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Letters to the Editor for March 27, 2015

Build a society that reflects values of most Americans

The top 1 percent of Americans now receive $1 trillion more income each year than they would receive under the income distribution that existed in 1979, and they pay historically low taxes. The bottom 80 percent now receive $1 trillion less per year, or $11,000 per family.

This is because not nearly enough good-paying jobs have been created during the past 35 years, due to off-shoring and the increasing impact of automation and robotics, and wages have not kept pace with the remarkable increase in productivity that has occurred. The profits have unjustifiably flowed to the very top.

The result: According to a CBS News report, “Three-quarters of Americans said they’re finding it difficult to both save for retirement and handle their day-to-day expenses.”  

But we will learn none of this from the op-ed articles by the Heritage Foundation that frequently appear in the Herald (most recently on March 23).  The regressive right is intent on keeping our attention focused on cutting government spending, and not on the burgeoning inequality of wealth.  

I urge my fellow readers (and the Herald’s editorial board) to explore a much wider range of meaningful options. For example, the other day the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) released their “People’s Budget: A Raise for America.” It calls for sharply increased taxes on the wealthy to pay for expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit and for needed investments in our infrastructure, like education. And it calls for a carbon tax, allowing the market to allocate carbon reduction.

What the CPC budget shows is what Washington too often suppresses: There is an alternative. It’s time for We the People to call the shots, and not the regressive right and their wealthy supporters. It’s time for democracy, not oligarchy.  

We can afford to build a society that reflects the values and priorities of most Americans. We only have to choose to do so, and we can choose to do so in the coming 2016 elections.

Marshall McComb

Baker City

Mandated voting would lead to downfall of the system

Obama and the Liberal Left are now attacking our right to vote or not. The president, using the term loosely, is now considering a “Mandate Vote Act.” 

This would mean, no matter the circumstance, every person 18 and over must vote, or be held criminally responsible. This would certainly mean the downfall of America’s voting system,which proves to be already troubled.

This latest stunt proves Obama’s lack of leadership, his turncoat attitude toward Israel, and his “hug-a-thug”approach to ISIS has the left-wingers worried about the upcoming 2016 presidential election.

Why else would the president suggest such lunacy, if not a political ploy? Most Americans aren’t aware of the political brinkmanship that is destroying this country from within. And, I speak of both immature parties. Most voters unfortunately, vote using what I call the “60-second-smear” method. Meaning, many people vote using information can-fed to them through the media’s 60-second smear campaigns between favorite television shows.

Why would anyone want an uninformed voter to vote? People who are made to vote are not going to educate themselves further just because they “have” to vote. Moreover, most would just rebel and choose whatever  — not even reading what or who’s up for vote. Why would any rational person want a voting system like this? A person or party who knows that unless they do, they have no chance of winning the presidency, that’s who.

For anyone to suggest this sort of voting system will work, has a severe lack of cognitive ability. And, they certainly should not be running America or her military! I find this yet, just another attempt by Socialist/Marxists to destroy America from within. 2016 must be the year of change for our Administration. 

If a change does not happen, I fear the worst. What we need to do is get rid of the two-party/electoral college system and make every person’s vote count on all state, local and national elections. Making every vote count is the only fair way of voting. 

No law or action should be taken without an individual voting election and those who don’t want to participate, should not be penalized.

Stephanie Kinsel

Baker City

Letters to the Editor for March 25, 2015

Focus should be on pit bulls instead of cougars or wolves

I see that there have been several cougar sightings around Baker City, dogs have been called out to find the cat, and of course wolves are always a hot topic. 

Some get a little edgy when heading out to the woods where wolves are active. After many generations of urbanization, it isn’t all that hard to understand the uneasiness that the wild world might cause in civilized folks. Other things are a little harder to understand. 

You can count on your fingers the number of cougar-related deaths in the country and probably on one hand the number of wolf attacks. Pit bulls, on the other hand, are a different story. A few minutes on the Internet or a smarter- than-you phone and you get a picture of real carnage, often involving young children.

I guess it is legal. I Googled myself, and the first thing that came up led me to my Oct.4, 2013, letter to the editor, with another person’s letter commenting on the little boy killed by a pit bull in Baker City. I didn’t know it at the time, but the pit bull came from John Day, where some of my grandkids are.

Not long ago I passed through Baker City and there was one of our well-educated “animal lovers” being pulled along by four big pit bulls. If they had decided to chase another dog, a cat or a child, there is nothing the owner could have done to restrain that much dog power. 

I guess the city passed some kind of watered-down dog ordinance but as far as I can tell the county is still messing around.  

Let’s not have another child death before our leadership gets off its butt.

