Letters to the Editor for April 11, 2012
Catholic position is crystal clear
To the editor:
The letter by Barbara Tylka in the March 30 edition highlights the profound differences between Roman Catholics and Catholics. The former believe what the Catholic Church officially teaches and the later mistakenly presume that the Church is a democracy and that the “church is a community of believers” and, presumedly, that said community can substitute their own views on matters of faith and morals. Dr. Tylka is absolutely wrong when she states that a position regarding contraception is not a part of Church dogma. The encyclical (document) of Pope Paul VI (“Humanae Vitae”) makes the Church’s position crystal clear.
I’ll keep the discourse civil. Having said that, it is indisputable from a factual perspective (rather than “opinion” and convenience) that the Church’s position on contraception has not changed before, during, or since the Second Vatican Council. What has changed is that Bishops and Priests have, to a large extent, failed in their obligation to show obedience to the Holy Father (Pope) and support what the Holy Father decrees to be the official position of the Church. Such failure to obey, and the failure of many Bishops and Priests to teach in conformance with Church doctrine on this and many other subjects, is precisely what has led to so many Catholics believing and acting in ways contrary to the Church’s official position.
Had clerics obeyed the Holy Father’s directives and done the job of teaching that they promised at the time of ordination to the Priesthood the current controversy would not exist.
More forest roads should be closed
To the editor:
The Wallowa-Whitman National Forest is home to an amazing diversity of wildlife, including eight species of big game: elk, mule deer, bighorn sheep, moose, antelope, mountain goat, black bear, and mountain lion.
All of these big game species are negatively impacted by motorized vehicles and as the number and capability of off-highway vehicles has increased dramatically in the past few decades, the negative impacts have also greatly increased. It’s well verified elk are being pushed off National Forest lands by motorized vehicles, and as they find relative quiet on private lands, damage to croplands has increased and created many new problems not only for the landowners but for hunters and state game officials as well.
If we are really serious about protecting the wildlife and wildlands on our National Forest, at the minimum, all of the Level 1 roads, the roads in the most rough and often overgrown condition, should be permanently closed, as the original proposed action would have done. While it will provide some relief, the Decision does not go far enough. More roads should be closed in key areas such as critical elk habitat, wildlife corridors, riparian areas, old growth stands, etc. We need to protect the resources on our National Forest and regulating motorized use is a long overdue step.
Access taken is never given back
To the editor:
With regard to the USFS proposed Travel Management Plan (TMP): Government is once again overstepping its boundaries. There is no denying that change appears to be inevitable with the proposed TMP, nor is there denying that the proposed changes are out of touch with the wants, needs and sentiment of the overwhelming majority of Eastern Oregon outdoor enthusiasts.
The idea of the public being systematically “managed” off of or restricted access to public land is simply unacceptable. Having been raised near numerous popular ocean beaches, I’ve witnessed what happens when government restricts access. Access never returns! In fact, restriction of access commonly paves the way for the imposing of additional rules and regulations. Envision parking fees, toll booths, and a restriction on plastic bags (I’m not kidding, folks!), while also being greeted by a man or woman in khaki pants and a funny hat, much as if you were entering an amusement park. Could this be the direction we are heading?
To put it simply, imagine having a favorite coffee shop that you visit on a regular basis. To get to the shop you travel your favorite route in your preferred vehicle, and have done so for decades. Now imagine you are suddenly told that you are only allowed to visit this coffee shop on a seasonal basis, that your favorite route has been closed (you are now restricted to one remaining designated route), and you are no longer allowed to use your vehicle, as motorized transport has also been restricted. Further envision that as you and the rest of your newly funneled friends pedal along the designated route you are toting a parking permit and some cash to pay the funny hat man at the gate, as both will be required in order to gain access to your latté. We all know that people would never let this happen, as our coffee is much too sacred to us.
Public access to public lands should be too!
We’re losing our natural resources
To the editor:
I was born in Baker 77 years ago and have seen all the changes that the BLM and Forest Service have made in that three-quarters of a century. I keep noticing that with every change the government agencies are taking away more and more of our natural resources. After another 77 years you can forget about seeing or visiting our beautiful Eastern Oregon forests. I remember when there were no wood cutting permits or mushrooming permits needed and there were no road closures.
