Power line would go through our back yard
It was with dismay that I read the B.C. Herald’s July 27 editorial “Best route for the power line.” I estimate that at least 99 percent of Baker County’s residents are on the grid and that they take it for granted. However, their power comes here transmitted on high tension lines going through someone’s back yard – though I doubt that many worry about where, as long as they have reliable power and it does not affect their viewshed.
Some of us, though, live with no access to the grid and thus derive no benefits from any transmission line anywhere. Instead, at high cost we supply our own limited power from photovoltaic systems or generators. We accept the cost and inconvenience gladly (no air conditioner, no clothes dryer, etc.,) but we do object to the new suggested route going through our back yard in the historical district of Sparta – which incidentally is in elk overlay. It also appears that the route would require quite a swath to be cut through the national forest.
Please reconsider your endorsement.
Save energy, avoid need to build power line
I have a novel idea. How about the beneficiaries bearing the cost? I live in Sparta, most of us get our electricity from photovoltaics, we accept the consequences of our choice and we live with limited electricity. We did this in part as we wished to live in an unspoiled environment with as few reminders as possible of the urban world, an unobstructed view of the Wallowas, for example. Now it would seem that many in the Baker City area don’t like the prospect of a 500kv utility line running through their area, I thought perhaps parallel to Pocahontas or Hwy 30 might be a good route. After all, the vast majority of you are connected to the utility grid, shouldn’t you pay the cost?
But then redistribution is a popular theme and moving it to eastern Baker County is redistributing the cost! Let’s face it, profligate energy consumption is detrimental to the environment that we all desire in Baker County. Use less electricity and demand that Idaho Power find another way to balance its load.
Greg Walden needs to represent all of his district
It’s time the people in Greg Walden’s district see who he really represents. The House of Representatives is getting ready to vote on tax-cut extensions.
But the only tax extension Walden will vote for is for the continuation of the Bush-era tax cuts for the richest Americans. Republican Rep. Walden is in “lock-step” with his party and is not concerned with the majority of people he supposedly represents in Congress.
It’s time for Rep. Walden to realize that as intelligent, hardworking Oregonians we demand more from him than platitudes, handshakes and Republican talking points. We need a representative who will actually listen to us (the voters) and then vote according to our wishes; not someone who votes the party line every time!
It’s time for Walden to understand that he’s supposed to represent all of us in his district not just the rich who provide money for his re-election campaigns. If the continuation of the tax cut for those making less than $250,000 a year isn’t a priority for Walden, and continuing the Bush-era tax cuts for the rich is, then it’s simply time for us to get rid of Mr. Walden as a representative and vote in office someone who will represent all the people in this district.
I urge my fellow Oregonians, in Walden’s district, to phone, email or write to him and let him know that if he doesn’t represent all the people in his district he will be replaced. I’m tired of the Republican “lock-step” attitude and the effect it has had on Congress and our country. We can do better! Let’s get rid of a man who doesn’t represent us and find someone who will.
Steve and Michelle DeFord
Thanks for sharing your special part of Oregon
The week of July 22, eight of us drove out from Portland to spend the week cycling Baker County and the Blue and Wallowa Mountains. We’ve been to Baker County many times but usually only for a day or so.
Spending almost a week in Baker County was fantastic! We rode through, and stayed and ate at Baker City, Sumpter, Halfway and Haines. We cycled on NF 73, HWY 203 and Anthony Lakes Hwy. Wow! We loved every minute of it!
The roads were smooth and the views were spectacular. And the people? Oh yeah ... the people! Everyone was so friendly.
Cars and trucks always passed us with plenty of room. We could not believe how many drivers and ranchers would wave to us as we cycled through. We felt very welcome. You all live in a special part of Oregon; thanks for sharing it with us!
Great service from Grumpy’s
We wanted to drop a note to the Herald regarding Grumpy’s Repair. J.R. and Ian provided excellent customer service to us when we limped our RV into the shop last week. It was discovered both fuel filters were blocked, which caused the fuel pump to give up the ghost. J.R. and Ian also discovered we were in need of a fuel pressure regulator, which previous owners of our RV had completely removed. That particular part had to be located, which ended up being in Portland. The regulator was shipped overnight, so Ian could install it the next day. The hospitality, friendliness, and timely updates on our situation were awesome, and more than we ever could have expected. We contacted family members to let them know we were stranded, and when they found out where we were, they told us not to worry, that we were in good hands at Grumpy’s. We would recommend Grumpy’s to anyone who might need work done on their RV or Truck. They are very hard workers, and still provide the personal touch. Keep up the great work, guys!
