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Rally around compromise


Organizers of the Hells Canyon Motorcycle Rally, the early June event that brings thousands of people to Baker City, want to close a four-block section of Main Street during part of this year’s rally, set for June 8-11.

We think that’s a good idea.

But with one caveat.


Keep the 'public' in law


We vigorously support the idea that responsible adults should be allowed to obtain a permit to carry a concealed handgun in Oregon.

But we’re equally vehement in believing that the existence of these permits should be a matter of public record.

We’re disappointed, then, that the Legislature recently passed a law (House Bill 4045) which, in effect, thumbs its nose at the notion that Oregonians should be able to keep track of what their elected officials are up to.


Making things worse

We understand that the U.S. Postal Service is hemorrhaging money.

We don’t understand, though, why the agency's cure involves a scalpel rather than a tourniquet.

Postal officials announced last week that they will close four mail processing centers in Oregon. The list includes the center in Pendleton, where most local mail goes (your letters really get around).

The projected annual savings from the Pendleton closure is $522,000. This, for an agency that lost $3.3 billion in the last quarter of 2011.

Obviously the Postal Service has to save money.

But by making mail delivery slower and less reliable — closing processing centers, for instance — the agency is likely to encourage people to switch to online options.

Which happens to be the heart of the Postal Service’s dilemma — first class mail use has dropped by 25 percent since 2006. We’d like to see the agency address that problem rather than make it worse.


Free to be a doofus


The term "judicial activism" can be accurately translated, in many cases, to "a judge's decision that I disagree with."

Occasionally, though, the criticism implicit in the term — that a judge has exceeded his or her legitimate authority so as to make a political or personal point — is truly deserved.

Rarely have we come across a better example than a recent court case in Pennsylvania.

The most disturbing thing about District Judge Mark Martin's ruling and subsequent comments to an alleged victim of harassment is that the judge leads us to question whether the First Amendment is quite as robust a treatise as we believed it to be.


Vaccine victory


Parents in the Baker School District are admirably diligent in making sure their kids are inoculated against infectious diseases.

For proof, just consider what happened in schools earlier this month.

Or, more accurately, what didn't happen.


The power of words


La Grande Mayor Daniel Pokorney isn't the first official to type himself into a public maelstrom via Facebook.

And we're not risking our reputation for prescience by proclaiming that he won't be the last.

As a legislative matter, the Facebook posts in which Pokorney criticizes states that allow same-sex marriage are irrelevant.


County commitment


The roster of lawmakers and private groups suggesting ways to help rural counties across the West, including Baker County in some cases, is getting sort of crowded.

We're not especially impressed with any of these strategies.

The basic fiscal problem is similar among the counties.


More profit, less pollution


The record-high price for gold seems to be having an effect on Baker County.

Within the past few weeks, a Nevada firm has expressed interest in reprocessing dredge tailings in Sumpter Valley.


Booming business


The statistics from Oregon State University are, in a sense, the happy corollary to the angry muttered chorus of customers surveying the meat case at the grocery store.

Beef prices have been high, by historic standards, for a couple years now.

This can make checking out a rather stressful experience.

But from a macroeconomic standpoint, the situation is more promising.


The rocks return


The rocks, or some of them anyway, will return.

Now what to do with them.

This, at least, is the lesser of the two dilemmas.

The greater challenge was to bring samples of gold ore and other precious metals and minerals back to Baker County, from whence they came (geographically speaking, if not always geologically).

That task has been achieved.


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