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Letters to the Editor for Nov. 21, 2012

Thanks to all who helped; vote yes on the recall

With the school board recall election set for Dec. 11, I’d like to send a huge thank you out to the over 30 circulators who helped gather signatures, the more than 1,000 5J patrons who signed our petitions, and the hundreds more who’ve told us they’re ready to vote for the recall even though they weren’t in a position to sign the petition.

Ballots will hit mailboxes Nov. 23 and 24. This recall is about the right of local voters to choose whether Mark Henderson and Lynne Burroughs remain in office, and whether they should continue to be allowed to affect the environment in which our children are educated. Please read the statements on the ballot outlining our reasons demanding their recall, and read their statements of justification carefully. You’ll notice their statements deflect 5J patrons away from the issues at hand – they don’t address them.

Burroughs and Henderson have left quite a path of destruction in their wake. They’ve subjected the District to legal liability by wrongfully punishing another elected Board member. They disenfranchised the 1,600 of us who voted for him when they stripped him of the information and duties that we, the voters, intended him to have. They distributed multiple mailings filled with lies to thousands of households, and are now the defendants in a defamation of character suit as a result. They ignored the intent of public meetings law and the desire of the community to have a transparent local government when they started meeting in subcommittees of two to the exclusion of the public and other elected Board members. They, of course, blame Kyle Knight for their actions. And in spite of the recent PR spin launched by the District, 5J school report card scores have actually decreased in the past year. Superintendent Wegener, of course, blames the test.

My children deserve better leadership examples than this. So do yours. It’s time we have school board members who take responsibility, follow the law and focus on education. Please remember to vote YES on the recall.

Kerry McQuisten

Baker City

The author is the chief petitioner in the recall campaign.

Predictions about climate disaster sound sketchy

Last April, 49 former NASA scientists and astronauts chided that agency for going overboard on the issue of catastrophic global warming. They said that its “advocacy of an extreme position, prior to a thorough study of the possible overwhelming impact of natural climate drivers, is inappropriate. “ They expressed fears that such actions might lead to “damage to the exemplary reputation of NASA, NASA’s current or former employees, and even the reputation of science itself.”

In 2008, Al Gore claimed that those who disagree with him on this subject are “almost like the ones who believe the moon landing was staged on a movie lot in Arizona and those who believe the world is flat.” However, one of those who co-signed the above strongly worded letter was Harrison Schmidt, both a Harvard geologist and the last man to stand on the surface of our moon and see the round ball of our earth in the lunar sky. Not exactly a flat-earther!

The claim that 98 percent of scientists agree that global warming is human caused and will lead inevitably to catastrophe is as spurious as the famous ‘hockey stick’ graph which claimed to show the climate of our planet was unchanged for the past millennium, spiking upward only in its final decade. The above-mentioned scientists can tell you that over the centuries, the climate of our planet is constantly changing, warming up and then cooling again.

During the 20th century, the average temperature of the earth did raise about 1 degree; that is settled science. The claim that global warming will threaten human existence is science fiction. There have been centuries-long periods in human history when the earth was significantly warmer than it is today. None of the calamities predicted for a warmer earth happened. Indeed, historians call these warm eras “climactic optimums,” when the earth’s climate was most favorable for mankind.

If you’re going to predict what a warmer earth will be like, perhaps you’d best consult with those who know what it was like in the past before going out on a limb. 

Pete Sundin

Baker City

Justice of the Peace Williams thanks voters

Dear Residents of Baker County:

I wish to thank you for expressing your confidence in me and my abilities, by electing me to serve as your Justice of the Peace. For those who didn’t vote for me, I wish to thank you for participating in this great exercise of democracy, and promise to serve you well. I count it a privilege to be elected to this position and welcome your suggestions on how we, as court staff, can improve the services of the Baker County Justice Court. I also thank Steve Bogart, for running a strong and honorable campaign; something that for some jurisdictions, seems to be a rarity in this election cycle.

