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Letter to the Editor for Sept. 16, 2015

‘Protecting’ our public forests is burning them up

This year has been a traumatic year for rural communities in the Pacific Northwest. As has been the case in prior years, this year a common comment from Forest Service management has been, “We need more money to fight fires!” It is almost a mantra every year.  

With such a financial bind the Forest Service is in, why is closing and decommissioning roads such an important factor for their management of our public lands? Roads are vital to so many of the uses the public has for public lands.  A forest supervisor even admitted earlier this year the current (non-travel management plan) road system is a large factor in quick and successful initial attacks on fires in his forest. Several firefighters have stated how appreciative they were of roads and how much easier their job was. Roads even used as fire lines.

Sept. 11, 2015, photos were taken of a dozer re-opening a closed road in order to gain access to a wildfire. In one photo, three Forest Service pickups and one Forest Service fire engine were parked with several Forest Service employees standing and watching the dozer. This dozer operator was hired to travel up and open the road. When they are done fighting the fire, it will most likely be re-closed. Is closing, opening and then again closing roads a good use of tax dollars? Are the new bills in Congress going to be paying for these sorts of things? The issue isn’t a lack of funding, it’s a lack of efficient use of the funds given them. 

The ideology behind protecting public lands is a dream that doesn’t factor in reality.  The reality of financial situations, public safety, the reality that these lands were intended to support local economies. The reality that without logging, without restoration and without active management, we will continue to choke on more and more smoke and burn up more and more tax dollars on idiotic actions like I explained above. Eventually there won’t be communities to protect from fires and the Forest Service won’t have any reason to exist anymore.

Donald George


Letters to the Editor for Sept. 14, 2015

Boardman-to-Hemingway line won’t go away

Do you think that the Boardman to Hemingway power line has gone away? Not a chance. I expect that the BLM will issue its decision just before the holidays. Since we will have only 30 days to respond, great timing, likely on purpose. We get to study lots of pages, they get to eat turkey.

You can be sure that the BLM and Idaho Power are working hard to come up with all the benefits for Baker County. Even after almost 400 people sent letters that objected to all parts of the project.

Letters to the Editor for Sept. 9, 2015

We want to look at mountains, not cell towers

Cell phone towers? We don’t need no stinking towers.

What is it with you people? First it was — and still is — Idaho Power wanting to pollute our view with power lines and now you, Verizon want to build not one but two 100-foot cell towers right in town. And why, so far, all the secrecy? Are you worried we don’t want them? We don’t. (Besides, better coverage isn’t going to help me make less mistakes while texting as I drive.)

Letters to the Editor for Sept. 7, 2015

Fires show the need to actively manage our forests

One of the many excuses to restrict use of our public lands by the Wallowa-Whitman and Malheur National Forests is that we need to “preserve” our forest for the next generation, the only problem is, the Forest Service isn’t doing that. The Forest Service, with assistance from their partners in the local environmental community, allow our forest to degenerate into fuel dense stands waiting to take our homes and property with it.

Letter to the Editor for Sept. 4, 2015

County is ready to coordinate 

On Aug. 19 the Baker County Commission approved the draft 2015 Natural Resources Plan. The Natural Resources Advisory Committee voted unanimously the night before to advise the Commission to adopt the Plan as submitted. It is with great anticipation that final adoption by the Commission will occur on Sept. 16 during the regular Commission meeting. Guided by the progressive leadership of Commissioner Harvey, and supported by Commissioners Bennett and Kerns, this is a huge step forward for Baker County. The Plan will allow our local government to enter into government-to-government dialogue with state and federal agencies. This process is formally known as coordination.

Letters to the Editor for Sept. 2, 2015

Baker County makes right choice with coordination

Baker County has now engaged in the coordination process which requires federal and state agencies to make every practicable effort to reach consistency with County policies and plans.

Congratulations to Commission Chairman Bill Harvey for leading the move to engage in coordination; and to  Commissioners Mark Bennett and Tim Kerns for their supporting votes.

Letters to the Editor for Aug. 26, 2015

10th Street isn’t broke; fix other things that need fixing

This is about fixing 10th Street. I didn’t know it was broke, so don’t fix it.

You screwed up Campbell Street and Resort with shutting of Court Street and your diagonal parking all the way down. That diagonal parking is dangerous.

Enough for now. Let’s hear from anyone who agrees with me. Why not fix roads and etc. that need fixing.

Jean Hulick

Baker City

Veterans are lucky to have Rick Gloria in our service

We have been in contact with Rick Gloria since he was appointed to the position of Baker County Veteran Services Officer on many occasions.

The care and treatment we have received has been efficient, expedient and courteous.  He calls back with the information we were waiting for in a timely manner. When he has information and it is after working hours he will still call and update us.  He does not waste time in calling when there is nothing to report. His computer skills are superb.

Baker County is fortunate to have Rick as an employee. He is extremely knowledgeable in his position, which helps get the veteran the end result that he is waiting for. He goes out of his way to find the information that is requested.

Veterans, we are very lucky to have Rick in our community to help with our needs.

