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Letters to the Editor for Aug. 20, 2012

Fixing Resort Street would benefit the city

Interesting comments regarding the Resort Street plan. Stunningly obvious was the comment that the Herald believes that the “city can spend the money on other projects that have a greater benefit to a larger number of city residents.” By “starting to reverse the decade-long downward trend in the condition of city streets.” What part of Resort is a not a “city street?” And what part of Resort is not used by a large number of residents?

Much more to the point, where on Resort Street is in good condition? The city at this very moment is working on the streets insuring that they are in good condition for a large number of residents. Yes, interesting comments.

Kate Dimon

Baker City

Recalling board members would be slap in face

I was encouraged by and agree with the Herald’s editorial indicating that our schools are providing our students with a quality education and the rancor among board members has not affected school district operation. I do not agree that no harm will result regardless of the outcome of a recall election.

Consider this scenario: The recall is successful and Lynne Burroughs and Mark Henderson are removed from the board. By a 2 to 1 vote, Andrew Bryan dissenting, Kyle Knight is elected board chairman. This is a young man who spent his first year: 1) intimating that board member Bryan had a financial interest in the disposal of the old high school building; 2) promoting an armed faculty while opposing technology education; 3) challenging the competency of the district’s financial officer; 4) releasing confidential information to the press; and, 5) recently suggesting possible collusion by the county clerk in her validation of the recall signatures.

Given time and maturity Mr. Knight could well become a positive contributor to the education of the district’s students. As a former teacher and high school vice principal, I suggest rather than pushing to make our teachers gun-toters, he spend some time in our city park during school hours, asking young people, near his own age, why they opt for Big Gulps and cigarettes rather than attending class.

In contrast, Mrs. Burroughs has spent many productive years in the classroom and, without remuneration, has spent countless hours providing this community with first-class drama productions. “Service to others” has been her credo. To recall her would be a slap in the face.

Some 38 years ago I wrote a poem about a disgruntled young woman leaving the city of Baker. The last two lines of the poem were: “She stood in front of Levinger’s and gave the town the ‘bird.’ ”

Levinger’s is no longer in existence but if the 5J voters recall Mrs. Burroughs, I will invite her to give her “hand signal” from the confines of my front yard.

John Heriza

Baker City

Letters to the Editor for Aug. 17, 2012

Make sure your vote will actually be counted

2012 is an important election year. Last week my family and I learned that just being a registered voter often isn’t enough to make your signature or vote count. In Oregon, registered voters can be labeled “inactive” if they haven’t voted in five years or if a ballot bounces back to the County Clerk’s office in the mail. If you’re a legally registered yet inactive voter, you no longer have the legal right to sign a petition — your signature will be invalidated. Other U.S. states have ruled limitations on inactive voters’ rights unconstitutional. Not Oregon, though!

If you were vacationing out of the area, deployed with the military, etc. and you think your ballot may have bounced back to the County, please go to the Courthouse and ask to take a look at your voting status. If you’re like some people I’ve spoken with who didn’t turn a ballot in because you didn’t like any of the candidates, you might be inactive. Again, get to the Courthouse and make sure your information is current. 

Your signature on a petition or ballot can also be invalidated if your county clerk views the signature on your voter registration card and decides they don’t match. Telling the clerk in person that you indeed signed the petition will not be considered, nor, according to the Baker County Clerk, will the “intent” of the signer. All that matters is that your signature is a match to the one on the card. If you registered online your signature ties to the one on your driver’s license, and we all know how different those can look. If you first registered decades or just years ago and your signature has changed, please go sign your card again just to be sure. Your vote and signature are too important to risk this election year.

David McQuisten

Baker City

Focus on educating children, not recalling volunteers

The Baker City Herald’s Editorial Board missed the mark when it characterized the failure of School Board recall supporters to gather sufficient valid signatures (editorial, “Right to be Cautious,” Aug. 10). The County Clerk’s Office followed a legally mandated signature checking process. This is not a “delay;” it is the democratic process in action. It is disheartening to read Herald editorials by the staff that continue to support the recall. The majority of registered voters apparently do not support it.

