Anyone following the Baker School District knows we have been through a lot in the past few years. Boards of directors are comprised of people with different backgrounds, temperaments and agendas and go through periods of peace, as well as dissent.
Yet every board member provides clear thinking in some area of expertise. For the past three years, Mark Henderson has given the Baker School District board a strong orientation in practical business sense and clear thinking. While he is now leaving the board for new business opportunities, it is worth reviewing his good record of service on the board, since a review would not only say something about Mark, but also reveal important things about the board.
Mark came to Baker County in 2005 and read the newspaper stories about the Baker District facing decreased funding and increased expenses. He was concerned about his two boys, at the time in pre-K and first grade. Many people would just grumble and not do anything. But Mark decided to see how he could help.
He emailed Doug Dalton, financial manager for the district, to learn more and find ways to help. Mark soon found himself on the budget committee, a group of residents that goes over the district’s proposed budget and makes recommendations to the board. Even at that early stage, Mark showed he was knowledgeable, applying the common sense of a business owner combined with the compassion of a parent with children in the district.
Editorial board wrong on same-sex marriage ruling
In its editorial article, “Judge gets it right on marriage,” the Baker City Herald editorial board gets it wrong in my opinion. By its own admission, the editorial board supports federal Judge Michael McShane’s ruling to overturn Oregon’s approved Measure 36 which defines marriage as “between one man and one woman.” Judge McShane, who is an openly gay federal judge, singlehandedly disenfranchised 1,028,546 Oregonians who voted to approve Measure 36 back in 2004.
The editorial board quoted Mr. Mike McLane, minority leader from the Oregon House, saying, “... today’s ruling is a logical extension of the Supreme Court’s ruling last summer ...” His statement implies that the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was rejected; however, this isn’t completely true, only part of it was rejected. It’s my understanding that the USSC didn’t consider Section 2 of DOMA in the United States v. Windsor case, which essentially declares that U.S. states and territories may deny recognition of same-sex marriages originating from other states and territories. Prior to Judge McShane’s ruling, a same-sex couple’s marriage in New York would not have been legally recognized in Oregon under Section 2 of DOMA, which is still in effect today.
The editorial board may have had it right when they said, “...we expect that were the matter put to Oregon voters today, the outcome would be different than it was a decade ago.” A recent SurveyUSA poll conducted for KATU showed that about “52 percent of the 600 adults surveyed said voters should vote on the issue while 45 percent said the issue has been decided.” However, in that same poll, “66 percent said a judge should not have the right to ‘in general’ overturn the will of voters.”
Dan Brooks’ feat would have pleased Leo Adler
One of my most vivid memories of Leo Adler was how ecstatic he was when any Bakerite achieved a notable accomplishment. He wore a grin a mile wide and told everyone he contacted. He simply felt his beloved Baker was enhanced by the accomplishment of one of Baker’s own.
I can assure you Leo is beside himself with the news of Dan Brooks and his Duke ladies golf team capturing its sixth NCAA golf title. And well he should be. This is a feat unmatched in golf annals. Dan has brought great credit to Duke University, his ladies golf team and to golf as a sport. And at the same time he has done it with humility and grace.
We should all take a page out of Leo’s book and share the great pride we all have for Dan’s accomplishment. He has done his university, himself and his entire Baker family well!
Baker Heritage Museum is in good hands
We attended the spring meeting of the Friends of the Baker Heritage Museum and were very impressed. Chris Cantrell is doing a wonderful job as the director of the museum. The exhibits are so interesting and tell the story of life in Baker County for so many years. The Museum Commission and the Friends officers are well-organized. The Museum is in good hands.
Alice Warnock, By Brinton, Caroline Sherrieb and others who had the foresight to rescue the old Nat and see its potential as a museum would be so proud!
John and Frances Burgess
Forest Service ‘designates’ where you can go
The U.S. Forest Service is currently taking comments on the Blue Mountains Forest Plan Revision (BMFPR). This plan will serve as the “zoning ordinance” for the three national forests found within the Blue Mountains. One particular phrase should be of grave concern for any member of the public that enjoys motorize access into “The Blues,” as most locals lovingly refer to them. That phrase is “Designated routes.”
Designated routes sounds like a harmless enough phrase that you simply designate uses of current roads and move on. Unfortunately it’s not that harmless. Designated routes are the cornerstone of how the Forest Service has successfully closed hundreds of thousands of acres of public lands throughout the West, and it has also been successfully stopped in regions where the public has actively engaged in the process and acted against it.
To understand designated routes one need look no further than their home. Envision your home as it is now, with the freedom to move through it as needed, accessing every resource you need to have a complete home.
Now let’s “designate routes” through your home and see how that works. Lay a piece of tape down the middle of all your floors, you are only allowed to be 3 feet from the tape at any time. You may not touch any items outside that 3 foot buffer.
You now have “designated routes” — fun, isn’t it?