During the campaign, I visited with hundreds of you in your homes, and in the shops and workplaces of our Baker County communities. I have heard of the financial struggles of many of you who are unemployed, or own small business are having, and I also heard of your love for our community. You spoke of the importance to be treated with fairness and transparency in the court room. I committed to all of you to keep my promise in running that kind of a court room, and I will do so.

The major social concern I heard from all but a few, was the proposed road closures in our public lands. Again I promised, as a private citizen, I will continue my efforts, in voicing our desire to keep all existing road access to our national lands open to all citizens. The outcome of further USFS and BLM road closures will greatly impact the recreational, mining, and logging opportunities for residents of Baker County, and will in turn have a devastating impact upon tourism and the viability of our business communities. I am confident if we the citizens, and our elected city, county, state and federal representatives all take a determined stand on this issue, we can prevail.

Again, thanks to all of you who supported me in this campaign, by writing letters, posting signs, and speaking to your friends and colleagues regarding my character and abilities, to do the job to which you elected me. Please feel free to bring to me any concerns or suggestions you may have regarding the Justice Court, and I will give them careful consideration.

Don Williams

Baker City

School board recall a waste of time, talent, money

It is a tragedy. The attempt to recall two Baker 5J School Board members is a gross waste of time, talent and taxpayer money. It is a blight on Baker City. Why would any intelligent, civic-minded person want to be on the school board if this is the kind of treatment they receive?

Lynne Burroughs has given and continues to give so much to this community to make it a better place to live. She knows what it takes to teach in a classroom and the problems our school district faces every day. We need her dedication and expertise on the school board.

Please support Lynne. Vote “no” on the recall.

Barbara Prowell

Baker City

Discussion a better option than recalling officials

Recall is an expensive, divisive public activity that ultimately discourages interested people from running for public office.

Recall should be for serious misconduct of a public official, such as embezzlement, felonious or criminal acts, etc.

If you, a patron, disagree with an act or position of a public official, call them for discussion, go to meetings and present your position. Disagreement should lead to conversation with both parties talking and listening.

I encourage people to vote “no” on the recall.

Robert McKim

Baker City

The author is a past member, and chairman, of the Baker School Board.

Letters to the Editor for Nov. 19, 2012

Don’t break up a school board that’s working

I have been a proud member of the Baker School District 5J staff for 35 years. I’ve seen many administrations and school boards come and go. I’ve seen what works and what doesn’t. Right now, as a school district, we have a lot of successes: two model schools, we are financially fit, our administration (including district office staff) is leading us to be better teachers, we are on track to tackle the Common Curriculum State Standards in 2015 and our staff members are strong and involved. In addition, we have the Oregon School Employees Association’s Classified Employee of the Year for 2012-13, Ma’Lena Wirth AND the Oregon Teacher of the Year, Nanette Lehman!

Our school board is supportive. They are making decisions that keep our district running well. There is no need to recall any of our school board members.

If it isn’t broken....

Sue Richard

Baker City

The author is a fifth- and sixth-grade teacher at Haines Elementary School.

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.

Suzanne Moses

Baker City

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.

James Wilkinson

Baker City

Letters to the Editor for Nov. 14, 2012

Urge Walden to back tax hikes on wealthiest

The dust is beginning to settle from a hard-fought election, and I’m writing now to encourage my fellow readers, our state, and our great nation to come together to take vigorous and informed steps toward economic progress. The way I see it, we ALL dodged a bullet last Tuesday, as we turned back the politics of the wealthiest 1 percent, in favor of the rest of us: the 99 percent. But, some hard work lies ahead.   

Republicans still have a majority in the House of Representatives (due primarily to skillful redistricting following the 2010 census).  And almost all of them, including Greg Walden, have signed Grover Norquist’s no-tax-increase pledge. Unless we intervene, it’s already sounding like they will stiff-arm any attempt to raise taxes on the wealthy to promote economic expansion and debt reduction, even while claiming to support compromise.  They will ignore the 1950s, when the wealthy paid a top marginal income tax rate of over 90 percent, the economy flourished, and we paid down the war debt. They will stick together and march us off the impending “fiscal cliff.”

