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Home arrow Opinion arrow Editorials arrow Letters to the editor for Jan. 8 to Jan. 12, 2007

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Letters to the editor for Jan. 8 to Jan. 12, 2007

Both disappointed

To the editor:

So the Baker City Herald was hoping for an "improved City Council." Funny thing because I have long been hoping for improved editorial content at the Herald. Guess we're both disappointed.

Charles Hofmann, MD

Baker City

Let's move on

To the editor:

I appreciate the way the council meeting moved ahead in a positive way last Tuesday. The election of the mayor and vice mayor was not intended to be secret. It happened, and we discovered we made a mistake. We intend to correct that mistake and move forward. I voted for Jeff Petry for mayor and Andrew Bryan for vice mayor. One of the reasons I ran for council was that I am very tired of everything you read seems to be negative and I want my community to be positive. The five finalists for city manager will be released as soon as we are sure it will not affect their current employment.

Let's get together and turn our community around and be thankful for all that we have together.

Please accept my apology and let's move on.

Terry Schumacher

Baker City

Council rejuvenated

To the editor:

I watched with interest Tuesday night at the swearing in ceremony of the new City Council and further proceedings and I felt a spirit of rejuvenation.

New ideas are being formed, energy abounds, and I truly believe that the City of Baker will move ahead in the future. I look forward to it!

Dennis Fullerton

Baker City

FDA should put health before profits

To the editor:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently announced its approval of meat and dairy products from cloned animals amidst widespread concern among scientists and food safety advocates.

Despite recent consumer opinion polls showing that most Americans do not want food from cloned animals, cloned milk may soon be sold, unlabeled, in grocery stores across the country, and cloned meat will be next.

Scientists say that clones may be inherently unhealthy, with potentially harmful consequences for animal foods derived from clones. Moreover, animal cloning is a cruel technology that results in needless animal suffering.

Leading cloning scientists say clones are likely to carry genetic abnormalities, and that even small imbalances in a clone's hormone, protein or fat levels could compromise the safety of its milk or meat.

It appears that once again the FDA has seemingly ignored scientific and public concerns and fast-tracked a decision for the benefit of a handful of cloning companies.

It's time for FDA to put the health and welfare of Americans over corporate profits.

Donna Landon

Baker City

Public doesn't trust the school district

To the editor:

The results of the Nov. 7, 2006 general election for Measure 33 (the 5J bond issues) were clear: "No" to building a new Baker Middle School as proposed.

I believe something needs to be done to improve our school facilities. However, first and foremost the 5J administration must regain the trust of the local citizens and voters. You do not restore trust by whining in defeat or adding fear and threats, as read in the Dec. 8, 2006, Baker City Herald article by Chris Collins.

Where are the 5J facility maintenance dollars? If my memory serves me correctly, whenever extra funds have been available at 5J, the spending priorities have been personnel wages, personnel bonuses and personnel severance packages. The current 5J liability for early retirement of personnel is $1.1 million.

Additionally, 5J has $8 million in general obligation bond debt. This specific $8 million debt is the unfunded expense of the Public Employees Retirement System for 5J employees. When did this receive voter approval? Is it possible for 5J to obligate the citizens with an additional $20 million of bond debt without voter approval? What kind of a business is 5J operating?

Here are a few suggestions to start rebuilding community trust:

1. Change 5J leadership. Start with a new 5J superintendent, a new BMS principal and a new school board.

2. Start maintaining existing facilities. The $205,000 from the sale of Churchill will surely fix BMS sinks, toilets, showers and roof drains and provide another exit from the school cafeteria.

3. Consolidation. Sell 5J headquarters building. Fund a remodel and relocation project to move administration staff to the Central Building.

4. Safety. Close the one-block section of Washington Avenue in front of the Central Building.

5. Choices. Give the voters a remodel, build new or site location choice.

Trust is a precious commodity. Too bad 5J's shelves are empty.

Brandon Daniels

Haines

Wolves? Why?

To the editor:

As the veil of darkness falls over Eastern Oregon, the piercing sounds of a lone wolf in the distance breaks the tranquility of the night. One must remember wolves do not travel alone, they are not solitude animals. They travel in packs, hunt in packs, survive in packs. There is such a romantic notion that a wolf is howling at the moon, longing for something we only try to understand. They are not. They are talking, moving, hunting, surviving. Cherish that our nights are not broken with that eery sound.

I'd ask Suzanne Fouty (Jan. 3, "We need the wolf"), do you like to take walks in the forest, walk along a winding creek bed or enjoy an evening sunset stroll in the high desert? In the right circumstances, when you hear that piercing sound, when you or your beloved pet or a family member are face to face with a wolf pack, will it because of "the arrogance and folly of humans?" No, it will be because of an idealistic notion of humans. You may choose to put yourself in circumstance of being injured or even killed by a wolf pack, but I do not.

As one passionately in favor of an intact ecosystem, healthy watersheds and local economies, I am certain the return of the wolf to Oregon will not accomplish this. To have an intact ecosystem, hunt. For healthy watershed, log and graze. For local economies, bring in jobs. I am certain there is not a wolf pack out there that cares about our local economy, the health of our watershed or the ecosystem.

Farms and ranchers are the land's first and only qualified environmentalists. The stewardship we place on our land and livestock outweighs any other person. If wolf packs are re-introduced, ranchers will ride more — not to check on our herds to see if they are grazing the "appropriate" areas, but to count losses. You do realize if a pack of wolves are attacking my cattle herd will not choose just one, they will destroy all. Could you afford this if ranching was your way of life?

Heidi Johnson

Baker City

Council can be proud of its work

To the editor:

The land swap is dead because after four years on the city council I was tired of the fight with a select few citizens. For less than $20,000 hard money, Baker City could have acquired the necessary real property to improve and increase downtown parking at Resort and Washington. Instead, the downtown business community, local citizens and community visitors lost the opportunity for this prime downtown parking location.

In early 2003 city staff told the Baker City Council within one year there would be a need to lay off employees and borrow funds to operate. Baker City would have less than $1 million in cash carryover with that number projected to continue to decline.

What does the council have to show for the last four years?

1. Cash carryover July 1, 2006 — $2.3 million

2. Record expenditures for street maintenance

3. Record expenditures for asset maintenance

4. Two new ambulances @ $90,000 each

5. New fire truck @ $400,000

6. Stop light at Cedar and Campbell streets

7. Golf course lease saving $60,000 annually

8. Commitment to complete D Street project

9. Commitment to complete Leo Adler Memorial Pathway

10. Commitment for $600,000 of improvements at the airport

11. Commitment for Industrial Park rail spur and road completion

12. Increased employment levels at public safety departments

13. Commitment to major water and sewer system improvements

14. 911 dispatch center improvements

15. Improved city/county working relationships

16. Major review and updating of city ordinances

17. Dewey Street improvements

18. No Sky Taxi or the million-dollar debt associated with Sky Taxi

19. Transient Room Tax reorganization

20. East Campbell annexation

21. Total current Baker City debt — $87,000

I am very proud to have had the opportunity to serve with a great group of individuals the past four years whose goal was to do what was best for Baker City and its citizens.

Seems to me the council of the past four years has a little something to show.

Randy Daugherty

Baker City

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