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Letters to the Editor for April 3, 2013


Chase has the leadership experience for OTEC board

 I’m asking all OTECC members to join me in electing Charlene Chase to fill Board Position 9. We need another woman to replace the remarkable OTECC founder, Peggi Timm.

We are fortunate to have three good candidates for the position, but I’m supporting Charlene Chase as the candidate most deeply grounded in consumer and community values, as evidenced by her work as a CASA advocate and as chair of two local school boards. Charlene has the leadership experience, the time, and the dedication we need to energetically represent us, as demonstrated by her initiative and follow-through to become a petition candidate, and her lifelong record of active public service.

Donna Landon

Baker City

Jobless ‘figures’ influenced election in Obama’s favor

Six weeks before the last election we learned that the unemployment rate had dropped  by two-tenths of one percent.  The timing was designed to influence the election. Many thoughtful persons thought that the figures were contrived due to the nearness of the election, but this did not deter the Obama boosters for one moment. They had Obama on TV many times daily and every single day for the six weeks until election day. Even when the unemployment figures worsened to just one-tenth of one percent for the last week, he kept at it. His message was always the same: “The unemployment figures were the best since he had been elected.” This statement was a monstrous exaggeration of the facts. There was virtually no improvement in the unemployment rate. It was still 8 percent minus that pitifully tiny fraction.

Opponents missed a golden opportunity. They should have had as many people as they could afford on TV every day explaining that Obama’s proclaimed “improvement” was so tiny that it was very close to zero.

Experienced propagandists believe that you can make people believe anything if you repeat it often enough. I believe this is what took place last November and it influenced the election a good deal.

Carl Kostol

Baker City

OTEC committee member backs Daugherty for board

I’ve served with Nelson Clarke and Lynne Burroughs on the OTEC board nominating committee for the last two years. They honored me by asking me to chair, and in the course of this service I’ve gained a deep understanding of the enormous burden that is held by an OTEC board member. They work such long hours on difficult issues that might be considered largely uninteresting to many of us. Truly, we should heartily thank every one of the OTEC board members for their service to us! Successful board members have a long history of service on other board and civic organizations, and have held leadership roles with distinction, have lengthy and deep ties to this community, and are accessible to community members. 

Randy Daugherty exemplifies these qualities, and is, in my opinion, the best board candidate. He successfully operates a century old family business, has a strong education in business/accounting. He’s served with distinction as a leader on the Baker City Council as well as the tough city budget board and the 5J facility committee among countless other civic positions. A Baker City native, he’s available to all of us every day. Sitting at his office with the big window looking over Washington Street, he just couldn’t be more accessible.

I would like to take the opportunity to clarify the committee’s nominating process.  Randy Daugherty applied in a timely manner for the board position. He was our committee’s sole nominee, in addition to our beloved incumbent Peggi Timm. Mr. Doug Dalton did not apply until the last minute after learning that Ms. Timm was about to resign. The committee found him to be a viable candidate and added his name to the slate. I’ve learned that Mr. Dalton’s nomination has been described as being “hand selected by the OTEC Nominating Committee.” That is simply not true. I want the record to be clear that Mr. Dalton was never the Committee’s sole candidate.

Barbara Sidway

Baker City


Letters to the Editor for April 1, 2013


Rebuild our land and economy 

I read the story about Sen. Ron Wyden in the March 22 issue. Sen. Wyden stated some things that seem to go against the actions he normally takes when voting on issues concerning natural resources. He described it as: “pursuing this on a dual track: boosting timber cuts and providing a safety net that provides for schools, roads and police in resource dependent communities, and then our bipartisan coalition will also support reauthorizing the (Secure Rural Schools) payment program.”

On the other hand, in February Wyden introduced three bills that will add thousands of acres to wilderness areas and national monuments and a lot of miles of Oregon rivers to the wild and scenic rivers system. Wyden said: “Each of these parts of the bill aim to protect natural treasures in Oregon, preserve them for use and enjoyment and build upon the economic opportunities they provide for their local communities.”

As chairman of the Energy and Natural Resource Committee, he also warned that returning to the logging practices of the 1980s boom to replace county payments is not a viable solution because: “Experts tell us it is not possible to cut enough trees to produce historic levels of funding in rural counties and comply with the multiple uses of our federal forests that our communities want and meet our bedrock environmental laws.”