There are those who still say that trickle-down tax cuts for the wealthy would spur the economy, but tax rates are already at historic lows.  The real problem with the economy is that the middle class has lost its buying power over the past 35 years, losing good-paying jobs to off-shoring/out-sourcing, computer automation, and union busting.  The profits from this increased “productivity” have gone into the pockets of the top 1 percent, instead of growing the economy through needed investments in jobs for education, our streets and bridges, green energy and much more, while also reducing the national debt.

 If enough of us intervene, we have the power to break the logjam in the House.  Our calls and e-mails to Representative Walden, urging him to allow significant tax increases for the wealthy — even exceeding President Obama’s modest proposals – could help produce genuine compromise.  I ask my fellow readers to learn about the real, positive relationship between higher taxes and economic growth, and then give Walden a call.

Marshall McComb

Baker City

Casting votes for fictitious characters is costly

Many thanks to Tami Green and her staff for the hours spent in preparation for each election. Once an election is over, more work has to be done. I have the privilege of working on the Election Board. The Election Board, consisting of 10 members or more, must spend excess time hand-tallying all write-in votes cost — including fictitious characters. You are paying our extra wages for this process.

So the next time you are thinking about writing in a name, legitimate or fictitious, think about what a privilege it is to vote and not waste your taxpayers’ dollars on casting a write-in vote that has no real meaning.

Suann Rush

Baker City

Letters to the Editor for Nov. 12, 2012

Take aim to shoot down school board recall

I see that chief petitioner Kerry McQuisten has collected enough signatures to place on the ballot a recall election to oust two 5J school board members. By doing so, McQuisten and the 916+ recall petition signers are requiring 5J School District to involuntarily expend about $10,000 of taxpayer money to pay Baker County for the election.

Although allowed under Oregon recall law, such a reaching into every taxpayer’s pocket smacks of “taxation without representation,” a primary reason for the 13 colonies declaring independence from England and the resulting Revolutionary War.

In these economic bad times, 5J School District can’t afford to expend $10,000 that could much, much better be put to use educating our youth.

I hope 5J taxpayers raise their muskets, take aim, and with a NO VOTE shoot down this expensive, unnecessary recall.  

Gary Dielman

Baker City

Letters to the Editor Nov. 5, 2012

Government can push companies overseas, too

Many politicians love to rail against corporations for “shipping jobs overseas,” claiming that they deliberately deny Americans jobs so they can take advantage of low wages in Third World countries. However, these same politicians pass laws and regulations which, like medications, generally come with unforeseen, unpleasant side effects.

Letters to the Editor for Nov. 2, 2012

Bogart’s opponent says mailer’s allegations not true

Today (Oct. 24) I was able to secure a copy of an anonymous mailer recently sent out in an attempt to besmirch and slander the reputation and integrity of a very honorable friend, and capable colleague, Steve Bogart. All of the allegations are unsupported by any fact and are patently untrue. I can speak to the facts of one allegation, of which Mr. Bogart is falsely accused. I was a Baker County department head when Matt Shirtcliff was hired. I was part of the interview team that selected him for the position of Deputy District Attorney, and was also party to the decision which was made to discipline him, and encourage him on the path of recovery. It was not a decision made by Steve Bogart.

To say that I was sickened and angered by the text I read in this mailer, is an understatement. In concert with the Herald Editorial Board, I ask you to disregard the garbage penned by this angry and misguided individual, and bring his/her name forward if you know their identity. In the mailer, at the end of his tirade, the writer quotes Albert Pike, an early leader in the free masonry movement. Hopefully the writer will learn to adhere to Mr. Pike’s principals, which taught brotherly love.

On a brighter note, please cherish your opportunity to vote, and choose to vote for the candidate of your choice, based only upon the facts, and the individual merits you believe your candidate can bring to the position of Justice of the Peace.

Don Williams

Baker City

Rep. Walden is a true friend of Baker County

I am writing in support of Greg Walden for Congressional District No. 2. Greg has been a strong supporter of the effort of local people to retain public access and use of our national forest through the Travel Management Plan. He was instrumental in getting the Record of Decision pulled back by the previous forest supervisor, as well as working with the Forest Service to help craft a new plan that more closely reflects the economic, social and historical needs and interests of the community.

