Bogart knows the community and has lots of experience
I have known Steve Bogart for many years and highly recommend him for Justice of the Peace. Steve is fair and knows the community. He has worked as Baker County Commissioner, City of Baker City manager and many other positions within the county which gives him a wide range of experience and knowledge of the folks that live within Baker County.
I am voting for Steve and I hope you will also.
Bull trout not a reason to stop logging project
I would like to comment on your front page story on a logging lawsuit possible over bull trout on the Forest Service’s Snow Basin project. In the first place, I don’t believe there are any bull trout in the immediate treatment area.
One of the first things I would like to accomplish before I pass on is to stop this ridiculous foolishness about bull trout being a threatened or endangered species. They are not. Years and years of expensive and concerted efforts by the state of Oregon to control them failed. It was never possible to get rid of the bull trout. I do not think it possible in the future.
I am very well informed about bull trout. I was for five years the president of the Oregon Steelheaders, headquartered in La Grande. I am convinced the bull trout are the worst predators on young salmon that ever existed. I have seen maps with bull trout streams marked in red. It looks like those maps are bleeding to death. Using bull trout for an excuse to destroy the economy of a region should be illegal.
This project is in my back yard and where I have hunted and fished for over 66 of my 80 years. I have been up and down every stream and every canyon in the Snow Basin project. I am convinced this project does not in any way have any negative effect on any bull trout.
I suggest these people looking for something else to sue the Forest Service over, look for something besides the Snow Basin project because as far as lawsuits are concerned, this one is a loser.
Travel Plan can be a boon to elk and hunters
As the Travel Plan moves forward it is imperative that the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest renews its commitment to a plan rooted in scientific knowledge because a healthy environment is vital to all Americans, and brings substantial benefits to communities. Take elk for example. In economic terms, for which local county commissioners have great concern, elk are hugely important for a long-term sustainable economy. The Travel Plan EIS reports for the Wallowa Whitman National Forest “97,953 hunter days in 2007 were directly related to elk populations that depend on the Wallowa Whitman for habitat. These hunters contributed an estimated $7.7 million for their annual hunting excursions for elk on the WWNF.” So how do we make a Travel Plan Decision that protects elk?
Northeast Oregon boasts one of the leading elk research facilities in the world, the Starkey Experimental Forest. Key studies have been conducted right in our own back yard that clearly document the negative impacts of excessive road densities, and motorized vehicles on elk. The research from Starkey has helped land managers to identify 17 critical elk habitat areas where high quality elk habitat should be emphasized to protect this incredible legacy and sustainable economic opportunity in Eastern Oregon. If we do what’s right, these critical elk habitat areas will be great for hunting and great for elk. So if you love elk, get on board.
The science shows us how we can protect the land and water and safeguard the sustainable economic benefits that came along with a healthy environment. In the case of elk, we should support the Forest Service in making a very strong decision that emphasizes high quality habitat in the critical elk habitat areas, because we will also be emphasizing a healthy world for ourselves.
Williams best qualified for Justice of the Peace
We are endorsing Don Williams for Justice of the Peace.
Over a span of 20-odd years we’ve had occasion to visit with Don. Our conversations have hit on a vast spectrum of topics, discovering we have many common interests and views.
Our support is based not only on Don’s character. He was one of the only individuals to approach us when the Travel Management Plan was first proposed five years ago. He has supported our stand from the beginning with comments to forest officials. As a guest speaker at the Forest Access for All meeting in La Grande on April 6, 2012, again Don strongly voiced supporting the overwhelming view of Eastern Oregon, that we need to retain our open forest. Now and in the future our support for candidates will be decided as to their views on natural resource management and the potential impact to the local communities. Don spoke up early on, and this has made a lasting impression on us.
We ask you to join us at the polls and mark your ballot for Don Williams, for Justice of the Peace. He has Eastern Oregon values, plus he’s the best qualified.
D.M. and Wanda Ballard
Bogart will restore Justice Court to respected status
Baker County is fortunate to have two capable men running for the position of Justice of the Peace. However, Steve Bogart has demonstrated beyond question his management abilities for 25 years. Baker County Justice Court has faced some serious problems in recent years. I think Bogart will help return it to the respected status it held under Judge Larry Cole.
