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Home arrow Opinion arrow Letters

Letter to the Editor for Oct. 28, 2015

Republicans keep talking about outdated things

I have watched the debates and I still don’t know who I will vote for next year. I do wonder, however, why the conservative Republicans keep arguing old news. I for one, have no interest in Hillary’s emails, when they were sent, to whom, whatever. I don’t care that Jeb Bush thinks his brother kept us safe despite the facts to the contrary. 

What I DO care about is what will the Republicans do for me NOW.  From the papers I read, they want to take away my Medicare, change my health plan, rid the United States of anyone Hispanic even if they were born in this country, take away voting rights in some states (reminds me of the ’60s) and take away health care for poor women, force those who were raped to keep that pregnancy so she can look into the face of her rapist when that baby is born. 

Please Republicans, stop arguing the old news and tell me what your plans are if I help elect you.

Iva Mace

Baker City


Letter to the Editor for Oct. 23, 2015

Hillary needs to clarify gun control position

It is time to ask Hillary Clinton for a little clarification on her mantra of universal background checks for gun owners. I am at a loss as to who might not pass one of these background checks. What seems to be gaining traction is “keeping guns out of the hands of those who might use them for nefarious purposes.” School shootings come to mind. The perpetrators are usually mentally deranged so it would make some kind of sense to make sure that they don’t get their hands on a weapon.

So who are these people that might get on a list? I am assuming that federal privacy laws will have to be altered and possibly mental health professionals might have to turn over the names of patients. At the same time we are talking gun control we are talking about the shoddy state of mental health treatment in the United States: depression, teen suicides, etc. I wonder how many will come in for treatment if they think that just going in to talk about personal problems might put them on a gun ownership prohibited list. Our returning vets suffer from sky high suicide rates and the military ranks are filled with a disproportionately high rural recruitment rate, gun-owning rural America. Will our vets opt not to treat PTSD because they might never be allowed to own a gun because they saw a mental health professional at the VA? Domestic violence is another thing that can get you on a gun prohibited list. Are there any provisions to punish a vindictive domestic partner who would use gun control to punish a used to be significant other? What provisions are there for appeals?

Drug possession felonies are sky high and felons are prohibited from owning a gun and many times that is a barrier to getting a nonviolent kid back into the rural lifestyle of hunting or carrying protection while alone in the mountains. The devil is in the details and we need to know just what details you have in mind, Hillary.

Steve Culley

Baker City


Letter to the Editor for Oct. 19, 2015

Hoped Mike Meyer would be appointed to City Council

I was sorry to see that Mike Meyer didn’t get picked for City Council. Not that I don’t think Sandy Lewis shouldn’t have been picked, I don’t know her nor anything about her. What I do know is that Mike Meyer is like a breath of fresh air, just by reading his letters to the editor. He has a fresh view and heaven knows we need that. He showed his mettle by the sad theft of his garden at the community plot, Mike handled it with a sense of humor as well as a touch of sadness.

I just hope Mike continues to write often, I would also like him to know he has more voices like his than he realizes in Baker City. I have found no better city to be retired in and I don’t know if there is one. Baker City is a great unknown on the map and every once in a while it is refreshing that someone of Mike’s obvious quality finds us.

Thanks, Mike, and next year when my fruit trees produce (weather permitting, something you’ll learn about Baker City) I will gladly share my harvest with you and your wife. If you see a tall man carrying a stick out walking early in the morning with his lovely wife by his side, stop and say hi.

Bill Ward

Baker City


Letters to the Editor for Oct. 14, 2015

Union-bashing column lacks supporting statistics

I am unsure of what “a research fellow of labor economics in the Center for Data Analysis at Heritage Foundation” is but after reading James Sherk’s inane diatribe “Unions offer little for workers” ( Baker City Herald Oct 12) it appears to be an impressive-sounding, overly long title meaning anti-unionist. Mr. Sherk tends to cherry pick his supposed facts and make giant sweeping observations with brazen abandon to support his agenda.” Union representation has fallen because most workers see little value in it.” Is it possible that union representation has fallen (if in fact true) through nationwide job losses and a concerted effort to employ part time, minimum wage workers in order to avoid any additional benefits or health care coverage?

 “Unions have little ability to raise wages anymore.” Huh! Collective bargaining? Strikes?

Mr. Shreck then acknowledges that a union member may be better paid but “primarily because organizers target higher paying companies.” I would love to see the facts backing up that statement but, alas, he produces none. “The decline in union membership is due to a decline in worker demand for union representation.” Could it be that many migrants, and other underpaid workers (example: Walmart), jobs are put in jeopardy for even talking to a union? How much representation is allowed overseas where our jobs are being shipped? I’m guessing none! Mr. Sherk continues his ramblings with some obscure handpicked stories of union evil doing, even concluding that being a barber has no safety concerns (Really? scissors, razors!) or need of licensing.

