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Letters to the Editor Oct. 12, 2012

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.

Sharon Rudi

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

Baker City

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.

Ken Anderson

Baker City

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.

Nick Cooke

Baker City


Letters to the editor for Oct. 10, 2012

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. 

Lorrie Harvey

Baker City

Letters to the Editor for Oct. 8, 2012


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

Baker City

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



Letters to the Editor for Oct. 5, 2012

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.

Bill Ward

Baker City

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.

Mike Ogan

Baker City

Letters to the Editor for Oct. 3, 2012

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.

Mark Henderson

Baker City

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.   

Linda Bergeron


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.

Pete Sundin

Baker City

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!

Brenda Holly

Baker City

Letters to the Editor for Oct. 1, 2012

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.

Gary Dielman

Baker City

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. 

Lyndelle McCoy

Baker City

Letters to the Editor for Sept 28, 2012

Williams right person for justice of the peace

Lately we’ve been reading about the attributes and qualities of the candidates seeking election for the Justice of the Peace. Given the changes occurring in the budget and the reduction to a half-time position for the judge, it will take someone with excellent management skills to successfully make the transition. Both candidates fit that bill. However, the other part of the equation, and of equal importance in my mind, is a candidate’s knowledge of criminal and civil law, as legally sound decisions must be rendered daily.

Letters to the Editor for Sept. 26, 2012

Obamacare: Be careful what you wish for

With the Democratic convention just completed and some of the major platforms established it is time to think through what has been presented, and what was omitted. Just a glance at Obamacare is insightful. During the convention an attractive young woman delivered an excellent sales pitch that included the wisdom and desirability of providing free birth control devices and care to women of child-bearing age. Aside from the fact that there are serious religious and moral issues and that most of the desired preventative devices are already available at nominal cost, this appears to be just smokescreen to divert attention from some of the real “meat” contained in Obamacare that should be revealed to the general public. Care of the aged is such a subject.

Based on information contained in the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor (P.O. Box 84904, Phoenix, AZ), Obamacare establishes a system of care that would be controlled by objectives of government not by choice of the individual patient or the doctor involved. For example, citizens above a certain given age would be denied certain care regardless of their ability to pay.

A panel within these “Elder Care Centers” will have final authority over care given to the individual “elderly” in accordance with government guidelines, period. This appears to be socialized medicine at its worst, yet is being proposed by the current president of the United States with enthusiastic support of those at the convention!

Today’s young women and others will surely find an appeal in the availability of items and care for which others pay. But each should remember, youth does not last forever. There will come a time, for those who are fortunate, when our fate may be decided by an “Elder Care Center” panel whose duty appears to be avoiding excessive government costs.

The president’s proposal is a direct violation of our God-given rights and the law of the land in this constitutional republic. Voice your objections nor or forfeit this opportunity, and ultimately, perhaps your life.

Jasper Coombes


Republicans are out of touch with the middle class

Recent weeks have revealed a sharp disconnect by present-day Republican leadership from average Americans and from reality.  Perhaps the most blatant and troubling were statements by their standard bearer, Mitt Romney, at a private fund-raiser in May.  “I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility,” Romney solemnly pronounced, referring to the 47 percent of Americans who don’t pay federal income tax.  Mindlessly parroting the distorted talking points of the extreme right wing, he ignorantly dismissed members of  the 47 percent group, most of whom are hard-working Americans who have low-paying jobs or are retired.

Why so many low-paying jobs?  A massive, but widely unrecognized, redistribution of wealth has taken place in the U.S.A. over the past 35 years.  We have lost millions of good-paying jobs to computer automation, globalized off-shoring, and union busting.  Wealth production has doubled, but ordinary wages flat-lined, and most of the profit has gone to a wealthy few.  And the top marginal income tax rate – which was over 90 percent during the golden years of middle-class growth and prosperity in the 1950s and early 1960s – has shrunk to 35 percent today, along with cuts in capital gains and estate taxes.  The wealthy, including Romney, have salted away nearly all the increased profits, while the middle class has lost its buying power.  