Because of his experience, ethics and dedication to all the people of Baker County, I believe Steve Bogart is the right choice for Justice of the Peace.
We can’t afford four more years under Obama
Ever shop at Bronson Lumber out on 10th Street? Or Trader Rays on Broadway? Well, you won’t anymore, as both businesses are gone. So is Spence Industrial Supply and Tenth Street Market. There used to be a couple of antique stores on Main next to the Scrapbook Emporium. They’re not there anymore; neither is the Scrapbook Emporium, for that matter. It’s not unusual for a small business to fail, but usually another business comes along to make use of the space. But the buildings that housed the above businesses are empty, tenant-less.
My wife and I know what it is like to own a small business during a recession. You grit your teeth and hang on, knowing that in a few months, maybe a year, there’ll be a brisk recovery and things will get better again. That is the way recessions have always ended for the past 70 years … except for this one. It’s been four years now, and the economy is still painfully anemic; unemployment remains above 8 percent, not exactly the sort of change we were promised four years ago.
Business owners finally tire of the struggle, working long hours for little or no money. They’ve lost all hope for the future, so shut their doors, and another small business bites the dust.
President Obama was elected with a mandate to get things moving again. But he has his own priorities, and relentlessly pursues them with no regard for their effect on the economy.
The expensive health insurance policies mandated by Obamacare have already caused many small businesses to shed jobs. Once Obamacare is fully in place, 800,000 jobs will have been permanently extinguished.
President Obama admitted that his energy policies would necessarily cause energy prices to skyrocket. But energy is the life blood of any economy, and high energy prices make our manufacturers less competitive against the world.
President Obama nixed the Keystone Pipeline project, which would have created thousands of good-paying jobs. His War on Coal is wrecking havoc in many states. And on and on …
We cannot afford four more years of President Obama.
Williams is compassionate, fair and professional
It is with great pleasure that I write this letter recommending Don Williams as your next Justice of the Peace.
I have known Don in both a personal and professional capacity for nearly 20 years. I first met and began working with him when he was in charge of Baker County’s Juvenile Department. As a deputy sheriff at the time, I observed Don in that environment and I quickly came to understand he was holding the kids involved in the juvenile system accountable, along with their parents. I knew right then I was going to like this guy.
Don then became the supervisor of the Children and Family Services office. We continued working together in the fight against child abuse.
When Don went on to work for the PRCF it seemed to be just a natural progression in his career. Since I had known him, he had always in some way been on the side of protecting the innocent while holding offenders accountable.
Don has a unique knowledge of the law, having been involved with it from the juvenile process all the way through the adult system.
For as long as I’ve known Don he has been a man of his word. He’s compassionate, fair and professional when dealing with the public.
So, when I say it is with great pleasure I write this letter about Don, it is because Don has lived and worked for many years in Baker County making it a better place. As Justice of the Peace he is well qualified. His calm demeanor and sense of right versus wrong will help guide him on the bench. His compassion and fairness will ensure that proper justice be delivered.
Former Baker County Sheriff
We’re supporting Bogart for Justice of the Peace
We are supporting Steve Bogart for Justice of the Peace.
Steve has been involved in city, county and state affairs for many years and has been fair, honest and competent in all. He is qualified to be a good Justice of the Peace and what’s more, he cares!
Howard and Colleen Brooks
Political opposition shouldn’t include stealing signs
Our right to express our political views includes the right to put signs in our yards — pretty obvious as you drive around Baker. But there is no right to go onto private property and steal the sign you don’t agree with.
That is what happened at my house last Saturday. Should I assume that those opposing the re-election of President Obama are adding this kind of illegal action to their current list of lies?
Support Johnson, Mosier for Baker City Council
Support Barbara Johnson and Kim Mosier for City Council.
At the AAUW Candidates Forum, I was extremely impressed with the presentations of Barbara Johnson and Kim Mosier for City Council. Barbara Johnson’s warmth, willingness to listen, and many years of dedication to community leadership positions will contribute to the strength of our council’s decisions.
Barbara and her husband, Ken, chose to move to Baker City eight years ago, cherishing the wonderful small-town atmosphere and community spirit of our town. Both immediately “connected,” and became active volunteers.