  Here are just a few things I know about unions and what they have tried to accomplish for all union and non-union workers:  A living wage, the weekend, 8-hour work day, a lunchtime, paid overtime, group health care (cheaper and somewhat more affordable), pensions, job safety, child labor and anti-discrimination laws...Lastly I want Mr. Sherk to know that sometime around mid morning, when he is done with his union bashing, he can grab a cup of coffee, take a break, and relax for 10 or 15 minutes — thanks to unions.

Mike Meyer

Baker City

We can’t trust Hillary Clinton in an emergency

In her 2008 presidential campaign, then-Senator Hillary Clinton stated that she should become president as she alone had the competency to handle 3 a.m. emergency phone calls. Well, Secretary of State Clinton got such a phone call at 8 p.m. on Sept. 11, 2012: The U. S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, was under attack.

It is still unclear why we had a consulate in Benghazi in the first place. The area is a hotbed of Islamic jihadists and is one of the most dangerous places in the world for Westerners, especially Americans. In the months leading up to the 11th anniversary of 9/11, there were several attacks upon western installations in Benghazi, severe enough that the British withdrew their people. Faced with a deteriorating situation, Ambassador Stephens repeatedly requested security upgrades for his consulate. These were denied.

The U. S. government regarded Benghazi as an acutely dangerous post, yet the consulate’s security apparatus did not meet the minimum standards for such installations. By law, the only person who may wave security protocols is the Secretary of State, which then was Hillary Clinton.

On Sept. 11, wave after wave of Islamists armed with firebombs, rocket propelled grenades and mortars attacked our consulate. Outgunned and overwhelmed, four Americans were murdered, including Ambassador Stephens.

But afterwards, on Sunday talk shows, U. N. Ambassador Susan Rice claimed the Benghazi attacks were a spontaneous reaction to an obscure YouTube video produced by an Egyptian Coptic Christian. That video had indeed been a minor issue in another demonstration a few hours earlier in Egypt, but in Libya, the video was a non-event. Yet the Obama Administration clung to this line for several months, as President Obama had said that al-Qaida had been decimated while the well-organized Benghazi attack said otherwise.

Facing Congressional investigations into Benghazi, Mrs. Clinton famously asked, “What difference does it make?” The Benghazi attack reveals her incompetence in discharging her duties as Secretary of State, and was followed by a massive cover-up. It also showed why we do not want her in the Oval Office receiving those 3 a.m. emergency phone calls.

Pete Sundin

Baker City


Letters to the Editor for Oct. 12, 2015

Wildfires highlight need for bold action to stop global warming

This year’s catastrophic wildfires in Baker County and surrounding areas provide ample justification and motivation to take bold action against global warming by all levels of government.

Unless we curtail and replace carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and until we find the money to properly treat overgrown forests, we almost certainly face ever-increasing danger and destruction.

But, when it comes to creating a safe and sustainable future for our county and our state and our country, there are a couple of “elephants in the living room” that must be addressed and overcome: 

1) Deception, confusion, and denial about the growing concentration of CO2 and other greenhouse gasses in our atmosphere which cause global warming, and 

2) Deception, confusion, and denial about the growing concentration of extreme wealth in the hands of a very few that deprives us from making needed infrastructure investments, like alternative energy sources and forest treatment to minimize wildfires and protect our watersheds.

It is essential that we overcome these roadblocks and get needed political action at the federal level, and we should all press for it.

For example, we need to price fossil fuels out of the market. CO2concentrations for hundreds of thousands of years have been around 285 parts per million (ppm). Starting in 1800, they grew to 399 ppm today — a 40 percent increase during those 215 years, mainly due to human activity.  A revenue-neutral carbon tax would promote consumer decisions based on the true total cost of oil, gas, and coal.

We also need much higher taxes on extreme wealth. With increased revenue, we can pay for not only forest treatment and restoration, but also for increased wage supplements to combat needless poverty, and for other infrastructure needs, such as free college tuition, road and highway maintenance, and so much more.

Pope Francis pointed the way during his recent visit when he told us, “Climate change is a problem which can no longer be left to our future generations.”

Let us all work together to press for increased governmental intervention for the common good.

Marshall McComb

Baker City

Whose guns do the politicians think they should control?

With all this “gun control” talk, I haven’t heard one politician at either the state or national level say how they plan to take away guns from criminals and bad guys....just law abiding citizens who own guns.

