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Letters to the Editor for Feb. 4, 2013

Gun control no way to stop gun violence

The concept of gun control to stop gun violence is very simple. It’s like trying to stop a schoolyard bully by all the little weak kids agreeing that they won’t fight back. The concept of Second Amendment gun rights is also very simple. It’s like all the little weak kids having the opportunity to walk to school with their big, football-player brothers.

 If the idea of gun control to stop violence really worked, we wouldn’t want to stop there. We could end all crime by getting rid of our police and sheriff departments and we could end all fires by getting rid of our fire departments. We could also end war by getting rid of our military. How can people honestly think this might work? Where would we be today if, after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, we had just thrown all our weapons into the Pacific Ocean? We fought back then and as individuals and a nation, we need to fight back now. We need to refuse to be victims. The bad guys have firearms and they won’t stop using them just because the rest of us quit. And our self-protection weapons need to be as big and capable as what the bad guys have.

Jim Carnahan

Baker City

Letters to the Editor for Feb. 1, 2013

Alternative energy not a panacea to problems

Electricity from wind farms costs around four times as much as that produced by conventional electrical generators. Ever wonder why? After all, once the towers are in place, their fuel is both free and inexhaustible. Why is it so much more expensive?

It’s partly due to the nature of wind itself. Sometimes it blows; sometimes it doesn’t. Say a wind farm has the capacity to power 30,000 homes. But when the air is calm and still, those wind towers are generating absolutely no electricity. So that wind farm must be paired with conventional generators which can provide the missing electricity when the wind isn’t blowing. You see the problem: to provide that 30,000 homes’ worth of electricity, there must be two facilities with that capability, not just one, and that’s costly.

When the wind does blow, it does not do so consistently; there are sudden gusts, and sometimes lulls. So if you were getting all of your electricity from a wind farm, you would suffer a series of frequent power surges and/or brownouts, an intolerable situation and another reason for the pairing of wind farms and conventional power plants. The latter are needed to smooth out the erratic power generation of wind farms. Since the conventional generators must be ready to instantly increase power to alleviate wind lulls, they must be running all the time. This means that they are often burning fuel (and so giving off carbon dioxide) yet not producing any electricity whatsoever.

Still another factor is that the most dependable sites for wind power seldom are close to the metropolitan areas which they serve. So wind farm electricity must be sent long distances, and much is therefore lost through electrical resistance in the wires transmitting it.

The problems discussed above are intrinsic to wind power, and cannot be alleviated through engineering. Great Britain’s wind farms have been giving the English a demonstration of the above problems. Solar panels also use a free, inexhaustible fuel, but since the sun doesn’t shine all the time either, Spain’s solar power facilities have difficulties similar to those of wind power.          

 Pete Sundin

Baker City

Time for Eastern and Western Oregon to separate

Either the gun control bill in Congress will pass or not. As I write this it appears there are enough votes to stop Dianne Feinstein and her army of banners from destroying the Second Amendment. Everything has been said on both sides. By now you should understand that the right believes owning firearms lets us defend ourselves and makes us capable of resisting tyranny and is essential to maintain freedom. The left is just as convinced that if they disarm us everything will be sweetness and light and evil will disappear. No more deaths do to violence or at least a lot fewer.

What pro gun people should understand is that even if this battle is won they will be back. Urban America grows and rural America shrinks as to relative size and make no mistake, banning guns is an urban idea. We see things in mirror images. We are red and blue states and red counties inside blue states. Deep cultural issues divide Eastern and Western Oregon and if you Google “state partitions” you will find that forming new state boundaries isn’t such a quaint idea. Washington recently had a bill in their state legislature to divide Eastern Washington and the idea has been proposed in numerous states, usually citing geographic and cultural differences. 

I call on Representative Bentz and state Senator Ferriolli to introduce legislation to get the process started and Congressman Walden to introduce similar legislation in the House of Representatives. Our cultural differences in regards to guns, statewide land use laws, wolves and other issues aren’t just areas of minor differences they are at the core of life. If the same fire and zeal that is being displayed over the Wallowa-Whitman’s travel management plan would translate into a new state movement we could get somewhere. Think about it gun owners, you usually have a firearm with you while riding and firearms are at the very center of freedom. It is time that east and west went their separate ways.