Greg has a strong history of working across the aisle to achieve maximum benefit for his constituents, and Oregon. This was clearly demonstrated when he teamed with Senators Wyden and Merkley to get the Forest Service to listen to the people.

I ask for your vote for Greg Walden – a true friend of Baker County.

Jan Kerns


President needs assistance from Congress

How many of you remember the Great Depression and what caused it? It took over 10 years to recover from that one. How many people lost their retirement income and jobs as a result of the stock market crash? 

Social Security was originated back in 1936 so that people would have at least some sort of income when it was time to retire that wasn’t dependent on the stock market. People have always had the opportunity to invest in additional retirement accounts knowing the risk. 

How many people still don’t have any form of retirement other than Social Security? How many of you have lost a big part of your retirement savings? Don’t let them privatize Social Security.

When jobs are sent overseas there are fewer jobs available for those who are looking for them here, which reduces the revenue base and increases the deficit. Wouldn’t it be fair to ask those businesses to replace the lost tax revenue?

Governor Romney in the second debate says he will reduce tax rates and establish a deduction pool. He makes no mention of how he will replace this revenue. Whose wallet do you think he will go to, to increase revenue? What credits and deductions will he eliminate? He already said he would not agree to a tax increase on the higher income taxpayers. Do your own math.

The president (executive branch) doesn’t control domestic issues other than to make recommendations. President Obama has made many recommendations. It takes the House and Senate, Democrats and Republicans (legislative branch) working together to make changes happen. We have not seen this happen with the present Congress. Let’s put the blame where it really belongs.

Do we really want to go back to the conditions that caused the Great Depression and our recent Recession?

As a great statesman once said “If we choose to ignore history we are destined to repeat it.”

Duane Crampton

Baker City

Herald left out the part about Romney’s veracity

You conclude your editorial endorsing Mitt Romney with this curious statement: “President Obama is a good and earnest man. But his record is one of failure.We urge Americans to give Mitt Romney a chance to do better.” Ignoring any argument with your conclusion about Obama, what you fail to acknowledge is that Mitt Romney is a consummate liar.

Milo Pope

Baker City

Bogart has much experience in management, budgets

Steve Bogart is the best candidate for Baker County Justice of the Peace.

He has a great deal of experience in management, planning and orchestrating projects, conflict resolution, and budgeting. Steve has dealt responsibly and honestly in every aspect of Baker County and Baker City management. He also served the cities of Vale, Madras, Union and Heppner as city manager. Steve served as a member of the Oregon State Board of Education.

I am asking you to help elect Steve Bogart to serve us as a committed Justice of the Peace.

Sammye Linzel

Baker City

Oregon needs to reconsider elk-hunting seasons

It seems that the bad news for wildlife and big game in Oregon is never ending as is the case in point for cow and calf elk rifle season. Apparently no one in the would-be hunters group or more importantly the regulators of big game laws have considered that elk rut starts in September. This means that by late October as many as 80 percent of the dwindling herds of cow elk are with calf or calves. I wonder if bragging rights are in order for those that fill a tag.

I believe the words “sportsman” or “outdoorsman” need to be redefined and that Oregon big game regulations be re-examined and if a cow/calf elk season need be at all, shouldn’t it start before the elk have rutted?

Besides, the few real hunters left take mature buck venison for the freezer. Elk is just for the ego, and skull/antler decals are for the want-to-bes.

Just a thought.

Jim Smeraglio

Baker City

Letters to the Editor for Oct. 31, 2012

The stimulus did work — we should re-elect Obama

You’ve been told that “the stimulus didn’t work” — but it did over $3 million of good right here in Baker County! It reportedly funded these projects (some via the state): Adler Parkway $217,064, Birch Street Project $562,024, Road Department $600,000 (with Secure Rural Schools), Dewey Street Underpass $1,485,000, 5J $430,000. With the multiplier effect, working people and businesses benefitted from the boost many times over.