I know Barbara to be a fair-minded, wise, unbiased woman, who will work to support the valuable work of the city staff and current City Council. Kim Mosier has served Baker as deputy district attorney and county counsel starting in 2003, then moved away for an Oregon Attorney General’s Office position.
She and her husband returned in 2008 to raise their young children in Baker City, sharing their love of outdoor activities and passion for community values. Kim cares greatly about the issues that improve the livability of Baker, including community safety, parks, and public services.
Kim’s experience combines logical decision-making with the fresh voice of young families in Baker City. I believe we need the perspectives of both these women. I urge you to vote for Barbara Johnson and Kim Mosier for Baker City Council.
Vote for fairness: ‘Yes’ on Ballot Measure 84
Voters: We have a chance to strike a blow for fairness by voting “Yes” on Measure 84 this November. Measure 84 phases out the Oregon Death Tax (estate tax) over the next three years, and eliminates it entirely as of Jan. 1, 2016.
The Death Tax is a double tax. You work hard all your life, pay your income and property taxes, and then the state taxes your property, again, when you die and your heirs are left with the bill! And guess who gets paid first from the estate ... it isn’t your heirs!
Strike a blow for fairness and freedom and vote “Yes” on Measure 84.
Americans for Prosperity
Chapter Leader, Baker County
Segers would help us; Walden not so much
At the Baker candidates’ forum we heard repeatedly how our state and local governments are strapped for cash. But America is not a poor nation.
The problem is that our wealth is increasingly going to a few exceptionally wealthy individuals who are paying historically low taxes. According to IRS records, the top 5 percent now take in about one-third of our total income. It’s starving consumer demand, and that hurts everyone.
I believe we need a U.S. Congress that can counter this upward redistribution of wealth from the middle class to the rich that started decades ago. Without correction, life will continue to be sucked from the middle class, the economy will continue to stagnate, and only the wealthy will benefit from the American dream.
If we re-elect Greg Walden, our economy will likely continue to be held hostage by right-wing extremists in the House of Representatives. Walden has gone along with them, rubberstamping a whole series of costly measures, including the Bush tax cuts, the Iraq war, the debt-ceiling crisis, the Ryan-Romney Budget which ends Medicare as we know it, and against Wall Street reform.
Ryan-Romney are, despite false denials, also calling for even more tax cuts for millionaires and austerity spending cuts, both of which will lead to lost jobs as they have in Europe, and they don’t even start reducing the national debt for decades. And Walden will fall right in line and vote with them.
If, instead, we elect Democratic candidate Joyce Segers, we will have a chance to free ourselves from the no-new-taxes pledge that the Republicans have signed (oh, yes, including Walden, Romney, and Ryan) and adopt fair and sensible plans to recycle some of the trillions now sitting in Cayman Islands banks and elsewhere, currently unavailable to reduce our national debt and get the economy moving.
The overriding issue here is not between Republicans and Democrats. It’s between the 1 percent “haves” and the 99 percent “have nots.” The stakes could not be greater.
Vote for Joyce Segers. We won’t get the help we need, if Greg Walden remains in office.
Pope’s guidance will be needed on City Council
Although I don’t live in the city of Baker, and accordingly am not able to cast voters in the City Council race, I would like to encourage those who do qualify to cast a vote, to do so for someone who is best qualified for the job. More importantly, one who has the integrity to always do the right thing, and to demand no less of his colleagues. That person is retired Circuit Court Judge, Milo Pope.
I had the privilege of working for six years, appearing frequently before Judge Pope in Baker County Circuit Court, on behalf of the public, and children, presenting cases related to juvenile offenders and abused children. Although at times I did not agree with his disposition of cases, I always admired him for his candor, wisdom, courtesy, and above all his brutal honesty. When I felt he had erred on a decision, he always did so on the side of compassion in his effort to bring out the best in people and to encourage them to become an asset to their community. Many times, he provided the encouragement and impetus for change in folks, who theretofore had no concept as to what it meant to be a valued part of their community.