Gary McManus

Baker City


Letter to the Editor for Oct. 5, 2015

Co-sleeping is 100 percent preventable cause of death

My only purpose as Baker County Medical Examiner is to try and prevent deaths from occurring in this county. I wrote a letter several years ago after we had three infant co-sleeping deaths in a short period of time. This letter urged readers to avoid co-sleeping with infants. Some people thought this was an unnecessary intrusion into family affairs.

Fortunately, doctors at Eastern Oregon Medical Associates (St. Luke’s Clinic Baker City) agree that there is a significant risk of death to young infants sleeping in the same bed with their parents. Medical personnel at EOMA counsel every parent of children born in Baker City to not co-sleep with their infant children.

Two more co-sleeping deaths have occurred in Baker City in the past four months. This has nothing to do with sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), which is not a preventable cause of death. Co-sleeping is a 100 percent preventable cause of death. If a child is not present in the parents’ bed, it will not die from co-sleeping. Parents do not think that they will roll over onto their child and prevent it from breathing. However, an infant lying wedged next to a parent may not be able to lift and turn its head and may suffocate. Parents who are sleeping very soundly because of taking drugs or alcohol provide an additional risk of infant death.

There is nothing wrong with cuddling an infant in bed or on a couch. When it is time for the parents to sleep, the infant needs to be put in a crib or cradle. It is no different than using a car seat for the child. It is what provides life-saving protection from asphyxiation.

Dr. James Davis

Baker City


Letter to the Editor for Oct. 2, 2015

Study shows direct link between childhood trauma, many adult problems

Many of you may know of or may have heard about the lasting effects of trauma in childhood. But if you haven’t, please allow me to elaborate. The ground-breaking Adverse Childhood Experiences or ACEs study (1998) took a look at how childhood trauma affected adults later in life. The study asked mostly middle-class, white (74.8 percent), employed, college-educated (75.2 percent) adults who were patients of Kaiser Permanente whether they experienced the following things in childhood: verbal, physical, or sexual abuse, neglect, loss of a parent through death, separation or divorce, having a family member in prison, witnessing violence at home, or living with someone with a mental health issue or a drug or alcohol abuse problem. In order to calculate a person’s ACE score, the researchers gave one point for every category, regardless of the number of instances that occurred within that category. 

Here’s what they found: Almost two thirds (63.9 percent) of the 17,000 adults surveyed experienced one or more ACEs in childhood, while 12.5 percent reported having four or more ACEs. (The ACEs that were most common were physical abuse, living with someone who abused drugs or alcohol, and loss of a parent.)

The researchers, Dr. Vincent Felitti and Dr. Robert Anda, further found that experiencing these ACEs greatly increased the risk of disease and participating in harmful behaviors. They discovered that a person with four or more ACEs had a 160-percent higher chance of having diabetes, 190-percent higher chance of having cancer, 220-percent higher chance of experiencing coronary heart disease, and 240-percent higher chance of experiencing a stroke. Having four or more ACEs also increased a person’s chances of being an alcoholic (by 740 percent), using injection drugs (by 1,030 percent), and attempting suicide (by 1,220 percent). 

Clearly the ACEs study implicates that disease and risky behaviors likely harken back to an adult’s early experiences in childhood, where, shrouded by secrecy, decades later, reappear as forms of disease and addiction. 

For additional information, please visit the following websites: Adverse Childhood Experiences Study on the CDC website, ACEs Too High, and the Center for Youth Wellness. 

Brandy Dougherty

Mental health promotion and prevention coordinator

New Directions Northwest

Baker City


Letters to the Editor for Sept. 30, 2015

Bacon and cell towers: A Baker City porcine parable

Recently I attended a Planning  Commission meeting open to the public regarding two 100-pig pig farms that a company is pushing to establish within Baker City’s city limits. Current regulations restrict pig farms within city limits to 38 pigs.  Before starting, a lawyer, representing the city, speaking a dialect of English I barely understood, advised those in attendance that FCC (Flatulence Communication Commission) rules prohibit any testimony that includes pgfs (pig grunt farts) and that any testimony including pgfs would be rendered inadmissible despite the fact it has been proven that pgfs can be harmful to humans. Besides, those opposed wouldn’t have time to mention pgfs since anyone who opposed the two new farms would only be given three minutes each to state their case.

Meanwhile B.S. Snickerdoodle, representing the company, was given all the time she needed to totally baffle everyone in the room. Snickerdoodle maintained that not only a 100-pig pig farm smelled no different than a 38-pig pig farm but alluded also that the company’s pigs had very little smell at all and would hardly be noticeable, especially at night so long as one remained upwind. She explained that although the 38-pig pig farms supply Baker City with almost all the bacon the town’s residents need, current trends demand high quantities of pig grease because an increasing number of people are chewing the fat. Asked if this was a local or national trend, Snickerdoodle admitted it was a national trend.