As citizens dedicated to our children and their education and growth, let’s join together to support the goals that our School Board volunteers were elected to implement. The School District goals are to maintain a “program designed to improve student achievement, support students’ academic growth ... encourage their attainment of individual goals and successfully prepare students to function effectively in a rapidly changing world and for the futures they choose to pursue.” Code AE, Adopted 2/19/08, readopted 2/21/12. Let’s focus on developing our children to be future leaders of our community and our nation.

Jim and Mary Tomlinson

Baker City

Government has spending problem, not tax problem

In reading the recent letter, “Reagan tax cuts made things worse, not better,” I find myself agreeable to the need for a well-informed debate.

First item: Tax cuts for the wealthy. In the early 1960s President Kennedy and a large number of leading Democrats were in agreement that the tax rate reduction would help the country’s economy. Truth is that there was a reduction in tax rates for everyone, not a tax cut. This reduction had indeed proven the outcome of economic stability. We do not have a tax problem, we have a spending problem.

Second item: Lesson from history. This country was built and made great by hard-working people, no matter what level of society they belonged. They did this while government was small and represented the people. The private sector remained strong and free from the overpowering control of the government that was there to represent them. Today the overpowering control of government has left its roots and engulfed our society entirely.

Businesses, including myself, continue to do all that we can to create and maintain jobs for employees and need to be freed up from government regulations and excessive taxes, and allow us to do what we do best ... stimulate the economy and create jobs.

I would ask all government officials to put a stop to overspending.

I am asking in November for all Baker County citizens to join me in voting for Mitt Romney.

Bill Harvey


Letters to the Editor for Aug. 15, 2012

A happy note for the future of orchestras

This Sunday, the newly formed Baker City Orchestra held its first concert at Geiser-Pollman Park in Baker City. There was a huge turnout. I would estimate the listeners to have numbered around a hundred or more.

But what really hit home with me was not so much the number of people in the audience, but their wild enthusiasm for the new orchestra. That confirms that this type of music is not dead, but somewhat absent and greatly missed. Actually, the orchestra only included one classical piece in their program (Beethoven) and it received the most applause. The community really came out to support great music!

This event has led me to consider the health of orchestras everywhere. I work with the Grande Ronde Symphony Orchestra in La Grande and it has become increasingly apparent to me as well as others on the board that the GRSO and other orchestras are in serious danger of dying out! This is because fewer students are becoming professional or even part-time musicians. Most musicians start at an elementary level in school and sadly, music-learning opportunities are becoming extremely scarce. Students should be exposed to and instructed in art and music as well as the basics, but despite this well-known fact, music is being budgeted out of our public schools.

For example, we have only one music teacher between several schools in our district and while the middle and high schools have band programs, a string program has not existed for many years. The few private teachers in the area struggle to keep up with demand and it seems that an increasing number of players emerge from homeschool families and the adult population. Consequently, there are not as many people in general who are willing to commit to music which leads to a severe shortage in current and future orchestral players. What can be done about this shortage? Perhaps we should seriously consider forming music instruction programs at a local level. If we replace failing music instruction in our schools, we may not only save our orchestras, but possibly music as well! 

Amber Martell

Baker City

High taxes on rich strangle economy

For a decade, a Democratic talking point was that the Bush tax cuts were simply “tax cuts for the rich,” and it was official Democratic policy to let these tax cuts expire. But now they want to keep the Bush tax cuts for some of “the rich,” the middle class, and allow them to lapse only for those making over $250,000 a year. The trouble is, many of these latter “rich” folks are the owners of small businesses. And historically, small businesses provide over half of the new jobs created each year.

We have an excellent example of this right here in Baker City, with the Chaves’ computer date storage business. This small business has the potential to create 100 or more new jobs for Baker County. Do we really want to raise these folks’ taxes by approximately one-third? For that is what will happen if the Democrats get their way. Why take money designated to create jobs here locally that the government will fritter away on $500 toilet seats and bridges to nowhere? The federal government does not have a particularly good record on the wise use of our tax dollars.

