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Letters to the Editor for Jan. 1, 2016

Do we have to accept a grocery monopoly?

I’m sure many of you are more knowledgeable about what is going on with the Safeway/Albertsons/Haggen saga than I am.

However, I do want to voice my concerns.

I have read that come next year (2016) we will be seeing Albertsons return? Am I correct so far? Do we really want to be monopolized? Are there no other choices? 

Isn’t there something a community can do to stop the monopoly? Why would we stand by and chose a monopoly? I can’t see where it is in the best interest of the community. 

Prices have already increased through Safeway, close to the price gouging mark (in my opinion). The parking lot area is a nightmare on a good day. Of course as hard as they try, they can’t meet the total needs of the community. I would think the increase in volume sales would cover the need for additional workers so why such high prices?

A community the size of Baker City needs more than one grocery store to fill the needs of the people. 

Why would the economic developer go along with having the community subjected to two major grocery stores, owned by the same company, fulfill the needs of the community?  It is a monopoly. 

From the survey passed around earlier this year, it looked like the store most people would have liked to come here was Winco. However, Winco has criteria to follow and this area does not meet that criteria. So what about a Grocery Outlet store which is mostly independently owned and operated by local families which would allow it to have a local personality, meeting local needs. I have to think we have the business talent in our area to do this. Why do those who make the decisions, on a local level, accept the monopoly as the solution? Why would anyone? Baker City, we can do better than that.

Glenda M. Carter

North Powder

Housing for veterans before Syrian refugees

During the Christmas season, about a week ago, I received a call from someone who was conducting a survey relative to several things affecting Oregonians in the coming election.  One of the questions I was asked was “Do you favor admitting Syrian refugees to Oregon.” My reply was  “Absolutely not!”

I wish I had added the following:  It seems President Obama wants to admit 100,000 refugees from Syria into our country.  My first question is “Where is he going to put them”?

Every major city in the country has a large component of people who live on the street at the present. Most of them, as I understand it, are veterans. When every veteran without a livable place to live has a home with the necessities of life, then we can talk about adding refugees — NOT BEFORE!”

Alberta Bailey

Baker City

Letter to the Editor for Dec. 30, 2015

Forest health doesn’t have to mean road closures

A new process is working its way throughout Eastern Oregon that pits locals against each other, it is the concept of “forest health vs. motorized access.” The model has been seen in the West before. Idahoans and Montanans have seen forests build to unsafe fuel loads with eager “conservationists” willing to plan projects that will relieve the burden of the excessive fuels, if only we are willing destroy roads after the projects are completed. The work is done through service contracts that equate to lawn care services on our public lands. Companies bid on these contracts to implement prescriptions for treatment that are written by the Forest Service, along with road destruction.

Two examples playing out in Eastern Oregon that show this process are the Grant County Stewardship Contract, a massive, multimillion-dollar, single source contract to Iron Triangle that will treat vegetation, and restricts motorized access to thousands of acres of land. And the East Face Project between La Grande and Baker, which is planning 38 miles of road closures. 

Both equate to nothing more than lawn care service contracts, except in this case, once mowing the lawn and weeding the flower garden are complete, they tear out your driveway so you cannot access them anymore.

Timber sales do not have to equate to road closures, jobs for our families do not have to mean loss of motorized access. Roads were built to harvest these lands, for them stay the productive resources we were promised they would be when set aside in the early 1900s. Not the multibillion-dollar drains they have become over the last 30 plus years under the failed leadership of the Forest Service, who no longer serve the people, but serve their own personal agendas. 

I support vegetative treatments, I support logging/mill jobs, and all the services that come with them, but I do not believe you have to destroy motorized access to have jobs or a healthy forest. I ask that if you don’t support these restrictions, you become active in these projects to speak out against them.

John George


Letter to the Editor for Dec. 24, 2015

A foot-rubbing man bares his soul for the youngsters

 I wish to warn all young men that, sooner or later, their lives will take an unseen turn. They have no clue as to what’s waiting for them as they unknowingly and unwittingly skip through their youth toward the inevitable.

The furthest thought from my mind (actually nonexistent) as I sauntered through life was rubbing someone else’s feet but as I reached my late 50s and early 60s ...

