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Home arrow Opinion arrow Editorials arrow Letters to the editor for the week of Oct. 30 to Nov. 3

Letters to the editor for the week of Oct. 30 to Nov. 3

Hire Bogart for county commission

To the editor:

Voters are employers! They have the ability to elect the person they want to work for them.

There is one candidate running for office who has many years' experience, both with Baker County and various cities. That candidate is Steve Bogart, running for the position of Baker County commissioner.

Steve was a county commissioner before he was elected to the position of commission chair (at that time the position was county judge). I worked with Steve for over eight years.

Steve was great to work with, very knowledgeable about county affairs, conservative with county dollars, was honest and fair when dealing with department heads, the commissioners, employees and the public. He also assumed leadership roles in both county and state policies. Above all else, his main priority was always the welfare of Baker County.

Please join me in electing Steve Bogart as county commissioner, the most experienced man for the job.

Lynne Taylor

Baker City

Give Saxton a shot

To the editor:

I watch the television advertisements for Governor Kulongoski regarding the accomplishments during his tenure as governor. Afterwards I always wonder if those would have happened anyway. Politicians always take credit for everything that happens on their watch and it seems to me that much of the time it makes little difference who is in office.

Both the U.S. Forest Service and the Oregon Department of Forestry are under a microscope for every activity in which they are planning or involved. In my experience, they will always err on the side of caution, at times to the detriment of the forest. The Tillamook fire occurred many years ago and that forest has recovered to the point that it needs to be harvested from a management standpoint. The State Forestry Department staff members have developed a management plan for that forest that includes timber harvest. This has taken a great deal of time and effort.

More recently, the Biscuit fire in Southwest Oregon burned over half a million acres of timberlands. The U.S. Forest Service has put forth a management plan for that area that also includes timber salvage harvest. Much of it utilizes helicopters to remove the logs, thereby reducing potential erosion issues. They also have put forth a great deal of effort in designing this plan as they know they will be heavily scrutinized. Scientifically, they are both well done.

Governor Kulongoski's knowledge of forest management is literally zero, yet he has attacked both plans as having too much harvest. With little or no knowledge, he is merely parroting his preservationist supporters, much to the detriment of the forests as well as the state. My premise has always to keep quiet if you have no knowledge of the subject at hand. The governor should do the same.

We have suffered long enough under Ted's leadership or lack thereof.

Will Ron Saxton do a better job as governor? I'm not sure, but I am willing to give him the opportunity. Please join me in voting for Ron Saxton and hopefully we can effect a change in Salem.

Rob Ellingson

Baker City

Walden doesn't represent us well

To the editor:

The fact that Carol Voisin has "a lot of passion" about "issues critical to middle and lower income people" (your editorial of October 20) is reason enough for us to vote for her. But the position of U. S. Representative means even more than that. It influences the future direction of our great nation and impacts much of the rest of the world.

Rep. Walden is hardly bipartisan. He has voted the administration's position 94 percent of the time, including key votes to approve the Iraq War and the mammoth tax cuts, mainly for the very wealthy. These votes have hurt our country and our community.

Rep. Walden was the only one of Oregon's five U.S. Representatives to vote for the Iraq War. The other four were able to see through the deception being perpetrated by the small group of neo-conservatives within the Administration. When U.N. weapons inspectors found no WMDs before our invasion, Walden said not a word. We could have declared victory and gone home. Instead, we rushed to war. Over 2,800 of our men have died there, along with hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. And for what?

Our radical government now wants to bomb Iran. We have no sign that Rep. Walden will do other than rubber stamp that venture, too.

In June, Walden received the "Hero" award from the government-hating, tax-eliminating Americans for Tax Reform. He voted their radical, "starve the beast" position 92 percent of the time. Now the chickens are coming home to roost. We're about to lose most of the county payments, which Baker County receives instead of property taxes (Payment in Lieu of Taxes program) to provide roads and schools in our county. Walden is trumpeting a patchwork of funding sources to allow county payments to be renewed. So far, those tentative sources amount to only 14 percent of the amount needed. He is hardly a "champion" on our behalf.