Your yard has been deemed needed as a “wildlife corridor” area and now is off limits to any big wheel, tricycle or lawnmower activity. You may walk into your yard, however, you may not utilize any motorized tools.
Does this make the picture clearer as to what the BMFPR really is? It’s Travel Management (road closures) with a different spin on it.
The USFS will tell you it’s not about road closures, and that is a true statement. This document is even more sinister, as it sets the foundation for the USFS to close roads as it states it is YOUR DESIRED CONDITION to see routes designated.
Do you really want your access “designated” away? If no, you had better get to commenting on the BMFPR.
John D. George
Mayor misses mark with personnel cost comments
The Mayor’s comment that city personnel costs need to be cut suggests to me that he has less than the desired level of understanding of municipal government. Labor costs, in every city, represent the greatest percentage of a city’s budget. Baker City’s ratio of personnel costs to non-personnel costs is not out of line with other cities in Eastern Oregon or elsewhere. “We need to cut personnel costs” is the mantra of the politically correct, but uninformed. It also fails to take into account the professionalism and competence of the city manager and department heads all of whom know and support the concept of asking only for what is needed to provide appropriate levels of service to the public.
It would be one thing if city departments were overstaffed, but they are not. There is no department of city government which has “excess” personnel. The staffing levels which exist are no more than needed to meet the responsibilities to and expectations of the public served. In fact, if one looks at public safety staffing in particular (both police and fire) and applies accepted staffing formulas developed by experts over a period of decades those two departments are actually understaffed.
If the Mayor seriously believes that the budget needs to be reduced perhaps he ought to look at the many “nice to have” programs he has supported and put some of them on the chopping block. Cutting essential, not “feel good,” services is a disservice to the public the Mayor was elected to represent.
Park playground project proves dreams come true
Thank you Lisa Britton Jacoby and all your cohorts, for coming up with a plan to update the city park playground equipment. It looks wonderful. I walked over yesterday to check it out. The park was full of young parents and children doing the same thing. We are so fortunate to have people who are willing and able to put forth the effort to make dreams come true. I will add this to the long list of why I love living here in Baker City.
Geiser-Pollman Park keeps getting better
What a wonderful, fun gathering place Geiser-Pollman Park is becoming! The new playground equipment is already drawing crowds of young kids and parents — at all hours, in all kinds of weather. Kudos not only to Lisa Britton and Megan Fisher, but also to all those volunteers who rolled up their sleeves and “got ’er done.” The park’s horseshoe pits have been completely revamped and brought up to tournament code by the Baker City Lions Club. Great job, Lions (ROAR)!
We look forward to the day when the Bandstand project is completed and becomes yet another jewel in Baker City’s treasure chest.
David and Joyce Hunsaker
Warner is the commission chair I’ll hire on May 20
I am voting for Fred Warner Jr. for Baker County Chair.
Every four years, the residents of Baker County use their vote to hire the job applicant they believe is best suited to manage the business of Baker County.
This election year, we have two applicants for Commission Chair. So, we have to ask ourselves: Who is best qualified to fulfill all the job requirements?
Fred Warner Jr. understands the entire job description. He has the proven management skills to handle the county’s budget, roads, emergency services, infrastructure, and public health systems.
Fred has proven he can successfully negotiate with city, state and federal agencies on all county issues — not just a few single-interest agendas. From the private property rights of landowners to the access of public lands, Fred Warner, Jr. protects Baker County.
In many job vacancies, there is more than one candidate. The employer or voter must examine the experience, the achievements and the reliability of each applicant as it relates to the actual job requirements.
Fred Warner Jr. has my vote. He is level-headed. His management of the county’s business has been excellent. His county staff is professional. He has kept this county in strong financial shape. He will not isolate Baker County from the decision-making table.
I am a Baker County Republican and I am proud to be voting for Fred Warner Jr. He is the job applicant who will keep this county moving forward on all fronts!
Warner has worked hard to make the county better
We believe it is time to step up and question the lies and half-truths that have been coming out during the County Commission election in Baker County.
We believe that if the only way one can run a campaign is to slam your opponent with innuendo and false statements, then shame on all of you who are pushing this propaganda. All one needs to do is look at Fred Warner’s record as County Commissioner to see that we have an effective and efficient government.
Candidates show where they stand on basic issues
As a Baker voter, I believe we need to understand the candidate’s position on some basic questions. Here are the results of the Oregon Family Council Voters Guide Candidate Survey.
Candidates were asked to provide a “support” or “oppose” answer, reflecting the kind of response they must ultimately provide as an election official.
Life: Would you support or oppose an Oregon law restricting abortion with exceptions only for rape, incest, and when the life of the mother is at risk? Bill Harvey (Support) Dick Fleming (Support) Mark Bennett (Support) Greg Stackle (Support) Fred Warner (Declined to Answer).
Gambling: Would you support or oppose off-reservation and private casinos? Bill Harvey (Oppose) Dick Fleming (Oppose) Mark Bennett (Oppose) Fred Warner (Declined to Answer) Greg Stackle (Declined to Answer).
