Letters to the Editor for May 17, 2013
People need to take responsibility for themselves
After reading Monday’s paper, I find myself wondering does anyone take responsibility for themselves or their causes anymore. There have been several cases in point come to the publics attention lately.
1: A few days ago an article in the paper pointed out HBC had received $600 in grants for flowers, and they were requesting donations of money and labor to plant flowers in the downtown flower boxes. If you need more, get it from your members and while you’re at it ask them to purchase and plant the flowers in front of their own business, don’t ask me. It is for their benefit to beautify their storefront.
2: The sidewalk fee is up for renewal, why do we have to offer to pay someone to build or repair their existing sidewalk in order to get them to address the situation, rather than tell them to be responsible for their property. I maintain my property, you do likewise.
3: In Monday’s paper two more cases in point. The local spay/neuter fund, a worthy cause, wants each citizen to pay $4 per year for their cause, have you ever heard of a fundraiser, do a car wash, or bake sale. It is a worthy cause, but mine is paying my utility bills.
4: Also in Monday’s paper Eagle Creek Orchard suffered frost damage to their crop. Well I feel sorry for them, so did I and I depend on my fruit trees to feed me and my wife. I’m not asking my neighbors to pay for it. You’re a business, buy crop insurance, and you ought to know when you own a business it’s a gamble, you’re the one making the profit you’re the one who suffers the loss as well.
Now, last but not least, my wife and I exist on Social Security and $14 a month in food stamps and the government wants to cut the cost of living raises for Social Security. I can’t afford to take a vacation let alone pay for every one else’s problems, and causes. If all of you asking for others to pay for your troubles want another cause, believe me I will gladly accept all cash donations.
5J candidate urges voters to decide on qualifications
I am concerned about the way in which the “non-partisan” Baker 5J School Board election continues to be “politicized.” In all types of elections, I vote for those candidates that I feel are most qualified and experienced for the positions they are running to fill. Though I did not ask for anyone to write letters of endorsement, I am honored that some did so.
I have spent most of my professional life working in education at the local, state and national levels, as a teacher and curriculum and assessment leader. I am quite familiar with the Common Core State Standards that Oregon has adopted. In fact, I have written assessment items aligned to them and have developed “crosswalks” to compare them to other state and national standards (e.g., the National Teachers of Mathematics Standards). Some of the work of which I am most proud is related to the education of students with significant cognitive disabilities. In addition, I have experience working with large state budgets in Oregon and Washington. I care deeply about K-12 education, especially in Baker City, and am passionate that all students are given adequate opportunity to learn and progress.
My husband Larry and I have invested much in this community. It is the place we call home. We have owned the Pythian Castle, at the corner of First and Washington, for close to 11 years and have worked hard to renovate it, so that another Baker City landmark might be preserved.
I urge you to set aside the “perceived” politics of each candidate and who did or did not endorse each of them. I urge you to look at the qualifications and experiences of each candidate and decide what is important to you in making your choice. I urge you to cast a vote in the Baker 5J School Board election, and vote for the candidates of your choice.
The writer is a candidate for Position 4 on the Baker School Board.
Baker School Board election is being manipulated
Our present school board election is still being manipulated by the same people responsible for the campaign recall dedicated school board members that disrupted our community, Kerry McQuisten, Suzan Ellis Jones (also committee chair for Baker County Republicans) and Kyle Knight, who has actively put up yard signs to elect Ogan and McKim. Knight is associated with Western Liberty Network (WLN). This is an organization that is backed by billionaire David Koch, who advocates privatization of our schools.
Knight, who had taken the training from WLN, was given a monetary award by this organization for overcoming adversity while in office after the recall election. If Ogan and McKim are elected I fear they will vote with Knight and be a majority on all school board matters.
Rosemary Abell and Kevin Cassidy are well qualified and have no hidden agenda beyond promoting and improving our Baker County schools.
Be sure to read U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden’s letter concerning anonymous campaign cash in the Record Courier May 9, 2013, issue. This is undermining our democracy and is happening here in Baker City.
Election not about red vs. blue, but best candidates
Elections can go from political in the best sense (choices between options) to the worst (moving from facts to destructive accusations) and leaving voters confused or in the dark. Thankfully, the Herald on May 1 printed lengthy candidate statements which helped me determine the choice of candidates discussed in my letter of May 10. I apparently raised the ire of Suzan Ellis Jones, chair of the local GOP, who had “officially” endorsed a different slate of candidates. Due to this political endorsement, I thought readers deserved to know about the new leadership of the GOP (see Herald/Local Briefing, Nov. 16, 2012) and their connection to the tea party and to the recall election. In fact, one of Jones’ 5J slate and many of those writing in favor of it signed the recall petition (which is public information).
In response to Jones’ charges, I will clarify that the tea party in Oregon is not a party but rather a movement with affiliated groups and persons, the majority of which do vote Republican. I never doubted that the local GOP leadership got there for a term of up to 25 months through a process set out in state law. This does not mean, however, that many local Republicans are not distressed about it nor that most local Republicans share their views. Regarding her implied denial that any GOP officer is affiliated with the tea party, check out the discussion of new GOP Treasurer Kyle Knight as “the youngest chapter leader” in a front page Record Courier article on April 22, 2010, headlined “Americans for Prosperity Hold Local Tea Party by Suzan Ellis Jones.”
About Jones’ destructive accusations that I and a few other citizens are “intent on slinging mud” and “keeping the school board ‘blue at all costs,’ ” note that neither candidate I recommended is a Democrat although at least one Democrat is running.
If we want the school board back on track, we must choose levelheaded candidates who will build on the educational and financial success of the district and push it further along in the positive direction it was already going.