I'm all for cutting taxes, but not for wealthy corporations and not at the expense of our domestic programs that benefit all of us.

I'm voting for Carol Voisin. Her Web site is www.voisinforcongress.com.

Donna Landon

Baker City

Your obits tell tales of lives well lived

To the editor:

Today, as I was searching for an executive in Toronto, Google matched that name with an obituary from your newspaper in January 2002. Often we are given links that aren't what we need, and we click through, frustrated yet determined, to find what we are looking for.

Oddly enough, today was a different experience as the search engine led me to your Web site. I read the obituary of the name match and found myself smiling. How absolutely appalling it is to say that one was smiling when reading an obituary! Yet, I must confess, I was definitely sitting here smiling.

You see, in my world of corporate executives and formalities, I had never pondered what would be said about me when I died.

I read about the woman who raised her children, helped with the ranch and spent years volunteering as a Trail Tender. I read about the gentleman who spent time in the armed forces and returned an avid hunter, fisherman and grandfather.

Your obituaries weren't notices of death, they were notices of life — lives well spent in the pursuit of family and friends.

So today I pause, reflect and remind myself that Baker City has the most wonderful writer of lives well lived — not obituaries.

I hope when I leave this world, someone will write my life well lived.

Donna Silver-Smith

Kingston, Ontario, Canada

Saxton for Oregon

To the editor:

The common complaint among Eastern Oregonians is that Oregon politics are controlled by people in the Willamette Valley. The upcoming election offers a unique opportunity to let our voices be heard because we finally have a candidate for governor that has statewide support and a legitimate chance of being elected. That candidate is Ron Saxton.

Saxton understands that our natural resource industries, our educational system, and our economy need help and that the Kulongoski administration is asleep at the wheel. While Kulongoski gives plenty of lip service to the needs of rural Oregonians, he's failed to turn his words into policy. Kulongoski has visited our side of the state more than most governors, but it's what he does in Salem that really matters.

The governor has ignored input from agricultural groups on issues ranging from water use to wolf reintroduction. After the Biscuit Fire in Southern Oregon, Congressman Greg Walden and others worked relentlessly to allow burned timber to be salvage logged, but just before the logging began, Kulongoski had a lawsuit filed to stop the salvage.

Executive and bureaucratic appointments are arguably the most influential powers a governor possesses. Chris Heffernan was appointed to the Oregon Board of Forestry by Governor Kitzhaber to give small rural woodland owners a voice in Salem. When Chris came up for re-appointment, Kulongoski attempted to replace him with Les AuCoin, the former liberal congressman and anti-logging activist from Ashland. Following extensive pressure from legislators and citizens across the state, AuCoin was exposed and he retreated.

Ron Saxton will be a governor that will reach across party lines to cut wasteful spending, restore accountability to Oregon politics, and implement real change while representing all of Oregon. Unlike the governor, Saxton believes Oregon has enough money and that we just need someone to manage it. I agree.

So the choice is clear: if you think Oregon's finances, educational system, and economic policies are working and you want a governor that talks rural policy and implements urban policy, then Ted is your man. If you think we can do better, please join me in voting for Ron Saxton.

Martin Arritola

Baker City

What happened to Iraqi oil money?

To the editor:

The recent news reports have prompted my memory, and I am writing to ask if anyone else remembers. In the very beginning of the Iraq war we were told that Iraq's oil fields were the first thing our GIs were sent to protect. The reasoning we were given was the money from the oil could help rebuild Iraq's infrastructure.

Now, we are being told the country is in doubt it can pay for the reconstruction so American tax dollars are going to be spent to do so.

Where did that oil money go? I am sure the oil fields continued to produce and the oil sold, to the tune most likely of millions if not more. Where is that money now that Iraq really needs it?