Steve Culley


Guns: Good for government but not for we the people?

The Second Amendment has nothing to do with hunting. Independence was not won from deer and elk; it was won by shooting the British with the most advanced weaponry available at the time.  

The Second Amendment is to ensure that we the people will always be on the same playing field as the government, and subsequently, the government would always fear us rather than vice versa. A citizenry with limited or no firepower is the first ingredient in a dictatorship or even genocide. Can’t happen here, you say? Consider Red China, the Soviet Union, Uganda, Nazi Germany, and Cambodia among others. Millions of disarmed people killed by their governments, all within the last century.  I am sure they thought it would not happen to them.

Let’s say our all but already tyrannical government is full of angels and only has our best interest in mind in taking away/limiting our weapons. I take personal responsibility for protecting my family. Counting on police is a rather foolish option given factors like distance, availability and sometimes incompetence, as was the case in New York recently when two police trying to kill one man, at almost conversational distance, wounded nine bystanders. Not the type I want protecting my family. 

 The Department of Homeland Security wants fully automatic  “Personal Defense Weapons” with 30-round magazines that collapse to from 30 inches to 20 inches. Good enough for the feds personal defense but too good for our defense? Is the government that much better than we the people? 

The only problem related to guns is that we lack morals and consequences. 

We slaughter millions of babies every year then act surprised when some teenager has no respect for human life. We release criminals after short jail times and act surprised when they commit the same crime again. People would think twice if the punishment for their actions were more like this: rape someone, you get hung on Main Street for a week, steal, you lose a pinkie, shoot up a school, get shot starting in the extremities until you die. 

Micah Huyett

Baker City

Letters to the Editor for Jan. 30, 2013

Informative letter from judge, D.A. and attorney

What an excellent, informative and straight-to-the point opinion shared with the community by Judge Baxter, D.A. Shirtcliff and defense attorney Moon in their written plea, “Don’t put 8th-graders at BHS.”

Their experience with the law and the many cases they have presided over draws due attention to what it’s all about — real lives.

Thank you.

Linda Bergeron


Letters to the Editor for Jan. 28, 2013

Ban any guns with detachable magazines

The blood-splattered classrooms at Sandy Hook Elementary and the 26 photos of the now-dead children and teachers call us to use our utmost creative intelligence, both mental and spiritual, to solve a seemingly intractable problem.  

Intellectually, we’re asked to take a closer look at which weapons of war we allow in our community, while still observing the Second Amendment.  Obviously, our modern weapons are many times more lethal than they were when the Bill of Rights was ratified, and today we prohibit civilian possession of machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades, for example, without violating anyone’s constitutional rights.                                      

NRA President David Keene warns us that detachable ammunition magazines in, say, our Bushmaster AR-15s and our Glock 19s take only seconds to change, thus greatly multiplying their killing potential. The profane tragedy in Connecticut provides a ghastly demonstration. It seems reasonable to conclude that we must now prohibit any guns with detachable magazines of any capacity.  

By comparison, “The Guns that Won the West,” the Winchester rifles and Colt revolvers, had fixed magazines.  If we limit ourselves to modern guns with fixed magazines holding about six cartridges, we will surely go a long way toward protecting ourselves from mass slaughter.  A generous buy-back program could fund the transition.

We can also reduce the number and accessibility of guns in our neighborhoods and insist on adequate storage safety. The late Nancy Lanza had seven guns. Eight guns were recovered from two recent residential burglaries in Baker City. We need to ensure wise and competent gun ownership.

Spiritually, I believe we’re asked to gently heal the obsessive fear and harsh condemnation that blocks reasoned debate, obscures our shared humanity, and spurs us to become what we hate. Texas Governor Rick Perry tells us to pray for guidance. I agree.  

In addition to the Second Amendment, our Constitution promises to insure domestic tranquility and promote the general welfare — which means our well-being: health, happiness, and prosperity.  I urge us all to search our hearts and minds to discern the full intent and meaning of all the provisions and protections of our marvelous Constitution.