Rob and Diana Hoefer
Making the bandstand dream come true
What a wonderful Miners Jubilee weekend we just enjoyed! From beginning to end, it became increasingly clear that Baker City can exemplify the very best in what is right with America. When this community pulls together, anything is not only possible, it is achievable. And in a big way!
Thank you to everyone who put forth special effort to support our Baker City Bandstand in the Park project by attending the living history fundraiser performance of “Fanny.” The old gal is back in the trunk now, but her pioneering spirit lives on in each of you.
When the Geiser and Pollman families donated land over a hundred years ago for a public park in Baker City, they envisioned a place that would become the heart of the community. We believe our planned bandstand pavilion is not only in harmony with that original vision, but will continue to enrich the lives of Baker County residents, travelers, performers, and sightseers for decades to come. It’s our turn to make history.
The BHS graduating class of 1952 held its 60th reunion over Miners Jubilee. They bought a Baker City Bandstand brick to help get us a little closer to our goal of construction. They’ve issued a challenge to all graduating classes of Baker High School to do the same.
Check us out on Facebook (www.facebook.com/BAKERCITYBANDSTAND) for order forms. Or call 541-519-5653 for more information. Together, we can make this community dream come true.
Joyce Badgley Hunsaker (“Fanny”)
Bandstand Committee Board Member
Obama can’t run on his record
When running for president, then-senator Obama was faced with a dilemma. He couldn’t run on his record of achievements, as he didn’t have any. Nor could he run on his agenda, for it came from the uttermost depths of the leftmost wing of the Democratic Party. So he pretended to be a moderate, used inspirational-sounding but essentially meaningless rhetoric (“hope and change”) and successfully gambled that Bush fatigue and the historic opportunity of electing our first black president would cause voters to overlook his singular lack of qualifications.
Now he is running for re-election, and faces the same dilemma. He still can’t run on his agenda, for that includes the imposition of cap and trade on our economy, eliminating the use of coal in generating electricity, and driving the price of gasoline “to European levels.”
Neither can he run on his record of achievements, for these include a huge stimulus which he promised would significantly reduce unemployment but didn’t, annual trillion dollar deficits which have cost the Federal Government its coveted AAA bond rating, Obamacare, which a majority of Americans want repealed, “Operation Fast and Furious,” in which the government allowed American guns to get into the hands of Mexican drug cartels, which then used those same guns to murder Mexican citizens and one U. S. border guard, crony capitalism, in which corporations with good political connections get plums, such as the federal guaranteed loans granted to the solar panel manufacturer Solyndra, an outfit which promptly went bankrupt; there’s lots more, but you get the idea.
So President Obama continues his pretense of being a moderate, uses meaningless rhetoric, such as “the private sector is all right,” and gambles that his use of class warfare will cause voters to overlook that his, like Jimmy Carter’s, is a failed presidency.
It took two terms in office for independents and moderate Democrats to develop Bush fatigue, but it’s taken only one term for President Obama to induce Obama fatigue in these same voters.
Single payer system will save health care in America
Even with the recent Supreme Court ruling that the Affordable Care Act is constitutional, Oregonians need to demand health care financing that does not put us in the poor house!
Anyone paying health insurance premiums knows our health care financing system is broken. After the ACA is fully implemented in 2019, 26 million Americans will still lack coverage. Those who cannot afford insurance often seek health care at emergency rooms with all of us footing the bill.
Insurance and pharmaceutical corporations keep their profits flowing by spending millions to hoodwink us into believing that public financing means government takeover and decreased health care quality.
Both Medicare and the Veterans Administration prove otherwise. What we need now, if we are to avoid breaking the bank, is improved Medicare for everyone regardless of age.
Only two percent of Medicare’s dollars go to administration/overhead. Private insurance spends as much as 16.7 percent. Under a single payer system, overall administrative costs would fall from 33 percent of current health care spending to less than 5 percent, saving hundreds of billions of dollars.
Studies by the nonpartisan General Accounting Office and Congressional Budget Office report that implementing a national single payer system would yield administrative cost-savings enough to guarantee coverage for every American without increasing overall health care spending.
Because Congress has not yet enacted affordable health insurance legislation, Health Care for All-Oregon is campaigning for affordable, comprehensive, publicly funded, high quality systems of health care serving everyone in Oregon and the United States.
Oregon Rural Action is one of 50 HCAO member organizations statewide. ORA is organizing health care action in Baker, Wallowa, Union, Malheur and Umatilla counties. To find out how you can help hold health care costs in check, contact the Oregon Rural Action Health Care Action Team (541-663-1358) or email
What’s Romney trying to hide?
