Letters to the Editor for April 28, 2014
Warner leads with results, not promises
This is a letter of support for Fred Warner for County Commissioner.
I’ve had the opportunity to work with Fred on several issues the past few years and have found him to be very solution-oriented in every case. An example is when the Anthony Lake Ski Resort was going to be closed. Fred and the Baker County Board of Commissioners brought in some local business people, crafted a low-risk business model and agreed to take the ski area as a gift from the previous owners. At the time, $30,000 was sitting in a Transient Room Tax fund generated by a fee that local motels collect from overnight stays and dedicated to economic development. The county allocated that money to fund startup operations for the ski area. The county did not commit any funding, has never been asked for other funding nor has it given any funding to Anthony Lakes. Since that startup four years ago, Anthony Lakes has made local payroll of over $1.7 million and spent almost $1.8 million on goods and services from local businesses. In 2013-14, out-of-town skiers at Anthony Lakes spent over 425 nights in local motels — and this number grows yearly. This translates into huge increased business for local restaurants and shopping at local merchants. This has been an extraordinary and sustainable return to Baker County at no cost to the county taxpayers.
Many state and county leaders make vague promises about economic development and jobs — Fred’s leadership made it happen and continues to make it happen.
It is important to remember what a County Commissioner can or cannot impact. Unfortunately, their hands are often tied on issues driven by the state or federal government. However, we’ve seen Fred build a relationship with those agencies or representatives where they will listen to the county’s voice. Fred has done a great job of representing the constituency that elected him. Let’s not let the plausible national anti-incumbency message spill over into the very solid fiscal and resource management of our local county government. Help me re-elect Fred Warner.
Letter writer mistaken in claims about Warner
For the record, Bobbie Danser’s statements (April 23 letter to the editor) that I’m actively supporting Fred Warner for re-election are false and mistaken. I have not distributed yard signs. I have not distributed registration forms (though I do hope that all eligible residents will register and vote). I have not re-registered as a Republican. I have not contributed to Warner’s campaign in any way.
On the other hand, I wholeheartedly endorse the statements from the progressivevalues.us website that Ms. Danser quotes, and I appreciate her interest, even though she omitted the context in which they appear. That context, which affects us all, is the extreme inequality of wealth in the United States.
Inequality is a structural economic problem that has been growing for the past 35 years. Our bargaining power for good wages has virtually disappeared, as computers, robots, and off-shoring have increasingly eliminated good-paying jobs. More and more of us are being thrust into poverty. Meanwhile, the top 1 percent have flourished from the vastly increased profits they have raked in from paying us low wages.
Unless this massive redistribution of wealth is reversed, it’s game-over for the middle class. But, working together, we reversed it during the 1930s and 1940s, producing an era of middle-class prosperity. We can do it again! I strongly urge Ms. Danser and all of my fellow readers to explore the facts and possible solutions for inequality, a defining issue for this and future generations.
Petitclerc ready to step in as Baker County Clerk
When Tami Green announced that she planned to leave the position of Baker County Clerk, I thought, “Those are going to be BIG SHOES for someone new to fill!”
Lara Petitclerc is ready to take on this position of stewardship, as record-keeper for our county. Lara’s family has worked in public service; her work ethic embraces serving others, making a difference in our community. Lara’s mind works quickly; she is adaptable to change, and tech-savvy.
With her master’s degree in Library and Information Science, Lara understands the legal requirements for our records to be secure, yet available to the public, legible and readable. I believe she is well-prepared to meet the special needs of all in Baker County, from the millennial generation to elders.
Lara is ready to build on the legacy of Tami Green’s institutional knowledge. Tami’s ongoing project of scanning and preserving archival public records is a priority of Lara’s.
I place great trust in Lara Petitclerc’s abilities to carry on the work that Tami Green has done so well.
I am proud to vote for Lara Petitclerc for Baker County Clerk!
Saying thanks to an unsung hero of Baker City
Jayson Jacoby, I just finished reading your article on litter and the front page article on our code enforcement officer’s task of messy yards about town. Both articles brought to mind two unrelated yet very much alike unsung heroes, and as with most heroes they never seem to garner the recognition they so richly deserve.
Your article on litter immediately brought to mind a quiet local citizen that deserves the thanks of every citizen of Baker City. He is Tom Kulog of Betty’s Books on Main Street. My wife and I have been going for daily walks since 1986 and I can’t begin to count the hundreds of times over the years we witnessed early in the morning, Tom out for a walk and picking up every piece of litter he comes across and putting it in the nearest public refuse container. We have even seen him step into the street to retrieve litter out of the street. We sometimes pass him and smile, sometimes say “good morning,” but never “thanks.” Now we would like to say a great big “thanks, Tom.” You show more concern for the beauty of our city than any other citizen we can think of. I hope someday the city of Baker can find a way of saying thank you to Tom as well.
The other article on code enforcement brought to mind my Father, Ernest Ward, gone now for many years but I can still hear his words as loud and clear today as those words were 60 years ago when I was a kid. We never had big beautiful yards, always lived in rented houses where landlords didn’t care about yard landscaping. My father would always have my brother and me doing the watering, mowing, trimming and if ever a piece of litter should be in sight of the yard we would always pick it up. This was due to my father’s words I hear to this day, “Dirt is fine, but it better be clean dirt.”
How often I think of those words everyday of my life and can’t help but think Tom Kulog would have loved my father as well.
Bennett has skills and is dedicated to Baker County
I strongly support Mark Bennett for Position 2, Baker County Board of Commissioners. Mark has served in this capacity since being appointed to the position last year. Mark has brought a very good understanding of the needs of all of Baker County, due to his experience as planning director for a number of years (which he did very well, by the way), emergency services, and various other positions serving our county, but also his ranching experience (which continues to this day), which is very important to our county.
Being a county commissioner is not just a figurehead – it involves a lot of work, if one is doing the job well, which our current board does, as well as working well together to serve us. We in Baker County are very fortunate to have a well-run Courthouse, and this is no accident. Having served on various committees, and being in and out of the Courthouse on many occasions, I have seen firsthand Mark’s management skills and dedication to Baker County and the principles our great country is founded on.
It is extremely important right now that we elect local officials who understand how the system works, and how best they can operate to counteract some of the things going on in Washington, D.C., (and for that matter, Salem) that affect us here in Baker County in a negative way. Mark has shown that he does understand this, and that he is willing to work hard in our behalf.
I urge you to vote for Mark Bennett for Position 2, Baker County Board of Commissioners.