Letters to the Editor for April 11, 2014
Why change a winning formula? Re-elect Warner
I’ve often heard it said, “Never change a winning team.” To that I say, “amen.” During my eight years of service on the Baker City Council, I’ve watched Fred Warner balance budgets and maintain essential services despite dwindling resources, stand eye-to-eye with governmental regulators, and leverage Baker County dollars to complete much needed road projects. I’ve seen him work to achieve consensus and solutions that benefit all Baker County residents, not just a select few. He has put aside any personal bias and represented our citizens well.
Change a winning game? Not me. I’m voting for Fred Warner Jr. for Baker County Commission Chair. Please join me.
Warner is a proven leader and consensus builder
As a longtime resident and former Baker City Manager, I want to give my perspective on the Baker County Commission Chair race. Commissioner Fred Warner is a proven leader, a consensus builder and someone who can get the job done. Far too often, we have seen our local governments struggle with conflict, spending their time arguing and not being productive. Not so with the county government under Fred’s watch.
Instead, Fred has moved the county forward, maintaining strong public safety departments despite declining revenue, and leveraging funds to complete much needed transportation projects. I was especially excited to the see the county complete the Event Center without having to use large amounts of taxpayer dollars. In my experience, you don’t want to replace successful leadership with unproven promises.
That’s why I am voting for Fred Warner Jr. for Baker County Commission Chair. I hope you will do the same.
Warner does the work the county needs
Please join me in supporting Fred Warner Jr. for chair of the Baker County Commission. As a member of the Natural Resources Advisory Committee I have seen him roll up his sleeves and do the work that has to be done within the law without regard to partisan politics. He doesn’t get up on a soapbox and promise solutions to our problems. We know what the problems are. In spite of rhetoric to the contrary we cannot reverse 50 years of so-called environmentalism that has wrecked our economy in one fell swoop. Only well thought out strategies and building positive working relationships with our legislators and the citizens will get the results that will be in the best interest of Baker County.
I have lived in Baker County for 73 years. My late husband, Vernon Knapp, and I have been active in fighting the good fight and I know what the problems are. We need leaders like Fred to join with the citizens to fight for Baker County and turn the tide of overregulation and environmental gridlock.
Fred worked very hard on the Travel Management Plan and pushed for it to be withdrawn. He worked long and hard on the Snow Basin project and stuck through the comments and litigation. We are logging as a result.
Fred spearheaded the delegation going to Washington, D.C., and gained time for Ash Grove to remain open and viable. Imagine what would happen to Baker County if we lost Ash Grove.
Fred knows better than most the importance of water issues to agriculture, timber and mining.
Fred knows the importance of weed control.
This is not a 40-hours-a-week job. The Commission chair is county administrator; deals with budgets, day-to-day decisions; is in charge of planning processes; is a major spokesman for Baker County; head of public health; and the lead on Coordinated Care Organization for the county.
Fred has to evaluate all the departments of the county, write grants, work with economic development and tourism. He has tried to consolidate services, saves taxpayer money and is more efficient for the citizens.
Our forests need restoration, not conservation
The forest type for this region, open, fire-maintained ponderosa stands, is very recent, associated with evidence of significant Indian populations starting at about 12,000 B.C. The ponderosa type forests here have been destroyed by commercial “high grading,” and the surviving remnants are disease- or fire-prone. The emergence of a new forest succession is uncertain.
The long-term forestation process, generally, is for multi-tiered tree communities to become established, maximizing evapotranspiration and thus cloud cover — which, by the way, is also the major reflector of heat radiation striking the earth. The emergent forest and cloud cover then acts as a kind of moisture reservoir for forestation in extensive areas that do not benefit equally from primary oceanic moisture laden air streams. Conversely, when a region’s vegetation has been degraded, the resulting desiccation may impede reforestation and lead to more fires. The ponderosa forest may never re-establish, as immature ponderosa is not fire-tolerant.
The dilemma, then, in Eastern Oregon is whether to wait to see if new forest begins to emerge, or to actively foster, through silviculture, preferred forest communities in terms of quicker succession, greater evapotranspiration, superior wildlife habitat and improved and diversified lumber supplies. There is, however, something that worked in the past on such a scale.
Homesteading, including the Timber Culture Act, was how this area was transformed by pioneers. In the current situation, the government would bundle conditions related to a viable ecology with the grant of land. Apart from the specified conditions, the recipients would be free to use the land, or sell it or its products. Such divestitures are common in emerging nations, notably Vietnam, where it is referred to as “equitization” rather than “privatization.” Until the details of such a plan can be worked out or rejected, it would be best not to close any forest roads and to encourage their use so that they don’t close up. These are mostly, I believe, logging roads and access areas needing, for the most part, restoration rather than conservation.
R. Mack Augenfeld
Shirley King defines what it means to be a volunteer
It’s National Volunteer Week! I would like to recognize the efforts of a longtime member of our community, Shirley King. Shirley served as a volunteer Certified Ombudsman for 15 years for residents living in long term care facilities (such as nursing homes, assisted living, and adult foster homes). Shirley has provided services in a number of Northeastern Oregon counties.
Shirley served as an advocate for residents in residential facilities, protecting their rights and dignity; worked with individuals and agencies to protect vulnerable residents from neglect or abuse. She has given thousands of hours of her time, not to mention countless miles, to help people whose needs would not have been addressed if it were not for her.
In performing as a volunteer ombudsman she has balanced the varied interests at stake, performed in emotional situations, often in times of conflict, and advocated for the wishes of residents, sometimes in contrast to other’s views. Shirley has always conducted herself with grace and honor and demonstrated the long term care ombudsman mantra perfectly — fair, firm, friendly!
A huge thank you to Shirley King for her effective advocacy and tireless, longtime presence in long term care settings in our community. Shirley will be honored at the annual Long Term Care Training Conference April 30.
If you are interested in how Shirley became an Ombudsman and what she did, you can check out more by going to the Ombudsman website at www.oregon.gov/ltco or calling 1-800-522-2602.
Member, Oregon Long Term Care Advisory Committee, and Certified Ombudsman