The crash was especially painful due to the bubble it followed. When you prick your finger, it heals quickly. But when you split your shin with an ax, healing takes much longer. It does not matter how much it hurts or how fast you wish it would heal, firing the doctor will not hasten your recovery.

President Obama has been calm, steady, and consistent. Why would we go for a vague “big new plan” from an unproven challenger when Obama’s plan is working now and every recovery indicator is moving in the right direction!

And what is Obama’s plan? End the wars, grow jobs, invest in America (small business, clean energy, education, infrastructure) protect the vulnerable, decrease the deficit over 10 years. 

General Colin Powell, The East Oregonian, and even the Salt Lake Tribune have all endorsed Obama.

The Eugene Register-Guard states: “He [Romney] would be elected president as leader of a party with a retrograde social, fiscal and foreign-policy agenda. If a President Romney tried to temper that agenda, he’d be stymied by the same opposition that Obama has repeatedly encountered. And if a President Romney fully embraced the GOP program of tax cuts, military spending and a shredded social safety net, the country could expect four years of widening economic and social inequality at home and belligerence abroad.

 “Obama has neither the wings of an angel nor the horns of a demon. Perhaps after four years Americans can begin to see Barack Obama for what he really is: a cautious and conciliatory man who is by nature inclined to provide centrist leadership. Americans should vote for Barack Obama, and hope that his re-election begins a more productive period in the nation’s politics.”

Suzanne Moses

Baker City

Buehler would be an excellent Secretary of State

I’m writing in support of Knute Buehler for Secretary of State. Before moving back to Baker City I lived in Bend for many years and got personally acquainted with Knute. We served together on the OSU-Cascades Advisory Board and worked on other community activities. Even though he was very busy, he took time to let my kids, then high school students, job shadow with him and provided great insight into the medical profession. It worked, they are both PAs today. 

He is extremely sharp, energetic, creative, open-minded, a leader with great ideas, and someone who will provide ideal leadership in any role. He will be an excellent Secretary of State and provide Oregon with fresh, new ideas. He deserves a chance with your vote.

Jim Carnahan

Baker City

Remembering the past, I voted for Obama

I never thought it would actually happen, but it looks like the presidential election is finally for real. I have voted in many of these events but this is by far the most disgusting of them all, despicable because of the viciousness and depravity displayed. We have much to be proud of in this country, but this sickening debacle sure isn’t one of them. In keeping with the adage “If we forget the lessons of history we are forced to relive them” and recognizing the historical fact that most truly great civilizations of history have destroyed themselves, imploded if you will, by means of most of the seven deadly sins, I have to wonder why in the world I would want to return the party back into power who nearly trashed this once great nation so many times. 

I too have a business background and I can assure you if I had an employee that was so inept as to nearly destroy any segment of that business, and return seeking that job again I would be hostile indeed to his insanity. Four years ago the administration in power at the time, (Republican) turned over a nation that was teetering on the ragged edge of total collapse to the incoming party (Democrat) and said fix it! A nation of 320 million people in shambles and to think anybody is able to fix that mess in four years is an insult to our intelligence! In 2000 Clinton left a $265 billion surplus in the treasury to Bush who ran that into our horrendous multi-trillion-dollar deficit because of the immoral policies of the unholy Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld triumvirate. The Iraq and Afghanistan war deaths are estimated way over a million, all of this a result of the 9/11 slaughter that they had been warned was in the offing, 3,000+ dead and God only knows how much money that cost. We were lied to on television about WMD to go to war that still continues? I will always remember what they did, so I voted for Obama!

Gene Wall

Baker City

Newspaper endorsements don’t all favor Obama

On the Oct. 24 opinion page, Gary Dielman puts forth the typical liberal genre of cynicism and lies. Gary makes it appear in his letter as though Mitt Romney has called 47 percent of Americans “freeloaders,” victimized and entitled to government assistance. Although it is true that 47 percent of Americans do not pay federal income taxes and they do lean left, the word “freeloader” was never used (simply the slant the paper wants one to see and Gary wants to push). I wonder if Obama has ever used any political “tactics” to lure “Tea Party” voters? Recently President Obama called Mitt Romney a “bullsh***er.” (Now that’s presidential.) At one point in the final debate Barry said to Mitt that he was not on an “apology tour” of America when first elected, as Mitt had described him, and that it was all proven wrong and taken out of context and “it was just not true.” That was fact-checked extensively ... oh, yeah “apology tour” in fact, in fact-checking truth, Romney wins 70 percent to 30 percent.