Marshall McComb

Baker City

Fight to protect our Second Amendment rights

During my 91 years as an American, I have watched the slow deterioration of our individual rights and freedoms. God bless our Oregon sheriffs and those in so many states across the U.S. for their guts in refusing to carry out any orders that would infringe upon our Second Amendment rights. I’ve long admired Sheriff Arapaio of Arizona for bucking the federal government, including both our president and Congress who fail to enforce border security, which is a duty of our government stated in the Constitution. Our government “walked” 2,000 guns into the hands of the Mexican drug cartels who used them to kill 300 or more people, including Americans, while our own border patrol guards were only allowed beanbag rounds with which to defend themselves. On top of these failures, Obama now wants to begin stripping Americans of our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms while at the same time pushing for the Small Arms Treaty with the U.N. which would give the U.N. the power to police Americans, thereby giving up our national sovereignty. Obama just took his second oath to uphold the Constitution. Words are easy, but how unconstitutional his actions are!

Taking away our gun rights makes as much sense as trying to stop drunk driving deaths by making it harder for sober drivers to buy cars. We need to fight for our Second Amendment rights. That amendment was put in place for good reason — and that reason was not about hunting. That amendment allows Americans to protect ourselves from a tyrannical government. Do our elected officials demonstrate the epitome of morality, ethics, character, common sense, integrity or self-restraint? Absolutely not. All the more reason to make sure the inalienable rights in our Constitution are preserved.

Ann E. Racey


 Don't put 8th-graders at BHS

We are writing you to warn of some of the legal dangers that lurk if eighth-grade students are placed at the high school. Because this is one of the options being proposed with our current overcrowding issue, we are publicly warning about the dangers of this choice.

We understand that the school board has many difficult decisions to make due to our continuing challenging economic circumstances, but we urge you most strongly to think very carefully before placing adolescents between the ages of 13 years to 19 years together in the same school building. Your decision will be in place for many years, long after many of us are no longer in our current positions of service to the community.

Under Oregon law, youth under the age of 18 years cannot consent to sexual relations.

Yet the Legislature recognizes that some youth engage in sexual relations voluntarily. Because of this, the Legislature created a defense if the victims’ lack of consent was due solely to incapacity due to age. The defense only applies if the actor is less than three years older than the victim at the time of the alleged offense.

Under current Oregon law, all citizens 15 years of age or older are subject to Oregon Revised Statute 137.700, which is known as Ballot Measure 11. This statute requires mandatory prison sentences when a person is convicted of specific crimes. Four of these crimes apply when the victim is under 14 years of age. These crimes are Rape in the Second Degree, Sodomy in the Second Degree, Unlawful Sexual Penetration in the Second Degree, and Sexual Abuse in the First Degree.

Why our concern? For many years we have prosecuted, defended, or judged cases in Baker County and have dealt with these types of cases. We are very aware that our concerns probably don’t apply to the vast majority of the students at the high school. However, we have seen some good kids let passions get out of control or use poor judgment regarding relationships.

Many eighth-grade students are 13 years of age for all or most of that school year. To put these immature youth under the age of 14 years with older, more sophisticated youth may be a recipe for a life-altering disaster. The results of these actions, whether done with bad intent or not, will then be catastrophic for all involved. Should a 16, 17, 18, or 19-year-old youth become involved sexually with a 13-year-old eighth-grader and be convicted, the result is a mandatory 75-month sentence in a youth correctional facility or prison. This cost to society does not count the emotional price paid by the victim, community, and others.

When we say become involved sexually, we want people to understand this includes a touch over clothing upon the private parts of another for a sexual purpose.

Anecdotally we have asked many adult women what age boys they were most interested in when they entered high school. The answer is almost universally, “the older boys.” When they are asked if they think their interest in older boys would be different if they were eighth- graders at a high school, the vast majority still felt they would be interested in older boys.

We choose not to paint the picture any further. We are sure you are well aware of the foibles of adolescence. We would rather see parents help their teenagers through these difficult years. Please consider the non-economic price paid by society and, specifically, the youth if these acts should occur. Placing eighth-grade students at the high school increases the risk of such a price being paid by youth making dumb choices.

Judge Greg Baxter presidents over the Baker County Circuit Court.

J. Robert Moon Jr. is a Baker City defense attorney.

Matthew B. Shirtcliff is Baker County district attorney. 

Letters to the Editor for Jan. 23, 2013

Speaking of ‘United States’ should include ‘Of America’

On Sunday, I cringed as I watched Barack Obama take the oath to be president of the “United States.” Which “United States?”                 

