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Home arrow Opinion arrow Letters

Letter to the Editor for Nov. 25, 2015

Border security our best move to thwart ISIS

As we head toward the future, which looks like some kind of war, I’m reminded of the Vietnam era. One of the conventional sayings was, “If we don’t fight them over there we will have to fight them over here.” I’m hearing it again. Sounds profound and wise, but is it?

A little geography might be appropriate here. The U.S.A has a big ocean on both sides, a weak southern neighbor and an ally on the north. Last time I checked ISIS was lacking a Navy and an Air Force. So how would it be that we would have to “fight them over here?” Well, they have to get here and it seems like the way they travel is by air on commercial airlines that land at an airport. It would seem logical that before they get on that airplane they would be vetted and when they landed at one of our airports we should check them out again and keep track of where they went and if they overstayed their welcome. If they can’t come we don’t have to worry about them fighting over here. If we control our borders we don’t have to fight them over here. If we start restricting the numbers coming over here the less we have to worry about fighting them over here.

We should hold off on the boots on the ground push because they are over there and they are changing the way the leftist governments of Europe think. They might have to fight them over there and might just decide to drop the disarmament of their populations. Possibly those coalitions to fight radical Islam might actually end up being coalitions instead of America and some tokens.

Steve Culley

Baker City

Letter to the Editor for Nov. 23, 2015

‘Odor patrol’ another infringement on our freedoms

Lilacs... the harbingers of spring, how I love their sweet, sweet perfume. I have many lilacs in my yard. So if this odor ordinance passes, when someone doesn’t like their smell or are allergic to their buds, will I be ordered by the “odor patrol” to cut them down? The cottonwood trees are very odorous and wreak havoc on allergy and asthma sufferers. Can the city be held responsible for maintaining so many of these trees along the river?

Most people diagnosed with allergies are allergic to many different pollens, dusts and danders. So those complaining of specific marijuana allergies, are you quite sure? Have you had a medical “scratch test” to verify your claim? Or are you simply harassing your neighbor because you do not agree with him? The people of Oregon have voted on this issue. Because the vote did not go your way, does not give you the right to disrespect the rights of those who are following the law.

It was suggested by Al Free that Police Chief Wyn Lohner has a “personal vendetta against marijuana.” It appears to me to be much deeper that. Wasn’t Lohner the author of rodeo cowboys and beer don’t mix related to the Beer Garden? In another article in the newspaper, Lohner suggested that postal and utility workers could peek into people’s backyards and report on vicious dogs, how they are controlled and who knows what else? See a trend here?

There is a solution for those of you who are above the law and the demands of the voters — you can comply like we all do or you can all get together and secede from Oregon. It could then be called “Lohner’s People’s Republic of Baker City.” This is not meant to be funny, it is dead serious. Our Constitutional rights are slowly being chipped away and our God-given freedoms are being disrespected daily. We need to wake up and be vigilant against those who would change our way of life to fit their own personal beliefs and agendas.

Patti Hanley

Baker City

Letter to the Editor for Nov. 20, 2015

Pot odor ordinance too subjective to be fair

I have thought almost endlessly for days about the idea of an ordinance against marijuana odor.  I have also researched what other communitieshave done in response to a few complaining citizens.  I’ve come to the conclusion that it would be ridiculous.

I sympathize with the handful of residents that may be allergic to marijuana pollen. However, there are many residents allergic to a myriad of substances we frequently have in our air — cottonwood, lilacs, wood smoke, roses and grass clippings just to name a few. We don’t find ourselves discussing at length as a community how to handle these irritants. We don’t threaten to force people to remove trees, or bushes, or lawns for that matter because the neighbor has a health problem. We leave it up to the individual to either obtain allergy medication, stay indoors, or move away from the problem. Why would we treat marijuana any differently? Why the vendetta against a single plant? Like it or not, marijuana is legal to produce (excepting a couple of age and quantity related limitations) and should be treated as such. 

I am concerned that if a code is enacted it will be too subjective. I found Pendleton’s way of handling it (amending an existing public nuisance ordinance) to be very unreasonable. It’s only directed toward marijuana; the level of odor is not quantitatively measured. It is simply left up to whichever officer responds to decide on case-by-case basis whether or not it’s too odoriferous. How is this fair?  

In regard to the idea of mandating only indoor grows to control the spread of odor, there are already concerns about the ability of our power grid to handle it. I also discovered much evidence that covering a crop or moving it indoors simply condenses the scent, making it stronger than if the plants were raised in open air. 