Opposition testimony to the 100-pig pig farms, despite the three-minute restriction, offered a wide latitude why Baker should not entertain large farms from pilots flying over Baker might be overcome by smell, and what if everyone in town wanted to build a 100-pig pig farm? The lone local voice in favor noted insightfully that the only residential area that the two farms might affect was high-density housing full of low-income people who obviously didn’t and wouldn’t care. No vote was taken. The meeting was adjourned. Snickerdoodle promised to return with an updated set of tampered facts. The issue remains pending.

Whit Deschner

Baker City

Incident raises concern about county commissioners

Gary Dielman was the obvious victim of the Baker County Commissioners dealing with an issue, but all of us citizens are potential victims with such elected officials dealing with many issues. Are these men capable of fulfilling the responsibilities which are an essential part of their positions?

The recent demonstration looks more like an encounter on the playground with fifth-grade boys in charge.

Maryalys Urey

Baker City


Letters to the Editor for September 25, 2015

Please stop damaging the brand-new Pavilion in the park

Vandals, please stop defacing the new Bandstand Pavilion! It’s been less than a month since the dedication and you have already done your carving, telling of your “love of pizza.”


Letters to the Editor for Sept. 23, 2015

Loving Baker City, but not happy about state pot laws

My wife and I recently moved to Baker City from the coast of Oregon. We had never been here before but the wife Googled “conservative cowboy towns of Oregon” and BC popped up number one. So we visited and fell into love immediately. We originally came from central California and had a small horse ranch and lived in the rural portion of a small cowboy town. Surrounded by mountains and close to Yosemite, BC reminded us of that area a lot.

We found that a lot of local folks are third, fourth and fifth generations here and that speaks highly of this town. We were impressed on how friendly everyone was and welcomed us into the community, something that was lacking in our four years on the coast. Even the folks at the Herald were so friendly and generous with their time. When I couldn’t decipher how to log into the E-edition, Carolyn spent the time and walked me through it. You don’t find customer service like that anymore. People actually greet you when you pass them or enter their establishments. So refreshing!

I’m also impressed with the “anti-marijuana” stance this city has taken in opposition to Oregon laws. As we are both retired law enforcement from California, I can’t begin to tell you in one op-ed piece what a Pandora’s box that opens up. “Medicinal marijuana” is a front for drug dealers, profiteers and the Mexican cartel to enter into your town. The less than 3 percent who benefit from it does not outweigh the good of the community. THC, the main ingredient in pot, is available in pill form without all the street dealers hanging out near your high schools. Pro-pot people don’t want to hear that because there is no high from it. But then, it doesn’t promote lung cancer, asthma and other health concerns that smoking causes either. 

Anyway, we love it here and feel right at home. Great community and feel of Americana. We are home.

Thomas Wilcoxson

Baker City

One year in Baker City, and we couldn’t be happier

We have made it a full year in Baker City. Our plan was to see if we could survive the first winter, we’d heard they could be brutal, but the weather had other ideas. Looks like we’ll be staying another year and hoping for a brutal winter, up on top of those dry mountains anyway.

We could not have asked more from our gamble of a move. We came from an environment where merely trying to cross a street could suddenly become a near death experience. On our first walk through Baker we wondered why cars were stopping as we stood at an unmarked intersection until we realized it was for us, the drivers actually waving us to cross. We knew for sure we would miss our backyard garden but discovered Baker’s community garden in time to not miss a summer. Being aspiring artists we could not believe our good fortune, landing in a city that embraces all things art, and with such a passion! We could go on and on about the incredible place, less stressful environment, we find ourselves. Here, instead, is an extremely short list of more things we are enchanted by in Baker:

• Friendly people (you have know idea what a unique attribute that is). 

 • The food and drink, so many great options everywhere.

• The river, LAMP, the park...

• Music, exceptional local talent, the specialness of Baker’s Powder River Music Revue 

• Recreation, limitless hiking, fishing, camping... a veritable surrounding wonderland!

• Events: bicycle and people races, motorcycles, classic cars, fairs, jubilees, parades.

• Last but not least, Mike especially wants to thank the Herald for enabling his writing addiction.

It is hard to end our list... Baker has just about everything to offer that we had in the, out of control, sprawl of the Portland / Vancouver area, without the anger, crime,  rudeness, stress.. that comes with a stifling population. We look forward to another year in this very special place. 

P.S. Check out the LAMP soon if you wish to see it free of trash. I am certain this pristine glory is only temporary. 

Barb and Mike Meyer

Baker City


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