Mr. Pope is one who truly cares for people, and for the welfare of this great place we call Baker City. He is always unerringly mindful of ethics and legality in his work, and uses his legal knowledge and needed background to interdict on council decisions which may prove costly to the city. With the number of newly elected folks who will be coming onto the council, his guidance will be greatly needed. I encourage your vote to retain a candidate that the future of Baker City badly needs: Milo Pope.
Williams’ experience will benefit Baker County
I am pleased to write this endorsement of support for Don Williams as candidate for Justice Court judge.
Don has been a resident of Baker County for many years. During that time he has served our county as director of the Juvenile Department, local branch manager of Services to Children and Families for the Oregon Department of Humans Services and manager of the Alcohol and Drug program at the Powder River Correctional Facility/Oregon Department of Corrections.
I have known and worked with Don during his service to our community and county. He has consistently demonstrated his ability to work hard, and to serve impartially, objectively and professionally.
Don currently presides as interim judge for Justice Court. A vote for Mr. Williams is a vote for a candidate who already has shown competence and effectiveness as Justice Court judge.
I encourage you to join me in voting on Nov. 6 for Don Williams as our next Justice Court judge.
Williams can make the hard decisions necessary to serve
I support Don Williams for Baker County Justice of the Peace. He is well qualified. My experience with Mr. Williams dates from January 1994 when he began his service as director of the Baker County Juvenile Department. I was then circuit judge.
He was a godsend. And, according to the presiding judge in Clackamas County from whence he came, his coming to Baker County was a considerable loss to them.
Mr. Williams is a problem solver. He is smart, kind, and courageous. His abiding interest, as a juvenile director and later as the director of the Baker County Children’s Services Division was to improve the lives of people in difficulty. Mr. Williams always came to court prepared, both concerning the facts and the law. He has the temperament that is essential for a judge. He is entirely capable of making hard decisions.
Williams is best qualified to serve as Justice of the Peace
Dear friends of Baker County, on Nov. 6, 2012, we must make a very important decision. That is, who will represent us as the next justice of the peace.
The position is more difficult now than ever in the past, as hours have been reduced and funds have also been reduce. We have “two good men” running for the position; however, we believe Don Williams is the more qualified.
He has experienced varied levels and aspects of the law, from police officer to juvenile counselor to Juvenile Department manager, to DHS branch manager, to Powder River Correctional Facility program manager, to Drug and Alcohol program manager, and finally to a 27-month period as pro-tem justice of the peace — the position which he is seeking in this election.
Aside from Don being a good friend, for several years we had the unique opportunity of working under his supervision. We were GED instructors and Transition Class instructors when he was the program manager at Powder River Correctional Facility. Don made us feel very confident, comfortable and safe as we did our volunteer jobs. Also, it was apparent that he possessed excellent critical-thinking and decision-making skills. Don was always very positive and presented a warm friendly working environment.
We are extremely fortunate to have a person of Don’s caliber seeking this position. First, please join us in voting. Secondly, we urge you to vote for Don Williams, whom we believe has the personality, integrity, and experience to do an outstanding job for Baker County Justice of the Peace.
Readers should check facts and not rely on opinions
Erroneous statements about “Obamacare” have appeared in a couple of letters to the editor over the last month, written by individuals who obviously have no idea what’s in the Affordable Care Act.
I thought everyone knew by now that Politifact named the “death panels” the 2009 Lie of the Year, and the “government takeover of health care” the 2010 Lie of the Year. One of your letter-writers claimed, “The Congressional Budget Office estimates that over the next decade, Obamacare will add another trillion dollars to the national debt.”
The truth is the opposite: The Congressional Budget Office estimated the Act would reduce the deficit by $210 billion over those 10 years. The fact is that the costs of Obamacare are fully paid for through tax levies and cost savings, in sharp contrast to the Bush Medicare prescription drug benefit, which was a $395 billion stimulus to the pharmaceutical and insurance industries, using 100 percent borrowed money.
Those who followed the Act’s lengthy progress through the Congress know that it was modeled after Romneycare in an attempt to make it palatable to Republicans and conservative Democrats. The majority Democrats gave up what they wanted (single-payer or at least a public option) and settled for an elaborate compromise that was negotiated with diverse interest groups. For example, the cost savings for Medicare were agreed to by the representatives of medical providers and insurance companies because they were willing to make that concession as long as everybody had health insurance.