For me, it should have been president of the “United States of America.”  Isn’t that what we say when we salute the flag?  “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the ‘United States of America.’ ” After all, there are “united states” in other countries in the world, aren’t there? Of what country is Obama going to be the president? Well, in utilizing my faithful computer and referencing the Preamble and the Constitution itself,  somewhere I found one referral to the words “United States” as the “informal”  name of our country.  Whatever. For me,  I am a citizen of the “United States of America.”

Mardelle Ebell

Baker City

I’d be happy to help put up flags on King’s day

On Monday, the 21st of January, the weather was quite cold but it was not raining nor was it snowing and the wind was not even blowing but there was something missing on Main Street in Baker City. It was a federal holiday in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King and it was also Inauguration Day. Where were the American flags? If I recall, I have never seen them displayed on Martin Luther King Day here in Baker City. I am sure that putting out the flags in our community is a volunteer job. If the people who do this have headed south for a warmer climate, in January, or are unable to tend to it, I would be happy to volunteer to put the flags out on Martin Luther King Day and I am sure that I would not be alone.

Liz Starkey

Baker County

Where were the American flags on a double holiday?

I was in town today (Monday) and was surprised at the lack of the American flags on display.  I thought maybe I was mistaken so tonight I  researched online. The premier experts are from http://americanflagfoundation.org. I was right. Flags were supposed to be flown today both for the inauguration and Martin Luther King’s birthday.  So what happened?  Somebody asleep?  

Iva Mace

Baker City

Letters to the Editor for Jan. 18, 2013

A recent article in the Baker City Herald describes criminal charges filed against men who were involved with the Baker Web Academy three years ago. I’ve been a BWA board member for almost a year. In that time I’ve been privy to audit details, I’ve met stellar educators, and I’ve come to know dedicated board members who serve the best interests of our children.

My kids have been BWA students for almost three years. My eldest Sarah is a BWA junior enrolled in the Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer degree program. She is simultaneously earning a high school diploma and an associate’s degree that will fulfill all lower division requirements at any four-year college in the Oregon University System. If she enrolls in an Oregon university, it will be as a junior classman. Sarah participates in extracurricular athletic programs at Baker High School, and has been permitted to enroll in a class at BHS when space was available. Her teachers will tell you she is a good student. I will tell you that Baker City is fortunate to have community-minded school administrators who provide flexibility and excellent choices in education.

My son Ben was a BWA student until two months ago, at which time he transferred to BHS as a freshman. Although his sister prospers in the online environment, we discovered that at age 14, Ben seemed better suited to a traditional classroom setting. The BWA and BHS staffs were extremely helpful in achieving a seamless transition, and his teachers will tell you that he arrived well-equipped to perform.

My youngest, Katie, spent her kindergarten year in the 5J school and is now a first-grader enrolled at BWA. In addition to our preference for a “home school” environment for Katie, we also like the flexibility, the attention from staff (by telephone), and the excellent selection of available curricula.

The Herald article referred to BWA as “a public relations dilemma,” propagating a regional perception of the school that is unfounded. The academy has received attention for low achievement test scores, but the majority of BWA students who failed to meet minimum test benchmarks were enrolled at the school less than one academic year at the time they were tested. Those scores are not attributable solely to BWA, but rather at least equally to the school districts where the students obtained the preponderance of their education.

In past years, many of the academy’s new enrollments were transfer students who were failing in other public school programs. BWA was becoming a revolving door for a large number of students who enrolled not because they were attracted by the opportunities, but rather because they had no other choice. The quality of education at BWA is excellent, but the challenging curriculum and work requirements are infrequently a good fit for a student who lacks the desire to excel in academics.

This year BWA has initiated enrollment counseling and student learning programs to change that revolving door dynamic, and has also worked with 5J officials to develop community-wide perspectives on addressing the needs of all types of students.

Baker City does have kids who need the services BWA can provide, and my kids are at the front of that list. The men described in the Herald article who were accused of misuse of education funds are past history. We are years past those events, and give them no thought in our daily operation of an excellent K-12 school.

David Spaugh is a Baker City resident.