I say that may be true about “not possible to cut enough trees,” especially if you continue to introduce legislation that keeps removing more land from natural resource production, which includes mining. Even now, since there has been years of devastation to these industries, there may not be enough trained loggers or miners around, since they also had to move from the area to find other jobs.

Wyden’s proposals are more like finishing off already struggling economically deprived communities. The tourist and recreationist opportunities cannot compete with jobs that support families from resource production. Wilderness is supposed to be lands that do not have evidence of man. Therefore, trading with private landowners to remove them from access to the water for cattle and farming, or limiting that access so that recreationists can float by is ridiculous and does more harm to the economies of the communities.

As fuel loads increase from overgrown forests that are now considered wilderness, should there be a fire (from natural causes) it will burn hotter and more complete. This has been known to sterilize the land, such that it takes even longer to come back. There will be no pristine beauty or treasure afterwards, because those fires are unstoppable.

We have more trees growing now than in the early years. It is because there was a point when we understood we needed to plant more trees than we harvest. In the 1980s it was standard practice to plant seven trees for every tree cut; some places did more.

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski said that Secure Rural Schools was supposed to be temporary, to provide rural counties with time to rebuild their economies. I think it is misunderstood that everything we have comes from the earth: It has to be grown or mined, there is no other source. The more land you take out of production and remove evidence of man from, the more you take out of the economy and risk a devastating destruction of the land, because man is not there to tend the land and take from it the resources we need.

So how does a community rebuild its economy? The news article said that Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell “identified up to 83 million acres in need of treatment... 12.5 million acres require treatment using large machinery.”

Well at least we have a start of recognition for part of the problem. There are less and less people able to produce because of too high restrictions on land use, and our government spends way too much on pet projects that frankly do not create family wage jobs. Maybe some are starting to see the light.

Guy Michael is a Baker County miner.

 

Chase has a strong commitment to OTEC

My husband and I are new Baker City residents. Many things brought us to this area — a thriving arts community, beautiful country, and plenty of opportunity for outdoor recreation. We also found out pretty quickly how wonderful the people of Baker City are. And one of the people we’ve been fortunate to meet is Charlene Chase, who is now running for the vacant spot on the OTEC board.

Charlene Chase’s background as an educator, principal and school board member show that she has the background to qualify her for this position. Her community involvement, including being a CASA volunteer, shows that she has a genuine interest in the quality of life in our area.

One of the reasons Charlene Chase has said made her want to run for a position on the OTEC board is that she wants to preserve the original, strong commitment to have OTEC be a true cooperative — a utility that well serves all its members. Having such a utility is just one more reason my husband and I are so pleased to now live here. And that is why we are voting for Charlene Chase for the OTEC board.

Nancy Coffelt

Baker City 


Letters to the Editor for March 29, 2013


5J recall took money that could have gone to schools

Kerry McQuisten’s recent letter in which she portrays herself as a victim who has been exonerated is incorrect on both counts. McQuisten signed her name to a recall petition that contains multiple provable falsehoods (for details see http://bakercityrecallfacts.blogspot.com). In doing so, she besmirched the reputations of two people whose only sin is they volunteered with no pay to help improve the education of this community’s children and she cost the 5J District $10,092.58, funds that could have been used for the children’s education.

 My complaint to the Secretary of State was not for vengeance. It was a request for accountability. Unfortunately, the Oregon statute has a loophole. A person only has to say that he/she didn’t know the statements in a recall petition were false and the state can go no further.  This is what has happened in this case.

 McQuisten says in her letter that the Secretary of State “found no evidence that our ballot statement was false.” I have a copy of the letter she refers to and it actually says that the Secretary of State found “insufficient evidence that you knowingly made false statements,” which is entirely different.

 The kindest thing that can be said of McQuisten is that she made no effort to check the facts on her recall petition in her haste to pursue her destructive agenda. She now fashions herself as a reporter for the Record Courier. I would leave it to the readers of that paper to decide about her credibility. 