We are also told that more GIs are needed in order to train the Iraqi police force. I would like to see the Iraqi police force adopt the same philosophy that is used to teach medical students procedure. They are to watch one procedure, do one procedure under guidance and then turn around and teach it to someone else. That cements that procedure into their brains.

So, why cannot the 300,000-plus Iraqi police teach their own people how to be police? Our country does it all the time. Why do we need to send more troops?

Pull out and let the Iraqis police themselves or go to civil war, whichever they want to do. Or is it that oil that we really want, so President Bush can pay back the oil barons who helped him to office?

Iva Mace

Baker City

Kids aren't ones paying for it

To the editor:

Those in favor of Measure 33 keep saying, "The kids deserve it," but they seem to forget it isn't the kids paying for it, it's the adults, whether they have kids in school or not.

My wife and I work off of a budget with our money. If we want something, we look to the budget to see if we can afford it. If not, we say no or look for a cheaper alternative. In the case of the school, I believe a cheaper alternative is available. It's called remodeling. It may be a little more inconvenient, but that is something we all live with at one time or another.

Proponents of 33 also keep referring to the unsafe buildings. Remodeling would take care of that, otherwise why would the school district be trying to sell the buildings in the hope that someone else will buy the buildings and remodel them for other uses?

Remodeling has to be a cheaper, viable alternative or else the buildings should be sold with the stipulation that they must be torn down and the land used for other purposes.

In my estimation, another plus for remodeling is the present central location of the middle school in town and the fact that is is away from the influence of the high school.

The hard push for a new expensive school reminds me of "pork barrel" spending in the budget of Congress. It's the taxpayers' money, not ours, so "go for broke."

Richard Culley

Baker City

This is reality, not scare tactics

To the editor:

As an enthusiast of old buildings, I was initially against building a new middle school. Why couldn't we renovate the old buildings? After considerable study and a tour, I'm convinced we need to build new.

I urge anyone still not certain how to vote to take a tour. The condition of the buildings on the inside was worse than imagined. Renovation won't work for many reasons. There is not enough land on the existing site. The school district would have to buy and tear down surrounding buildings to make enough room. The old buildings are positioned awkwardly and unsafely even with a renovation. The cost of temporary modular classrooms while renovation occurs would be a waste of taxpayers' money and a logistical nightmare.

Someone mentioned "scare tactics" in a recent letter to the editor. Did he or she take a tour? I learned from a teacher that at least two young girls were propositioned by known offenders as they walked between buildings last year. That is scary. The KIDS committee attended a work session of county commissioners to share concerns about the middle school buildings. The commissioners asked former fire chief Bill Smith what he thought about the middle school. He said "Those buildings are fire traps." That is scary! These are not scare tactics; on the contrary, this is the reality of the situation.

It is unconscionable that our community has not put funds into our schools for over 50 years to make them safe and to keep up with the ever-competitive environment our children face.

Let's listen to the experts. Let's make the investment now rather than later when costs are even higher. This problem will not go away. It's our turn to step up and take care of it. Yes, it costs money. But an investment in our youth is the best one a community can make.

Finally I want to say thank you to the school board and the task force for taking on this enormous project when it would have been easier not to. You have the community spirit and vision that Baker City was built on. You've worked hard to gather the facts, used professional experts, investigated all options. Now it's up to us. Please vote "Yes" on Measure 33.

Victoria Brocato

Baker City

Education isn't about new or old

To the editor:

Pro and con on Measure 33. The best interest for the students, the best environment to learn, the list is endless. Education and values are the same in character. No matter if learning is within new or old walls of wisdom. Past generations try to educate future generations to make wise choices, and $13 million in interest is not an "educated" wise choice.

Don't pass these poor financial decisions on to our children. But we can teach our future generation that a remodeled facility and a new facility have the same knowledge content.