Letters to the Editor for Jan. 16, 2013

Ignoring the warnings about the real fiscal cliff

The writer of a recent letter to the editor claims that the current economic travails of Greece somehow validate Keynesian economics. Actually the reverse is true. Keynesian economics — governmental spending, spending, spending, spending — has brought fiscal ruin to that nation. The Greek government would now be bankrupt had it not been bailed out by more affluent European governments.

The United States has already progressed far down that same road. In 2011, the federal government paid out more for entitlements than the taxes it took in. Even if all nonentitlement spending had been reduced to absolute zero — education, transportation, defense, etc. — the government would still have run an annual deficit. Yet in the recent negotiations to avoid going over the fiscal cliff, President Obama and congressional Democrats adamantly refused to consider any sort of entitlement reform. Our entitlements are fiscally healthy, they assure us. But as things currently stand, our fiscal situation will only get worse as the huge Baby Boom generation retires.

When the Soviet Union disintegrated, Americans gave a sigh of relief. An enemy which had the capacity to obliterate us with nuclear weapons no longer existed. We relaxed, even as another implacable enemy was gearing up to make war on us. The first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993 was one forewarning. During the 1990s, our embassies in East Africa were bombed, our naval ships were attacked, and still we didn’t worry. After all, “it can’t happen here” … but then it did, and 3,000 people died.

We’ve had warnings about our precarious fiscal situation. The Chinese government has wondered out loud just how solid are the U. S. bonds it holds. The federal government recently lost its coveted AAA bond rating, and was downgraded to AA. We have the examples of Greece and the other so-called PIIGS which have overspent on entitlements.

Cassandra is a tragic figure in Greek mythology. She correctly prophesied to the Trojans that comprehensive doom was headed their way, but her warnings were ignored. We have been ignoring our current fiscal Cassandras as well. After all, it can’t happen here.

Pete Sundin

Baker City

Give me Secret Service, and then I’ll give up my gun

Once again, Americans are debating gun control; and, once again, the opposing argument lacks logic. Each time some nut-job goes on a killing spree, socialists push for abolishing the Second Amendment. Nothing is more frustrating than debating with a person who has not thought out the theory of their position.

First, the Constitution was enacted to protect America and her citizens. The right to bear arms was given to protect self, family, business and country. Who will protect the individual from the evils of society if not themselves; the Government? They won’t protect our borders. Dependency on Government is a fool’s bet.

Secondly, gun control only controls the lawful — not the lawless. Socialists and Marxists will never have the power to prevent killers from obtaining guns. If anything, they will only empower the lawless, and turn decent citizens into criminals. What is more, it’s hard to control guns when those whose job it is to enforce gun control (Justice Department) are literally handing guns to drug cartels.

Thirdly, previous amendments to gun rights have proven ineffective in eradicating violence. If indeed these amendments worked (background checks, three-day waiting periods, limiting ammunition sales), the recent mass shootings in Colorado, Portland, Sandy Hook, and Wisconsin could not have happened. The fact is, gun control is impossible to enforce. There will always be black markets where criminals can purchase or barter for firearms. What are needed are stronger deterrents and sentences for those who commit violent acts.

Knives, bows and arrows, automobiles, alcohol, sports, some foods, and a plethora of other things kill people; shall we ban those items as well? Guns are no different. Guns don’t kill people, people kill people — you can’t control that!

Gun control is an egotistical attempt from the left to falsely pacify the fears of the ignorant and simple-minded. The day Obama stations the Secret Service in front of my property, is the very day I will consider relinquishing my firearm. Until then, security to this American is knowing if a robber, rapist, or murderer breaks in my home, I have a .44-mag to welcome them!

Stephanie Ann Kinzel

Baker City

Using First Amendment to destroy the Second

Is this a great country or what? Where else in the world could a foreigner use my citizen rights under the First Amendment to destroy the Second? CNN’s Peirs Morgan is on a rampage and he has been effective in convincing the left that the Second Amendment has something to do with hunting. He’s a tabloid journalist who was extolling the virtues of British royalty one day and the next was trying to sell British and Australian gun control to the American people. He backs up his position by having guests from Australia and Ariana Huffington with her thick foreign accent telling me how bad I am because I believe the Second Amendment guarantees the nine other Bill of Rights. A great country or what? Nowhere else could people who were freed from Nazi and Japanese, Chinese and Russian threats with American guns be allowed to do their best to ban them.