The Democrats were not always the party of high taxes. The Reagan tax cuts of 1982 were passed by a Democratic House of Representatives, and 20 years earlier, the Kennedy tax cuts were passed when the Democrats controlled both Congress and the presidency. Each tax cut led to a decade of economic growth.

President Kennedy knew something that President Obama doesn’t — that high taxes on the rich only strangle our nation’s economy.

Peter Sundin

Baker City

Cost a necessary part of school board recall

I read with fascination Gary Dielman’s letter Monday during which he describes an alleged conversation we recently had. I spoke with Dielman in passing once, for no more than a couple minutes, nearly three months ago. Dielman, having been the subject of a recall effort by local voters, is understandably a bit biased in the anti-recall direction. However, I do wish he’d taken the time to accurately “recall” our brief conversation before writing his letter.

 At no time did I tell him our recall effort against Lynne Burroughs and Mark Henderson would cost nothing. That’s ridiculous — and not at all the point I was attempting to make when he asked about my involvement. I’m a taxpayer who places high importance on the wise use of taxpayers’ money. I don’t take the cost of a special election lightly, nor does anyone working with me. When considering costs, I believe voters should also look, for example, at the pay raise Henderson and Burroughs just gave the superintendent — in a time when teachers have been cut. Or at their senseless rejection of a teacher’s grievance surely resulting in thousands of dollars in expensive independent arbitration/legal fees and the cost of recruiting new staff for that position. And what price would you put, Mr. Dielman, on standing up for the First Amendment rights of the directors we voted into office? Or on keeping legally public information available to the public rather than have certain board members declare this information “confidential” simply because they say it is? When I compare the cost of a special election to that of keeping these two in office, it seems a sadly necessary investment.

 As voters, we have only two established, legal choices when an elected official fails miserably on the job: We can wait until they come up for re-election and vote them out, or we can recall or “unvote” them. From my point of view, another couple years of this board’s decisions would come at too high a cost.

Kerry McQuisten

Baker City

 Let’s show Idaho Power the door

Let me get this straight: We have just let a private and out-of-state owned business — Idaho Power — into our county, tell us they are going to put a high-voltage power line though our yards, divide the community in argument, make a mockery of our own rules and regulations, give us no compensation for social and economic damage done, and we are about to let them get away with it.

Remember their last project? Although construction of their dams mandated they provide adequate fish passage there still hasn’t been a salmon or steelhead in any of our creeks and rivers since the dams went into place. So why now have we let them return and raise havoc? I don’t recall being given the chance to vote whether we wanted this power line coming through our county or not. Instead, as if this is our vote, we are being only given choices of alternative routes that, like I said, split our community, compromise our unique lifestyles, bend hard-fought for-or-against regulations and erode our environment. Are we supposed to be thankful to be given a chance choosing one of two evils?

Go to the Idaho Power Website and watch their propaganda video why the Boardman to Hemingway line is both needed and necessary (their words). You’ll discover that their average customers now have 24 electrical devices, live in larger homes and are busy breaking new energy-consumption records. Well, if their customers can afford bigger homes and all those electrical gadgets then they can certainly afford a rate hike. Why should we be sacrificing our land along with our way of life for people in rat race land with a consumerism problem? We are not in a state of emergency.

Yet Idaho Power really does need this power line because Idaho Power is a for-profit company — no different than Enron was. They are on the New York stock exchange (IDA. Currently at a five-year high). Their mission is to make money and satisfy their shareholder’s portfolios. What their video doesn’t tell you is that this power line allows them to also sell electricity where it is in high demand, places like Phoenix and L.A. Idaho Power only cares about Idaho Power. If they didn’t then why are they bypassing their own property with their proposed route? This issue is about money and muscle and we in Eastern Oregon are not even pawns but mere dust on their chessboard.