Now these same $716 billion of cost savings appear in Congressman Ryan’s budget, yet he vows to renege on the deal that brought these cost savings about, while dishonestly attacking the president for “raiding Medicare.”
There are many objective, factual reports available on the Affordable Care Act. I urge your readers to review these reports or go to www.healthcare.gov, instead of relying on irresponsible opinions.
Vote Yes on Ballot Measure 79
We, the Baker Board of Realtors, would like to offer some information on Measure 79. This measure, which constitutionally prohibits a real estate transfer tax, will appear on the upcoming ballot.
By definition, a real estate transfer tax is a tax imposed by one or more government entities when property ownership transfers from one party to another. It is usually paid at closing and typically is a percentage of the selling price.
Voting YES on Measure 79 will stop state and local governments from imposing a new tax on real estate in Oregon. It will amend the state constitution and prohibit state and local governments from imposing taxes, fees, or assessments on the transfer (sale) of any interest in real property, except those operative on Dec. 31, 2009.
Measure 79 does not negatively affect current school funding, local government funding, or state revenues. No government entity will collect less money through passage of this measure. It merely stops state and local governments from targeting property owners with a new tax.
Please join us on voting YES on Measure 79.
Baker County Board of Realtors president
Vote for Don Williams for Justice Court judge
We have known Don Williams both professionally and personally for over 12 years. Unquestionably, he has the background, knowledge, experience for, and is the right person to fill, the position of Justice of the Peace.
Other than the qualifications he has demonstrated in this position, there is a greater reason we are supporting him in this election, and it is a reason that should have importance to us all.
If you are elderly, disabled or a family with young children; or if you are baby boomers, love outdoor recreation, love to hunt and fish, are ATV enthusiasts, or business owners in Baker (as we are), there is another compelling reason to cast a vote for Don in this election.
It is this: He shares the same passion for the outdoors and our community as we. Don is an active part of Baker County, and wishes to see business and our economic health prosper. He knows that the current Travel Management Plan proposed by the U.S. Forest Service, if put into effect, will greatly and negatively impact the reasons that many of us live in Baker County, as well as devastate the business communities of Baker County.
Don Williams is not a bystander, but a strong voice to keep all road access open to our national lands, and he is the only candidate who speaks on our behalf at USFS public meetings at every opportunity.
We need more folks in public office of Don’s character and willingness to take a firm stand on these types of important issues. He has our vote and the support of our businesses.
We encourage you to join us and give him your vote, too.
Ed and Thoy Busciglio
Americans face important decision in November
The people of America are faced with the most important decision since we decided to break away from England to become a free and independent nation.
Our forefathers were faced with ever more oppressive, controlling and restrictive regulations that they could not live with so they risked their lives and everything they owned for the freedom to live and work without these controls.
The citizens of our country are facing similar conditions today. We can choose to go on like we are, with an ever more controlling, expanding socialist system that regulates all facets of ours lives and business or go back to the free enterprise system that our forefathers used to make this country the best, most prosperous place in the whole world.
If we choose to go on as we are, bankruptcy is imminent. Just remember that the government cannot give you anything unless the government gets it from all the workers who support it first.
All new wealth (money) comes from the ground; there is no other source. It is expanded by processing and manufacturing more useful products from the Earth’s resources.
Our government has regulated the basic industries that produce the food and resources out of business to the point where they can no longer support our country.
If we allow our country to go bankrupt, that means no government check will have much value. They will be backed by printed money that will be worth less every day.
That means we cannot afford any unsupported government jobs, government projects, military and military industrial industries, including their pensions, no grants or subsidies or health-care benefits or even Social Security and every other thing the government is involved with.
Give it a lot of thought.
Williams will provide seamless transition
I support Don Williams for Justice of the Peace of Baker County because he has the experience to fill the job in a professional manner. His background and training give him the knowledge to fairly and correctly apply the law and render appropriate decisions. He has proven these abilities during his time on the bench as pro tem and in his many years of public service.
Over the last year there have been a number of significant changes in the operation of Justice Courts, which were brought about by changes to state law. Don has worked through these changes. This will mean a seamless and efficient transition into the position when he is elected.