The attack is well-orchestrated. The timing is perfect. Football season is on, and not enough gun owners are putting pressure on their congressmen. They could wake up after the Super Bowl to a brave new world. I wrote Ron Wyden and his response was less than encouraging. They don’t call the Willamette Valley the left coast for nothing. Biden’s commission will report in time for the president to use the State of the Union address bully pulpit to push his agenda and Fox News’ owner, Rupert Murdoch, has sided with the banners and Bill O’Reilly talks about AR 47s and AK 15s. Who could be so gun dumb as not to have heard about Mr. Kalashnikov’s rifle?

All might not be lost if pro-gun Republicans and a few Democrats in the house will stand their ground. If they do we might have an executive order banning guns. Then we will see what happens when Caesar crosses the Rubicon.

Steve Culley


Letter to the Editor for Jan. 11, 2013

I have lived at 1005 Park St. for 50 years. My husband, Tim, suffered a massive stroke seven years ago. He is at Meadowbrook care facility. I live here alone with my dogs. When I go to Meadowbrook, my “dangerous” dogs take turns going with me. The residents’ eyes light up when they pet and talk to them. It makes me feel good to create some joy.

This mess started first of August. I’d been working in the front yard, I went across the street and my dogs started barking at me. I quickly went back so they would stop. Greg Brown caught up with me outside my fence. He said you need to get rid of those dogs. With all the commotion, three of my corgis got into a fight. I jumped over the fence to pull them apart and saw that Greg was videoing us. I screamed at him and Sandy Zemmer to get away from my fence and the dogs would stop.

I went in and called the police to talk to an officer. Shannon Regan came out. I wanted to find out if it was legal to video a person without their knowledge. I found it’s not illegal. Shannon asked me if I had my kennel license and discovered I had overlooked it. Not intentionally — this year it seems everything bad was happening, death, illness, my husband was changing mentally and physically. So Regan wrote me a ticket. I went to Justice Court and was told just go get your license and come back in two weeks. Police Chief Wyn Lohner and Officer Davidson were supposed to be the only ones who could sign the license. Easy? Wrong.

I asked Lohner if my license was signed. No, he said, but we just want to make sure you have no dangerous dogs. I asked who is “we,” and he avoided the question.

Later, Lohner shows up with Officer Davidson to inform me we decided you can only keep four dogs. I said I’m getting a lawyer, I’m not losing my dogs. I live on Social Security and with expenses of Meadowbrook, things are tight. But loving my precious dogs is a priority. By going to the lawyer I found that I shouldn’t have to pay kennel license and I live in a low level zone where there are no restrictions on small animals.

My vet had even written a letter for me stating that he had been to my home several times, there are no dangerous dogs and they are well-cared for. I keep my yard clean and in the past two years have planted 17 shrubs and trees and built an eight-foot deck at my front door.

When the weather will let me I’ll put steel panels a couple feet inside my fence so a dog can’t get near the fence. My dogs don’t bark all the time; they get excited when I’m leaving, cleaning the yard or go to the garbage can.

I finally found some dog collars that vibrate and I ordered some. I don’t believe in shock collars. I’m protecting my dogs from the people, not people from dogs.

I just need the city to sign the kennel license. My husband is in the hospital and I can’t take any more of this hassle.

Editor’s Note: A story about neighborhood complaints regarding Robinson’s dogs was published in the Dec. 21 issue of the Herald. 

Letters to the Editor for Jan. 9, 2013

Working together, we can solve nation’s problems

In looking back at 2012, I feel relieved and fairly optimistic. Despite ongoing political tensions, enough of us are now coming together to recognize and solve the true problems we face as a community and a nation.

Locally, in June our Baker City Council joined 300 other U.S. cities and seven states in unanimously passing a resolution calling for an end to the corruptive power of money in politics. And last fall, we turned aside an assault on our District 5J public schools by anti-government forces.

Nationally, we re-elected President Barack Obama, despite conventional wisdom that told us he was doomed by slow economic growth. We demonstrated that democracy can really work. We embodied our national motto: “E Pluribus Unum – Out of Many, One.” We moved toward a unified identity. We can’t do it alone. We’re all in this together.   