Our way of life is something that can’t be graphed or charted and therefore doesn’t count and is easily sacrificed. This is the real price they are out to extract from us, making us pay for all the electrical device-heads in Idaho and to satisfy some stockholder in the Bahamas. Please make it clear to these people that they and their project are not welcome here. Show them to the nearest exit. It doesn’t have to be well lit.

Whit Deschner lives near Sparta. 

Letters to the Editor for Aug. 13, 2012

County Clerk enforces voting laws without prejudice

I too have had my vote invalidated by our County Clerk, Tami Green. My response? Whoops, got to make sure my signature is consistent. Signatures being crazy seems to run in my family, but since that incident I have taken my responsibility as a voter more seriously and ensure that I am following proper voting procedure.

I have found Tami Green to be an excellent non-partisan county clerk who takes her job seriously and enforces our voting laws without prejudice. To see her attacked because of the petitioners own lack of foresight is appalling and shows their lack of character.

Loran Joseph

Baker City

Standing up for Loren Hughes, a good American

This is in response to Brian Addison’s letter to the editor of June 1, 2012, in the Baker City Herald and his feeble attempt to discredit Mr. Loren Hughes of La Grande. Let’s start by portraying Loren Hughes as the person he really is — an honorable veteran of World War II, a man who fought for our freedom, liberty and property rights; a community-minded man who has helped his community in many ways; a man who has worked tirelessly for a lot of years in an effort to protect our public lands. He has worked with the government agencies in charge of our public lands to ensure they are the good land stewards they are supposed to be, and not bend to private interest pressures.

I am very disappointed that people who have known Loren Hughes, worked on a lot of different issues with him and know him for the good American citizen that he is, have not come forward on his behalf.

You may not agree with Mr. Hughes on everything, but to allow these untrue, trashy statements about a good man who has served his country and contributed a great deal to his community to go unchallenged is just plain wrong.

Bob Kern

Baker City

Recall is an unnecessary      cost to taxpayers

I see that the attempt to recall two Baker 5J school board members failed to obtain enough valid signatures. I’m relieved.

If you want to divide a community, have an unnecessary recall election.  

If you want to ding your fellow taxpayers for $10,000, sign an unnecessary recall election petition.  That’s what it will cost School District 5J, according to Baker County Clerk Tami Green.

In recall elections, there is no free lunch.

Yet, when Chief Petitioner Kerry McQuisten showed up on my doorstep a couple of weeks ago, she told me that it would not cost the district anything, because there was a dedicated fund to cover the expense. If such a fund exists, where does she think the money comes from? Taxpayers!

Before McQuisten’s petitions failed to qualify, she said that if the board members did not resign, the $10,000 expenditure could be laid at their feet. 

I’d say McQuisten’s got the cart before the horse.  If McQuisten had not launched the unnecessary recall campaign and voters had not signed the petitions, that’s when the taxpayers could have been spared paying the $10,000 expense. 

It should be noted that McQuisten and those who signed her petitions are not required to pay any fee whatsoever.

If one is dissatisfied with the performance of public officials, there’s an inexpensive and convenient way to get rid them: vote them out of office at the next election. 

Gary Dielman

Baker City

We need a new approach to dealing with drugs

I would like to respond to Jerry Boyd’s letter about why we shouldn’t legalize drugs. The first thing that will become evident to him is the limitations of the daily presses. I’m sure he will like to respond but in two weeks nobody will remember what either of us were talking about.

Einstein said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result and that has been what we have been doing since Nixon started his war on drugs. As the  drug series on the History Channels points out we haven’t gotten anywhere on combating drugs, unless you think that having only 48 percent of  junior high school kids having tried pot as opposed to 50 percent in the 70s progress. Anyone who wants drugs can get them. The statistics are out there. I wrote an article in the weeklies a while back about our drug problem, the U.S. having the highest incarceration rate in the world and how I thought the only thing I did over the last 30 years was to provide jobs for cops, prison guards, head shrinkers etc. Jasper Coombes answered with a good letter about just how many people we employ in the drug war.