A lot of parents work two jobs with two incomes and some dependents to file. Others have one fixed income with no other deductions. A wise financial formula and individuals' preservation work in this community needs to be acknowledged on this measure.

I was proud to attend an older or older remodeled school, where generations of my family graduated from. After all, some very educated and famous scholars and such were from older walls of wisdom.

It all has the same academic goal. Use the brain and a book and a wise and comfortable and affordable life will follow from your educated efforts. "Principal" has more value than $13 million in interest. You can't pay for your children's college paying a huge interest payment. Cash really does have "value."

Sell surplus real property, pay cash, reduce your interest and we all live a better financial life. A win-win for all of us. This is some skepticism, but that is an educated freedom.

Why are Baker City schools in their worst shape ever right at voting time? A "No" vote is truly a wise investment for our children, our community and the older generation. I hear the Oregon Lottery has some $40 million for schools in Oregon. Every little bit helps.

James Schmidt

Baker City

Questionable tactics real danger to kids

To the editor:

In thinking about the actions and statements of the school board and the local education/growth industry coalition during their righteous crusade to get our neighbors to buy them a shiny new middle school, I am left to wonder about the messages they have been sending the children and the voters. The primary message they seem to be sending is that "the ends justify the means," or put another way, it isn't how you play the game, but whether you win or lose.

Among the more questionable tactics:

1. Don't give the voters a choice between a new school and a remodeled building — just dare them to say no to the new school when there is no concurrent fallback plan and voting choice for a safe and affordable remodel.

2. Bait them and secure their commitment with low-ball figures on the cost of a new school and then switch to a new figure that is several millions of dollars higher.

3. Don't remind them that another bond measure seeking millions for the elementary schools will likely be needed soon.

4. Browbeat those who seek affordable alternatives by implying that they don't care about education or children's safety even though they pay a good deal of what is often limited income every year to support education.

5. Insult the voters and the democratic process by spending public money to seek bids on the Helen M. Stack building before the voters have their say and before we know whether the building will be surplus.

6. Use a lone secret bid on the Helen M. Stack building to lure voters toward thinking that the new school is inevitable and that we will get a good deal on our school buildings even though Churchill School has been languishing on the market for months.

The facts are that whether children attend a safe remodeled school or a brand-new one will have little effect on student achievement, but teaching them that the ends justify the means can have a profound effect on their lives and on our community.

Christopher Christie

Baker City

Build a premier education facility

To the editor:

As longtime residents of Baker County, we would like to encourage everyone to vote "Yes" on Measure 33.

Measure 33 has the potential of providing a premier facility for the students and staff of the Baker Middle School, plus major safety and efficiency upgrades to other facilities within this district.

A new facility is not just a pretty building for students and staff to walk through. It is a learning environment that can serve this community for years to come. The promotion of a good education, strong moral values and community involvement begin with our children.

The history of our community will mean nothing if we don't promote the future of our community as well.

Mark and Lisa Ward

Baker City

Lisa Ward is a member of the Baker Middle School Task Force.

Voisin, not Walden

To the editor:

Greg Walden is running for his fifth term in Congress. As expected the Herald again endorsed the "Career Politician" aspirations of Mr. Walden.

Greg has voted with President Bush 97 percent of the time and only 39 percent of the people agree with President Bush's policies. It would appear to me that Greg Walden is not doing the people's work.

Greg Walden short list:

1. Voted against cracking down on oil and gas company price gouging and in return, oil and gas industries have given Rep. Walden $78,150

2. Voted the approval of federal loans for companies that have moved off shore to avoid paying taxes.

3. Supports big drug interests who have given him $71,603.

4. Supports Halliburton. In return Halliburton supports Greg.

5. Voted for the un-constitutional Patriot Act.

6. Supports President Bush's war in Iraq: i.e., the slaughter of 655,000 Iraqis and over 2,800 young American servicemen.

7. Has avoided military service.

8. Is not truthful and attacks constituents in the paper (me) instead of answering pertinent questions submitted to his office.

