Letters to the Editor for March 15, 2013
A bicyclist who likes streets the way they are
I agree with Judy Stultz’s letter to the editor. Leave Broadway and Tenth streets four lane.
Bicycle lanes are not needed. This is not a metropolis requiring special accommodations for bicycles. If fact, biking on Baker’s side streets, which have virtually no traffic, is much safer than joining the busy flow of traffic on Broadway and Tenth.
As Stultz points out, cars have to cross bike lanes to turn right. Portland’s experiences with cars striking bicyclists while turning right should warn us against creating more opportunities for dangerous turns.
I ride my bicycle a lot in good weather, which is only about half the year. I have no trouble getting around town safely.
Why spend money to change what ain’t broke?
One more point. Visitors to Baker City love our wide streets. Bicycle lanes and angle parking — proposed for Main and Resort streets — are no improvement over the visionary planning of our town’s founding fathers 150 years ago.
Remembering Easter sunrise services past
Easter sunrise services are a tradition in Baker City. Citizens of all denominations gather at specified location early Easter morning, to await the sun’s rising in the eastern sky. The significance symbolizes Christ’s rising from the grave.
I’m reminded of a former Easter sunrise gathering years ago, held at Geiser Park. The service was most impressive, as local vocalist LaJeanne (Carpenter) Everson presented a solo from the stage of the Bandshell. The song she chose was “The World is Waiting for the Sunrise,” an apropos selection for the occasion.
Another year, the Easter sunrise service was held at the city reservoir. Former teacher Myrtle Lee led the gathering, with renditions from her accordion.
A memorable Easter sunrise service, 1967, was held at Mount Hope Cemetery. Many youth attended that gathering. Springtime rain had dampened the ground . Mud clung willingly to the shoes of attendees, especially to high heel shoes worn by teenage girls.
This year’s March 31 Easter sunrise services are scheduled at 6 a.m. at Flagstaff Hill, in the stadium area of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center. Everyone is welcome.
Mirror could be simple solution for Dewey-Myrtle
I have lived on Myrtle Street for 35 years. We raised our family there. I use the Myrtle to Dewey passage almost every day.
When I first moved there, I had a conversation with the city about the Myrtle-Dewey intersection. My suggestion at that time was to mount (so it would be visible from the stop sign at Myrtle) a non-glass, convex mirror on the west side of the underpass (there is a guardrail there that could be used for mounting) so that drivers could see Dewey traffic coming from the south. This would make the right turn onto Dewey much safer for both drivers exiting Myrtle and north-bound traffic on Dewey.
At that time I was told that Dewey was a state highway and the city could do nothing about my suggestion. The intersection was closed to foot traffic — the foot bridge was to be used — and no left hand turns were permitted.
Maybe it’s time to involve the state to see if such a convex mirror could be installed.
It seems like such a simple solution as opposed to an expensive construction project that limits the flow of travel on Myrtle Street.
Higher taxes are needed on wealthiest 1 percent
The Community Comment in the Herald on March 11 deserves our close attention and skillful response. It’s a remarkable letter signed by 28 Oregon mayors, from Haines to Portland, pleading for additional school funding to preserve our communities. They call the current funding a “standing crisis,” and they say, “Enough!”
What would our skillful response look like? It would recognize that this is a national problem, and it would most certainly include higher taxes for the 1 percent most wealthy Americans.
This elite group is now taking home about 24 percent of our total income, almost triple the level of 30 years ago, and they now possess 40 percent of our total wealth. (The YouTube video titled “Wealth Inequality in America” offers important details.)
How did this happen? Primarily because off-shoring jobs, computer and robotic automation, and union-busting have greatly reduced the number of good-paying jobs, and allowed increased profits to flow to the few in control. And the wealthy have been able to unduly influence the political system, so they pay low taxes and are less and less regulated, as exemplified by the just-released Ryan House Republican budget which cuts the top marginal tax rate from 39.6 percent to 25 percent.
How would we accomplish meaningful reform? A significant shift in how some view our government would be a big help. An accompanying letter to the editor on March 11 reveals the anti-government paranoia that cripples our political debate, referring to higher taxes as leading to increased “government control.” During Rep. Greg Walden’s visit to Baker City in February, he seemed apologetic for his “fiscal cliff” vote for a (modest) rise in income taxes for the well-to-do. And he also advocated additional spending cuts, since “we’re broke.” Not so! Trillions of dollars are available.
Our middle class has been drained of resources. We must see through the smokescreen of fear and misinformation that unnecessarily and unjustifiably protects spectacular wealth. And we must follow the lead of the Oregon mayors and come together to preserve and enhance our community’s vital infrastructure.