Romney’s surrogates are bristling at the suggestion that Romney committed a felony in signing SEC documents after 1999, but they studiously ignore the alternative. Given Romney’s cautious nature in many things, it’s not likely he would have lied when he signed Bain related SEC disclosures or when he testified under oath that he was actively involved in Bain companies and attended board meetings in Massachusetts when challenged on his residency and eligibility to run for governor.
Since simply positive factual statements cannot be simultaneously true and untrue, logic dictates he is lying in his campaign statements which are not under oath or under any legal penalty. Whether his SEC filings, sworn testimony and financial disclosures to the FEC conflict with one another or with his tax filings is a matter that will only be settled when he is forced to make public his tax returns for the last 12 years as Obama has already done. The fact that he adamantly opposes such a release of his tax returns confirms in my mind that besides any embarrassing details about foreign investments and overseas tax shelters there must be something very fishy at the core of the matter which would strike a fatal blow to his credibility and legitimacy if elected.
Don’t close roads — downsize the Forest Service instead
I am a Baker County resident and love our forests. I along with many of my friends are in the forest and mountains sometimes several times a week. I’ve watched the Forest Service close many of the roads we used to enjoy. The Forest Service wants to keep a few people happy, environmentalists, that threaten to sue for everything. About half of the forest is already wilderness area. Let them take their walks and enjoy that part of the forest. Compromise has already been made. For the rest of us, which I believe is the majority, don’t close anything.
The loggers can no longer log, half the forest is wilderness and many of the roads already closed. I think that a good solution to the whole problem is get rid of 80 percent of the U.S. Forest Service and put the extra money into things that are really needed such as schools and other projects.
Regardless of contest results, Baker City is a winner
As we await the results of this year’s Best of the Road contest, I already know that Baker City is the winner. Timothy Bishop orchestrated a spectacular show of our beautiful town for the judges and attendant Travel Channel/CBS TV crew. With only a one-day official visit, he managed to showcase our ranching heritage, our arts community, and other towns in Baker County, as well as the Baker City Historic District, heart of Baker County. Please join me in thanking Timothy for job well done!
I’m proud to have been a small part of this community effort in service on the planning committee. Every citizen should share that pride. It doesn’t matter who is announced as the winner on Tuesday. We are all winners here and should congratulate each other on our beautiful small town!
Free market? I wish there were such a thing
Free-market exponent Pete Sundin wrote a letter to the editor praising free choice, something I can agree with, if there really were such a thing.
How short Mr. Sundin’s memory is. He has seemingly forgotten that unregulated free choice in worldwide financial markets led to the recession the U.S. and Europe are facing today. Mr. Sundin isn’t the only one with a short memory.
I just learned today about the LIBOR scandal that promises to eclipse the derivatives scandal of 2008. LIBOR stands for “London Inter-bank Offered Rate.” That’s the average rate set by banks that determines what interest is charged to buy and sell money between banks. In the culture of big finance, LIBOR trickles down to also affect the little guy’s interest payments on credit card, car loan, and mortgage.
Barclays, a 300-year-old British bank, has admitted to rigging LIBOR to its advantage, and disadvantage of others. (Read about it in The Economist here: http://www.economist.com/node/21558281, or just Google “LIBOR scandal.”) Barclays has agreed to pay U.S. and British regulators almost a half billion dollars in penalties. Several other big-name banks are being investigated for similar activity.
Once again we learn that the game of free-market high finance is not conducted on a level playing field. Not only do financial institutions pay its traders obscenely high salaries and bonuses, but they also cheat.
The Economist refers to the LIBOR scandal as the “rotten heart of finance.”
Now, back to Mr. Sundin’s letter to the editor about free choice. There is no free choice for the little guy, when the big guys don’t play by the rules.
Locals help make Cycling Classic roll smoothly
The Baker City Cycling Classic couldn’t have happened this year without the support of our local community, and they came out more committed to the race than ever before.
Baker Loves Bikes would like to thank all our volunteers, the Baker High School students, their parents and their coaches for their dedication. The City of Baker City for the help making the courses clean and safe. Our police and fire departments for ensuring the safety of those racing and spectators.
Many local businesses supported the race financially or with volunteers for us. This help allowed us to put over $2500 into the BHS programs that worked with us and with continued support like this we will be able to increase our donations as we move forward.
The field at this years BCCC was up by 30 percent from last year and with the rider feedback we’ve been receiving already, we’re sure to have an even larger field next year. This event brings bike racers from all over the country to Baker County and the money they pay to be here goes directly into programs at Baker High School,which makes it unique. More money from this event stays right here in Baker, than just about any other event in the county, and it’s all from sources outside our area.