Oct. 17,Greg Walden voted on attacking the rights of citizens, voting for the Military Commissions Act of 2006.This act, drafted for the used-up word "terrorism", is suppose to target "non-citizens," stripping them of habeas corpus.

This may sound OK, but the actual wording of the text includes "Any person subject to this chapter who, in breach of an allegiance or duty to the United States, knowingly and intentionally aids an enemy of the United States ... shall be punished as a military commission … may direct."

Gentle readers, it is not my intention to break any laws, but the mere fact that we have congressmen such as Walden subverting more constitutional laws is more than we should allow. "Any Person" includes citizens as well as non-citizens.

With my last 23 words (out of 350), I would like to state: Vote for Voisin and rid us of Rep. Greg Walden.

Chuck Monpas

Haines

Walden, not Voisin

To the editor:

Although election day is fast approaching, I do think a newsletter we received recently from our congressman, Greg Walden, is really a wake-up call for all voters here in Eastern Oregon. In it he tells us what his opponent Carol Voisin's positions are if she replace him.

A partial list of what she supports:

1. The Kennedy/Reid Immigration bill which would give Social Security benefits to illegal aliens from the country and includes amnesty, too.

2. Greatly increasing inheritance tax (Walden works to repeal).

3. Increase the gas tax!

4. Greatly decrease military programs that improve troop retention

5. Reduced funding for armed forces personnel training of troops, even in time of war.

6. Repealing congressional tax cuts, resulting in a family of four with an income of $50,000 increase at least an additional $2,000 in taxes.

7. Supports "decriminalizing" marijuana.

Plus she supports a new windfall profits tax on businesses earning more than 12 to 15 percent a year. All this from a lecturer at Southern Oregon University!

With so much at stake, we can't let Greg Walden end up losing his position where he's working for all of us on forest restoration, including cutting burned trees that are still valuable, as well as championing for farmers and ranchers, just to name a few of his successful efforts. He asks us to join him in supporting Saxton for governor as his "Partner for Progress" for Oregon.

Maxine Foster

Baker City

Adding my opinion

To the editor:

I am in favor of building a new middle school. With all the opinions about the middle school project, I will add mine.

I have never seen any remodel project come in on time and on budget. Trying to remodel a building built in 1916, the other in 1934, and turning them into a useful high tech facility to meet the needs of our students, including handicapped, will not be money well spent. I don't want to waste my tax dollars on two buildings that are clearly beyond remodeling for educational use.

In 1952 we build a new high school to replace the one built in 1916. It didn't meet the needs of the students then and it doesn't meet the needs of the students today. That old high school is called Central today, but it is still the old abandoned high school, not even remodeled for today's educational needs.

I would hope those of you in favor of the remodel would consider the true cost: the unknown cost of housing students while the remodel takes place and the unknown until a wall or walls are opened up. Those are just samples of the unknown. One should look at the recent or updated remodeling estimates, rather than the ones first given as guesstimates a couple of years ago.

I would encourage everyone to tour the facilities. Tours are available every Thursday afternoon and on special request. Check with the middle school office for the time.

Let's do what's best for our children and our community. Please vote yes on a new middle school, Measure 33.

Robert Savage

Baker City

Editor's note: Savage is a former teacher, Burnt River school administrator, local business partner, past director at Blue Mountain Community College and father-in-law of Ginger Savage, vice-chair of the Baker 5J School Board.

Build a new school

To the editor:

Whether or not we should keep the current middle school and pour millions into a remodel or build a new state-of-the-art one that will last for our grandchildren's grandchildren, one fact remains: There is not enough room for the students in the current facility. There is no room for parents to safely drop off their children, the buses must compete with the children walking to school, and the children must often rush out into the street to make it into their next class. This current facility, while having served many children well for years, simply cannot handle what we're asking of it.

Please join me in support of the new middle school, one with enough room inside and outside for our students.