 The takeaway is that the children have been deprived of funds that should have been used for their education, the community has been put through a wrenching recall petition,  and two good people have been unfairly attacked all based on a series of provable lies. If you value the community’s children’s education don’t vote for any candidate with any ties to McQuisten or Mr. Knight in the upcoming election for two school board positions. Do your homework; find out who each candidate is and what their agenda is. And vote for the children, not McQuisten’s destructive agenda.

Rusty Munn

Baker City

Daugherty the best choice to replace Peggi Timm

Those of us who are members of OTEC will soon be receiving ballots that will include selecting someone to replace Peggi Timm, one of OTEC’s original founders and the first board president. Those are big shoes to fill. I will never forget when Peggi and others approached the Baker City Council with the idea of forming a cooperative to supply our local power needs. I thought then that it would be a nearly impossible task – but I underestimated Peggi’s ability and tenacity. She has contributed so much to our community in many different roles through the years; we owe her a great deal. Thank you, Peggi.

So who should we select to replace her? We have a very strong candidate in Randy Daugherty. We’ve done a lot of business with Randy over the years. We’ve worked with him and watched him serve our community as a local business man, a member of the Budget Committee, a member of the Planning Commission, and member of the Baker City Council. He is a man of integrity. He is fiscally conservative. He was born and raised in Baker City. He understands the needs of our communities better than any of the other candidates presented to us. He fully meets all the competencies established by the co-op for new members of the board of directors. Please join us in voting for Randy for OTEC Board Position 9.

Larry and Peggy Pearson

Baker City

Chase has all qualifications for OTEC board

Charlene Chase is the prime candidate for the OTECC Board Position No. 9. Ms. Chase has the desire, time and qualifications to represent customers in our electrical cooperative. As a school administrator, and as a school district board member, she gained expertise in cooperative management. She will use these skills to help OTECC provide its members safe and reliable power in the most economical way possible.

Her community involvement through important community programs, including American Association of University Women, Baker County CASA, Baker Web Academy and Baker Early College Charter School Board, has given her insight into the needs of community members and has honed her abilities to work with many different kinds of folks.

Her goals for the OTECC Board considerations include: long-term economical energy for members by insuring current and future energy needs are met; keeping technology current; exploring opportunities for economic development; maintaining quality service while controlling operating costs and making sure that the Board represents member interests. When we think about a member of any board that represents us, we want that person to have a great deal of desire, time, and energy to complete the mission. We firmly believe that Ms. Chase has all of these characteristics plus the qualifications to bring a well-rounded set of life experiences that make her a very informed, active, working member of the OTECC Board.

Irv and Susan Townsend

Baker City


Letters to the Editor for March 27, 2013


So was it a wolf or wasn’t it a wolf?

What, may I ask, is a “possible wolf?”

Milo Pope

Baker City

Daugherty the overwhelming choice for OTEC board

We have known Randy Daugherty for many years both on a personal and professional level. His steady focus on all aspects of life make him the overwhelming choice for OTEC Board Position 9. Whether it be his professional life, his personal life or volunteering he has always put attention to detail a top priority. We have often heard him say “if you do the absolute best you can, that still might not be good enough.” We know as an OTEC board director, Randy will put forth the time and effort necessary to represent OTEC members at the highest level.

Join us in voting Randy Daugherty, OTEC Position 9.

Steve and Cindy McLean

Baker City

Doug Dalton has excellent qualifications for OTEC board

As you are identifying the most qualified candidates to serve our community on the OTEC board, it would be in your best interests to look closely at the characteristics of Doug Dalton. Doug currently serves as the chief financial officer for the Baker 5J School District. Our profession has been in economic stress for the past few years. I have witnessed other school districts and educational staff suffer both financially and professionally. Without adequate funding to sufficiently operate, staff has been reduced and days have been furloughed within those schools. Doug’s ability to implement a trajectory of planning has enabled Baker School District to make adjustments with minimal impact on student achievement.

Doug Dalton’s background knowledge is not in education but he does his research and applies his business sense to maintain our standards of excellence. Recognizing he has many years of experience in the utility and energy profession, I can only imagine the impact he could have serving on the OTEC board. Doug approaches the decision-making process well-informed and his skill set is just what our community needs to maintain the quality of life and resources we have come to appreciate and expect.

