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.
I’m supporting 5J recall
Enough with all this bickering and pettiness! Our school board, while volunteers, should conduct itself professionally. We should not see sniping, eye-rolling, and punitive actions. We should not see board members (employers) joining with a district administrator (employee) against another member of the board (one of the employers).
It is with a heavy heart that I think these volunteers should direct their talents somewhere that is not the local 5J Board. I am embarrassed that our board members cannot become a cohesive and positive force for the children in our district.
Please join me in promoting the Burroughs-Henderson Recall.
Elizabeth Campbell Huntsman
Wind farm imperils rare grass
The Oregon semaphore grass is a unique and amazing grass that occurs in two populations within the state of Oregon, and nowhere else in the world. It has a global heritage rank of G1, “critically imperiled because of the extreme rarity.” (Rare, Threatened and Endangered Species of Oregon, October 2010; Oregon Biodiversity Information Center, Institute of Natural resources, Portland State University).
Construction of the Antelope Ridge Wind Facility in Union County constitutes a threat to the Oregon semaphore grass. EDP Renewables chose to ignore it in their application until the Friends of the Grande Ronde Valley challenged them to address it. This rare plant is on the chopping block due to a renewable energy program that is proving to not be environmentally friendly that will ultimately provide less than 1 percent of our energy production. The question now is how many other endangered species of plants and animals are being ignored?
Not good news for Romney?
Local Obama critic Pete Sundin (June 13 Herald) notes that attorney John Wolfe of Chattanooga, Tenn., has garnered a significant percentage of votes in several state Democratic presidential primaries. Sundin concludes that there is much discontent with their president among Democrats, which would seem to bode well for Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney.
What Sundin fails to tell the reader is that Wolfe is farther left politically than Obama. He wants tighter regulation of big banks and expanded use of Medicare. Democrats and independents who voted for Wolfe may be even less likely to vote for Mitt Romney.
Voters should look at Romney’s record, too
Pete Sundin tries to make a case (letters 6/13) for looking askance at President Obama’s accomplishments before casting our vote, drawing from major untruths perpetuated in the GOP/Romney platform. Perhaps Sundin doesn’t realize that far from being a big taxer, under Obama taxes are at their lowest level in decades. Similarly, Obama has spent less in new programs than any president since World War II, of course adding to the federal budget the cost of Bush’s two undeclared and unfunded wars increases our deficit, and his assertion that Obama is bad for jobs and business is refuted by the stock market going from 7,000 to 12,500 while business profits are the highest in history, and not surprisingly, any slowing of jobs growth coincides with the do-nothing 2010 GOP Congress blocking his policies.
Looking at Romney, who claims he ran a company which invested in struggling business without ever taking a bailout and touts his business acumen as the cornerstone of his campaign, we see a CEO (Bain) who sought and accepted a $10 million federal bailout (Boston Globe, Oct. 25, 1994) after making bad investments that he wanted the U.S. taxpayer to pony up for and in the tortured logic of the GOP, his dismembering and gutting businesses while stripping them of assets and laying off many thousands of workers is to be admired?
Yes, indeed, do look hard before you vote.
Look at president’s deeds, not his words
Ever hear of John Wolfe? Don’t feel bad; not many people have. He is one of those obscure people who somehow get their name on the ballot and wind up with a few votes. But this year, this six-time loser from Tennessee ran in the Arkansas Democratic presidential primary against President Obama and got 40 percent of the vote!
What about Keith Judd? The name doesn’t ring a bell? He’s a convicted felon serving his sentence in a Texas prison. He ran in the West Virginia Democratic primary against the president and got 41 percent of the vote.
In Kentucky, an astonishing 42 percent of Democratic voters went for an “uncommitted” slate of delegates rather than vote for Barack Obama.
When four out of 10 Democratic voters in these states vote for an unknown, a jailbird and nobody in particular, respectively, rather than for the sitting president from their own party, they are sending a strong message: the nation is on the wrong track and has been for the past 3½ years.
At best, the recovery from the Great Recession has been anemic. Gasoline prices remain high. The administration has not made a dent in the high rate of joblessness among Americans. The budgets which President Obama has been submitting to Congress add a trillion dollars to the national debt each year. The Democratic-led Senate has failed to vote on any of these budgets since Barack Obama has been in office. The list of Democratic failures is long.
President Obama is running for re-election, so pay no attention to anything he might say. Instead, pay attention to what he had done while in office, and at what he has failed to do. Then you will see why so many moderate Democrats are expressing their discontent with the man by refusing to vote for him.
Suggestions for voters
As a member of the Election Board and before we vote in another election in November, I would like to make some suggestions to my fellow voters.
The job of the Election Board is to prepare the ballots to be sent out to the voters and when the time comes and they are back, we make sure that they are readable and correct so they can be counted and everything comes out right. It takes time to count all the ballots and we are dedicated to do the best job for the voters.