Elizabeth C. Huntsman

Baker City

In whose best interest? Not mine

To the editor:

The newspaper is sprouting all kinds of letters to the editor asking for support of or against some candidate or proposition that is in the public's "best interest."

As a member of the public, I am concerned that the proponents of Measure 33 have not addressed the individual's (mine) "best interest."

The cost is outrageous! Proponents advertise $19.8 million over 20 years. What is not said is the additional estimated $13 million in interest! Total cost: $32.8 million, or $1.6 million per year.

As a retired government employee, my 20-plus years of experience leads me to believe that there is probably 10 to 15 percent of "fluff" in this request. Yet, at the same time, my experience with construction projects of this magnitude leads me to believe that there will be cost overruns, which will require future added funding requests made, by the school district.

My wife and I live on a fixed income and cannot afford the additional taxation resulting from Measure 33. Consider that the existing property tax can be increased by 3 percent per year without our objection. Anticipating my 2007 tax burden increase, with passage of Measure 33, I am faced with an added $400.

That is only part of the picture: Our medical supplemental insurance carrier advised us last month that effective Jan. 1, our premium would increase by $38 per month, or $456 per year. Other living expense increases: gasoline for automobiles, propane gas for heating, food costs add another $1,800 to our annual budget.

The good news is that insurance rates are forecast to hold steady and electric rates are down. The anticipated increased expenditures for 2007 amount to over $2,600, which will be offset by a Social Security and pension increase of about $800, leaving us in a position of trying to balance a tighter budget.

I appreciate the perception of the "need" for an additional school, but at what individual expense? Personally, I think that the whole proposition should be re-thought. It may be better to repair/upgrade existing facilities and sell surplus real property.

After all this is accomplished, then and only then should a new school be considered. Incremental change may be to our benefit.

John A. Haytas

Baker City

Kids come first

To the editor:

Baker City students deserve the best too! In order to provide the children in Baker City with a quality education in an environment that is healthy, safe and conducive to learning, the only way to vote on Measure 33 is "Yes."

I lived in Baker City for 19 years, worked for the Baker School District for 15 years, and now live in Spokane, Wash., and work for Spokane Public Schools, where our children do come first.

The only way the school districts in the Spokane area can provide the necessary environment and equipment to provide quality educations for the children is to pass levies and bonds. Our community's overwhelming support of the school district's facilities improvement bond and educational program levy set in motion a chain of positive changes throughout Spokane Public Schools. The additional dollars for technology have opened many doors and many opportunities for district sites, students, and staff.

I know the same effect will happen in Baker City. Pull together, Baker City citizens, the cost is minimal compared to the results.

I know that when Measure 33 passes, you will also set in motion a chain of positive changes throughout Baker City. Your bond dollars will not only create a safer and more efficient middle school, but will also provide more jobs for the community.

If you are committed to ensuring the success of our future leaders, then invest in the future, your kids! After all, Baker City children should come first too!

Carole Brewster

Spokane, Wash.

Vote yes on 33

To the editor:

I am voting yes on Measure 33.

Is it because I want to pay more taxes? No.

Is it because I have been "scared" into it by pictures of unsafe conditions at BMS? No, I am an informed voter and know firsthand the current conditions of both the Helen M. Stack building and the Central building. I went to school there almost 20 years ago, I have coached there, and my husband currently works there. Not to mention the fact my grandfather went to high school in the Central building back in the 1920s. I don't want my two daughters to have to attend a middle school adequate for students four generations ago.

Is it because I have been "guilted" into it by not wanting to be called "anti-kid" or "anti-education"? Hardly.

This issue is much more important than worrying about labels. I understand those who view the buildings as historical, and the location as ideal. I too appreciate the preservation that has been done to keep Baker City's history alive. But keeping our children in these buildings at this location is not what is best for them.

I am voting yes because for me it is quite simple. The current conditions at the middle school are unacceptable. Anyone who has taken the tour, and is thoroughly informed, would agree that something must be done.