Steve Culley

Baker City/John Day/Richland

Forest Service press release is ‘smoke and mirrors’ 

On March 19, a press release was put out by the U.S. Forest Service on “Focus turns to Forest Plan Revision public engagement as Travel Management [Subpart B] paused in the Blue Mountains” 

This press release is nothing new, and bordering on an open attempt to confuse and give a false sense of hope to the public on Travel Management.

1) Travel Management has been on the “back burner” of both the Wallowa-Whitman and Malheur National Forest since 2012; this article states nothing new, and is a disservice to pretend they have done something new.

2) This release gives the false impression that the supervisors and regional forester are giving some sort of relief to the people of Eastern Oregon, when no such relief is being given.

3) Subpart A of Travel Management on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest is still being developed and the article fails to state that or how Subpart A will be used as a springboard to Subpart B and the closure of the mountains.

Most importantly — This is not the Blue Mountains Forest Plan Revision. Restricting motorized use fully is in the forest plan revision through the designation of routes and you are still fully looking at a closure of our mountains if it goes through as written with designation of routes.

The message is the same: No designation of routes, No obliteration of roads, and No reduction of road densities in The Blues, period, end of discussion.

I cannot stress enough, this is a nonstory and worse, it gives people the false impression this is some sort of victory. IT IS NOT! Your access is still in jeopardy and your vigilance is needed and required to keep your mountains open. Do not get sucked into the hype, because it’s all smoke and mirrors.

Chuck Chase

Baker City

I owed it to others to try to straighten this out

I was amazed by the misinformation in the Baker City Herald editorial on March 18, 2015. Tim Collins’ mistake was deciding he had the power to dictate sewer/water rates, only City Council can set rates. The person costing taxpayers thousands of dollars is City Manager Mike Kee.

Mike can’t understand a simple one-page contract. In depositions, Mike said “the City has no document that allows us to charge Langrells double for sewer/water.” Mike convinced four members of City Council, one an attorney, to enter into the lawsuit instead of returning the overcharged fees.

A double sewer/water rate was never part of the annexation. It was discussed, but never considered for the contract. The City offered the 10-year moratorium on taxes because none of us felt a need for more property in the city. We built in the county because we didn’t want to be in the city. None of the annexed property has been built on.

Judge Pahl’s ruling does not preclude the city from introducing evidence. It says Tim Collins has no authority to set rates and what was discussed during negotiations is not part of a written contract. The reason the city will not be introducing any evidence is because none exists.

I tried to get city managers to follow the terms of their contract for 10 years. My only choices were, allow the city to cheat me or take them to court. If I was the only one being cheated, I would have let the city get away with it. It’s only because I am a member of the Baker City Council that I felt I owed the other people, who the city is also illegally double charging, my obligation to straighten this out. 

I have endured one year of ridicule from the city staff, four members of the City Council and the Baker City Herald. I was wrongfully removed as mayor by those four council members. I risked paying about $50,000 in attorney fees.

If the mayor of Baker City has to go through this to be heard, what chance does an average citizen have?

Richard Langrell

Baker City

Letter to the Editor for March 23, 2015

Control of federal land? Be careful what you wish for

Our own worst enemy” — that’s what Baker County Commissioner Harvey thinks of the U.S. government. 

Harvey supports HB 3444, introduced by Republican State Representative Jim Weidner. The bill requires the United States to extinguish title to public lands and transfer title to the state.  

Harvey told the Baker City Herald (March 11 issue) that Weidner’s bill makes sense. “To me it is a good thing and it should be done.” 

Perhaps Harvey’s hopes are buoyed by precedent set in Utah. In 2012, the Utah Legislature, in a flight of pure fantasy, actually passed similar legislation and gave the U.S. government two years to comply.  So far Congress has, as far as I know, not even acknowledged Utah’s demand.

That’s not surprising. Even Utah’s own Legislative Counsel recommended against such legislation. I’m sure Legislative Counsel actually read the U.S. Constitution and found no clause granting authority to states to compel the U.S. government to do anything.

Apparently Weidner and Harvey have not considered the practical consequences of acquiring control of all those federal lands. In Idaho in 2012, the U.S. Forest Service spent $169 million on fire suppression. If Oregon acquired BLM and USFS lands, on which cattlemen graze their animals at a fraction of what grazing costs elsewhere, the state would most likely not continue such a subsidy, because it simply could not afford to do so.

Utah thinks it can go to court and require Congress to comply with its law.  Harvey agrees with that tactic. “You only do it when you absolutely have to. But we have no recourse. Our own government is becoming our own worst enemy. We have to litigate, we have no option left,” he told the Herald reporter.

Gary Dielman

Baker City

Letters to the Editor for March 18, 2015

Gun control has never, and will never, succeed

Let’s talk gun control. The FACTUAL aspects of controlling the personal possession and use of firearms.  It appears quite simple to me, having been raised with them.