I find it really funny how Gary lumps the state of Utah and their left-leaning newspaper and Mormons in the same paragraph and the newspaper (so righteous in its understanding) endorsing B.O. Here are some left-leaning newspapers for you. The Des Moines Register, only the second time in its history, the New York Post, a state in the tank for Obama, the Detroit News, in the heart of auto bailout country, the Washington Examiner, Beltway liberal news, the Orlando Sentinel, all endorsing Governor Mitt Romney. Whoa! Kinda blows your theory on the weight of endorsements. All said and done, Romney will win Utah big.

If memory serves me correctly even in our own little community politics can be pretty harsh. With the school district issues, the county and also the City Council, some things have had to be ironed out. That’s politics, I guess.

John Marcum

Baker City

Williams has a record of efficiency as manager

I have had the pleasure of knowing Don Williams for several years. He is a man who has given a lot of hard work to this community restoring agencies that were dysfunctional and at times an embarrassment to Baker County. The Services to Children and Families comes to mind, which was rife with unethical and even criminal conduct.

He quickly restored credibility to the branch and made it an effective and enjoyable work environment for both employees and clients, who then received a level of respect to which they were not accustomed.

Don is genuine, forthright and his experience record is one of efficiency and courtesy as both a manager and jurist. Baker County deserves this level of strength of character, courtesy and efficiency in its Justice Court.

Don Williams is the candidate who is the most qualified to fill the position of Justice of the Peace. Baker County needs such a man of his experience. Let’s keep him there!

Bill Lee

Baker City

Government contributes to individual success

Some say individual success is built only on individual effort. The truth is that help was given. As an example we as our government invested in roads, education, water and sewer systems, the Internet, health and technology research and so on to enable individuals to succeed.

Another myth is that the government can’t do anything right. As an example, Mitt Romney says that Steve Jobs built Apple Computer. But, the Internet was invented in a government laboratory and developed with federal funding. The computer was first the product of public financing. Even the core technology of the iPhone came from years of government funding and research. Also, some say the private sector is more efficient. But remember, after all the costs are accounted, the big difference is that private companies require profit — not so with the government.

Finally, the idea that the government punishes success is a myth. The chasm between the rich and the rest of us grows ever wider. Mr. Romney criticized the 47 percent saying that they are “takers” who do not contribute. When you look carefully at the tax receipts, people who earn $20,000 to $33,000 pay 10.5 percent of their income in payroll and excise taxes and fees. People who make $450,000 pay less than half that rate. State and local taxes for those earning less than $20,000 equals about 12.3 percent of their pay while the wealthy who make $450,000 or more only pay 7.9 percent. Corporate America cries about the 35 percent tax rate, but Citizens for Tax Justice analyzed the actual tax bills of 280 of America’s biggest corporations and found that they averaged paying only half the rate. Thirty of the giants paid zero during the three-year period used. They found that American corporations have the second-lowest tax rate for developed countries.

So, let’s thank ourselves for working together (our government) to create a place where individual effort and creativity can flourish.

Bruce Raffety

Baker City

Southwick has served our community well

We are endorsing Mitch Southwick for sheriff. He has many successful years in the law enforcement field and has proven he is the right pereson for sheriff of Baker County. He has the ability to problem-solve and cares about the safety of our community. He is a dedicated family man and active community leader. We have known him for years and know he will continue to serve our community with pride and dedication.

Dan and Renece Forsea


Letters to the Editor for Oct. 29, 2012

Re-electing Obama a threat to American gun owners

This nation is in real danger of forfeiting the basic constitutional rights that we take for granted if our president is re-elected.

Our continued freedoms depend largely upon a constitutionally oriented Supreme Court and our Second Amendment right to own guns for personal protection and the defense of our freedoms,  both of which are under siege by the executive branch of our federal government.

