I read the recent articles regarding Sen. Jeff Kruse’s resignation with great interest. Sen. Kruse is a lifelong resident of Douglas County, and he has made significant contributions to Oregon during his many years of public service. I found the articles to be factual, balanced and even sympathetic. Descriptions of his alleged inappropriate behaviors were tempered and moderate compared to descriptions of those behaviors in other regional newspapers.

I couldn’t help contrasting this reporting with recent articles about leaders at the Roseburg VA Medical Center where descriptions of alleged inappropriate behaviors have seemed overly repetitive, intemperate and lacking perspective. Unlike Sen. Kruse, most VA leaders come from outside Douglas County, making it easy to depersonalize them because they have no deep connection to the community. Additionally, VA leaders have significant restrictions on how they can respond to allegations in the press. Perhaps this is why recent articles have, at times, appeared biased, one-sided and even vindictive.

Please note that I am not defending any current or past VA leaders; I am simply reflecting on the way events have been portrayed in this newspaper.

If the Roseburg VA Medical Center is to succeed in the future, the incoming director should be given the benefit of the doubt and the support necessary to do what needs to be done to turn things around. Mr. Dave Whitmer has a long history of government service and a distinguished career that has led up to his assignment in Roseburg. I would like to believe that our community, and The News Review, treats everyone fairly, even if they were not born and bred in Douglas County.

I hope readers can look forward to future reporting on issues at the VA that more closely resembles the recent articles regarding Sen. Kruse’s resignation; factual, balanced and fair.

Chip Taylor

Roseburg

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(2) comments

Allen Washington

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Despacito

Mr. Kruse has been accused of being inappropriate with employees, sexual harassment and other allegations. Mr. Kruse has not actually been responsible for any person being harmed in a way that might end their life or actually been responsible for decisions that ended a life. Furthermore, Mr. Kruse does not have his job any longer. He wasn't shuffled to another office or another political position. He stepped down. Contrast that with the VA. The Chief of Surgery who has been shuffled around in the VA and still has powers over the Roseburg facility via his position with the VISN 20 has actually been investigated for over two years by the Office of Inspector General and found to have been performing a medical procedure on our veterans in an "outdated" manner. Just last week another publication in Iron Mountain Michigan cited that same chief as being involved in a serious outcome for patients at the VA facility there and a veteran actually died. That chief of surgery then moved from Iron Mountain Michigan to Roseburg Oregon. Yeah, that's right. In fact, the Veteran's Administration actually apologized to the families of these veterans according to the newspaper article. There were over 2000 veterans involved. No disrespect to the alleged victims of Mr. Kruse but any reasonable person would consider a death of a person more serious than what the accusations against Mr. Kruse are. Furthermore, you should be ashamed for the role you played in this fiasco. Once again you did not identify yourself as the person who recruited the Chief of Surgery to the VA Roseburg from Iron Mountain Michigan. If you are really sincere about how the newspaper portrays the happenings at the VA perhaps you should start with yourself. Portray yourself honestly before you criticize the newspaper. People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

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