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Kudos to the county

For more than a decade the specter of the sage grouse has loomed over Baker County.

Concern about this bird has focused on the potential restrictions on livestock grazing, recreation and mining that could result from the federal government conferring threatened or endangered status on the species.


State lets down students


Here’s the new excuse for Oregon students:

“I did my homework, but Gov. Kate Brown vetoed it.”

Last week Brown signed House Bill 2655. This legislation, on which proponents bestowed the egregiously misleading name “Student Assessment Bill of Rights,” allows parents to exempt their kids from standardized testing starting next spring.

And they don’t have to give any reason for skipping the tests, which are given to students in third through eighth grade, as well as 11th grade.

That’s a substantial change from current practice.


Wildfires: Money and a new focus

Oregon’s U.S. Senators, Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, are among the lawmakers leading an effort to change how the federal government pays to fight wildfires.

Their goal is a good one.

But it’s also only one part of the solution — and not the most important part.


Last minute campaign contributions

Editorial from The (Bend) Bulletin:

In the week before the November 2014 election, Gov. John Kitzhaber received some $392,500 in campaign contributions that were not made public until Nov. 5, the day after the election. That will change if the amended version of House Bill 2178 becomes law.

The bill, introduced at the behest of then-Secretary of State Kate Brown, tightens up Oregon’s campaign finance reporting in important ways. Critically, it requires that all last-minute large contributions to campaigns be reported within 48 hours, rather than the current seven days.


Flaws in our public records law

We’re pleased that Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has signed a law requiring the Secretary of State’s office to study how the state government is handling the public records law.

But we’d be a lot happier if such an audit weren’t necessary.

It shouldn’t be.


Pot bail out?

The Oregon Legislature might bail out Baker City and Baker County.

Both the City Council and the County Commission this year passed ordinances banning the commercial sale of marijuana. It’s not clear whether either has the legal authority to enforce a ban.


Doing all we can to avoid fires

The rains that distinguished the second half of May turned down the dial a couple of notches on the drought severity in Baker County.

But one of the beneficial effects of the wet weather — reducing the risk of wildfire — was short-lived.


Focus on 10th Street

We hope the meeting that took place Thursday night at the Little Pig launches a thorough discussion about one of Baker City’s more interesting, and potentially more bustling, business districts.

That’s 10th Street between Broadway and the Hughes Lane/Pocahontas Road intersection near the north city limits.


Making a mess of mascots

The Oregon Board of Education’s stubbornness on the matter of high schools that have Native American mascots or logos reminds us of the condescending paternalism that infected the government’s attitude toward tribes in the 19th century.


A bright spot in Kitzhaber scandal

We might not know for months, or even years, which part of the saga that ended with Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber resigning in February is the most sordid.

A federal investigation into the matter continues.

But from what we do know today, the attempt by an employee in Kitzhaber’s office to delete the governor’s emails from state-owned servers just before the governor resigned ranks high on our list of misdeeds.


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