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.