But here is a new slant. Doing something different, maybe full legalization of all drugs, and a tax for rehab or something would avoid a coming civil war. I say that because of the leftwing push for gun control that is sure to end in some kind of bloody conflict should they get their way. The left hates gun violence but fail to make the connection between cartels and  black-on-black inner city drug wars. 

I think the last people you should allow to set drug policy is the police, just as you don’t ask a general about invading a country to star a war. Yes, listen to their point of view but make policy after a wide-ranging debate. After society at large defines the bad guy then the cops and military can take them out but we need to chart a new course. Those that make their living in a situation will always advise the same course.

Steve Culley


Letters to the Editor for Aug. 10, 2012

Proposed forest rule threatens local economy

I am opposing the Forest Service proposed rule on “Categorical Exclusion for Restoration Activities.” This road and trail category (defined at 36 CFR 212.1) is to be used for areas where non-system roads and trails are located and is a backdoor approach to closing more forest roads.

This rule is designed to target our RS 2477 roads. Many of these old roads are not being maintained because they do not need it. They are healed over and do not contribute to erosion. Yes, they are being used — by every kind of animal. They have a cultural value to us, and most of them are established on ancient Indian trails which also have a cultural value.

I believe it is in our best interest to leave them alone.

In the explanation it covers “removing water control devices such as dikes, ditches, culverts and pipes; restore lands and habitat to pre-disturbance conditions (besides), restore lands occupied by roads and trails to natural conditions.” And “remove debris, sediment” following “natural or human-caused events.”

Again, we have water-related devices or controls in our local forest which support our agricultural lands that are over a century old. They have never caused any environmental damages and they have seldom needed more than a minimum of maintenance.

Since they use natural ways of operating they meet the standard to restore to a natural state covered by this rule. This will be a tremendous economic loss to Baker County.

This rule is written with no knowledge of our local terrain or local needs.

This rule threatens us with an enormous negative economical impact on a number of local industries, including fishermen, hunters, prospectors, woodcutters and most importantly here in our dry region, water for irrigation.

It is extremely important to respond immediately. The comment period ends Aug. 13.

Submit comments online at www.regulations.gov or write to “Restoration CE Comments,” P.O. Box 4208, Logan, UT, 84323.

Identify comments by writing “Categorical Exclusions for Restoration Activities” on the front page. Be sure to sign your name and address.

Carmelita Holland


Letters to the Editor for Aug. 8, 2012

Chick-fil-A owner’s comments personal, not political

In the Aug. 3 editorial, “Chicken chain’s flap,” you are correct in stating that business owners have First Amendment rights to free speech as American citizens. However, the first sentence in the last paragraph is incorrect which states, “The First Amendment pretty clearly stands in the way of any city trying to legally restrict businesses from opening based on the political views of their owners.” This statement is misleading. 

 The views expressed by Mr. Cathy of Chick-fil-A were not political.  They were a statement of his personal convictions that have helped the Chick-fil-A business to be successful, and he has the right to express them publicly.  As you note, politicians have turned Cathy’s comments into a political flap, and it has been perpetuated by the press. We are disappointed that the Baker City Herald joined in this bias by insinuating that Cathy’s remarks were political.

 Equally disappointing was the political cartoon included in the Aug. 3 paper which depicts that homosexuals are treated differently by Chick-fil-A.  The company has issued a statement telling its customers that “going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena” and that Chick-fil-A’s tradition is “to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect — regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender.” 

John and Susie Busch

Baker City

Thanks to locals for taking care of my backpack

Just wanted to say thank you to the person(s) who turned in my backpack (on July 23) after it inadvertently fell out of the car when we stopped for lunch while on our way from Boise to Bend. Thank you to the Subway employees for holding onto it. Thank you to Grammy K for picking it up and keeping it safe until we came back through on the 28th. It was a disappointment not to have my wallet and cameras while on vacation, but great (and comforting) to know that Baker City has such quality people!

