Letters to the Editor for Nov. 16, 2012
Don’t cheat the kids — vote no on 5J recall
The question facing weary Baker voters now is: Is it the right time and the right use of election law to recall Chairperson Burroughs and Member Henderson from service on the 5J School Board?
Last spring I became concerned that Member Kyle Knight had managed to position himself as a victimized folk hero in the media. So I began attending school board meetings to see for myself.
I found the board was performing the routine functions of any school board — setting policy, making personnel decisions, evaluating staff, budgeting, and protecting the district from liability after consultation with council.
I also found that the efforts of the hard working school board majority were put under unusual scrutiny by the newly elected and inexperienced minority of Knight and Longwell, who mostly abstained or voted no on all but the most routine matters.
The agenda of these newcomers was not readily apparent — but it was clear to me that there was one. There was an implication that children and families were not being well served by the board and its staff. (Note that Burroughs and Henderson are well known community minded directors who give generously of their time and serve entirely without pay.)
So rather than getting lost in the weeds, I hope voters will ask these key questions:
• Is the district performing well? (YES)
• Has the board successfully guided the district in tough times and kept it afloat? (YES)
• Is it the job of the board to protect the district from exposure to liability and did it take steps to do that? (YES)
• Any malfeasance? (NO — no stealing, no corruption, no gross incompetence)
Ideally, we determine who we want to make decisions on our behalf through elections, not by recalling people with whom we disagree. Let’s chalk this mess up to a personality conflict or a personal grudge. Maybe fires were fanned by easy access to headlines or dreams of higher office. But mounting a recall which cheats kids while claiming to help them — that shows who the real victims are. Vote no on recall.
Salt already used on Baker City streets
I refer to your paper’s editorial from Nov. 2. You state your displeasure with Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) and their intent to begin limited testing of road salt on an 11-mile stretch of I-5 near the California border as well as a somewhat remote 120-mile stretch of U.S. 95 between Idaho and Nevada. You also correctly point out that road salt (sodium chloride) promotes corrosion of metal parts associated with virtually all motor vehicles which can be very expensive to repair and often leads to rapid depreciation of a vehicle’s worth.
I suggest you look much closer to home when it comes to using corrosive road salt. In fact, you need look no further than Baker City Public Works if you want to discuss the use of rock salt on roads. Baker City Public Works routinely applies corrosive rock salt to most moderately to heavily traveled city street intersections. It is nearly impossible to operate a motor vehicle on Baker City streets without passing through an intersection that has not been treated with corrosive road salt. The city has, in the past, printed maps that show which intersections and roads are treated with salt. These maps could be obtained at no charge from Public Works.
The only reason a city or state uses rock salt as a deicer is it costs less than using more expensive magnesium chloride, which is only about 25 percent as corrosive as rock salt or sodium chloride. Mag chloride is applied in liquid form and is often combined with corrosion inhibitors as well. The government entity that chooses rock salt as a deicer would no doubt argue that rock salt is a more cost-effective deicer. The question should be asked, cost-effective for whom? I would argue corrosive rock salt is certainly not more cost-effective to us, the motoring public, no matter which government body promotes its use.