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5J deal overly complicated

We’ve known since last October that the Baker School District would need to hire a superintendent to replace Walt Wegener, who is retiring June 30.

What we didn’t expect is that the school board would end up paying three people, one of whom is Wegener, for the final 3 months of his tenure.

This seems an unnecessary jumbling of jobs, and an extra expense to the district, which is at the same time lobbying the Oregon Legislature, and with good reason, to allocate more money for public schools.


Clean fuel, dirty deal

By the time you read this it’s likely that Gov. Kate Brown will have signed a law that will take money from every Oregonian’s wallet.

What we’ll get in return — a reduction in the state’s carbon emissions — might be tolerable if it were significant enough to have a measurable effect on the potentially harmful climatic changes that atmospheric carbon is contributing to.

But it’s not even close.


Not really a burning problem

The government’s campaign against woodstoves continues.

But the latest missive might have the unusual effect of uniting people in Portland with their counterparts in Baker County and other rural sections of Oregon.


A fitting tribute to Mabry

There is no sufficient way to honor Mabry Anders, the 21-year-old soldier from Baker City who was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2012.

But erecting a highway sign where visitors can hear the music of the Powder River, at the place Mabry liked to fish for trout, is a meaningful and worthwhile attempt.

We would expect the legislation designating Milepost 36 on Highway 7, between Baker City and Sumpter, as Mabry Anders Memorial Highway will meet no opposition in the Oregon Legislature.


Use TV signals? Pay please

The Blue Mountain Translator District sells a product that’s easy to steal.

It’s invisible, is the main issue.

And unlike other TV signals, the district’s aren’t carried by coaxial cable, nor do they require a satellite dish and receiver. All you need is a rooftop antenna.


A strategy for streets

It’s a perennial problem with no easy solution.

Baker City’s streets are, well, not crumbling, exactly. Not rapidly, anyway.

But they are deteriorating, and have been for more than a decade.


Limit Oregon’s vaccination exemptions

The “debate” over vaccinations is misnamed.

That vaccines are overwhelmingly effective and safe has been proved beyond any reasonable doubt by decades of unimpeached scientific studies.

But even if for some peculiar reason you aren’t convinced by the published research of the world’s eminent immunologists, you need only consider how vaccines have changed America for the better.


Get tough with public records law

Oregon’s public records law is failing.

If you’re a member of the public, anyway.

The law is working pretty well for government officials.


Let us vote on cougars


The perennial, and so far futile, effort to add geographic flexibility to managing cougars in Oregon has returned to the state Legislature.

This year’s proposal is pretty much identical to the one that failed to gain traction in the Capitol in 2013.

Actually there are multiple proposals — Senate bills 126 and 453, and House Bills 2050 and 2181. The basic idea in each case, though, is the same: To give voters in each of Oregon’s 36 counties the chance to allow hunters to use tracking dogs to hunt cougars.


Kitzhaber as victim? No way


John Kitzhaber, Oregon’s first four-term governor — albeit barely — will go, but not quietly.

Or with a great deal of dignity.

Kitzhaber announced last Friday that he will resign at 10 a.m. this Wednesday.

Secretary of State Kate Brown will replace him as governor.

Kitzhaber’s resignation letter is brief, covering just the essentials.

But the written statement he read early Friday afternoon is not.


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