Gene and Patricia Reed

Baker City

Letter to the Editor for August 24, 2015

Recall the Sumpter mayor; our town can do better

After reading the mayor’s letter to the editor, I really feel I need to comment. 

She talks about gossip, she talks about cronyism and she talks unending about anger issues. Well I have questions for the mayor who shut the last council meeting down because she didn’t want to take questions. 

I believe that if she had let people ask their questions people wouldn’t have taken to the streets so to speak. She is a newcomer here and she doesn’t know most of the people nor does she appear to want to.

She plopped right down into the midst of a handful of angry malcontents who are responsible for all the lawsuits. So I would respectfully ask, if by your own admission you hate this town, you have never met anyone here yet that you would even invite into your home, why do you want to be the mayor?

Not one of those people that you support do anything constructive for this city. It would appear that you along with your band of merry malcontents want to bankrupt the city into nonexistence. 

You have maligned the current council and former mayor. It is a stretch of the imagination to say that the whole council and former mayor were dishonest. That is an outright lie.

I love Sumpter and most of the people that live here. I say recall. We can do better.

Michelle Lee DeFord


Letters to the Editor for Aug. 21, 2015

Many Sumpter people are kind and caring volunteers

With all the negative publicity Sumpter has received on the front page of the local newspapers of late, I am compelled to tell you my story of living in Sumpter.

Many people have asked me my impressions of Sumpter after eight years of being retired here. I always tell them that we have met more kind, caring people here than anyplace else we have ever lived. 

We have many, many positive-thinking friends who have enriched our lives and the lives of others around them. Many of these people are, for example, volunteers who have helped to build our beautiful Volunteer Park, which was constructed entirely with free labor provided by the supportive citizens of Sumpter. Other examples of people giving of their time and resources in order to make our small town an even better place to live are too numerous to list.

On the downside, I also tell people that we have met some of the most negative, vindictive people here that I can ever remember meeting. They never step up to help with projects that benefit the community, yet they are the first to criticize and complain about the people who do. 

We have all known people like that during our lifetime. They are less than 10 percent of the population, but, because of their inclination to sue people with whom they disagree, they still are quite successful at making life uncomfortable for folks who just want to live in peace with their neighbors.

Please do not let the opinions of a few “bad apples” spoil your opinion of Sumpter. The vast majority of us are very decent, down-to-earth, honest folks that you would love to be around.

Lila Young


Letters to the Editor for August 19, 2015

Opposition’s tactics go    ‘well beyond the pale’

We are truly blessed in this country that there is no penalty for ignorance or being uninformed. Otherwise our jails would be full. 

Of late there have been letters and blogs bombarding the citizens of Sumpter. Uninformed individuals choose to take worn-out gossip as gospel, instead of attending meetings. Many of these letters and blogs are being written by people who have never attended Council, Planning Commission or workshop meetings since I have been mayor. All they can rely on is the gossip distributed by their cronies. 

Last Tuesday’s (Aug. 11) Council meeting was attended by a group of people, including an employee of the City, wearing matching T-shirts with assault rifles imprinted on the back with “tight knit redneck group” written below. These 10 or so individuals came to harass and threaten those they disagree with. Shameful when our own City employees participate in this type of mob mentality and write on Facebook how they wish they could have smashed in some teeth. 

I don’t dispute anyone’s right to attempt a recall or have free speech, but to blatantly lie to those from whom you are attempting to gain signatures is disgusting. There are even rumors that some are trying to gain votes against me by offering financial gain. That goes well beyond the pale.

There is much misinformation surrounding the lawsuit. If the lawsuit causes the City to go broke, we will deal with the aftermath — with a new and better Council! And by the way, if too many of the Council are recalled to make a quorum, the County will appoint one (or more) councilors to form a quorum, and the Council can then fill the other vacancies by appointment. Don’t let the rumors frighten you. Baker County is not going to take us over.

I want only one thing, and many of you have never experienced it in Sumpter ... honesty in our City government. Please vote NO on my recall and YES to recall Oakley and Myers-Woolf. Together we can do what needs to be done. 

Melissa Findley

Mayor of Sumpter

Sumpter residents should be working to improve the town

Citizens of Sumpter,

Our town is in disgrace. Brawling in the streets, pulling out pipes to (beat up) those that oppose your way of thinking. 

This mess the city is in is escalating. Is this really the picture you want our visitors to the city to see? Are the upcoming articles in the papers really what you want people to read about Sumpter and its citizens. 

Hatred, anger, and childish gang shirt related images. Many of you blame those that started the lawsuit against the city, but the trouble here started long before their decision to file charges. 

Melissa was brave enough to run for mayor when this town desperately needed some adult guidance. She has been ridiculed, harassed and ignored. Citizens of the town, including a past mayor, have interfered with meetings and made it difficult for her. 

He would not have stood for the behavior he either sat and listened to or joined in. Can’t we all just work together to make a better Sumpter, to dig ourselves out of the hole this city is in? 

 There should not be two groups fighting in the streets, disrupting council meetings so business cannot get done and ridiculing letters being written and mailed with accusations being made without substantial evidence on both sides. Haven’t you all had enough of this?

Beverly Hale


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