Shaun Hammersmark


Chick-fil-A doesn’t discriminate against anyone

Although your Aug. 3 editorial about the Chick-fil-A flap notes the right of the owners to express their support for traditional marriage, the cartoon on the editorial page suggests that Chick-fil-A actively discriminates against homosexuals in the service they offer (comparing it to the pre-civil rights era when blacks were relegated to “Negro” drinking fountains, restrooms, etc.). This is, I believe, a gross mischaracterization of Chick-fil-A which borders on slander.

Chick-fil-A’s website has this statement regarding service to customers: “The Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect — regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender. We will continue this tradition in the over 1,600 Restaurants run by independent Owner/Operators. Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena.” In addition, I’ve heard no reports that they practice any kind of illegal or unethical discrimination in their hiring practices.

Personally, I applaud the owners of Chick-fil-A for their courage in defending their “politically incorrect” view of marriage. The homosexualist agenda advocates “tolerance” for all…unless one’s views diverge from theirs. That makes the homosexualists the bigots, not Chick-fil-A’s owners. 

Jay Boyd

Baker City

Pro-pot position is rooted in writer’s selfishness

The editor’s “drifting towards a yes vote on pot measure” is misguided. His argument that he can consider voting for it because it will have no direct impact on him is indicative of much of what is wrong in our society.  His perspective can only be labeled as “it’s all about me.” If it doesn’t affect me then I can support it.  Have you ever stopped to think that it really isn’t, or shouldn’t be, all about you?  What about the adverse effects (and they are well documented) on the user of marijuana? Legalize it and you simply make it easier for more people to abuse their bodies and minds. But who cares? Right...it’s not about them, it’s about the impact on you.

 Consider also the negative effects on society.  As a cop I worked in a number of big cities and the impacts on crime due to the use of any narcotic or drug, including marijuana, are many and always negative. So legalizing it will theoretically drive the cost down? Questionable, but even at lower cost there is a criminal element that will steal to obtain the funds needed to buy their weed. If you want to make your decision based on facts rather than assumptions you might ask the Baker City Police Chief or Baker County Sheriff whether marijuana use in our county is related to other criminal activity.

 I never put words in a criminal’s mouth but I cannot count the number of heroin, meth and coke users I have interviewed that told me they started with weed, liked the buzz, and felt a stronger drug would just give them a better trip.  Finally, your assumption that the cartels will stop growing marijuana in our national forests if Oregon legalizes pot can only be described as a fantasy.  Look online for Mexican drug cartel distribution maps and you will see that weed grown here doesn’t all stay here. So unless every state were to legalize pot the cartel grows are not going away anytime soon.

 Your original inclination to oppose legalizing weed was the right one. I hope you revert back to it.

Jerry Boyd

Baker City

Letters to the Editor for Aug. 6, 2012

Reagan tax cuts made things worse, not better

Jobs and economic growth are not triggered by wealthy investors, but by broadly distributed middle-class prosperity and consumer demand. That’s why “supply-side” economic theory, in which tax cuts for the wealthy are supposed to stimulate the economy, has been thoroughly discredited and is worse than useless. And that’s why it was discouraging to read in the Herald that Reagan’s tax cuts during his first term were “so influential in reviving a sluggish economy” (your lengthy essay of July 27). (“Supply-side” is also known as “trickle-down” or voodoo economics.  Google “Reaganomics” to learn more.)

Actually, economic growth during the Reagan years was stimulated by a major increase in government spending, a result right in line with the highly regarded Keynesian prescription for recovery from a normal recession. According to Wikipedia, increases in payroll taxes negated Reagan’s tax cuts for the middle class, but spending during Reagan’s two terms averaged 22.4 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), well above the 20.6 percent GDP average from 1971 to 2009. But in the end, Reaganomics failed him. Reagan’s spending increases and tax cuts tripled the national debt, a result Reagan described as the “greatest disappointment” of his presidency. (Not learning from history, the Bush tax cuts doubled the national debt, and it’s still climbing.)