Nanette Lehman

Baker City

Dalton has extensive knowledge of electric utilities

Doug Dalton is a very qualified candidate to represent our electric utility needs as a member of the OTEC board of directors.

Prior to returning to Eastern Oregon in 2003, Doug worked seven years at Idaho Power. During that time he gained extremely valuable executive skills in accounting, finance and management that have helped him to understand the intricacies of the electric utility industry.

His experience with Idaho Power, plus the last 3 1/2 years as chief financial officer at Baker 5J has given Doug an insight to the art of boardsmanship.

Doug, his wife, Heidi and their two daughters are strong, responsible citizens of Baker County.

The Dalton family are very thoughtful and kind neighbors.

Please join us in voting for Doug Dalton to be a member of the OTEC board of directors. The OTEC ballots will be in the mail this Friday, March 29.

Dale and Leslie Bingham

Haines


Letters to the Editor for March 25, 2013


Randy Daugherty for OTEC board of directors

OTEC members are at a crossroads. As Director Position 9 opens, I encourage you to vote Randy Daugherty to our OTEC board. We need both his experience as well as his thoughtful fiscal understanding to keep our utility providing reliable and affordable power.

Daugherty is a Baker County homegrown leader. He understands our community and the needs of Eastern Oregon. His solid business experience comes from managing an automobile business through difficult economic times. His years of service on city and county boards have honed skill sets that prepare him for active and vibrant decision making for our utility. These include understanding of both budgets and long-range planning goals. Randy can make tough decisions now that will benefit us all in the future.

Randy Daugherty cares about the residents of OTEC’s service area. He has spent a lifetime volunteering to maintain our healthy, rural lifestyle. As a motivator and tenacious worker for us all, we will benefit from his election to the OTEC board of directors. Please join me and vote Daugherty.

Peter Ellingson

Baker City

The real gun problem is in the inner cities

It should be an interesting week with Bloomberg and the left running antigun ads on TV. Talk about shooting flies with an elephant gun. Universal background checks, translated as universal gun registration, because some young white boys decide to shoot up a school. The glaring facts are that in all of these cases the shooter was local, had given off signals for a long time before they went off and there was no way to stop it because mental health in this country is a joke. These crazies were not traveling the nation looking for targets.

It’s kind of funny watching Piers Morgan campaign against my right and duty to own a good rifle. The purpose of the second is to provided a barrier to tyranny. If it was ever necessary to fight I want a good rifle. They gave me a good one in Vietnam and I don’t want to engage in a firefight again with Joe Biden’s shotgun. Yes I do want one of those “military type weapons.” I can’t figure out if all Brits are thickheaded or if they just export them over here and get them jobs on CNN. Piers follows the Hitler line, just repeat the lie often enough and it will become fact. He has the left convinced that the second amendment has something to do with hunting. It is ironic that the Brits couldn’t disarm us at Lexington and Concord or in the seven-year war that followed but now find it easier and cheaper to put a dumb jabbermouth on the telly.

Hey Piers: The high rate of gun deaths in this country has to do with drugs and gang violence. I would suggest that there is an inner city problem that has nothing to do with rural America. If New York, Chicago and Killadelphia has a problem then get at the source of that problem and quit agitating for something that will eventually cause the rural and urban areas to want a political separation. Looking on the Internet it seems that the idea partitioning states, drawing lines between the red and blue seems to be picking up steam.

Steve Culley

Richland


Letters to the Editor for March 20, 2013


I’m supporting Charlene Chase for OTEC board

Baker City resident Charlene Chase is a candidate for the Oregon Trail Electric Consumers Cooperative board of directors, position No. 9. I have known and admired Mrs. Chase for many years as she has held administrative positions in the field of education. She is very professional and while being goal-oriented, she also is a team player.

Her current experience as a court-appointed special advocate (CASA) points out that although being retired, she continues to serve our community. She understands business and would bring her expertise in communications to the board. Also, as a consumer, she would be able to work with citizens on their concerns. Being a “real person,” she is enjoyable to be around.

