I was angry and upset after reading the opinion of Rick Berk (Daily Sun News 9-21-05), accusing Mike Farmer of being motivated solely by politics and doing a poor job for the city on the odor abatement project at a local cattle operation.
I believe it is generally wrong-headed to judge a man ("Judge not, lest ye be judged, etc." see Matthew 7:1-5), especially based on someone else's views of his political motivations. however, we can all form an opinion of a man's character based on his actions and our personal interactions with him. I think most knowledgeable citizens will agree that a man's actions are often a more accurate indicator of his true character than anything he says or others say about him.
I have lived with my family about 15 miles north of Sunnyside for more than 20 years, and we do most of our business with Sunnyside merchants-including Mike Farmer. Throughout our time in this area each member of my family has had many interactions with Mr. Farmer while doing business with his auto repair shop. Without exception, we have found he is hard working, honest, forthright and fair. He stands behind his work in all respects, even when it costs him time and money to do so. He treats others with respect and has invariably been cooperative, kind and helpful.
That said, it is exceedingly difficult for me to envision a man of Mike Farmer's character acting solely in his own interests, just so he can get re-elected. Based on his actions, what I see is a good man working hard in a sometimes thankless job to do something beneficial for his community. Anyone who thinks otherwise might want to take some time to get to know him. Then you can form your opinion based on his true character, rather than a flawed interpretation of a political flyer or a less than complete knowledge of political facts and issues.
I will agre with Mr. Berk that moving the manure pile 100 yards would probably not influence the cattle odor problem, although I don't think anyone who actually thought about it would suggest such might be the case. As Don Vlieger has already very aptly pointed out (Daily Sun News 9-23-05), the resolution to this problem is much more complicated than that, involving the removal of more than 20,000 cows, as well as removing many tons of manure each year until the lot is clean. Add that to the good business position that the feedlot doesn't get its final payment until the job is done (not to mention the improved smell) and most anyone would conclude Sunnyside's council members are making great headway on this problem.
I will suggest that if Mr. Berk would spend as much time talking to Mike Farmer directly about the problem and its resolution as he spent writing his opinion, he may gain an appreciation of what the real problems are and what is actually being done about them. A little two-way communication goes a long way sometimes. Who knows, maybe he would end up voting for Mike. I would.
/s/ Jeff Dill, Benton County