I have spent over 30 years in law enforcement. Communities depend on local courts to provide a setting in which differences can be brought forward and resolved in timely and considerate fashion by a fair and impartial decision maker. Don Williams will bring these qualities to the Justice Court.
I support him for Justice of the Peace and recommend you cast your vote for him as well.
Economic recovery will require help from all
Economic recovery will come from all Americans. A recent letter to the editor stated that “Republicans want voters to believe: lowering taxes on the rich will lead to job creation.” I am not sure who he was talking about! As a Republican voter I believe that keeping taxes the same for the rich and lowering taxes for the middle class will lead to jobs.
Sure there are independent tax studies here and there that will reflect whatever you want to read into them. If you increase the taxes on the top 3 percent (most wealthy) these companies will take their businesses to other countries to avoid what is already the highest corporate tax in the world or stop doing business altogether.
As a small business manager/co-owner of 24 years with six to eight employees, we are considered rich by the Obama Administration because our company is taxed at an individual rate. More mandated taxes take away any possibility from hiring additional people.
The money just doesn’t go far enough. I am sure the author of the previously mentioned letter already knows how this works or has he never been a business owner employing local people and supporting their families as well as his own? A question worth pondering!
I thank God that Mitt Romney is even willing to run for president! With his business experience and success he could do any job he wanted and yet he has the welfare of this country in his heart.
Williams has the credentials to serve as Justice of Peace
When we learned that a Justice of the Peace was not required to have a law degree in certain counties of Eastern Oregon, we were shocked. It made no sense to us, that one could hear criminal cases and determine the guilt or innocence of a person without having been trained in criminal law. Whatever the reason, it is a reality in the Justice Court system here in Baker County.
Both parties that initially filed for the position, who are practicing attorneys (one being the presiding Justice of the Peace), withdrew their names. We now have no candidate on the ballot who possesses a law degree. We have two parties to choose from, Mr. Bogart and Mr. Williams, for our next JP.
Logic dictates that we choose carefully, and elect a candidate who possesses the most education and experience in the interpretation and application of the law, if the job is to be done right. Between Mr. Bogart and Mr. Williams, one candidate is clearly the front runner.
Mr. Williams has achieved a master’s level in education, has decades of experience in the courtroom both in criminal law and presenting civil cases in circuit court, abundant administrative experience, and has served as a pro-tem Justice for over two years. Furthermore, he has earned the endorsement of someone who is licensed to practice law: the presiding Justice of the Peace.
That makes the choice an easy one for us. Don Williams is far and away the most experienced in the arena for which he seeks office. He is the best qualified, is proven, sensible and has given the citizens of Baker County exceptional service for 19 years. We also love the fact that he is actively engaged as a speaker in the effort to protect our access to the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest.
Victor and Linda Tate
Williams uniquely qualified for Justice of the Peace
This is a letter of support for the candidacy of Don Williams for Baker County Justice of the Peace. My wife and I have worked for the Pine-Eagle School Distict since 1977 and it was during our tenure that we became acquainted with Don.
During this time, Don was the director of the Baker County Juvenile Department. In our experience he was the only director that took the time to travel to the Pine-Eagle School District monthly to meet with teachers and law enforcement to discuss our concerns about at-risk youth. We found that Don was a person that had a dedication and concern for our youth and his efforts were greatly appreciated.
Since that time we have had many conversations with Don about a variety of issues which among them included his knowledge of ordinances for Baker County and the laws of the state of Oregon. We have found over time that his knowledge of the law is extensive and fair as evidenced by his service as Justice of the Peace pro-tem for the court.
When we look at the candidates who have filed for this position, we feel that Don’s extensive work experiences with the county in a variety of different positions, which includes his work with the Justice Court, makes him uniquely qualified and the logical choice for the voters of Baker County.
Wayne and Karen Endersby
Don Williams would render honest, impartial decisions
I would like to take this opportunity to show my support for in my opinion the most qualified candidate for the position of Justice of the Peace: Don Williams.
Don has served as a pro-tem Justice of the Peace in the Baker County Justice Court during the past 22 months. He has 28 years experience in civil court practice, law enforcement and corrections. He has beyond question an outstanding knowledge and understanding of the law, what I would consider the most important prerequisite for the position of Justice of the Peace.