It starts with subtlety, the wife (in my case) or your partner quietly saying things like “My feet sure hurt” or “Wow, that little pedicure gal sure gives a good foot rub.” You won’t give this a second thought, even if you’d actually been listening. Soon things start to escalate. There will be strange gyrations happening next to you as you try to watch TV. Out of the corner of your eye you’ll see your wife or partner rubbing their own feet, little “ooches” and “ouches” thrown in for good measure. It will prove difficult pretending not to notice, let alone concentrate on your program, trying hard to ignore this purposeful injection of guilt — so deviously accomplished.                                              

My inherent stubbornness only prolonged the finality, and only a short while. It was without all the subtlety and innuendo that my 55-year foot rubbing drought came to an abrupt end one Monday night. I was minding my own beeswax, calmly watching the football game, when “KAPHOOMP!?” Suddenly there were two naked feet in my lap, accompanied by my wife’s voice “Will you rub my feet?” It was obviously not a question! — My day of reckoning had finally come. I could only imagine the unforeseen consequences of refusal — unspeakable images! 

So you see young men, no matter how desperately you ignore, resist or embrace your foolish denials — there will be no escape. As for my approach to this new predicament? I rubbed those feet with as much love and caring as I could muster, and with a positive attitude, because I knew I would be doing this for a longtime to come. Still I couldn’t help but ask myself “How did this happen?”

Mike Meyer

Baker City

Letters to the Editor for Dec. 16, 2015

Guns or not, some people are just plain dangerous

Paris, San Bernardino … With each new atrocity, President Obama and the Democrats sing their sad song about the need for more gun control. But they are barking up the wrong tree. Virtually all mass shootings have one of two things in common; either the shooter is a person with a serious but untreated mental illness, or else the shooter is a radical Islamist.

Suppose every firearm in the world were to suddenly disappear. Would we then be safer? Not particularly. There are lots of ways to kill lots of people. We then could become subject to a rash of suicide bombers, such as have been taking place in Israel and Iraq for years. Someone with murder on the mind and a crossbow could kill a lot of people in a crowded shopping mall or school room, or use a sword just as effectively. Then there are poisons, and bacteriological agents and on and on. If a diseased or malevolent mind has decided to inflict mayhem on innocents, he or she will find a way to do so.

To reduce the number of mass murders, we need to focus on the mind that pulls the trigger, not on the gun itself. Perhaps we need to change our laws so that it is easier to secure treatment for the seriously mentally ill. We do need to find a way to identify and then deal with those who think that it is the will of Allah that they kill off a bunch of us infidels. (By the way, it is not anti-Muslim to point out that all too many mass murders are accompanied by cries of Allahu Akhbar!)

Focusing on gun control is worse than useless; it prevents us from taking steps that might actually do some good. The gun lobby is fond of saying, “Guns don’t kill people; people kill people.” But that is true. We will reduce the number of horrific atrocities only when we reduce the number of those who commit them.

Pete Sundin

Baker City

Victims of drunken drivers are important, too

Jayson Jacoby’s recent column, “Is America focused on curbing its greatest threats?” was excellent, well-written and certainly makes me at least wonder why there is not more alarm and demands over drunk drivers killing people and another area in our society where 1.2 million people are knowingly killed each year in America alone. It seems as though the 50 or so killed by the mass shooting are somehow more important than the others. They are certainly as important, but by no means more important in my opinion.

Peter Claflin

Baker City

Letter to the Editor for Dec. 14, 2015

I’d like to see more coverage of all sports teams

I like to read the sports page because it is one place in the paper more recent news is available. I am sure most people that follow sports, especially local news, would like to see a little more information about all the teams. The coverage seems to concentrate on middle school and high school varsity games with very little if any mention of the JV teams.

In recent years the JV teams have fared better than the varsity and I for one would like to see more than just the score regarding their games. The girls and boys on the JV teams work, play and practice just as hard as the varsity and middle school players.

The recent JV girls game against Emmett was amazing. The amount of energy these girls brought to the game was great.

I also notice the Herald’s reporter was at all the games and the information should be readily available. Come on, Herald, let’s give these young players some recognition for their efforts.