I believe as a community, we need to do it right the first time, so that we are not faced with this issue again in another 20 to 25 years. I am willing to pay now, so that I won't have to pay more later. A yes vote is truly an investment in not only our children, but our community.

Jennifer Ramos

Baker City

No on 41 and 48

To the editor:

Don't buy into the ads touting the benefits of Measures 41 and 48. The same out-of-state interest groups that funded the effort to get these two measures on the ballot in Oregon are now paying big money on a media campaign to get them passed.

As a member of the Baker City community and someone who helps those in need access important services and programs, I'm concerned about what will happen to Oregon if these measures are not defeated.

In 1992, Colorado passed an initiative like Measure 48. They thought, as we're being told, that capping government spending would help solve their budget problems.

Unfortunately, their measure had the same flawed spending formula that's in Oregon's Measure 48 and it drove Colorado to the bottom of the national rankings for many of the services we all depend on.

Colorado is 48th in prenatal care, 49th in school funding, and 50th in vaccinating children. Things got so bad, Colorado voters suspended it in 2005.

The formula they use in 48 — population growth plus inflation — just doesn't work. That's because Oregon's population is growing at a much slower rate than our senior and prison populations, and the inflation figure is tied to consumer spending, not the kind of things states must pay for, things like health care, prisons, education, roads, and senior services.

Measure 41 is equally complicated and flawed. According to the fiscal impact statement, Measure 41 cuts almost $800 million from the 2007-2009 budget. Almost 90 percent of our budget goes to fund important services like schools, health care, public safety and senior services.

When services are cut, Oregonians will end up paying in other ways, whether it's higher fees for services, higher licensing fees, or paying even more for our children's school expenses. We can't afford these hidden costs and we can't afford to have Oregonians' quality of life destroyed by the highest bidder.

Say no to out-of-state interests. Don't let New York millionaire Howard Rich and Nevada businessman Loren Parks buy Oregon. Join me in voting No on Measures 41 and 48.

Tera Martinez

Baker City

Yes on Measure 33

To the editor:

Please vote yes on Measure 33 for the new Baker Middle School.

My biases for a yes vote are obvious: I am an educator in my profession and a parent forever. Being new to Baker, my family and I moved here specifically for the sense of community. We have been welcomed by so many in the community that it has affirmed for us that we made the right choice for our family.

I harbor a concern for not only the safety of our daughter, but for all the middle school children attending the current unsafe school facilities. Additionally, the buildings are outdated for instruction and the learning we require for students in the 21st century. The conclusion of the Middle School Task Force, which has worked on solving this issue with the community for two years, was an obvious one. As the cost for building continues to increase, it is fiscally responsible to build the new school ASAP. The new Baker Middle School will provide a safe, up-to-date learning facility for children many generations into the future.

As a parent I know the greatest gift I can give my children is the opportunity for a full, vibrant and happy life. As a community member the greatest gift I can give future generations is the same opportunity afforded to me by the previous generations' work and sacrifice. Both roles require an investment in education as the key gift we can pass on to our children. You can make this happen in Baker with a yes vote on Measure 33.

Craig Harlow

Baker City

Editor's note: Craig Harlow is South Baker School principal

Yes on Measure 33

To the editor:

Children are everyone's future. The community bears responsibility in providing for the well-being of children as much as parents do. A broad-based education in a safe and modern environment is imperative for our kids. Vote yes on 33.

Bob and Linda Haynes

Baker City

Vote for Saxton

To the editor:

Let me tell you what I know about Ron Saxton. I practiced law with Ron from 1979 until 1995, when I voluntarily left our firm to return home to Baker County. Ron became the leader of our firm in 1990, after a devastating split in the firm that reduced it from over 100 lawyers to 50-some lawyers in a matter of weeks, with no corresponding reduction in overhead.

