Letters to the Editor for July 12, 2013
Historic preservation is vital to keeping Baker City special
“The very ink with which history is written is merely fluid prejudice.”
— Mark Twain
By KATE DIMON
In the late 1840s the country still did not quite have a grip on how the American experiment was going, but the prevailing theme ran through the veins as gold to rock. Gold had become the driving force that populated the West and the trail is littered with those brave souls who risked everything to get to the promised land. Mark Twain could see the human condition and wrote with less than stellar reviews, the truth. That man wrote history to make his struggle personal.
For those that survived the trail west to the Blue Mountains and were fortunate to have profited from gold, instituted a sustainable living, built up commerce, enacted laws, had families, contributed to the education of the young, and left several generations of ranchers to carry the lamp into the future. From the beginning, many East Coast aristocracy called them foolish and greedy. But the measure of the man took the brand “greed” and turned it into benevolence. Baker City had been its recipient.
The plight of historical preservation and restoration relies on man’s attempt to find his footprint in the sand, and as time rushes up to cover that footprint it is my duty and is indeed my life’s work to cement that print. My assessment of Baker City is that the loss of good people’s voices will take me time to reclaim. But the facts are available to the mortal man.... would he listen.
• Preservation is a proven means for creating jobs, attracting investment, generating tax revenue, and supporting small business and affordable housing, case in point,
• Rehabilitation of historic properties in the state of Georgia during a recent five-year period created 7,500 jobs and $201 million in earnings
• Historic preservation activities generate more than $1.4 billion of economic activity in Texas each year
• In one year, direct and indirect expenditures by heritage tourists in Colorado and in Washington reached $3.1 billion and $3.5 billion, respectively
Over the past 15 years, studies have been conducted at the statewide level in at least 22 states on the economic benefits of historic preservation. These studies provide substantial support to these general findings and, in local real estate markets, point to enhanced property values and tax revenue associated with both commercial and residential historic districts. These studies were prepared by Rutgers in 2008 and re-evaluated again in 2011. However, if we do not move to change the status quo the values will not be realized. Future generations will be left to stumble through the desperate ruins just to maintain sustainability until it makes no sense to go on.
I ask you to recommit yourselves to the assets you hold here in Baker City, see them in a renewed light to allow those before you to live in recollection of what they left you, and allow those who come after you to continue to honor that effort.
There will be those that will not grasp that history repeats itself because we do not learn from those lessons. There will be those that do not believe there was a Holocaust, because they did not see it, there have been those and will always be those that must see the nail holes in the hands. HBC’s mission has never been anything but pure in its dealings, but there will be those who do not see, will not see.
I am maybe one of the few that ascribes to Mark Twain’s historical truths sans one, having sat in the very desk where he once penned his many opinions at the Territorial Enterprise in Virginia City, Nev., that man at his core, can redeem himself.
And there upon that desk was an ink stain, a blemish bled a sinew to a signature, Samuel L. Clemens which disproves Mr. Clemens’ generalization of man’s selfishness for indeed history would be swift to acknowledge upon that signature the many they called Mark Twain, could not be prejudiced, and was no imposter. Thus, I need your vision, your mark, and your support in redefining Historic Baker City. The legacy rests in your hands and in your children’s eyes.
Kate Dimon is program director for Historic Baker City Inc.
County officials should deny wind farm developers
I agree fully with Bill Harvey and others who oppose wind farm developments in Baker County. If the two proposed sites are approved they won’t be in my view corridor like the monstrosity in Union County is. The blight on the landscape created by wind farms is not, however, my main objection. They are but another example of how the bogus climate change and green energy scams have influenced our nation’s policy makers and at great expense to us as taxpayers.
One of the leading corporations which packages funding for prospective wind farm developments brags that up to 80 percent of the capital costs of such developments can be paid by government grants. That’s our tax money. Further, such developments once built qualify for significant tax credits for every megawatt of electricity produced. There is another negative impact on an already struggling economy folks.
Looking at the big picture: appearance; negative impact on wildlife and the environment; and the fact that without substantial subsidies these projects are economic losers it is clear that the Board of Commissioners should not approve these projects. Approval by the Commissioners will contribute to the developers making money, but at the expense of the rest of us. The Commissioners’ responsibility is to the majority, not companies or individuals who will benefit at taxpayer expense.