Richard Erwin

Baker City

Letter to the Editor for Dec. 11, 2015

Four rules regarding guns and gun control

A quick study: The four rules of gun control:

1. There will always be guns.

2. Criminals will always have guns.

3. The way to stop criminals is for law-abiding citizens to have guns.

 4.  You can’t change the first three rules.

Joe Bailey

Baker City

Letter to the Editor for Dec. 9, 2015

To solve gun violence, we must work together

In a rare front-page editorial last Saturday, the New York Times decried the widespread availability of brutal weapons of war in our society, terming it “a moral outrage and a national disgrace.”

We are being warned in the strongest terms that as a paranoid nation, armed to the teeth, we make a mockery of the phrase “well-regulated militia” prescribed by the Second Amendment.  We need not accept the legality of semi-automatic guns with detachable magazines that can be reloaded in seconds, producing virtually unlimited mayhem in the hands of the misguided and the insane.  

Clearly, we must come together to demand common-sense solutions to gun violence and provide the money to pay for them.  We must face and surmount the fear and misinformation that allow intolerable gun violence to persist -- as well as other major threats such as needless, grinding poverty and an over-heating planet.

Pope Francis informs us that: “The universe unfolds in God, who fills it completely.”  There is great strength in unity.  Let us heal our separations.  Let us reaffirm our allegiance to “one nation, under God, indivisible” and exemplify our motto: “E pluribus unum “ — “Out of many, one.”  We’re all in this together, and together we shall prevail.

Marshall McComb

Baker City

Letters to the Editor for Dec. 7, 2015

2nd Amendment is designed for our protection

Another mass shooting and another opportunity for the powers that be to try and pry another finger off our firearms. The guns are once again to blame, not disturbed radical zealots, the mentally unstable or the just plain evil — the focus never changes, it’s the guns.

I have never owned a gun, possibly because growing up my father never owned one, he wasn’t a hunter and times seemed a lot saner. I’ve thought about getting a gun many times but somehow have never got around to it. I thought about it hard as I watched the meth head drive off in my truck at 2 o’clock one morning. I made it to the front porch just as he fishtailed out of the driveway! If I would have had a gun and been a good aim I would most likely be writing this from prison because that’s the way the world works these days. Sorry, sidetracked once again.

That I have yet to own a firearm doesn’t change the fact that our 2nd Amendment was put there with great thought and purpose. My personal interpretation, and/or belief; Not only did our forefathers wish to reinforce our military with citizen backup, when needed, but also provide the populace with legal protection when, if ever, our government or military becomes oppressively corrupt. I firmly believe the intent was that any weapon in the hands of our military should be allowed in the hands of its law abiding citizens, although my affinity for a heatseeking missile launcher may seem a bit much I still feel it is my right to have one (acquiring one would be the hard part.)

In an age where your whole life can be snatched away by someone in Nigeria with a computer keyboard I daresay that attempting to keep guns from the crazies with paperwork, regulation, background check after background check ... seems to be a moot point — the sickos will always get a gun. Our only protection is our 2nd Amendment. Infringement on our constitutional rights is a bad idea, our forefathers would agree.

Mike Meyer

Baker City

Gen. Pershing had a solution for jihadists

Before World War I, John J. “Black Jack” Pershing was the commanding general of the U.S. Forces in the Philippines. Islamic jihadists were on a killing rampage. The general learned that the Islamic terrorists believed pork was unclean and if they died while exposed to pigs or pig parts they would be defiled in heaven. 

The general buried terrorists in graves with pigs or pig body parts. The jihadists backed off and the uprising was controlled.

As you learned from recent news articles there should be plenty of bodies to bury with some pigs or pig parts. If no bodies are available, put a live jihadist in a cell with pig parts.

This might solve our problem with the Islamic jihadists.  Unfortunately, at the present time our administration contains enough people in favor of Islam that this would not be practical.

Carl Kostol

Baker City

Raise tax credit but not the minimum wage

I am writing this letter in support of our Oregon House Representative, Cliff Bentz, and his desire to increase the earned income tax credit here in Oregon as an alternative to raising the minimum wage. I would also encourage him to push for an income raise in our tax brackets, giving everyone, especially the lower income worker, a tax break.

