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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


Letters to the Editor for Dec. 7

Occupy: A force for good

To the editor:

A young woman named Katherine Ball, age 27, is an inspiring example of the Millennial Generation described by Lance Dickie in his op-ed (Nov. 30). I read of her in a recent article by Steve Duin about Occupy Portland in The Oregonian. Here’s some information.

Katherine and her cohorts are facing a future far less secure than the one I faced. At her age, I had a family and had started a relatively predictable career with a major corporation. Life was not perfect, but I had medical insurance, a retirement plan, a savings account, and I was debt-free. My, how times have changed.


Letters to the Editor for Dec. 5, 2011

5J weapons policy a mistake
To the editor:
It is obvious that the Baker 5J school district and board has sought to deceive the community by false statements and hypocritical reports. The Baker 5J newsletter stated, “Our original concern had nothing to do with guns.” Then why did the Baker 5J and board chair propose an illegal policy by the Oregon School Board Association (OSBA) that prohibited Concealed hand weapons licenses (CHL)?  They then approved the first out of three readings of the policy, not even knowing the law. The Baker 5J weapons work session came to the conclusion that “We did not know the law.” We agreed unanimously to go by state and federal Law and they stated, “teachers would not be restricted."


Letters to the Editor for Nov. 30, 2011

Why 9-1-1 training is vital
To the editor:
For reasons of privacy and confidentiality I obviously will not discuss where in Baker County the incident I’m about to describe occurred or who was involved. Given the circumstances, however, this incident clearly shows the importance of teaching even young, preschool children how to call 9-1-1 in an emergency and what to say if such a call needs to be made.

Letters to the Editor for Nov. 28, 2011

Kitzhaber made the right decision
To the editor:
On Nov. 22, Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber announced that he has suspended execution of prisoners on death row as long as he is governor. I believe he’s made the right decision. Following is the email I sent Governor Kitzhaber:

Letters to the Editor for Nov. 23, 2011

Tea Party has wider appeal
To the editor:
In a recent letter, Dan Martin tells us that “If you’re not a millionaire, they (the Occupy protesters) are demonstrating for you.” But I think that most of us here in Baker County would find that we have much more in common with another group of protesters, the Tea Party activists. The Occupy Wall Street protesters and the other Occupy people all over the United States want to totally eliminate our current “obsolete economic system” and then “create a new system.” But the system they advocate is not a new one at all; it is Socialism, which would enlarge the role of government in our lives. The Tea Party movement, on the other hand, seeks to reduce the size of our government, and bring to a halt the orgy of overspending which the federal government has been doing since early in 2009. A larger government on one hand, a smaller one on the other.

Letters to the Editor for Nov. 21, 2011

What’s behind road closures?
To the editor:
For those who have been paying attention to the issue it is clear that the current administration, specifically through the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Interior, is engaged in the largest land grab in history. Under the cover of various names huge chunks of many states are being declared off limits to the very public that owns the land.
Examples are efforts by executive fiat to close lands for “desert and mountain protection,” new national wilderness areas, and new national wild lands protection areas.  The only protection our public lands need is protection from a government that is bent upon implementation of the United Nations Agenda 21. If you are unaware of what that agenda is do some online research.  It is frightening in its implications particularly in rural areas like ours.
Is the Forest Service “Travel Management Plan” part of this overriding agenda to deprive citizens access to the very public lands we own?  I think so. What I know is the forests which have already made public their TMPs have proposed closures that will negatively impact our economy, our recreation, and our lifestyles. I think it is more than coincidence that all of these close public lands to public access initiatives are being pushed at the same time.
I am not a “conspiracy theorist” by any stretch of the imagination.  All you have to be is a careful observer of what the federal government is doing to recognize that “we the people” are being sold out in favor of a new one world order.
Jerry Boyd
Baker City

Letters to the Editor for Nov. 18, 2011

Demonstrators represent most
To the editor:
We are engaged in a morality struggle not greatly unlike that of the Civil War. Today the issue is: shall a few people — a minority class having a vested interest in preserving an obsolete economic system that never again will sustain the well-being of our majority class — prevent that majority from moving to a new system?

Protect safety nets

Three problems: jobs, economic growth, protection of our safety nets.

These problems are closely united, and solving the first two should lead to protecting the third. However, conservatives (largely Republicans) thwart passage of a jobs bill that would create 400,000 jobs.

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