We also received help from the Northeast Oregon Compassion Center and in return they received a large donation of food for the food bank for the third year in a row. For the first time we worked with the fifth-grade classes to create the beautiful and colorful posters for the BCCC. Many of the posters could be seen around downtown Baker, but some graced the walls of bike shops around the Pacific Northwest, as far away as California.
As we move forward to our 12th year of racing in Baker City we become the second longest consecutively run bike race in the state of Oregon, and that is thanks in large part to the support of Baker County and YOU. Thank you all so much we couldn’t do it without you, and the riders all thank you too.
Vegter is the race promoter for the Baker City Cycling Classic, and vice president of Baker Loves Bikes.
Council should be responsive
I would like to alert the membership of the Hells Canyon Preservation Council to the lack of your organization to engage with the local populace in Eastern Oregon on the matter of the Travel Management Plan currently be planned by the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest.
Throughout the last four months local citizens have attempted to engage your organization through its writings on its blog and other social media, to be ignored and most recently to delete our questions.
I would be greatly concerned to follow the leadership of people that cannot put together a coherent argument of their point, other than to wax poetic and insist that they have the only correct view point on natural resources management.
Please ask the staff in La Grande to answer the questions being posed to them. I believe before they kill any more jobs in Eastern Oregon they should account for their position.
John D. George
Change is possible
It seemed for a time that the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision had handed virtual control of our elections to the wealthy few.
But the unanimous vote last week by the Baker City Council urging a U.S. constitutional amendment to take money out of politics is now a shining symbol of the power of We the People. A small group of local citizens initiated the proposal, and the City Council debated and passed a resolution to let Congress and the states regulate political contributions and spending.
And both Senators Wyden and Merkley are already co-sponsoring just such a Constitutional amendment. This is a big deal! It deserves everyone’s utmost support. We can change our destiny ... if we work together.
I was born in 1940, and during my lifetime I’ve seen the middle class grow by leaps and bounds, fueled by huge government investments, starting with World War II. But then I watched the tide start to go out around 1980, as good-paying jobs were lost to globalization and automation, labor unions declined, and the wealthy 1 percent gained more and more of our total income and economic and political power, and were then granted massive tax cuts.
I watched as wealthy folks and international corporations reached out and stuck their thumbs on the scales that determine who gets what. With their money they could lobby Congress, buy political influence with campaign contributions, and offshore good-paying jobs and automate jobs out of existence with impunity. They could then dictate pay and working conditions, bust unions, pay minimal income tax, and so forth.
But that’s the past, not necessarily the future. If we work together, we can reverse history and rebuild a society that works for us — with a government of, by, and for The People. It’s possible! I know. I was there.
I urge my fellow readers to reject the hate talk and ideology that keeps us divided, that makes us adversaries. There’s too much at stake. Real answers await our mutual, joint creative problem-solving genius. The bold action of our City Council shows us it can be done.
Pro-choice only goes so far
There are many politicians (you’ll find them in both parties) who like to say that they’re “pro-choice.” But when you look into their claims, you’ll learn that choice is only in one area of life — abortion. For the rest of life, they like to make our choices for us. Their rationale? Life is so complicated nowadays that we average citizens are incapable of making intelligent decisions for ourselves.
Remembering a great friend, and my friend, Jack Pittman
I am proud to have called Jack Pittman a friend. I wish I could say a few words at his memorial service, but while some people can talk about a good friend after his passing and not get all choked up, I’m not one of them.
I first met Jack years ago, when I worked at the Senior Center and volunteers from his church would come once a month to help serve lunch. Right before lunch is served, one of the volunteers asks the Lord to bless the food, diners and volunteers. A lot of people do a real nice job, but Jack spoke to Jesus like he was talking to an old and trusted friend. His heartfelt words always had a big impact on me. And it wasn’t just words, because Jack lived life just like he spoke. Jack was the most religious man I’ve ever known, but he never flaunted his beliefs or looked down on someone who might not have his degree of faith. Jack was a role model, although I doubt he thought of himself that way. He was just being the good man he was.
When Jack would see me, he usually said “How are you, you good looking rascal?” It often made me doubt his eyesight, but never his sincerity. He talked to everyone like they were the most important person in his world, and I believe Jack honestly felt that way about each and every person he ever visited.
When I decided to be baptized, I couldn’t imagine asking anyone else to baptize me. I think it caught him by surprise and there was a slight pause. I was afraid he would refuse, but I shouldn’t have worried. I don’t think Jack could refuse any service to his Lord or to a friend.
Knowing Jack, he got a job greeting new arrivals into Heaven. He has such a way of making everyone feel welcome, he’s a natural.
This isn’t goodbye my friend, just until we meet again.