Looking forward, We the People can build on this emerging reality, armed with facts to analyze our problems, develop meaningful alternatives, and take action. Yes, a few powerful extremists and their propaganda outlets will continue to spread false information and confusion in attempts to cripple our government, but we can move beyond that. We have the amazing Internet. We can research answers that other countries have developed. We can benefit from their solutions to global warming, lack of good jobs, gun violence, and affordable health care.  

One major anti-government, mis-information campaign is the persistent Republican mantra that ignores our historically low income-tax rates and proclaims, “We have a spending problem.” In fact, our non-military government spending relative to the size of our economy is actually smaller than any other rich nation.

Their calls for spending cuts within our fragile economy violate proven Keynesian economics and disregard the ample evidence now provided by European countries like Greece. Austerity measures are bound to produce a downward spiral, feeding ever-deeper recession and endangering our shared security and vital support.

Again, I urge my fellow readers to read up on critically important issues, and then participate constructively in the national debate. Informed and working together, we can solve the major problems that confront us. 

Marshall McComb

Baker City

Gun restrictions give more power to criminals

Free kill zones keep good law-abiding citizens unarmed, and killers who do not read signs or care to be law-abiding, free to unload until empty, before worrying about someone with badge and gun to extinguish threat. And possibly still face charges from DA for extinguishing threat. Free kill zones only tell threats, no worries about other people, until they want to.

For instance, it takes 15 minutes to go across town, X single shot can be reloaded in approx 10-15 seconds = mega amounts of potential death, before any kind of help to extinguish threat. Gun owners are citizens, non-owners are subjects to be dealt with. Adolf Hitler, another lover, of gun control. Semi auto is one shot per trigger pull. Full auto  — which is almost impossible to get, takes around one year of background checks to get — IS multiple shots per trigger pull. Cosmetics is only thing that civilians can get, without one-year background, and absurd tax that is paid for each. Civilian grade is cosmetics only, semi auto or bolt action only, multiple calibers.

Something to think about: Everything has been military at some time in history, even rope, knife, hands, feet, brain, sticks, on and on. Hope attorney seeking to sue Connecticut for $100 million on behalf of student that survived, wins. Lawful carry would have kept deaths to minimum. Over 90 percent of security, and some cops, trust badge to keep killers from killing them. Also signs to be obeyed by lawless. Like moving, animal crossing signs, and expecting animals to change habits to match signs. 

Carl Koontz

Baker City

Police present makes a parent feel safer

I would like to thank the Baker City Police Department for making a presence at our local schools. As a parent it makes me feel safe and secure knowing that each day we have a police presence making sure our kids are safe. Winter has made the roads icy and slick, and seeing a police care has made more parents aware of the need to slow down and be safe. Living in Baker City makes me feel proud that our community values youth and their protection.

I would like to say thank you to Chief Lohner and staff for making a difference.

Toni Bennett

Baker City

Letters to the Editor for Jan. 7, 2013

Americans are giving away their freedoms

I am a lifetime Oregonian of 82 years and I am witnessing our constitutional republic die. No more is our country made up of proud men and women who believe in freedom to choose and live as enterprising individuals. A new country is merging, run by “secular progressives” who have rejected our Constitution. Our Supreme Court will be forever altered after the last conservative members have been replaced by liberal academics who call themselves progressives. The rule of law will and is now being replaced by executive order, making Congress irrelevant.

The welfare-dependent Americans, unions and illegals have chosen for the rest of us the dark path of serfdom to big government and socialist utopia. Our children have bowed down to mediocrity. There are 11 states that now have more people on welfare than they do employed. They all have one thing in common: They all have Democrat governors and Democratic-controlled legislatures and, surprise surprise, the majority voted for Obama.

Most Americans have no intentions of making a better life for themselves and their families. They are intent on living on the taxpayers’ dime. Not all of us have yet bowed but you who relish feeding at the trough will never realize the freedom you gave away until the swill you now consume turns to gravel in your mouth.

George Wilder

Baker City

Donations to Christmas display will go to food bank

We would like to express our sincere appreciation to everyone who donated food or cash in response to our Christmas decorations at 1100 D St. The 50 pounds of canned food and all the cash will be donated to St. Francis Catholic Church food bank.

Donald R. Tholen

Michaela Tholen

Baker City

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