Those were tough years; but under Ron's leadership, as chairman of the management committee for many years, the firm thrived. His style was to listen carefully to what everyone had to say, and then work to build consensus. He offered good ideas during every discussion. He was positive and energetic. And in his law practice he dealt with his partners, his clients, and opposing counsel with integrity. Always.

These are the qualities I personally observed. These are the qualities that will make Ron an excellent governor of Oregon. That is why I am voting for Ron Saxton, my friend and former law partner, and why I am asking all of you to vote for him too.

Linda Weber Triplett

Baker City

Yes on Measure 33

To the editor:

As a recent transplant to Baker City, I was made aware of the school bond measure immediately. I have heard much dialogue and opinion from many different people; some in favor, some not.

Attending the forum, I was very impressed by the people who came with tough questions for the task force. Equally impressive was the incredible amount of homework and effort the task force has put in over the last two years. This is NOT a haphazard plan. Extensive research has been implemented on how best to meet the needs of Baker schools, yet maintain the historical value of the community.

Young or old, kids or no kids, now is the time to invest in Baker's future after 53 years. Please attend the tour. Get the facts. Vote yes on 33; delaying longer is not an option.

Karen Harlow

Baker City

Editor's note: Karen Harlow is the wife of Craig Harlow, South Baker School principal.

Yes on Measure 33

To the editor:

In light of the recent newspaper conversations regarding Measure 33, I have some thoughts to share:

First: Any proposal to spend money or change policy will cause polarization of opinions within an organization or community. Grappling with "positives vs. negatives" helps us discover what's right and wrong about something.

Second: To be informed of the "facts" is my responsibility. Being totally dependent upon the opinions and rationale of others may cause me to make a choice based upon "hearsay," "skewed opinion" and "partially" informed thoughts.

It is interesting to note how many negative letters and personal conversations have come from people who have not sought the "source" for the "facts." They have not gone to the district office, or had a visit with a school board member or our awesome district superintendent, Don Ulrey. They have not taken advantage of the building tours to see firsthand, or talked with kids, parents, teachers and administrators.

Not all — but most — who have taken enough interest to inform themselves of "facts" — not partial truths — have decided we need a change.

Please — before you mark your ballot — get the facts and make an educated decision. Then, vote for our kids and a better community, not just your pocketbook. Buildings aren't eternal — let's invest in the heart and soul of our community. Let's vote for our kids.

Lennie Spooner

Baker City

Yes on Measure 33

To the editor:

To tell the truth, it's all about me. I know this sounds selfish but I always vote my principles and values. Don't we all? I support Measure 33 because I am proud of Baker County. I want to see this community stay healthy and strong with outstanding schools that produce leaders.

Each school year readies the student for the next year. The middle school's noise, temperature variations, safety and facility issues limit teaching and learning. This limits our students' competitiveness.

Directly I will not benefit from a new middle school. My children will be off to college by its opening. However, their decision to return will be based in part on the quality of education for their children. So how will Measure 33 benefit me? Baker County is struggling. Many bright young individuals are leaving for better-paying jobs. Our population is stable only because of an influx in retiring individuals. Unfortunately, a retired class does not support industries paying family wage jobs.

The county must provide quality education to attract new businesses. Employees moving to Baker want a quality education for their families. Businesses are also interested in hiring a local educated workforce. Do our schools meet the challenge? Our schools must prepare students for higher education. After college our children should want to return and start their own business.

A new school will attract outstanding educators. New teachers are looking for classrooms with modern teaching facilities meeting the needs of their specialty. The current middle school does not meet these standards!

As I see it, Measure 33 is not about the stinky bathrooms, tangled wires, broken countertops, mold, and asbestos. A new middle school is not the fix for all our education problems. Measure 33 is about Baker's quality of life. It's about being the best we can while sustaining a healthy and viable community. If you share the same values as I, then join me in supporting Measure 33. Remember it is all about me — and you!

Mitchel A. Bulthuis

Baker City

 
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