I urge you not to open this proverbial “can of worms.” It should not be the business of legislators or law enforcement agents to manage. It teeters on the verge of a civil rights violation and will likely cause more trouble than it is worth!

Sarah Heiner

Baker City

Letters to the Editor for Nov. 11, 2015

History lessons, memorabilia from bygone Veterans Days

Viewing an envelope of November 1917 origin, I note the Return Address, “Oregon Red Cross War Fund.” I’m reminded that the Red Cross continues today, to aid people in wartime as well as peaceful settings. I note the 3-cent stamp. Sufficient to send an envelope then, now requires considerable additional postage, to send today’s voluntary contribution.  

 Formerly called Armistice Day, referred to signing the official document to cease World War I, 11th month, 11th day, 11th hour. Now known as Veterans Day, we honor all who have served. History tells us that President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed WWI, being fought, as “the War to end all Wars.” 

That edict, as we know, was not fulfilled.

Phyllis Badgley

Baker City

Reporting error led to inaccurate crime statistics

Baker County Consolidated Dispatch has looked into the 2014 FBI Uniform Crime Report.  

The FBI uses the OUCRs (Oregon Unified Crime Reports) that are submitted to the state from the dispatch center to create its report.  After reviewing the 2014 data, there was a reporting error that would change the results to match the numbers that Police Chief Wyn Lohner stated (11 reports of aggravated assaults rather than the 56 reported in the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report).

 We contacted the state to update the numbers, which it was willing to do, but the state informed us that it would not change the 2014 report as the FBI would not use the updated data. 

Changes have been made to ensure the accuracy of the Oregon Unified Crime Reports that are submitted to the state for future reports. 

In the future, the dispatch center will be double checking its figures internally before submitting the reports to the state.

We would like to apologize for any confusion this may have caused.  

Jason Yencopal

Baker County Consolidated

 9-1-1 Dispatch

Letters to the Editor for Nov. 6, 2015

Geologist says Owyhee lacks oil, gas deposits

I enjoyed reading Jayson Jacoby’s article on the Owyhee, having had the good fortune to spend about eight years of my life mapping the geology. The Owyhee is an area well worth exploring. I am puzzled, however, that the main reason given for seeking wilderness/national monument status is the pressing need to keep the Owyhee from being overrun by oil and gas interests. Based on my geologic expertise I would rate the oil and gas potential for the area south of Adrian as zero, zip and nada. The western Snake River plain north of Adrian is a different story. Different geology with different resources.

Precious metal resource potential is a different story. Gold and silver were mined on the Idaho side near Silver City. New discoveries of “hot-springs” type gold deposits have been made, most notable being Grassy Mountain. Frankly those with the most to loose by a wilderness designation are the recreational rockhounds. The Owyhee is home to the Succor Creek thundereggs and famous Owyhee picture jasper. Great area for collecting agate, mineral specimens and petrified wood. 

Other mineral resources include a sizeable uranium deposit near McDermitt, geothermal resources and industrial minerals such as zeolite and bentonite clay, both of which are used in environmental cleanups. There are also indications of “green energy” minerals such as lithium and the rare earth elements.

Mark L. Ferns

Baker City

Disappointed that Social Security payments won’t go up

I am writing to express my deep disappointment in the recent announcement that there will not be a cost of living increase for Social Security beneficiaries next year. As healthcare costs continue to rise, the strain on seniors, like me, is becoming unmanageable — especially as previous COLAs have failed to keep pace. It is difficult to understand how the huge increase in medical insurance premiums hasn’t caused the cost of living to increase substantially.

Though there is a growing movement in America to expand Social Security, next year’s lack of COLA demands immediate action. Seventy-nine percent of likely voters — Democrats, Republicans and Independents — support expanding Social Security benefits and paying for it by asking the wealthy to pay their fair share.

It is critical that Congress acts now to maintain dignity for seniors and people with disabilities by addressing the lack of a cost of living adjustment next year.

People like me are counting on it.

Ramon Lara

Baker City

Letter to the Editor for Nov. 2, 2015

Want to know Republican positions? Then pay attention

In a recent letter to the editor, Iva Mace gives her take on Republican’s stands on a number of issues. She imparts a negative spin to each item. She also manages to get most of them completely wrong.