To set things straight, substantial tax increases on the wealthy would restore fairness, recycle trillions of dollars now sitting idle, and get the economy moving again.  But Romney-Ryan offer only shop-worn proposals for even more tax cuts for the wealthy one percent. They say that cutting taxes (and environmental regulations) will bring us “opportunity” and prosperity. But Republicans tried that under Reagan, and tripled the national debt. They tried that under Bush II, and doubled the debt, and it’s still going up. Unsurprisingly, the fraudulent Ryan-Romney budget does not even come into balance for decades. 

Republicans have hamstrung the country with their ideology and their no-new-tax pledges. I urge my fellow readers to join with the other 99 percent of Americans to reelect President Barack Obama and to elect Democrat Joyce Segers as our U.S. Representative. 

Marshall McComb

Baker City

Authors had a great time during Baker City visit

We brought our Crazy Eights Author Tour to Baker City on Sept. 14 and had a stupendous time. Hosted by Betty’s Books, eight terrific Oregon authors came on their own nickel to visit your city and put on a literary event which was unique. 

We found a warm and hospitable community and a lively audience at the Crossroad Carnegie Arts Center. Each author stood on stage, spoke for only five minutes each, sharing about their writing life and it was marvelous. Thank you Baker City for being the first stop as the tour crisscrosses Oregon with eight venues in all. Rest assured we are telling folks what a grand time we had in Baker City. Don’t forget to support your wonderful independent bookstore, Betty’s Books, one of the finest in Oregon.

By the way, I lived in Baker City when I was but a lad of eight and my father worked for West & Company mortuary and my very first novel was set in your town. Thank you again.

George Byron Wright


Tips for avoiding a scam on craigslist

Don’t be a victim of a scam artist from craigslist. I am hoping on letting people know what to look for when dealing with these people. There are several points that you should look for. 

When you try to sell an item for $1,000, there are many people that will send you an e-mail and you think “they can’t all be scams” but they are. They will send you a form letter with pretty much the same wording in each e-mail.

• They accept the price

• They never say what the item is, they call it an item

• They will say they can’t come see the item

• They will add money to your sale 

• They will give you a story of service for our country, volunteers or some sort of disability

• They will ask for their money back or ask you to send money to a shipping company before the check clears the bank for some emergency

• The scammers all have gmail addresses

• They use cashier’s checks, certified checks and Pay Pal

Do not give them your information: They could steal your identity

If you do receive a check call the bank and see if it will clear before you deposit it, it costs you for a returned check.

Make sure the check has cleared before sending any money out. The bank takes 10 days or more to clear a check, please wait. 

Tammy Hadley

Baker City

Letters to the Editor for Sept. 24, 2012

Williams best choice for Justice of the Peace

Those of us who have the good fortune to live in Baker County must soon make a decision on who will serve as our next Justice of the Peace. Since HB 2712 has effectively reduced the position to half time, it behooves us to choose very carefully. We need someone who has the education, experience, management skills, compassion, sound judgment and integrity to fulfill the requirements of the position beginning on day one, as well as run an efficient, well-managed office with limited resources well into the future.

We believe Don Williams is the only candidate that meets all of those criteria, and has a proven track record. Please join us in supporting Don in the upcoming election for Justice of the Peace.

Peggy and Larry Pearson

Baker City

Fifth-grader wants to learn about Oregon

My name is Conner Miller and I am in fifth grade. I attend Brethren Heritage School in Modesto, Calif.

We are doing state reports this year in our History class. I have chosen to do my report on your state of Oregon.

If you should happen to read this in your local newspaper, I would greatly appreciate receiving any information or items regarding your state. You could send pictures, tourist attraction information, trivia about your state, or anything that would cause me to be more familiar with your state.

Please send to: Conner Miller, c/o Brethren Heritage School, 3549 Dakota Ave., Modesto, CA 95358.

Thank you very much for helping me with my state report. I will appreciate any help you can give me.

Conner Miller

Modesto, Calif.

