Baker City Councilors are elected to do three main tasks:
1. Supervise the city manager
2. Oversee the city’s budget.
3. Approve city policies.
Last Tuesday Councilor Gail Duman asked a legitimate question about Dan
Van Thiel, the city’s contract attorney, representing City Manager
Steve Brocato in a personal legal matter that didn’t involve his work
as city manager.
Unfortunately, Duman, along with the rest of the council and city
residents, received only a partial answer to her question Tuesday
because Mayor Jeff Petry was so quick to bang his gavel.
Brocato said he did not spend city money to hire Van Thiel — a
statement which Van Thiel’s billing records confirm. That answers the
On Sunday police agencies across Oregon started a two-week campaign to ensure kids riding in cars are properly buckled in.
The Oregon Department of Transportation will use federal dollars to pay
for police overtime during the “Click It or Ticket” effort.
This is money well spent. According to ODOT, about one-third of kids
younger than 8 who were killed or hurt in a car crash last year were
either unrestrained, or were not sitting on a booster seat.
Jim Lunders’ job hardly changes from year to year but his approval
ratings, for want of a better term, fluctuate as widely as a
This is because Lunders’ performance depends largely on the weather.
Lunders gets paid to kill mosquitoes.
This is never an easy task in the 200,000-acre district that Lunders
manages. But some years his duty is considerably more daunting than in
The past two years illustrate this point perfectly.
Let’s be clear on one thing: The Wallowa-Whitman National Forest’s road-closure process is not a democratic one.
Only one person will decide which roads on the Wallowa-Whitman that are now open to motor vehicles will be closed.
His name is Steve Ellis. He’s the Wallowa-Whitman supervisor.
But although no one other than Ellis will make that decision, everyone else has the right to lobby him.
This includes residents of the five counties across which the
Wallowa-Whitman sprawls: Baker, Union, Wallowa, Grant and Umatilla.
Whoever started the fire last week in Baker City’s watershed probably figured the diminutive blaze was of little consequence.
Luckily, they were right.
Yet that fire, though it burned less than one-tenth of an acre before
four Forest Service firefighters put it out Friday evening, could have
left the city’s 4,000 or so households with dry faucets and a hefty
bill to get them flowing again.
The fire might prompt city officials to cancel hunters’ privileges to
legally walk into the watershed and go after a deer or an elk.
I will agree, in part, with a caller who left a message on my answering
machine complaining that not enough had been done about the mosquitoes
However, I must add that I feel the vector control district has done
everything within its power to reduce mosquito numbers as much as
At this point in the season, the district has logged 302 phone calls.
Of these calls 249 were adult mosquito reports, 16 event fogging
requests, 12 dead bird reports, four larval inspection requests, three
no-spray list, two for advice on out-of-district mosquito control and
16 miscellaneous calls, including thank-yous. The district has made 381
larvacide treatments covering 9,985 acres as well as 55 adulticide
treatments covering 63,939 acres.
Griping about how the Willamette Valley bullies the rest of Oregon is a
popular pastime among residents in the state’s rural regions.
Which is most of them — regions, that is.
When we first heard about the inaugural Oregon Rural Congress, which
took place last week, we figured the event organizers had merely put a
new name on an event with the same tired old purpose: to complain.
But then we read a couple of quotes that Colleen MacLeod, a Union
County commissioner and co-chairman of the Eastern Oregon Rural
Alliance, gave to The (La Grande) Observer, our corporate sister paper.
Ethanol was supposed to boost Oregon’s economy and clean our air — a pretty neat trick.
Turns out ethanol knows a couple other tricks that aren’t so neat.
Lowering your car’s gas mileage, for instance.
And raising your food prices.
And, possibly, dissolving plastic or rubber parts of your vehicle.
No wonder the Oregon Legislature was so enamored of ethanol.
But that was last year.
Baker City officials should enforce, as fairly as possible, every ordinance that’s in effect.
Baker City officials should not use those ordinances as the pretext for writing as many tickets as possible.
Shannon Regan, who as the city’s community service officer enforces the
city’s ordinance that prohibits people from piling trash and other
“public nuisances” (as the ordinance defines them), seems to understand
When Baker City Herald reporter Chris Collins went along with Regan
for a couple hours earlier this month, Regan stopped to talk with a man
who had kindled a debris fire.
The man inadvertently put a plastic milk jug in his burn pile.
Burning plastics is illegal in the city because they can produce
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