I say without reservation, ask anyone who knows Don what they think of his integrity and qualifications for the job, and you will only hear the highest remarks in return. I know of no one that doesn’t respect and admire him for his dedication to Baker County and its citizens.
With a judge of Don’s qualifications I feel anyone that comes before his bench can be assured of an honest, impartial and just decision based on the two most important issues: the facts and the law.
Our students should be in school 5 days per week
The function, sole purpose, and responsibility of the Baker School District is to educate our children. Instead, its board and administration is mired in controversy, poor fiscal management, and questionable policies. They have build an administrative empire that has refused to rein in expenses, ignored the public, and have lost focus on the kids.
Two years ago they reduced the number of days that the children can attend school by 20 percent in a state that already has the second-shortest school year in the nation. In lieu of allowing our teachers to “educate” our young children (grades 1-3), the district inserted a breakfast period and extended some recesses and meal periods for the four days that they are in school. Unfortunately, that’s not a good trade-off and probably a big reason why we recently received dismal results from the Oregon Assessment of Knowledge and Skills tests.
With this miserable economic climate, they have increased the budget of the office of the superintendent by 27 percent and the total technology budget by over $475,000 which is a 125-percent increase over the 2009/10 budget. In addition, the district continues to pay a 50 to 60 percent benefit package to its employees when the Bureau of Labor estimates the national average between 20 and 30 percent. At what point do we start using taxpayer money to educate our children instead of paying outrageous administrative costs, unsustainable technology expenses, and providing benefit plans that many people in our district can’t afford themselves.
The patrons of this district deserve better and the children certainly deserve better than what the district is giving them. We have great teachers, principals and staff. Now, let’s get the kids back in school — five full days per week, and put the focus back on the children.
Still have hope for resolving school board issues
I first have to say that in regards to the “Western Liberty Network” flier, I would have preferred to focus on Lynne’s and my vision and goals for our schools. However, we’d been reminded that the people need to understand Kyle’s incentives before they decide whether or not to make Kyle board chair.
One interesting event that was left off of the Herald’s lawsuit timeline, was Kyle’s first instance of leaking confidential information. That occurred in November or December of 2011 when Kyle outed a confidential police investigation into possible gang activity at the High School. Walt, Lynne and myself all explained that this was absolutely inappropriate. My discussion focused on the fact that even though my kids don’t yet attend the High School, the safety of ALL Baker 5J students is our responsibility.
As for refusing to amend Kyle’s censure, this is also not true. Within 30 seconds of the end of Kyle’s censure meeting, I went over to him. I told him that I knew this process had to be hard, but that I’d be willing to meet with him and one of his church leaders to begin the process of working through the censure. This isn’t just my word, Kyle documented this in the newspaper, but said I was ridiculing his religion. Funny, I thought I was offering to make the meeting two-against-one. However, now I see why he never wanted to be uncensured — that would have made it much more difficult to sue.
This whole censure and recall process has been unfortunate for all involved, and that includes the community as a whole.
However, I was very impressed with Kyle’s behavior at last Tuesday’s board meeting. We haven’t had such a civil meeting in a year! I thought it was because of the presence of the Boy Scout troop, but after they left, Kyle continued to act in a respectful manner.
So, after all the ugliness, there is still hope that after the recall and the suit, your Baker 5J school board can once again get back to the business of trying to fund and improve our schools.
What does Romney mean by ‘American values?’
I am beginning to get uncomfortable with how easily candidate Romney makes use of the phrase “American values.” It entails a whole lot of assumptions.
Does he mean work, marriage, children, a home, success? Does he refer to the integrity of speaking the truth as an absolute? Does he mean that theft or deceit are considered unacceptable?
Do the American values to which he refers include respect and justice for minorities — such as non-Christians, aboriginals, naturists, non-partisan independents, and many others? (You thought I was going to say blacks and Muslims, right?)
If Romney’s so-called American values are supposed to address what we all want and what we’d fight for, what we strive for, then, unless he defines his phrase, I’m going to have to assume also — that he has no idea who we are.
Give Romney a chance to turn things around
Several years ago, a relative drove up from California to visit us. But when he got to Winnemucca, instead of heading north on Highway 95, he kept going east on the Interstate. He was going the wrong way, and every mile he drove thereafter only got him that much further from us. He was only able to progress on his journey when he turned around, and headed back this way.
