LETTER: Ontario mayor criticizes Enterprise report, use of statistics

To the Editor:

On Oct. 25, 2017, the Malheur Enterprise published a front-page article on tax levies. The picture incorrectly showed Ontario with the highest totals (per $1,000 assessed value) when in fact Ontario is the lowest with Nyssa receiving 35 percent and Vale receiving 59 percent more than Ontario for the cities portion. A correction was placed on page 4 of the next week’s paper. While it would be easy to attribute this to a clerical error, our meetings with and subsequent article from Mr. Les Zaitz of the Enterprise lead me to believe otherwise.

In his Nov. 1, 2017, article, Les picked the highest year (2012) in both violent and property crime back to 2009 to measure Ontario’s change in crime. I’m not going to apologize for having two successive years of low violent crime, but I want the people in and around Ontario to ask themselves: Do I feel safe? Ontario’s average violent crime index over the last five years is 463 per 100,000 people versus 260 in Pendleton, 156 in La Grande, and 162.8 in Hermiston.

The property crime index per 100,000 people is 6,682 versus 3,834 in Pendleton, 2,997 in La Grande and 6,764 in Hermiston. Do you feel that’s good enough for Ontario? Many people tell us we are not safe enough and we need to do better.

We would like to know how Les distinguishes between barking dog complaint call and that same call after investigation being a dog barking because of a little girl being mauled by a pit bull. I don’t think, considering that he does not live here, he has understood challenges of our community. He has used statistics to make his point and that in itself does not paint the full picture.

Ontario Mayor Ron Verini