When you sit down to vote your ballot, it would help if you make sure that you read it carefully and vote the correct number of choices in each voting area. Also, do you realize that each write-in name has to be counted by hand? This means that when you write in Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Pluto, we have to sit down and count every name. It takes at least eight people to hand-count write-ins. Since you, the taxpayers, are the ones that pay for this, I am sure you would like to make it as easy as possible for the Election Board.
The Election Board is a dedicated, responsible group and when the November election comes around, I hope we can all be dedicated and responsible voters.
Mayce Day No. 4 a success
Baker City, you did it again! The 4th-annual Mayce Day-Drink Pink was held on Friday, June 1, and wow, what a success. With each new year of Mayce Day-Drink Pink there also comes a time of sweet and sorrowful reflection. A time to consider all that has been done within our amazing community, all that has been fulfilled and all the ways we’ve made a difference in Mayce Collard’s memory.
Please take a moment to reflect on the wonderful opportunities we have been able to assist with through the J. Mayce Memorial Scholarship, which honors students not for how many touchdowns they make or their SAT scores but for their character, for who they are when no one is looking. Students are nominated by teachers who personify many of Mayce’s best qualities: a positive attitude, volunteer experience, and acceptance of others. We feel with Mayce leading the way we have found the perfect niche to fund the “inside” and not the obvious.
Thank you again for keeping Mayce in your thoughts and for your steadfast support throughout the past four years of Mayce Day-Drink Pink. We all are eternally grateful and continue to be in awe of the community support of the J. Mayce Memorial Scholarship Fund; it is a worthwhile endeavor.
On behalf of the Collard family and the BHS Learning Center’s Bulldog Blender, our hearts are filled with gratitude.
For more information or to make a donation to Mayce Day-Drink Pink, please contact Amy Powell at 541-524-2634.
Crowded out at graduation
My husband and I were at the graduation last Sunday to see a few of our friends graduate.
We were seated in the wheelchair area of the stadium because of our disabilities. The ceremony started, and I rolled my walker closer to get a good photo of one of our friends graduating. By this time everyone coming in decided to make the wheelchair area their home. We couldn’t move and we couldn’t see because they were standing all around. I yelled, “everyone that is not wheelchair please leave.” Some took the hint One guy had a wheelchair mom there and was going to leave. I said, “no, you’re with her.” Asked these other people if they had family there and they said, out on the field, they were graduating. I asked them to leave and find a seat elsewhere and they refused and were quite obstinate about it. They were not going to leave at all. It ruined our day there and my husband came home with a terrible backache because he had to stand the entire introduction of the graduates. We never got to see the graduation, we left early and felt violated by these people. Part of me wants them to experience the same grief they caused us, but another part of me hopes no one would put them through being violated as we were.
I do think that the school should have someone to regulate the area seating so it’s fair for everyone.
Nice gesture at cemetery
I want to express my thanks to who ever placed the small bouquets of baby breath on each small grave in the Baby Hearts at the cemetery. How thoughtful and caring.
Clearing up issue in story
To the editor:
I would like to clear up one point on the article on my family tree research (in the May 30 issue). I may have misspoken or been misunderstood, but what I meant to say was that one branch of my family tree has been researched to the “Time of Christ” not to Christ himself.
I in no way intended to presume Christ is in my family tree.
Working to wreck an industry
To the editor:
I hope everyone noticed a couple weeks ago the letter to the editor written by Loren Hughes advocating more forest road closures and further federal takeover of the land.
I just want to make sure that everyone realizes who Hughes is so that we can all recognize the damage he has single-handedly caused during the past 40 years to the people of this region. Hughes was given the nickname “Mr. Fifteen Center” several decades ago during the spotted owl controversy after he wrote a letter addressed with one fifteen-cent stamp to the Forest Service. His letter effectively shut down several large FS timber sales and helped deal a fatal blow to the timber industry. Hughes also has a long association with extreme environmental groups such as the Hells Canyon Preservation Council in La Grande.
So, I want to make sure and pay Hughes his due. First, Mr. Fifteen Center, thanks for killing an industry that will never return during my lifetime. Thanks for changing the median age in Wallowa County from a vibrant 32 years old in 1982 to the current 50 years old today. And, because of your agenda, nowadays we harvest people’s lives with the prison industry instead of putting them to work harvesting the earth’s bounty. So, really thanks for that too, because that is the consequence of your life work.
And also, thanks Mr. Hughes for providing an example of a person who is willing to sell the economic stability of the region he calls home so that he can fulfill some theoretical environmental preservation agenda. Or, maybe Hughes has his sights on bigger fish. Maybe his environmental concerns are simply a front for a more clandestine agenda. Maybe he is actually interested in changing our form of government. Or is it just a coincidence that the work of his life has resulted in a weakening of fundamental American ideals such as freedom, liberty, and private property rights? Maybe.