It’s even more important to understand that the current recession is not a normal one. The economy continues to expand slowly, unemployment remains stubbornly high, and millions are suffering. Why? The middle class has been largely drained of its purchasing power by the increasing effects of automation, off-shoring jobs, and union-busting. Meanwhile, a few very wealthy Americans have siphoned off much of the profits, are paying historically low tax rates, and are investing millions of dollars in this election to increase their political clout and further impoverish the rest of us.  

A well-informed national debate is desperately needed to deal with this major, new structural problem. It’s important that the drumbeat of false and misleading information be minimized. I urge you and my fellow readers to fact-check information before passing it along and then help create innovative, evidence-based solutions.

Marshall McComb

Baker City

Nice to read about the school district’s achievements

The report on our schools in the July 30 Baker City Herald was very welcome to all of us — parents and community members who are not parents of students now in school here. Learning that the percentages – test scores in reading and math, building assessments are far above the state percentages tells us more than opinions without any credible data that have been expressed previously.

 Thank you Supt. Wegener and Chairman Burroughs for compiling this data-filled report, and to the Herald for publishing it.

Maryalys Urey

Baker City

The real meaning of ‘once in a blue moon’

Sounds to me that almost everyone uses the term “once in a blue moon” like they know what it means. Well, as usual that is all talk, with little “knowledge,” meaning understanding gained by actual experience, not from hearsay from folk that know even less than you think you know.

Once in a blue moon is when there is a full moon twice in the same month, as is the case in August of 2012, once on Aug. 2 and again on Aug. 31. Now you know what a blue moon is.

Jim Smeraglio

Baker City

Letters to the Editor for Aug. 3, 2012

Power line would go through our back yard

It was with dismay that I read the B.C. Herald’s July 27 editorial “Best route for the power line.” I estimate that at least 99 percent of Baker County’s residents are on the grid and that they take it for granted. However, their power comes here transmitted on high tension lines going through someone’s back yard – though I doubt that many worry about where, as long as they have reliable power and it does not affect their viewshed.

Some of us, though, live with no access to the grid and thus derive no benefits from any transmission line anywhere. Instead, at high cost we supply our own limited power from photovoltaic systems or generators. We accept the cost and inconvenience gladly (no air conditioner, no clothes dryer, etc.,) but we do object to the new suggested route going through our back yard in the historical district of Sparta – which incidentally is in elk overlay. It also appears that the route would require quite a swath to be cut through the national forest. 

Please reconsider your endorsement.

Kirsten Badger


Save energy, avoid need to build power line

I have a novel idea. How about the beneficiaries bearing the cost? I live in Sparta, most of us get our electricity from photovoltaics, we accept the consequences of our choice and we live with limited electricity. We did this in part as we wished to live in an unspoiled environment with as few reminders as possible of the urban world, an unobstructed view of the Wallowas, for example. Now it would seem that many in the Baker City area don’t like the prospect of a 500kv utility line running through their area, I thought perhaps parallel to Pocahontas or Hwy 30 might be a good route. After all, the vast majority of you are connected to the utility grid, shouldn’t you pay the cost?

But then redistribution is a popular theme and moving it to eastern Baker County is redistributing the cost! Let’s face it, profligate energy consumption is detrimental to the environment that we all desire in Baker County. Use less electricity and demand that Idaho Power find another way to balance its load.

Ray Badger


Letters to the Editor for Aug. 1, 2012

Greg Walden needs to represent all of his district

It’s time the people in Greg Walden’s district see who he really represents. The House of Representatives is getting ready to vote on tax-cut extensions. 

But the only tax extension Walden will vote for is for the continuation of the Bush-era tax cuts for the richest Americans. Republican Rep. Walden is in “lock-step” with his party and is not concerned with the majority of people he supposedly represents in Congress. 