The two ladies who were last appointed to the Supreme Court both have histories of voting socialistic agendas and hold the belief that the Constitution means what they want it to mean, regardless of the historical intent. If elected to another term, the president will have an opportunity to appoint two more justices who are likely to have similar social values.

The president and his vice president, secretary of state, attorney general and most of his cabinet are right now attempting to find a way around the Second Amendment in order to destroy our rights to own and use guns. Prior to his election as president, the senator supported at least 14 bills restricting access to firearms and to criminalize their use, even in self-defense. Since election he has continued his assault on our Second Amendment rights. For a more complete picture of what the president intends check his web site — change.gov. Gun owners have won the last two Supreme Court decision by just one vote each. If he is re-elected there soon will be no more such wins.

The constitutional freedoms we have in this once great country are hanging on by a very badly frayed thread. Two of the mainstays of that freedom are under full attack by the people we elected to serve us, not enslave us. The Supreme Court is one vote short of becoming an enemy of freedom. Our right to keep and bear arms is being attacked by our own elected officials and the United Nations. Unless we reject our present leadership on Nov. 6 this nation will join Rome in its demise. Now it is truly up to YOU.

Jasper Coombes


Williams has proved himself in the courtroom

Don Williams is running for the office of Baker County Justice of the Peace and I am endorsing him as a candidate for this position. I have known Don for nearly 15 years. Don and my late husband, Keith, worked on many projects together when Don was the program services manager for Powder River Correctional Facility.

I am convinced that both candidates are fair and honest, and they both have established their credibility. However, if you have ever sat in a courtroom and listened to cases being presented and decided, it is very evident that a judge needs to have more than those attributes. Knowledge of the law and experience in administering it is a must. The courtroom is not a classroom, where learning is the primary purpose; it’s a place where justice should be fairly imparted, based upon one’s knowledge of the law. With 28 years of courtroom experience, Don is far and away the leader in that category.

As a judge, knowledge of and experience in interpreting Oregon law is indispensable. That’s why three past attorney judges: our retired Circuit Court judge, and the last two Justice Court judges (all members of the Oregon State Bar), are all endorsing Don. They have had a broad experience in seeing him function in their courtrooms.

I urge you to join with me and vote on Nov. 6, for the most knowledgeable and experienced choice for your Justice of the Peace, Don Williams.

Marilyn Shollenberger

Baker City

Utah paper’s endorsement of Obama no surprise

As a former resident of Salt Lake City, Utah, for over 30 years, I was surprised neither the article nor the advertisement concerning the endorsement of Barack Obama by the Salt Lake Tribune mentioned that the “Trib” was the liberal, non-Mormon Utah newspaper. Its endorsement of that candidate was only to be expected. The Deseret News is Utah’s conservative newspaper. Hmmmm — I wonder which candidate they endorsed.

Please vote for the candidates who value the sanctity of life including the pre-born, the elderly and the disabled.

Karel Anne Dyer

Baker City

Shouldn’t assume which side is stealing signs

I absolutely agree with Ms. Urey that we have the right to express our political views to include placing political signs in our yards. I also agree that no one has the right to go on private property and steal signs. Ms. Urey “assumes” that someone opposing the re-election of President Obama is stealing signs. It would do well for us to remember the very popular definition of the word “assume.”

Although Ms. Urey has the right to her comments she has no right without proof to accuse the opposing party. In regards to “current list of lies” maybe it’s about time the commander in chief admits his failures and tells the American public the truth about the terrorists’ attack on our consulate in Benghazi.

Brenda Holly

Baker City

Letters to the Editor for Oct. 26, 2012

Current Justice of the Peace endorses Williams

The last three people to hold the position of Baker County Justice of the Peace, myself included, worked as pro tem JP for a period of years to gain experience before being elected or appointed to that office. Only Don Williams has any appreciable prior experience as pro tem. His experience goes beyond the years he has worked in Justice Court. He started gaining experience long ago as a juvenile court counselor, juvenile department director and DHS branch manager.

