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Letters to the Editor for Jan. 9, 2012

What we know about forests
To the editor:
I read with interest with Jayson Jacoby’s column (Dec. 30) on Nancy Langston’s book “Forest Dreams, Forest Nightmares.” I agree that a forest is a complex place, but there are some things that we know about forests and trees:

Letters to the Editor for Jan. 6, 2012

Time for radical political change
To the editor:
Replace all our politicians. Radical? Yes. Necessary? Yes. Why? Have they done anything to deal with our country’s serious issues in most recent times? No. Have they passed a bunch of Mickey Mouse laws that mostly just affect your liberties and rights and nothing else? It appears so to me.

Letters to the Editor for Jan. 4, 2012


Community supports kids
To the editor:
I am writing to thank our supportive community for continuing to give to Learn and Grow to Go, our very own backpack food program. LG2G is serving students in grades K-3, and 7-12.



Letters to the Editor for Dec. 30, 2011


Letters to the Editor for Dec. 28, 2011

There’s more to travel expenses
To the editor:
Regarding the editorial “Traveling Travesty” in the Dec. 23 issue, I found this a welcome opinion piece on an important subject. We should be looking at actual expenses of government departments.

Letters to the Editor for Dec. 26 , 2011

Second American Revolution begins

To the editor:

We are presently in the early days of the Second American Revolution. Thinking people among us have long been aware of the corporate takeover of the federal government, and the effectual displacement of the majority class from significant participation in it. The latest phase of this takeover, dating from the Supreme Court’s theft of the 2000 presidential election, has been an uninterrupted series of outrageous assaults on the majority class’ constitutional rights, liberties, sovereignty and well-being so encompassing as to constitute an irreversible single coup against them. But this was not, as some may have thought, a revolution. It has been, rather, a treasonous usurpation, willingly conspired and collaborated in and delivered by antidemocratic politicians of both parties, the Supreme Court, and others within the government and without.


Letters to the Editor for Dec. 14, 2011

School weapons policy misguided
To the editor:
I no longer have a child in the 5J school system. However, I am a citizen whose taxes pay to support that system. As such I found the Superintendent’s letter in the Dec. 12 issue to be sarcastic, disjointed, and just a bit offensive. There is no doubt that safety of school children is a top priority. However, attempting to implement a politically correct solution to a problem which, thus far, has not existed in Baker smacks of both a personal agenda and a desire to emulate big city school districts rather than the one we have.

Lots of guns = reason to be polite

You spent three pages on Wednesday (the 7th) with discussions concerning people carrying handguns.

I struggled through most of it and learned one important fact. Our sheriff said that he has issued 1,165 concealed handgun licenses (CHL). He did not venture an estimate about how many other Baker County residents might carry a gun without a license.  

These are scary figures. I have now decided that I will not offend anyone. They might be carrying a gun. That means no political discussions with strangers. And it means that I may make some effort to be nice to people. That would be a good idea for many of your readers.

Carl Kostol
Baker City


Schools’ focus remains

I should at least get a byline in the paper. We currently have weapons rule version 7 functioning. Because we continue to follow the law, there is no change in our practice.

Our schools are showing steady growth and improvement. Our school board is working through very difficult deliberations about an emotionally charged subject: weapons in schools.

When we trespass, it is for being a nuisance. Although rare, it does happen.

It is a Class C felony to come onto public property with a weapon. Then there are exceptions and defenses. We accept that it is complex; the police do it. When the police come, they may arrest the individual for a felony and for us it ends.

What do we do about weapons on campus? We protect our children and execute appropriate actions. We make the necessary calls and confirmations and treat the visitor properly, depending on the circumstances. If the intruder is a potential felon, the police handle it. If someone thinks they have a legitimate civil action, we cannot stop them. Safety and learning are our first priority; we have legal counsel on retainer.

Access to our schools is not unrestricted or universal. There is a protocol; check in, give information, be escorted and supervised. Has nothing to do with weapons. Has to do with safety and orderly running of the schools. Has to do with in parentis localis, we become the parents.

There are laws in this case that are intended to work together to regulate weapons in a safe and sensible manner. People who sign in, talk politely and do their business are appropriately checked and treated with courtesy.

There have been two recent court cases. Baker 5J is not like either of them. We are about an existing law for schools that is specific to the inside workings of a legally defined K-12 school system. There is a difference between K-12 schools and universities.

As for those who are enjoying this drama, don’t let your subscription lapse. Although we are currently on version 7, there is at least one more major player (PACE) to weigh in officially. When that happens, the language may change yet again.

Through all of this, we continue to focus on our purpose and mission: safety and learning. Each day, each child, in each subject will make a memory.

Walt Wegener
Baker 5J School District


Put the feds on a diet

In 2008, the United Auto Workers gave both money and manpower to Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. The next year, when General Motors and Chrysler faced financial meltdown, President Obama intervened. Instead of allowing those companies to go through the normal bankruptcy procedures, he gave large amounts of the firms’ stock to the auto workers union, and allowed them to keep their “Cadillac health care plans.” However, the bondholders, which included many retirement plans, got the shaft.

Also in 2008, ArcherMidlandDaniels Corporation gave a substantial donation to the re-election campaign of an Iowa congressman. In 2009, as a part of the giant stimulus bill, that congressman steered a grant of $67,000,000 to his agribusiness giant benefactor for ethanol research. (Indeed, the majority of stimulus funds went to groups which had good political connections —Big Business, Big Labor and other special interest groups.)

Both of the actions mentioned above were legal, and this sort of thing happens so often that we give it little thought. But that “crony capitalism” is as venal and harmful a form of corruption as anything found in the most flea-bitten third world country.

The Occupy protesters have it half right; there is something seriously wrong with things in this country. But they have misdiagnosed our national malady and offer the wrong solution — more government.

The thing is, as a government grows larger, it has more goodies to pass out to those groups which are favorably politically connected, and our Federal Government is already obese. Enlarging it further will only make things worse. Already its principal function seems to be income redistribution — taking money out of the pockets of the taxpayer and giving it to cozy insiders.

The Tea Party movement has the right idea: Shrink the Federal Government and rein in the orgy of overspending that has been going on for the past couple of years. A smaller government will have fewer political plums to hand out to special interest groups; it will become less of a gold mine. For decades, it has been becoming ever larger; it is high time to put it on a diet.

Pete Sundin
Baker City

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