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Home arrow Opinion arrow Letters

Letters to the Editor for Feb. 22, 2012

Government and liberty: The dilemma

To the editor:

The excellent letters from Jay Boyd and Gary Dielman illustrate the dilemma of human society. Because human nature cannot be trusted to be always good, government tries to check the blossoming evil as when capitalists have "no regard for the welfare of their fellow man." (quote from Gary Dielman's letter.

Letter to the Editor for Feb. 13, 2012


I appreciated the concern for our schools that Mr. Averett expressed in his Feb. 6 letter. I first want to say that I understand how the stream of recent letters to the editor could lead one to become very discouraged about our schools. So, I'd like to take this opportunity to clarify some points.

First, Kyle Knight stated in an earlier letter that the Baker 5J “employees and staff” had been “unfunded." Let me confirm to Mr. Averett and everyone else that this is not the case. Times are tough, and some of the district's state funding is still uncertain. However, let me assure everyone that our employee’s paychecks will not bounce!

Second, Kyle states that “I found misappropriated funds in the 2011-2012 budget.”.The “misappropriation” of public funds is a very, very serious charge that carries severe criminal sentences and fines. Let me assure everyone that our latest third-party audit came back with no such findings.

Letters to the Editor for Feb. 20, 2012

Community helps kids read

To the editor:

The purpose of this letter is to thank the many community volunteers, businesses and service organizations who promote reading as a positive experience for children in Baker County. In the Read Everyday And Learn (REAL) program, 45 volunteers read with almost 170 students from first through sixth grades in four schools every week. Volunteers also read with students who need extra help with their reading in the afterschool programs. Students get to pick out a book to keep four times per year. Last summer, for the first time, volunteers read with children twice per week during the YMCA free summer lunch program. Additionally, volunteers provided at least three months of tutoring to five people who wanted to improve their reading skills.

The Baker County Community Literacy Coalition (BCCLC) has promoted literacy in Baker County since 2001. The BCCLC sponsors the REAL program, an expanded version of the K-3 SMART reading program.

We are very grateful to the Lions Club, Community Bank, AAUW, YMCA, Chaves Consulting, Guyer and Associates, Eastern Oregon Medical Associates, Baker City Herald, Leo Adler, and D.E. and Jane Clark for their generous financial support. Several businesses allowed their employees to read with the children at school during work hours. We also appreciate the contributions of individual donors who help us sustain our program. The Baker Library provides office space and a place to store our books. We also want to thank all the teacher and school district staff who work with us to make the reading program operate as smoothly as possible.

Strong reading and comprehension skills are needed to be successful in life. Without the volunteers and financial support from the community we would not be able to run our successful program and serve so many children. This is a great example of a community in action working toward a common goal!

Jim Tomlinson

Literacy Coordinator, Baker City

Letters to the Editor for Feb. 17, 2012

Will voters reign in Washington?

To the editor:

President Obama is hardly the poster child for income inequality that Marshall McComb makes him out to be. As an avid practitioner of crony capitalism, the president is a big part of the problem. In 2008, Wall Street donated far more generously to his election campaign than they did to Senator McCain’s, and they have been cashing in their chips ever since. Just count how many former Wall Street executives are part of the president’s administration.

Besides, the issue in this year’s election is not going to change to  income inequality; it will remain massive overspending by the federal government. For years, Washington,
D.C., has been the home of spendthrifts, but in 2009, the money spigots were turned on full blast. We are well on a course where we add another trillion dollars to the national debt every year or two.

So in November, voters will decide: do we continue on the present course until our financial situation resembles that of Greece, or do we begin to apply a little financial discipline to our federal government?

Pete Sundin

Baker City

Letters to the Editor for Feb. 15, 2012

Stop the spending, Baker County

To the editor:

A group of elected and unelected persons recently brought in retired Justice Court judge Larry Cole to lead another tax-and-spend parade in hope of resuscitating our once humble, but now bloated bureaucratic monster called Justice Court, now run by a private Oregon Bar licensed attorney. This has to be a first in this county. For obvious reasons this court can no longer be held in esteem and no longer be called the "People's Court" run by a fine ordinary working man like Mr. Cole who held the position for many years. To pay $50,000 to $100,000 annually (plus a slice of each ticket) for two days' work per week is outrageous and immoral.

Letters to the Editor for Feb. 13, 2012

Ending political polarization

To the editor:

Polarization is apparent in our deadlocked Congress and among the American electorate.  The Left and Right seem to be talking past each other in an atmosphere of mistrust, even outright contempt.  This estrangement was examined in detail in the latest installment of Bill Moyers' excellent new TV show in an episode titled "How Do Conservatives and Liberals See the World?" (at BillMoyers.com).

Letters to the Editor for Feb. 10, 2012

What about supporters of life?

To the editor:

The editorial in Monday's Baker City Herald says it all. It backs the woman's right to abortion. It's their right, as well as any individual who feels that it is a woman's right to kill her unborn baby.

Letters to the Editor for Feb. 6, 2012

Future hangs on quality education

To the editor:

As a recent Baker High School graduate, I follow the recent sparring over the Jan. 2 school day with frustration. I'm not interested in what the district did or did not do wrong in holding school on that day. I'm a lot more interested in the actual problems the district faces. I'm a lot more interested in the fact that 40 percent of my fellow classmates did not receive a diploma within four years. I'm a lot more interested in the fact that 50.4 percent of all 5-J students are on free or reduced lunch. I'm a lot more interested in the fact that we've lost an entire school day on Fridays, and I'm a lot more interested in the fact that the number of full-time teachers at the high school has been falling since the 1990s.

Letters to the Editor for Feb. 3, 2012

Feds force Catholics to violate beliefs

To the editor:

The Department of Human and Health Services has issued a mandate which will force the Catholic Church to act against its own teachings by providing insurance coverage for contraception, sterilization, and some abortifacient drugs to its employees.

This “contraception mandate” strikes not only against the “conscience rights” of the Catholic Church, but also against religious freedom in this country — a freedom guaranteed by the First Amendment. Every American — regardless of religious affiliation — should stand against it.

Letters to the Editor for Feb. 1, 2012

Buffett, and other people's taxes

To the editor:

Recently we have heard a great deal about Mr. Warren Buffett and his advice on taxes. He thinks that taxes should be increased, especially on wealthier taxpayers.  Mr. Buffett is considered by many to be America's best investor and is one of the wealthiest so his words carry some weight. He has become a great favorite of President Obama. His secretary sat right beside Mrs. Obama at the State of the Union address.

Now we often hear that Buffett pays less in taxes than his secretary. How can this be explained? Either his secretary is very highly paid or Buffett pays very little tax. The truth is that Buffett has never liked to pay taxes. His principal source of wealth is his ownership of Berkshire Hathaway, a company that he bought many years ago for a few dollars a share and which is now selling for $115,000 a share.  The company has never paid dividends since he has controlled it. Owners who receive dividends on their shares have to pay taxes on the dividends. Horrors! Buffett doesn't like to pay taxes. He wants other people to pay (more) taxes.

Carl Kostol

Baker City

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