It is that experience that led Lise Yervasi to nominate him for appointment as Justice of the Peace pro tem. A move which I endorsed and wisely continued after my own appointment to the bench. Only Don Williams has the necessary experience to be Justice of the Peace on Jan. 1, 2013. He is ready today with the experience, common sense and integrity for the job.

I endorse Don Williams.

Damien Yervasi

Baker City

Bogart has proved himself a capable leader

My choice for Baker County Justice of the Peace is Steve Bogart.

I have always been impressed with the commitment and common sense Steve has displayed in his management positions in Baker County and Baker City.

He has proven himself as a fair and capable leader in Baker County government and Baker City along with four other Oregon cities.

I believe he will bring the same level of dedication and skill to the position of Justice of the Peace.

Let’s elect Steve Bogart as an effective Justice of the Peace.

Barbara Sherman

Baker City

Citizens should take advantage of right to vote

We, as American citizens, have been given a right by our founding fathers. This right is the right to vote. Their idea was to give the citizens an opportunity to have voice in their government. We still have that right and we need to exercise this privilege at every opportunity.

I urge each citizen of this great land to exercise this privilege before Nov. 6. If we do not vote, we have no right to complain.

Judy Brazofsky


Bogart for Justice of the Peace: A ‘no brainer’

Rarely in an election do voters have the opportunity to cast a vote among two candidates with vastly different qualifications for an office. This year’s Justice of the Peace race is one of those rare occurrences. I have had the opportunity to work alongside Steve Bogart both when he served as Baker County Commission Chair and as City Manager. Steve has all the necessary skills and experience to bring fairness, respectability and honor to the position. I cannot imagine anyone better suited to the job. Your decision is, without question, a “no brainer.” Please join me in voting for Steve Bogart for Justice of the Peace. Baker County deserves no less.

Charles Hofmann

Baker City

Feds make it difficult,          to get public information

I recently submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which is not “free” at all, in an attempt to gain more knowledge as to the management activities on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest (WWNF). We, as a group, have been told repeatedly to “engage and participate” in the Travel Management plan “process” by congressional staff and leadership from the U.S. Forest Service (USFS). My request to be able to garner more information as to historic management of our forest has been accepted, but at a cost, of nearly $1,000.  

This is not how to run an “open and transparent” government. When you limit the public’s ability to access knowledge based on their financial status you no longer have a democracy, but an elitist system where the ones that have rule over those that do not. While I have received other information from another FOIA request, it is hard to put together any kind of consistent knowledge base when I am not allowed access to the information I request from a public agency, which generated that data from taxpayers’ dollars.

I am asking my elected county, state, and federal representatives, that have or are in any way, shape or form supported the efforts of the USFS to lock American citizens out of public lands, to reassess that position.  I know that some of our congressional staff feels pressured by the environmental community to move in their direction, as they would “be all over our backs.”  When a government official finds it appropriate to send an American citizen a letter that states that they will have to pay $832 (estimated) to access information, something is terribly wrong.

My request for information in no way will ever be used to generate any financial gain for myself or anyone; I simply want to track trends of management techniques to elk population numbers.

I want to participate in the process, and I want to participate in it with a full base of knowledge. Limiting my opportunities to that information based on my ability to pay a public employee to do their job is wrong, and un-American.

John D. George


Bogart has deep local roots, wide-ranging experience

I have known Steve Bogart for over 25 years and he has earned my vote for Baker County Justice of the Peace.  Through his years of successful service to the people of Baker County and Eastern Oregon, I have observed his characteristics of honesty, good judgment and fairness –- great qualities for this judgeship position.

Steve’s years as a Baker County Commissioner, Baker County Judge (Chairman of the Board of Commissioners), city manager of Baker City, Vale, Madras, Union and member of the State Board of Education have given him experience in managing and listening to people, preparing budgets and using funds effectively and a legal background in local ordinances and state and federal laws.  Steve’s deep roots in Baker County give him a unique understanding of local issues and people.  I urge you to join me in voting for Steve Bogart for Baker County Justice of the Peace. 

Marilyn Dudek

Baker City

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