Some of her goals are as follows:

• Provide economical power for OTECC members

• Engage OTECC’s power supplier to ensure current and future needs are met

• Keep abreast of technology

• Explore OTECC’s role in economic development

• Continue to control and reduce operating costs while providing quality service

• Keep in mind that the board represents the interests of the public

Here is our chance to put a capable, accessible and willing candidate on the OTECC board to replace retiring Peggi Timm, who is the only female member of the board. Please vote for Charlene Chase as a member of the OTECC board of directors.

Bruce Raffety

Baker City

Eastern Oregonians want healthcare changes

There is a letter on my dining room table from my health insurance company, “Prescription Benefit Information.” It says they will not cover my newly prescribed medication for glaucoma. They did say I have the right to request an exception — but did not say it would be honored.

My life was miserable for two years before this new treatment option that is being managed by an Oregon specialist. I am hopeful the exception will be granted.

Tony Radmilovech’s story in The (La Grande) Observer, March 15, “Trying and failing: End ‘fail first’ practices,”) of debilitating pain and his search for a way to control his pain is unfortunately an experience shared by many of us. Tony describes how insurance bureaucrats interfere with the doctor-patient relationship and deny coverage for treatment, even treatment key to managing daily life tasks. He makes plain how insurance companies can actually override physicians’ care decisions. Is this good health care? Who is in control here? Should they be?

The issue of appropriate, quality health care was raised in a recent documentary featured at the Eastern Oregon Film Festival, “Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Health Care.” Lines formed outside the theater to see the film that asks “How can we save our badly broken healthcare system?” Crowds stayed after the show to listen to a panel of health care providers and congregated in the lobby and on the sidewalk to sign petitions to the Oregon legislature stating “Healthcare is a human right.” It is obvious that people in Eastern Oregon are concerned and want to learn more.

Members of Oregon Rural Action Health Care Reform Action Team answered questions, distributed information and recruited volunteers. The Eastern Oregon movement to provide excellent, patient/physician-managed health care to every Oregonian is growing daily. It is time for “health care for all” and “‘fail first’ for no one”! Please join us; there is a place for everyone.

Cheryl Simpson-Whitaker

La Grande

Co-chair, ORA Health Care Reform Action Team


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.

Gary Dielman

Baker City

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.   

Phyllis Badgley

Baker City

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.

Carol Martin

Baker City

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.

Marshall McComb

Baker City


Letters to the Editor for March 13, 2013


Small car drivers a casualty of global warming war

An insurance company has been running commercials showing several cars getting crunched one way or another. The most dramatic of these is of a small white car parked between two trucks; the truck in front begins to back up, and the little car buckles and crumples as if it were made of cardboard, not steel. My first thought was that anyone buying one of those bitty cars should be required to watch a video of that commercial, as they will need to become extra cautious drivers since their vehicle will give them virtually no protection during a collision.

But one of those tiny cars may become a part of your future. The federal government has mandated that in a few years, the Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency for auto makers will rise to 55 mpg. Auto manufacturers will only meet that standard when most Americans are driving tiny little cars like the one in the commercial.

The trouble is that small cars are inherently less safe than larger ones are. A few years ago, a Harvard University study showed that in the United States, around 2,000 small car passengers die each year in collisions who probably would have survived had they been riding in a standard sized automobile. That’s a population the size of Baker City’s wiped out every five years.

 Now that is a statistic you don’t see bandied about much. Environmentalists don’t like to admit that one of their pet projects is getting people killed. They won’t tell you that when you buy a small, “fuel-efficient” car, you are volunteering to become a casualty in the war on global warming. If you don’t believe this is so, just watch the commercial and picture yourself in that little white car as it is being crushed between those two trucks. 

Pete Sundin

Baker City

Back bill requiring health insurance comparison study

Our health care system is broken. We all know individuals and families without adequate health insurance, and without adequate health care. How can we provide health care to everyone at a cost we can afford?

House Bill 3260 would require the Oregon Health Authority to conduct a study comparing the costs of providing health care to all Oregonians under (1) the existing system; (2) a single payer insurance system; (3) a combination of patient chosen public and private health insurance; and (4) one or more additional options designed by the researchers. The first hearing on this bill is scheduled for April 5.