She says, for instance, that Republicans want to take away her Medicare. Now Medicare is rapidly approaching bankruptcy. When that happens, taxes will need to be increased, benefits scaled back, or (most likely) both. To prevent that outcome, Representative Ryan’s plan, adopted by most Republicans, seeks to put Medicare on a sounder financial basis. Moreover, even if those changes were adopted tomorrow, Ms. Mace would not lose her Medicare. People over 55 would continue under the old Medicare program. The changes would affect only those younger than 55.

Then she says that Republicans want to take away voting rights in some states. What some Republican controlled state legislatures have done is to pass measures designed to prevent voter fraud, such as requiring voters to show some form of picture ID before being admitted to the voting booth. A driver’s license does the job; non-drivers can obtain picture ID from their state DMV. You have to have picture ID to cash a check. It is quite reasonable to require it on the far more important matter of voting.

Perhaps her worst smear is to say that Republicans want to “force those who were raped to keep that pregnancy so she can look into the face of her rapist when that baby is born.”  What utter nonsense! The very idea of requiring a woman to face her rapist while her child is being born would appall virtually every Republican in the land. Last year, there were a few Republican candidates who wanted to prohibit abortions even in the case of rape, but they weren’t elected, nor are they typical Republicans.

Ms. Mace ends her letter with a plea for Republicans to tell her what their plans are. Our local congressman and state legislators have been sharing their plans in every manner they can think of. Apparently Ms. Mace has not been paying attention.

Pete Sundin

Baker City

Letter to the Editor for Oct. 28, 2015

Republicans keep talking about outdated things

I have watched the debates and I still don’t know who I will vote for next year. I do wonder, however, why the conservative Republicans keep arguing old news. I for one, have no interest in Hillary’s emails, when they were sent, to whom, whatever. I don’t care that Jeb Bush thinks his brother kept us safe despite the facts to the contrary. 

What I DO care about is what will the Republicans do for me NOW.  From the papers I read, they want to take away my Medicare, change my health plan, rid the United States of anyone Hispanic even if they were born in this country, take away voting rights in some states (reminds me of the ’60s) and take away health care for poor women, force those who were raped to keep that pregnancy so she can look into the face of her rapist when that baby is born. 

Please Republicans, stop arguing the old news and tell me what your plans are if I help elect you.

Iva Mace

Baker City

Letter to the Editor for Oct. 23, 2015

Hillary needs to clarify gun control position

It is time to ask Hillary Clinton for a little clarification on her mantra of universal background checks for gun owners. I am at a loss as to who might not pass one of these background checks. What seems to be gaining traction is “keeping guns out of the hands of those who might use them for nefarious purposes.” School shootings come to mind. The perpetrators are usually mentally deranged so it would make some kind of sense to make sure that they don’t get their hands on a weapon.

So who are these people that might get on a list? I am assuming that federal privacy laws will have to be altered and possibly mental health professionals might have to turn over the names of patients. At the same time we are talking gun control we are talking about the shoddy state of mental health treatment in the United States: depression, teen suicides, etc. I wonder how many will come in for treatment if they think that just going in to talk about personal problems might put them on a gun ownership prohibited list. Our returning vets suffer from sky high suicide rates and the military ranks are filled with a disproportionately high rural recruitment rate, gun-owning rural America. Will our vets opt not to treat PTSD because they might never be allowed to own a gun because they saw a mental health professional at the VA? Domestic violence is another thing that can get you on a gun prohibited list. Are there any provisions to punish a vindictive domestic partner who would use gun control to punish a used to be significant other? What provisions are there for appeals?

Drug possession felonies are sky high and felons are prohibited from owning a gun and many times that is a barrier to getting a nonviolent kid back into the rural lifestyle of hunting or carrying protection while alone in the mountains. The devil is in the details and we need to know just what details you have in mind, Hillary.

Steve Culley

Baker City

Letter to the Editor for Oct. 19, 2015

Hoped Mike Meyer would be appointed to City Council

I was sorry to see that Mike Meyer didn’t get picked for City Council. Not that I don’t think Sandy Lewis shouldn’t have been picked, I don’t know her nor anything about her. What I do know is that Mike Meyer is like a breath of fresh air, just by reading his letters to the editor. He has a fresh view and heaven knows we need that. He showed his mettle by the sad theft of his garden at the community plot, Mike handled it with a sense of humor as well as a touch of sadness.