Private property owners have also locked up our roads that have been open for 50 or 60 years. I didn’t think I could ever go along with the BLM, but I agree that if the public can’t use those roads, neither should the property owners be able to use them. In fact, I think it is a good idea for the Forest Service as well. Why should the Forest Service use roads and we can’t? People, it is time to stop all this foolishness. I still cut firewood and I can’t walk as well as I used to, but I still love to drive the roads in our forests.
This year I drew a three-month cow tag for the South Sumpter area. Though I spent several days hunting, the elk stayed on private ground or Pedro Mountain where all the roads to get there were closed.
I am furious with the BLM, the Forest Service, and the Oregon Department of Wildlife because they let the Mule Deer population dwindle to a handful. The cougars and wolves have driven what deer are left into towns such as Baker City, Union and La Grande. When I was growing up we never saw deer in town. One spring long ago my dad and I hiked into Goose Creek and on the way back out we counted 3,000 head of deer and 1,000 head of elk. My question is why don’t we see those numbers anymore?
Tim L. Taylor
Proud to be Lynne Burroughs’ son
To the editor:
My mother is Lynne Burroughs. After 40 years of being in public service, I asked her why in the world she wished to serve on the school board. She certainly doesn’t need to. The answer has been because she loves and wants to serve her community. How crazy is that?
While none of her boys live in Baker City, we do follow what is happening because our parents live there. I have followed the dispute between the majority of the 5J Board of Trustees and Mr. Knight and it reminds me of a dispute between the Marysville California School BOT and Trustee Sandra Fonely. Sandy was a rogue that refused to keep BOT confidential items confidential and was constantly going to the press with inappropriate and potentially dangerous disclosures designed to promote herself. Eventually the Marysville BOT was forced to censure her, constituents tired of the drama, and the local newspaper quit printing her “scandals.” Sound familiar?
Such politics is commonplace in California where I live and I am sorry to see it reach Baker City. But like Marysville, Baker City will tire of the “drama” and the “scandals” and will want the BOT to get down to the tedious, thankless, and inglorious business of simply running a school district. That is what my mom does. Proud to be Lynne Burroughs’ son.
Yuba City, Calif.
Watch out for land we’re kept off?
To the editor:
In the April 4 issue of the Herald there is an article titled “Officials suspect increase in cattle rustling locally.”
The article speaks of suspected cattle rustling going on in the area. Sheriff Southwick said “About a half-dozen cattle are missing between Baker City and the Richland and Halfway areas. They need to keep their eyes open and warn ranchers,” Southwick said of neighbors and people using public lands. The sheriff and the brand inspector are asking community members to report any small bunches of cattle they might come across or single animals that look like they might have survived the winter without hay.
My question to Sheriff Southwick and Rodger Huffman, the brand inspector, is how are people using public lands are supposed to keep our “eyes open” for suspicious activities like cattle rustling, when the BLM and U. S. Forest Service kick us off of those public lands that we are supposed to be keeping an eye on?
The BLM recently released its proposed plans for 260,000-plus acres of BLM land, 84 percent of which is in Baker County. It is illogical to think that they aren’t going to do the same thing that the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest Supervisor is trying to do to us. For government officials to ask the citizens to keep an eye out to prevent illegal activities on this public land in view of what is going on right now with the Wallowa-Whitman, which a lot of cattle graze on, is unbelievable and a slap in the face of the citizens of this county, and other counties surrounding the Wallowa Whitman.
I want to be clear that I would do anything I could to help ranchers with their cattle problems. I have the utmost respect for ranchers. They are some of the hardest working and ethical people I know. We owe them a lot. And watching out for their interests I find pleasurable. But for officials who will not stand up for the rights of the citizens of this county, state and country, with regard to these proposed land closures, to ask such a thing at this present time is laughable.
Baker: A real honest community
To the editor:
I was traveling through your town and my truck started missing at about 4 p.m. I pulled up a place called Grumpy’s Repair on the internet and called them. They got me right in and found a spark plug wire had just come unplugged. They didn’t charge me, when they very easily could have sold me a tune up for a couple hundred bucks. They got me back on the road. I knew nothing about your town when I got there, but it’s plain to see that it’s one of the last HONEST communities and apparently a very honest crew of guys that work for this place. Thanks Grumpy’s! It’s nice to know there’s a straight up outfit left!