You can find the actual language of the bill at: http://gov.oregonlive.com/bill/2013/HB3260/

I urge everyone to contact their state legislators now. Ask them to support and vote for this bill. It’s easy to make contact using the state’s on-line tool: http://www.leg.state.or.us/writelegsltr/

The state representative in District 60 is Rep. Cliff Bentz, This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it , (503) 986-1460. The state senator in District 30 is Sen. Ted Ferrioli, This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it , (503) 986-1950.

Fuji Kreider

La Grande

Not all Oregon rivers are wild and scenic

Oregon is diverse so why put the same designation on even more waterways in our state to be “wild and scenic?” Stop Senate Bill 401! The folks that wrote the bill don’t  have a clue what’s on the ground for all the listed waterways covered under this bill, including the North Fork of the Burnt River in southwestern Baker County.

Don’t be ignorant and support a bill you don’t have a clue about. Worse yet, this is another underhanded attempt to stop federally authorized mining and regulate private land use in Oregon. 

For the North Fork, smaller tributaries add additional flow during normal years, yet late summer finds water flows have subsided considerably to show more river bed than water. 

This dried up rocky riverbed is visible driving along through the Wallowa-Whitman along the North Fork Burnt River Road (Whitney Road). This narrow and windy gravel road, maintained by Baker County, not the cash-strapped FS, is a mere 100 feet from the so-called “wild and scenic” river. 

Several dispersed campgrounds litter the forest for several miles along its timber shady length, inside the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. These generations-old campsites provide a popular getaway from summer’s sweltering heat of the lower Treasure Valley as well as during fall’s deer and elk hunting seasons. The mentioned area is far from being a recreational mecca as the nearest public services are miles away.

As far as fish, there are no steelhead and salmon living in this river. The occasional bull trout and rainbow are safe. Suction dredging does not suck up eggs and smolt as Oregon DEQ already regulates this with season of use restrictions to mitigate such an occurrence.

If this bill does get so far as to pass the Senate and reach the House of Representatives’ agenda, please be wise enough to know what each river has to offer before slating them all as “wild and scenic” thus taking additional jobs from fellow Oregonians in a continued attempt to exclude mining, timber and range management on public lands as well as controlling those same uses on private lands.

Betty E. Duncan

Unity

We feel fortunate to have Billie Ruth Bootsma Clinic

The Billie Ruth Bootsma Clinic at our local St. Alphonsus Hospital is a tremendous asset to the residents of Baker County and Eastern Oregon. It is a lovely, comforting, well-designed upscale facility. It is far nicer than some of the other clinics where we have been.

The staff is very professional and competent. They do everything possible to put their patients at ease. They have become our good friends.

The oncologist, Dr. Bronstein, comes once a week. He is also very professional and current in the new research and developments in the treatment of cancer and various health care problems. We feel very fortunate to have the Billie Ruth Clinic and its staff in Baker City.

John Burgess

Frances Burgess

Baker City

I won’t be intimidated by bullying tactics

Last December, 5J superintendent Wegener and board members Burroughs, Henderson and Bryan made quite a stink about wanting to sue me after the recall effort. They consulted an expensive attorney who, as I understand it, advised they would likely lose that suit. Her response should have stopped their childish vendetta. It didn’t.

Burroughs, who spent thousands during her anti-recall efforts, filed a civil complaint with the Secretary of State (SoS) questioning the few hundred dollars spent on the effort against her. The SoS’s staff spent hours handling her complaint. The only infraction found was a clerical error — a form was accidentally filed late.

Still unable to exact revenge, these folks took things another step. On Christmas Eve (yes, you read that right), the SoS received a criminal complaint against me signed by Burroughs’ personal friend and 5J Budget Committee member Rusty Munn. The purpose of a complaint under the law Munn cited is to persuade the SoS to turn a citizen over to the Attorney General for felony prosecution, which includes jail time if convicted. The SoS’s office was again forced by law to investigate over two months, spending countless staff hours and taxpayer dollars. As everyone remembers, Munn and Burroughs included “what’s best for the children” and “not wasting taxpayer money” as their objections to our recall effort. Yet attempting to throw the mother of two young children in jail and spending thousands of taxpayer dollars on a personal vendetta posed no apparent issue for them. I believe those 5J patrons who weren’t sure of the collective character of this group, will surely see it now.