Of course, this must be paid for. We can do this by raising corporate tax rates, especially the corporate minimum. I’m sure Mr. Bentz would part ways with me here. I am a Democrat, though, and see no problem getting more money in the hands of workers which ultimately helps the businesses being taxed.  

I also favor heading off a large increase in the statewide minimum wage. We need jobs here in Baker County more than a raise in the minimum wage. But the Portland metro area needs a much higher minimum and they should be able to do so. Let’s allow the counties to raise it as fits their cost of living. A higher labor cost there may even encourage businesses to locate here.

No one party has a monopoly on what needs to be done to help make our working class stronger. Democrats and Republicans can work together if we can over come knee jerk ideological thinking. Only by seeing the in-between can we find the best solutions.

Peter Hall


Had to rely on neighbors to deal with dead deer

Recently a deer died in my yard. I had no way to dispose of it, and everybody said “Call Fish and Wildlife.” I called them twice, got voice mail, left details both times about three or four hours apart. When talking to a neighbor about it I was told that in Baker County “you are on your own” about dead wildlife. If I lived in Union County, we heard that Fish and Wildlife would come and dispose of it. Fortunately, I have kind neighbors with a truck who came, picked up the body and took it to the Fish and Wildlife office — which seemed totally appropriate to me.  Neither of my phone calls to F&W was returned.  Because so many people told me to “call Fish and Wildlife” I don’t think their local policy is widely known and hope the paper will print this letter for the common good.

Julianne Williams

Baker City

Letter to the Editor for Dec. 2, 2015

Why I support Owyhee Canyonlands protection

As a fifth-generation Eastern Oregonian (my great-great-grandparents came to the Burnt River Valley in 1863), I’m a strong supporter of the Owyhee Canyonlands proposal. Here are a few reasons why:

1. As supposed stewards of this planet, with the wherewithal to destroy/reserve it as host to its many forms of life, we humans simply can no longer engage in practices that threaten to destroy habitat.

2. In light of global warming, and the serious consequences that come with that warming, we simply must change our treatment of the planet in drastic and immediate ways. Protecting and preserving natural habitats must be at the top of every list of options, re: future uses of the land on which we depend. Any use with the potential to degrade our environment should be eliminated from consideration.

3. Decisions such as these will have very long-term effects. Do we, as humans with the capabilities available to us, have the right to negatively impact the lives of so many forms of life, including but definitely not limited to our own grandkids and great-grandkids? Permanent protection for the Canyonlands would help ensure that future damaging actions (mining, increased grazing and roading) would be eliminated.

4. The Owyhee Canyonlands is a beautiful, unspoiled landscape with an abundance of wildlife from native fish to the large herd of bighorn sheep (perhaps the largest in our nation). Mule deer, chukar and elk are three other species that depend on the Canyonlands habitat for continued life.

5. Studies from throughout the West have shown that protected public lands enhance local economies through increased recreation in the area and enhanced livability for us folks who choose to live here. As an example, the Eagle Cap Wilderness/Hells Canyon Wilderness has provided a recreational experience for folks over 40 years and the economic benefits resulting from its increased use continue for the local communities in Oregon, Washington and Idaho. For those of us who enjoy the beauty and the tranquility of the ECW/HCA on a daily basis, the benefits are immeasurable and we give thanks for the foresight of those decision-makers so many years ago.

Mike Higgins


Letter to the Editor for Nov. 30, 2015

It’s about greed and not about what’s good for us, environment

In reference to the recent article in the Herald about the FDA approval of genetically engineered salmon for our consumption … as if the FDA really knew, or even cares what is good for us or the environment. It reminds me of our government allowing farm raised salmon to be raised in Alaskan waters in crowded pens, poured full of antibodies to keep them from getting diseased in such conditions, and then dumping the fish in our markets. I’m sure the FDA approved of this also. Not only are the farm raised fish not healthy looking in the market, they don’t taste anywhere near as good as fresh, wild-caught salmon. Also, allowing them to be raised in pens in open waters has been known to cause huge problems with wild salmon runs that have to travel through waters polluted by farm- raised fish on their way to spawning grounds. Oh yeah, we can be sure that the government agencies are looking out for us. It’s all about money and greed here folks, not about us or the environment!

Peter Claflin

Baker City

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