I just hope Mike continues to write often, I would also like him to know he has more voices like his than he realizes in Baker City. I have found no better city to be retired in and I don’t know if there is one. Baker City is a great unknown on the map and every once in a while it is refreshing that someone of Mike’s obvious quality finds us.

Thanks, Mike, and next year when my fruit trees produce (weather permitting, something you’ll learn about Baker City) I will gladly share my harvest with you and your wife. If you see a tall man carrying a stick out walking early in the morning with his lovely wife by his side, stop and say hi.

Bill Ward

Baker City

Letters to the Editor for Oct. 14, 2015

Union-bashing column lacks supporting statistics

I am unsure of what “a research fellow of labor economics in the Center for Data Analysis at Heritage Foundation” is but after reading James Sherk’s inane diatribe “Unions offer little for workers” ( Baker City Herald Oct 12) it appears to be an impressive-sounding, overly long title meaning anti-unionist. Mr. Sherk tends to cherry pick his supposed facts and make giant sweeping observations with brazen abandon to support his agenda.” Union representation has fallen because most workers see little value in it.” Is it possible that union representation has fallen (if in fact true) through nationwide job losses and a concerted effort to employ part time, minimum wage workers in order to avoid any additional benefits or health care coverage?

 “Unions have little ability to raise wages anymore.” Huh! Collective bargaining? Strikes?

Mr. Shreck then acknowledges that a union member may be better paid but “primarily because organizers target higher paying companies.” I would love to see the facts backing up that statement but, alas, he produces none. “The decline in union membership is due to a decline in worker demand for union representation.” Could it be that many migrants, and other underpaid workers (example: Walmart), jobs are put in jeopardy for even talking to a union? How much representation is allowed overseas where our jobs are being shipped? I’m guessing none! Mr. Sherk continues his ramblings with some obscure handpicked stories of union evil doing, even concluding that being a barber has no safety concerns (Really? scissors, razors!) or need of licensing.

  Here are just a few things I know about unions and what they have tried to accomplish for all union and non-union workers:  A living wage, the weekend, 8-hour work day, a lunchtime, paid overtime, group health care (cheaper and somewhat more affordable), pensions, job safety, child labor and anti-discrimination laws...Lastly I want Mr. Sherk to know that sometime around mid morning, when he is done with his union bashing, he can grab a cup of coffee, take a break, and relax for 10 or 15 minutes — thanks to unions.

Mike Meyer

Baker City

We can’t trust Hillary Clinton in an emergency

In her 2008 presidential campaign, then-Senator Hillary Clinton stated that she should become president as she alone had the competency to handle 3 a.m. emergency phone calls. Well, Secretary of State Clinton got such a phone call at 8 p.m. on Sept. 11, 2012: The U. S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, was under attack.

It is still unclear why we had a consulate in Benghazi in the first place. The area is a hotbed of Islamic jihadists and is one of the most dangerous places in the world for Westerners, especially Americans. In the months leading up to the 11th anniversary of 9/11, there were several attacks upon western installations in Benghazi, severe enough that the British withdrew their people. Faced with a deteriorating situation, Ambassador Stephens repeatedly requested security upgrades for his consulate. These were denied.

The U. S. government regarded Benghazi as an acutely dangerous post, yet the consulate’s security apparatus did not meet the minimum standards for such installations. By law, the only person who may wave security protocols is the Secretary of State, which then was Hillary Clinton.

On Sept. 11, wave after wave of Islamists armed with firebombs, rocket propelled grenades and mortars attacked our consulate. Outgunned and overwhelmed, four Americans were murdered, including Ambassador Stephens.

But afterwards, on Sunday talk shows, U. N. Ambassador Susan Rice claimed the Benghazi attacks were a spontaneous reaction to an obscure YouTube video produced by an Egyptian Coptic Christian. That video had indeed been a minor issue in another demonstration a few hours earlier in Egypt, but in Libya, the video was a non-event. Yet the Obama Administration clung to this line for several months, as President Obama had said that al-Qaida had been decimated while the well-organized Benghazi attack said otherwise.

Facing Congressional investigations into Benghazi, Mrs. Clinton famously asked, “What difference does it make?” The Benghazi attack reveals her incompetence in discharging her duties as Secretary of State, and was followed by a massive cover-up. It also showed why we do not want her in the Oval Office receiving those 3 a.m. emergency phone calls.

Pete Sundin

Baker City

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