Zoning: Do you support or oppose zoning laws allowing governments to prohibit adult businesses from locating near residential neighborhoods, schools, or day care facilities? Bill Harvey (Support) Dick Fleming (Support) Mark Bennett (Support) Fred Warner (Declined to Answer) Greg Stackle (Declined to Answer).
Marriage: Would you support or oppose overturning current law defining marriage as only between one man, one woman? Bill Harvey (Oppose) Dick Fleming (Oppose) Mark Bennett (Oppose) Greg Stackle (Oppose) Fred Warner (Declined to Answer).
Religion: Would you support or oppose including religious exemptions in legislation to prevent restrictions of religious freedom? Bill Harvey (Support) Dick Fleming (Support) Mark Bennett (Support) Fred Warner (Declined to Answer) Greg Stackle (Declined to Answer).
Marijuana: Would you support or oppose marijuana becoming legally available to the general public in Oregon? Bill Harvey (Oppose) Dick Fleming (Oppose) Mark Bennett (Oppose) Greg Stackle (Support) Fred Warner (Declined to Answer).
Education: Would you support or oppose open enrollment in online charter schools in Oregon? Bill Harvey (Support) Dick Fleming (Support) Mark Bennett (Support) Fred Warner (Declined to Answer) Greg Stackle (Declined to Answer).
Taxes: Do you support or oppose the existing law that requires the state to return over-collected taxes to individual taxpayers? Bill Harvey (Support) Dick Fleming (Support) Mark Bennett (Support) Fred Warner (Declined to Answer) Greg Stackle (Declined to Answer)
Visit www.oregonfamilycouncil.org for more information.
Fred has the experience needed by commission chair
I would like to encourage people to vote for Fred Warner Jr. for Baker County Commission Chair. I have known Fred and his family for many years.
The family has been in the livestock business in Baker Valley since 1866. I have dealt with him on both a business and personal basis many times.
Newspaper should not have printed Hofmann’s letter; he’s ‘out in left field’
It is not difficult to see that you are a Democratic newspaper as your support of Mr. Warner is obvious, but I see no reason for Charles Hofmann’s letter to even be printed.
Mr. Hofmann is out in left field somewhere when he accuses Mr. Harvey and his campaign of negative tactics. Mr. Harvey has not used or said anything that can be denied by his opponent and maybe, Mr. Hofmann, you should let someone else answer your phone if that simple vote for me bothers you.
Robo calls are made by the thousands every day. If things are so sensitive for you then maybe you should be the one to go to California. Mr Harvey has been here 35-plus years.
The newspaper article telling all Democrats to run down and become Republicans just to vote was the lowest campaign trick that has happened so far.
Please leave ‘California’ out of disparaging remarks about people with differing opinions
It seems one of the ways “we do things in Baker County,” is to make disparaging remarks about “California” over and over again. I’m a native of Baker City, and I have also lived and worked in California, so I think I can give an opinion about both.
First of all, not EVERYTHING about Baker County is always GOOD. Second, not EVERYTHING about California is always BAD. Could we just leave “California” out of our negative opinion vocabulary? It is my opinion that telling people we disagree with to “go back to California,” is not one of the things about Baker County that makes it good.
Linda Wunder Wall
Let me vote for the best candidates without the unnecessary additional politics
Why can’t I, as a non-partisan, vote for the best of both Republican and Democratic parties, in whatever seat. No additional politics involved.
Regardless of party, I think Warner’s best for the job
For the life of me I don’t understand why the county commissioner’s position is political! This person represents all of the people of the county, regardless of party.
I am a Republican, but during the last election I supported Fred Warner, even though he was a Democrat, because I felt he was the best man for the job. I support him this time, not because he changed parties but because I still think he’s the best man for the job.
Carpenter most qualified for County Clerk
I am voting for Cindy Carpenter for County Clerk because she has the experience and the “know-how” to run the office from the get-go. She has nine years experience in the office, is currently ranked Management Assistant II, which delegates to her the responsibilities of running the office in the absence of the county clerk. She could step into the job of county clerk without missing a beat...and she’s a hometown girl! I urge you to vote for her as the most qualified candidate for the job.
Negative letters miss the mark with Warner
Wow! The negative letters about Commissioner Fred Warner would leave one to believe that he is either the devil in disguise or a communist. Well, nothing could be further from the truth.
Pleased to cast my vote for Warner
I have lived all over this country for 80 years, serving her with love and honor. However, in the past eight years our national leadership sails a very slick ship on rails lubricated with greed. We need Baker County to become a bellwether for the rest of mid American and its people. Toward that end, Fred Warner, I will be pleased to cast my vote for your proven leadership.
Warner is focused on all issues vital to Baker County
This is an emotional letter to write, as I personally know both candidates, but feel that one is much more qualified to lead our county. Fred Warner has proven himself over the last several years as a leader that can successfully work with the local, state, and federal governments on several issues. He has done so with professionalism while keeping the county’s best interest in focus.