Letters to the Editor for Sept. 19, 2012

Base your vote on reality,  not a debunked movie

In response to Robert Heriza’s recent letter, the bust of Winston Churchill remains on display in the White House despite the movie’s claim that Obama had it removed. I encourage everyone to take what the narrator in “2016: Obama’s America” says with a grain of salt as fact-checkers have consistently debunked most of the movie’s assertions as false and not supported by actual events.

Vote for who you want but please do so for reasons based in reality.

Loran Joseph

Baker City

Why close forest roads when visitors are satisfied?

The Wallowa-Whitman National Forest has released its Travel Use Study (TUS). The study shows households of 0 to $25,000 /year at only 7.1 percent of total visits to sites in the WWNF. If the WWNF staff only questioned people that self-identified as “recreating” on the national forest they would have inherently skewed the data to identify higher income households as they would have the disposable incomes to “recreate” with. While we are being told of a mass buildup of OHV use on the forest, OHV use only equates to 1.5 percent of “main use” on the forest or 18 to 24 OHVs on any given day on the entire WWNF or .005 to .006 OHVs per square mile, hardly a reason to implement a “closed forest system” or to conduct a mass road closure implementation.

The total for all site visits (estimated) is 502,000 visits per year, + or - 75,300 people or 15 percent. Giving a range of 1,169 to 1,581 people/day that visit the WWNF giving a use rate of .32 to .45 people/sq. mile/day or .0005 to .0007 people/ac/day. There has been discussion to “user group conflicts” and how that is taking away from the satisfaction of the public on the WWNF. But when you look at the TUS you find little to no dissatisfaction, in fact, you find quite the opposite.

Satisfaction of people surveyed in regards to “Condition of Environment” was 89.5 percent to 100 percent satisfaction rating. Respondents gave a 93 percent to 99 percent favorable rating with a 78 percent favorable rating in the wilderness area to “Road Condition.” Again, we’ve been told repeatedly how dissatisfied the public is, when the survey does not bear that out.

Why are we moving to create a closed forest system to the public on the WWNF when there is such overwhelming support for the current management scheme (minus some obvious lawsuits that severely curtail vegetative management abilities)? The WWNF is a great place and the key to its greatness is how the people access the landscape I am hopeful we will be able to facilitate keeping an open forest policy that is tied directly to our history/culture and how we interact with the landscape.

John D. George


Turn forest management over to local officials

As a seasoned senior citizen, I have observed the gradual disarray of the U.S. Forest Service over the last 30 years. The forest has gone from a “land of many uses” to an ecological disaster.

We have the USFS violating the Multiple Use Sustained-Yield Act by protecting a single species at the expense of a whole ecosystem, as well as communities and counties. Instead of healthy forest projects, protecting resources and providing jobs to rural counties, now due to catastrophic fires we have total devastation to hundreds of thousands of acres.

This year alone, over 8 million acres of insect-ridden, overcrowded and mismanaged USFS and BLM public land has been destroyed by fire.

Have they managed the forest? Absolutely not! There has been no serious forest maintenance for about 20 years. What is the condition and health of the forest? Rep. Greg Walden showed us maps of Eastern Oregon that showed extreme susceptibility to fire. In other words, the forest hasn’t been thinned, logged, grazed or generally managed as it was in the distant past.

Has fire become a bigger cash cow to the USFS than using available resources? Are the counties and communities paying the price for the inept mismanagement of public lands? Statistics show the loss of 30,000 forest-related jobs from 1990-2010. For every 1 million board-feet of timber harvested, 18 jobs are created. Our rural communities could thrive and our Secure Rural School payments could be relied on.

In Eastern Oregon, Baker Grant, Union and Wallowa counties have violently protested the Travel Management Plan on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest and sent the plan back to the USFS for revision.

Is the USFS broken? Could the lands that they are supposed to be managing be better managed by local officials? Certainly the locals have much more interest and concern in regard to the state of the forest than appointed career officials who come and go at the whim of their superiors. Is it time to take back management of OUR public lands? You be the judge.

Martin Stroy

Baker City

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