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Careful on cap/trade

Gov. Ted Kulongoski and the Oregon Legislature need to tread carefully as they try to shrink the state’s carbon footprint.

Their goal is admirable.

Carbon emissions pollute the atmosphere and contribute to global climate change.

Less carbon is better.

Nonetheless, we urge the governor and his supporters to consider a couple of salient points related to the potential costs and benefits of Kulongoski’s cap-and-trade proposal.


A long-needed look at the state’s books

Amid the onslaught of legislation that has inundated Salem since lawmakers convened there in early January, one bill is conspicuous.

It is House Bill 2500.

Or, as we’ve taken to calling it, the bill that would let Oregonians take a look at the state’s checkbook whenever they want.


Good luck, YMCA

The Baker County Family YMCA seems to have found the right Baker City building for its proposed community and fitness center.

Now it just needs to find the money to buy and renovate the place.

We hope the organization succeeds.


A tragedy, and a lesson

The tragic death of two-month-old Mia Roe can never be undone.

And nothing, save the passage of time, can lessen the pain which those who loved Mia are enduring.

Yet it may well be that because Mia died, other infants will be spared the same irreversible fate.

That’s because Mia’s death prompted St. Elizabeth Health Services to introduce a program designed to help parents safely deal with the stress of caring for a newborn who cries and can’t be consoled.

The program is called “The Period of PURPLE Crying.” PURPLE is an acronym, each letter representing one of the symptoms of the uncontrollable crying episodes that some babies exhibit.


Adams' Amends

We don’t doubt Portland mayor Sam Adams sincerely wants to do right by the city whose voters elected him.

We just wish he recognized when he was doing wrong.


Tough choices coming

School districts across Oregon are bracing for what might be their biggest budget cuts in more than a decade.

Baker schools are hardly immune. The Baker District’s shortfall, for the rest of this fiscal year, which ends June 30, and the next, could exceed $2 million. That’s about 12 percent of the district’s annual operating budget.

But Baker’s school board is fortunate in one respect: It already has a comprehensive list of cost-cutting options to consider.

That list was compiled by the five-member Facility Efficiency Committee, which the school board appointed last summer.

Committee members Cindy Schildknecht, Tom Hudson, Ken Humphrey, Randy Daugherty and Kelly Cahill, all volunteers, deserve recognition for their good and thoughtful work.


Taxes vexing Obama

We used to think that failing to pay federal taxes was a pretty sure way to get some attention from the IRS.

It turns out that’s also a way to get put in charge of the IRS.

Actually, until developments on Tuesday, procrastinating on those pesky tax payments seemed to be turning into a prerequisite of sorts for people who aspire to a position in President Obama’s Cabinet.

Last week the Senate confirmed Timothy Geithner as Treasury Secretary even though Geithner admitted that he had neglected to pay $43,000 in back taxes and penalties.

Today Geithner, who paid his bill, is responsible for the IRS, which is an agency of the Treasury Department.

At least he has plenty of people to warn him before April 15 arrives this year.


Stimulus and sand

Democrats in the Oregon Senate tout the $176 million Oregon Jobs Stimulus Plan, which the Senate passed last week, as an “investment in Oregon families.”

But in Baker County the biggest beneficiaries seem to be sheds that keep traction-adding gravel out of the weather until an ODOT truck drives out in a blizzard to spread it on a slippery highway.

We like the basic idea behind the legislation, Senate Bill 338.


Get together, get results

Complaining is easy.

Getting results usually isn’t.

And so we applaud the Baker County residents who have picked the hard way in their quest to influence where Idaho Power Co. builds a transmission line through the county.

The group is called Move Idaho Power. About 110 people turned out for its initial meeting in late January in Baker City.

We don’t know how much clout, if any, Move Idaho Power will wield as the Boise company proceeds with its plan to build the line between Murphy, Idaho, and Boardman. Idaho Power hopes to finish the line by 2013.


Stimulus plan good, but could be better

President Obama’s strategy for reviving America’s economy has a lot of potential.

The president’s proposal, an $819 billion version of which passed the House on Wednesday, would put people to work.

And it would return money to millions of taxpayers’ pockets.

But Obama’s plan also has flaws.

We’re not surprised.

When politicians from either party prepare to spend billions of dollars, they inevitably bloat bills with projects which, though they might be worthwhile, stray far from the purported purpose of the legislation.


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