Last week I received a letter from the SoS informing me they’d found no election law violation on my part, no evidence our ballot statement was false — and they consider the issue closed. They informed Munn they wouldn’t pursue his complaints further. If Munn and Burroughs believe their bully tactics will silence me or prevent other parents in the community from exercising their rights and holding 5J accountable, they’re wrong. I’m looking forward to the May election!

Kerry McQuisten

Baker City


Letters to the Editor for March 11, 2013

Sequester cuts pretense for raising taxes

Your March 6 editorial, “Exaggerated Fiscal Crisis,” was correct. The rather miniscule budget reductions resulting from sequester shouldn’t result in any decline in essential services.  Your position, however, is based upon logic and reason. The author of the sequester, it must be remembered, is Mr. Obama whose track record is anything but logical and reasonable. Instead, Obama operates based upon an agenda.

Sequestration, which leaked White House emails make clear are intended to inflict public pain, is but another opportunity to use a crisis (real or manufactured — in this case the latter) for political purposes. Obama’s agenda is to increase government control and to do so requires increased taxation.  The sequester is the crisis Obama hopes will create support for increased taxation.

For anyone who engages in a serious study of Obama, his philosophy, and his game plan a reading of the Little Red Book and the works of Alinsky are essential. God save our republic.

Jerry Boyd

Baker City

Don’t change Broadway and Tenth streets

Leave Broadway and Tenth streets as they are.

Where has common sense gone? In the current economy monies are tight and scarce. The existing funds could be better spent repairing city streets and state highways we already have.

Automobile drivers pay a gas tax to maintain our streets and highways — bicycles don’t pay that tax. We aren’t Portland, quit trying to copy them!

The only time there is an abundance of bicycles on the streets of Baker City is during the summer bicycle tours/rallies, when streets in Baker City are closed to everyone but those bicycles. Our weather in Baker City isn’t conducive to bicycle use year ’round.

Maybe they are trying to create turning lanes to hold those snow berms each winter!

Judy Stultz

Baker City


Letters to the Editor for March 8, 2013


Baker City puts on a great basketball tourney

Most recently, having enjoyed attending the 1A basketball championships in Baker City, I feel the urge to express my appreciation for the outstanding display of friendly, efficient and professional manner displayed by those responsible within your community, as well as those assisting in the tournament — such as the security personnel and volunteers.

The deputy that I had occasion to speak with is a credit to his profession and to your community. He knows who he is, and hopefully reads this letter.

Fully recognizing that it is easier to be so positive in this communication when my son, David, was able to lead the girls from Damascus Christian School to a state championship win with my two granddaughters, Val and Ana, playing on the team; I still truly express my thanks to your community for such a rewarding experience. 

Jim Wakefield

Mulino

Baker County is on the motorcycling map

I am writing to express my thanks and appreciation to all the residents of Baker County and supporters of the Hells Canyon Motorcycle Rally. Thank you for opening your homes to riders who need a place to stay. A friendly smile and place to rest. Baker City has been discovered. All over the USA, people are searching for adventure, discovery, and the real American experience. It’s right here. Baker County, Hells Canyon, the Geiser Grand Hotel, Main Street, Sumpter, Halfway, Elkhorn Mountains, Eagle Cap and the Oregon Trail.

I have to say it has not been easy, but it has been worthwhile, working to get this event recognized by the motorcycle community. Riders are discovering this great place. July 12, Baker City will take it’ place in American history as motorcyclists ride to the heart of America and find out what it’s all about. It’s a big deal. Veterans, Patriot Guard Riders, Christian Motorcyclist Association, and many more. We respect you. 

It’s an honor to be welcomed into one of the greatest places on earth.

Eric Folkestad

Camas, Wash.

Waterboarding will be used on Americans

Waterboarding prisoners has recently been discussed again because it was the subject in one of the movies up for one of the Academy Awards.  Some people think that it is torture and others think not. I think that it is torture and that it will not bring up any more information than a dose of sodium amytal before an interrogation.

The important fact is that the Americans apparently approve of waterboarding and so we can expect our enemies will feel free to waterboard any American they take as a prisoner.  They will feel free to torture them.

Carl Kostol

Baker City


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