far to turn back now.

Will you turn our city over to those with narrow minds and even narrower visions? Will you let the cranks and curmudgeons control our community for the next four years?

Or will you stand up and choose leaders who will build on what we have achieved together?

To those who supported me and the modern vision we shared for Penticton three years ago, I ask you to support Andrew Jakubeit for mayor.

Wes Hopkin


Putting the fun in fundraiser

We want to thank visitors to Mme Russaud’s Haunt on Toronto Avenue for their kind donations, totalling $149.06.

Thanks also to our neighbours for their patience, to Jim and Linda Allen and Jackie Brockholm  — we couldn’t do it without your help — and to Mark and Harpreet at the Penticton Western News for letting people know about our little fundraiser.

All proceeds have been passed along to the OSNS.

Please consider supporting their Share a Smile Telethon taking place this Sunday between noon and 5 p.m.

Dean Russell and Dawn Renaud



To vote, or not to vote, is that the question?

How do civic elections inspire people to vote you might ask?

Just look at the 2011 results here in Penticton and you may arrive at the following conclusions as well. It seems that with 25,000+/- registered voters that about 8,700 or 33.5 per cent decided  the fate of the taxpayers in this city. Really, one person in three decided as to the direction of governmental trends for the ensuing three years.

Now, with four-year terms we face an even more serious challenge. The extra year of in -place elected officials, good, bad or indifferent is a reality.  Why the change, no one seems to really know as nothing was said to voters.  It just is! With that in mind, and voter apathy being what it seems to be, ask yourself this question: “If I didn’t vote last time and tolerated the boondoggles as such by the present city council for three years, if I don’t vote this time, am I prepared to put up with much of the same for four years?” A little scary isn’t it?

Let’s look at some possible reasons as to why there is apathy in municipal elections. One only has to look at the election modes in Canada.

Voting in municipal elections tends to be complicated. In federal and provincial elections you vote for one person, but municipally you vote for many positions.  Municipal voting requires more knowledge.

Increased alienation and disconnection means some people do not have strong networks to provide them with information and validation in deciding who to vote for, nor important cues to encourage them to vote. Sometimes the attitude taken by would-be voters is such that the feeling of what difference does it make, they are all the same in the end, seems to prevail.

Sad but true!

Some people have not developed a habit of voting or the sense of duty to vote, and little support and few systems are in place to change that.

Many should-be voters seem to have low internal political efficacy believing that their single vote will not make a difference.

Last election, this may have been a significant point that reflected the poor voter turnout.

Still, others may have low external efficacy, believing that the results of the election will not reflect their choices, so there is no reason for them to vote.

Media coverage of municipal elections, compared to federal and provincial elections seems relatively sparse. This tends to mean that potential voters have lower amounts of third-party information and lower political knowledge in municipal elections.

With the election drawing near, it is paramount for every registered voter to investigate any and all candidates prior to the election so that when you vote, you know who you are voting for and why; what they represent and above all, can you live with them for four years should they be elected?

As a taxpayer and a citizen of this city, it is not only your responsibility to vote, but your duty as well, unless you are prepared to let one-third of the population dictate the direction and future of Penticton.

Vote! Vote! Vote! Help to make a difference!

Ron Barillaro