It’s time for Rep. Walden to realize that as intelligent, hardworking Oregonians we demand more from him than platitudes, handshakes and Republican talking points. We need a representative who will actually listen to us (the voters) and then vote according to our wishes; not someone who votes the party line every time! 

It’s time for Walden to understand that he’s supposed to represent all of us in his district not just the rich who provide money for his re-election campaigns. If the continuation of the tax cut for those making less than $250,000 a year isn’t a priority for Walden, and continuing the Bush-era tax cuts for the rich is, then it’s simply time for us to get rid of Mr. Walden as a representative and vote in office someone who will represent all the people in this district. 

I urge my fellow Oregonians, in Walden’s district, to phone, email or write to him and let him know that if he doesn’t represent all the people in his district he will be replaced. I’m tired of the Republican “lock-step” attitude and the effect it has had on Congress and our country. We can do better! Let’s get rid of a man who doesn’t represent us and find someone who will.

Steve and Michelle DeFord


Thanks for sharing your special part of Oregon

The week of July 22, eight of us drove out from Portland to spend the week cycling Baker County and the Blue and Wallowa Mountains. We’ve been to Baker County many times but usually only for a day or so.

Spending almost a week in Baker County was fantastic! We rode through, and stayed and ate at Baker City, Sumpter, Halfway and Haines. We cycled on NF 73, HWY 203 and Anthony Lakes Hwy. Wow! We loved every minute of it! 

The roads were smooth and the views were spectacular. And the people? Oh yeah ... the people! Everyone was so friendly. 

Cars and trucks always passed us with plenty of room. We could not believe how many drivers and ranchers would wave to us as we cycled through. We felt very welcome. You all live in a special part of Oregon; thanks for sharing it with us!

Keith Ketterling


Letters to the Editor for July 27, 2012

Great service from Grumpy’s

We wanted to drop a note to the Herald regarding Grumpy’s Repair.  J.R. and Ian provided excellent customer service to us when we limped our RV into the shop last week. It was discovered both fuel filters were blocked, which caused the fuel pump to give up the ghost. J.R. and Ian also discovered we were in need of a fuel pressure regulator, which previous owners of our RV had completely removed. That particular part had to be located, which ended up being in Portland. The regulator was shipped overnight, so Ian could install it the next day.  The hospitality, friendliness, and timely updates on our situation were awesome, and more than we ever could have expected. We contacted family members to let them know we were stranded, and when they found out where we were, they told us not to worry, that we were in good hands at Grumpy’s. We would recommend Grumpy’s to anyone who might need work done on their RV or Truck. They are very hard workers, and still provide the personal touch.  Keep up the great work, guys!

Rob and Diana Hoefer

Aberdeen, Wash.

Making the bandstand dream come true

What a wonderful Miners Jubilee weekend we just enjoyed! From beginning to end, it became increasingly clear that Baker City can exemplify the very best in what is right with America. When this community pulls together, anything is not only possible, it is achievable. And in a big way!

 Thank you to everyone who put forth special effort to support our Baker City Bandstand in the Park project by attending the living history fundraiser performance of “Fanny.” The old gal is back in the trunk now, but her pioneering spirit lives on in each of you.

 When the Geiser and Pollman families donated land over a hundred years ago for a public park in Baker City, they envisioned a place that would become the heart of the community.  We believe our planned bandstand pavilion is not only in harmony with that original vision, but will continue to enrich the lives of Baker County residents, travelers, performers, and sightseers for decades to come.  It’s our turn to make history.

 The BHS graduating class of 1952 held its 60th reunion over Miners Jubilee. They bought a Baker City Bandstand brick to help get us a little closer to our goal of construction.  They’ve issued a challenge to all graduating classes of Baker High School to do the same. 

 Check us out on Facebook (www.facebook.com/BAKERCITYBANDSTAND) for order forms.  Or call 541-519-5653 for more information. Together, we can make this community dream come true.

Joyce Badgley Hunsaker (“Fanny”)

Baker City

Bandstand Committee                  Board Member

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