Our nation is going the wrong way in many areas; one is government spending. In the past four years an average of a trillion dollars per year has been added to the national debt. Currently, 40 cents of every dollar that the federal government spends is borrowed. Individuals who spend with that sort of abandon are not good credit risks. Neither is the federal government, and so it has lost its AAA bond rating. Once a nation loses that coveted rating, it takes a decade or more of fiscal responsibility before it is regained.
What’s worse, that $4,000,000,000,000 of new debt is being passed on to our children and grandchildren, for they are the ones who will have to pay and pay and pay. Even if the borrowed money is never repaid, they will be responsible for the interest on all that debt. Unless things change, by 2014 the amount spent on interest payments on the federal debt will exceed the total amount spent on our national defense.
If you are going the wrong way, continuing to travel in that direction is only foolishness. You will make progress towards your goal only if you turn around. We as a nation have the chance to turn ourselves around in November. President Obama wants to keep going the way that we are; he refuses to cut spending, saying that things will all work out if we only give his policies more time. This is reason enough to retire the president.
Mitt Romney has promised to make that U turn, and his running mate has a specific plan to bring that runaway spending under control. We should give them that opportunity.
Obama failed to protect Americans overseas
I know my liberal friends want to distract us all by promoting their “war on women” agenda but the real war continues to unfold before our eyes in the Mideast.
Ambassador Christopher Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods are NOT “bumps in the road” as President Barack Obama has declared. If any one of these brave Americans were your family member how would these comments make you feel?
The president has distanced himself from the murderous events at the embassy in Benghazi; has yet to personally admit to the American public and the world that this was a terrorist attack and not the result of some stupid video; and has yet to address the American public from the Oval Office. Mr. Obama and his administration continue to brag about killing bin Laden as if he, Mr. Obama, personally endured the long, hard dangerous pursuit of bin Laden.
If this administration is hiding the fact they screwed up by not protecting our embassy personnel, what else is this administration hiding from the American public?
Mr. President, you and your administration are responsible for protecting our embassies and U.S. citizens abroad. Mr. President, you have failed!
Economic recovery will come from bottom, not top
Recently (Herald, Sept. 5) a letter writer and friend of mine called politicians who want to tax the rich and give to the poor “modern Robin Hoods.” (In the Robin Hood myth, Robin Hood was the good guy and the Sheriff of Nottingham was the bad guy.)
Mitt Romney has recently (incorrectly) complained that the lower 47 percent, the “dependent poor,” pay no taxes at all, while releasing just two years of his own income tax returns.
Neither my friend nor Romney mentions that 100 percent of the nation’s 500 biggest corporations are dependent on “corporate welfare,” such as subsidies, bailouts, and tax loopholes. Also not mentioned is the fact that many of our biggest corporations pay no taxes at all, examples: General Electric, Pepco, and Verizon.
Romney pejoratively calls benefits received by the 47 percent “entitlements,” while approvingly calling corporate benefits “incentives.”
Since I started this letter with a myth, there’s another myth, or half truth, Republicans want voters to believe: lowering taxes on the rich will lead to job creation.
Independent tax studies show that more jobs are created when the rich are taxed more and the middle class and poor are taxed less. Spending power promotes consumption, thereby giving manufacturers a market for their products.
Recovery from the recession will come from the bottom up, not top down. You’ll get the former voting for Obama, and the latter voting for Romney.
Flier convinces me to call for Burroughs’ resignation
I sent a copy of this letter to Lynne Burroughs:
Ms Burroughs: After checking out the websites listed in your most recent flier, I have decided that your flier contains nothing useful to me. It’s character assassination and nothing more. After further investigation, I have decided to sign the petition for your recall. You have given an example of very bad citizenship to me and to the students in the 5J School District.
But rather than go through the cost of recall, as you have pointed out is expensive, money, time and energy consuming, I request you resign your position on the 5J District School Board immediately.
Kyle Knight has had nothing to do with my decision or my request for your resignation. Your fliers have done a much better job of showing you are poorly qualified as an educator in this public office than your worst enemy could.