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Discussion needed

We figured the recent report showing that Baker City’s streets are in worse shape than they’ve been in almost 20 years would have prompted a lengthy discussion among city councilors.

And so we were surprised when councilors accepted the annual pavement management plan last week without debate.

We hope councilors devote a bit more time to the matter this spring.

This year’s report, prepared by the city’s Technical Services Department, is familiar reading for anyone who has perused reports from the past several years.

Thanks for pep talk

We’d urge President Obama to delete “catastrophe” from his vocabulary.

Unless there really is one.

Which isn’t to say that this recession, which Obama has referred to repeatedly as a crisis that could become irreversible, is just a statistical blip.

It’s pretty bad.

Save our SRO

Baker City and the Baker School District should not sacrifice the city’s school resource officer to the budget crisis.

Fortunately, with some help from Baker County, they won’t have to.

The opinions seems to be universal that the SRO does great work at Baker High School and Baker Middle School.

Police Chief Wyn Lohner believes that’s the case. So do District Attorney Matt Shirtcliff and Baker Schools Superintendent Don Ulrey.

Baker project more than a stimulus

This isn’t the best time to go to Salem asking for money.

Still, we were disappointed by the reception a pair of Baker City residents received when they traveled west earlier this month to pitch an important local project.

Jake Jacobs, who’s the Baker City/County economic development manager, and Andrew Bryan, a Baker City councilor and director of the county’s marketing, promoted the proposed Baker County Higher Education Center.

Heading off Oregon beer tax proposal

We’re mystified as to why certain Oregon legislators believe it’s a reasonable proposition to make up for 32 years of inactivity with a single bill.

A tax increase of 1,900 percent?

That legislation is destined to fail no matter what’s being taxed and what the money would be used for.

A valuable lesson

Let’s be clear about one thing: The only true villain in the Dean Barnes case is Dean Barnes.

Barnes, a 34-year-old Baker City man, sexually abused two 16-year-old girls last year.

He pleaded guilty to three felonies last week in Baker County Circuit Court.

Judge Greg Baxter sentenced Barnes to at least 15‡ years in prison. That’s an appropriate punishment.

We applaud Judge Baxter for ordering Barnes to serve the two mandatory minimum sentences of 75 months — the penalty for first-degree sex abuse — one after the other.

A better option

The Baker School District’s Facility Efficiency Committee came up with a couple of suitable ways to trim the district’s costs.

This unfortunate task seems inevitable.

The state, which supplies about 56 percent of the district’s dollars, announced Friday that its budget deficit is getting bigger.

District officials estimate that the district’s share of state revenue will plunge by $869,000 for the fiscal year that ends June 30. That’s more than double the $365,000 shortfall the district had projected.

As a result, the school board is confronted with the likelihood of needing to close two schools in Baker City rather than one.

Thanks, taxpayers

We don’t as a rule congratulate people for doing something they’re legally obligated to do.

But Baker County property owners deserve to be lauded for their dedication to fulfilling one of the fundamental duties of an American.

They pay their property taxes.

Well, almost everyone does.

Change chimp law

Sometimes it takes a chimpanzee nearly killing a woman to make you think.

Travis, the 200-pound chimp that Sandra Herold of Connecticut had raised since it was an infant, attacked Herold’s friend, Charla Nash, on Monday.

Nash suffered severe injuries to her hands and her face. Police shot and killed the chimp.

Thanks, union workers

Oregon’s largest public employees union deserves a pat on its collective back.

The 23,000 state workers who belong to the Service Employees International Union showed last week that they understand the state’s economy is in the doldrums.

But more important, the union members proved that they’re willing to share in the sacrifices the recession has brought about.

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