They are merely tools that can, and are, used for good and bad. Law-abiding people use them wisely and safely. The bad guys, outlaws, use them destructively. This last sentence explains, for the most part, why gun control laws haven’t yet and never will work to increase safety of our citizens. As a matter of fact, areas of this country with the strictest control of guns, Detroit and Washington, D.C, have the highest gun crime rates. Only outlaws have guns, the unarmed population are their victims. 

The new gun law passed in New York City is a perfect example of disaster designed to happen. The capacity of guns, including .22 caliber rifles, as I understand it, is restricted by law to seven rounds. Insanity! Proponents of the law claim the restrictions are for safety. For whom? It certainly isn’t for the safety of the homeowner who might be awakened to discover multiple robbers armed to the teeth.  And perhaps the person being robbed is aged or disabled. Which party is the law designed to protect?

We have repeated examples of our schools being invaded by killers. Yet we have laws and signs declaring that schools are gun-free zones. To an intended killer of children it simply means defenseless children! Will we never learn?

Recent history is replete with examples of nations where the citizens first gave up their right to be armed and shortly thereafter the government became a brutal dictatorship and the people were without the ability to resist. Could it eventually happen here?

If you read the U.S. Constitution carefully, you will see it means that each person has the God-given right to be armed! The Second Amendment merely emphasizes that right. There are two primary reasons to disarm the American people. The first is ignorance: ignorance of the consequences facing a defenseless people. The other, simply put, is deceit: those who know the consequence and yet deliberately want their fellow man defenseless. Isn’t it time we identify each?

Jasper Coombes


Don’t let Western Oregon Democrats manage land

Transferring federal land to the state is a bad idea. State government is not local. Who in his/her right mind would transfer public land to a state government controlled by Democrats? Need I remind folks that we haven’t had a Republican governor since Vic Atiyeh? It was Western Oregon liberals who voted in favor of legalizing dope, the same voters who continue to select a majority of Democrats for leading state government. Is that who you want controlling our public land?  Public land is a good thing, it just needs to be managed well and pay its way.

It might be a positive idea for each Eastern Oregon county to manage its share of public land but that would be impractical. The first large wildfire would bankrupt any county.

If we are going to make positive political changes, how about the following?

• Pass national legislation requiring the federal government to pay property taxes.  This would provide a more stable, reliable income from public land than payment-in-lieu-of-taxes or secure-rural-schools legislation. It would give a fairly determined tax base to counties with large public land ownership.

• Secede from Western Oregon and join Idaho if they would have us. There are periodic suggestions to secede and form our own state but that would be prohibitively expensive. Eastern Oregon would be a much better match with Idaho economically (agriculture), culturally (rural), politically (conservative) and mind-set (common sense) than we are with Western Oregon. 

• Elect conservative Republicans to the presidency and Congress so we at least have a chance for better Secretaries of Interior and Agriculture who might manage western federal land with a western perspective.

• Protect farmers and ranchers, the folks who feed everyone, with appropriate legislation. Then leave them alone.

• Shoot the wolves and allow dog use in hunting cougars and bears.

• Reduce the influence of environmental groups.

• Require Eastern Oregon federal judges to decide Eastern Oregon legal issues.

Since many of you know that I am a federal employee (Forest Service), I need to clarify that the previous opinions are strictly my own.

Jim Carnahan

Baker City

Letter to the Editor for March 16, 2015

New gift turns me into a gold panner

I received a gift in the mail the other day — a brand new gold panning kit. It came from one of my old ironworking chums that I had left behind in the Portland / Vancouver area. Vaughn must have figured I needed more things to keep me busy. Feeling somewhat obligated, my wife and I made plans to try it out.

Back home you couldn’t look crosswise at a river or stream without some sort of permit, license or pamphlet so I set out to cover our bases. It was all about the fish in Vancouver so my first stop was with Fish and Wildlife. They had no problem but referred me to BLM. BLM shrugged their shoulders, as if I had interrupted their extremely important day with a stupid question, warning me to stay away from other people’s claims. The National Forest people had no problem as long as we weren’t bringing in heavy equipment. So with no more knowledge, than before, we headed into the woods. Long story short — no gold, wet feet and sore backs. 

While recovering I remembered a recent newspaper article by Jayson Jacoby. It had touched on some gold history of this area so I shot him an e-mail asking if he had any information steering us in a gold finding direction. He instantly responded with an informative article from a past issue of the Herald. The article pushed me towards the Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI). Jayson had referenced them in the recent article also but it had escaped my attention (oldtimer’s disease).

Barb and I took the short walk to the courthouse and the DOGAMI office. This is where we met Jason McClaughry (Eastern Oregon regional geologist). There is not enough words to express how thoughtful and helpful this gentleman was. He answered every one of our gold panning questions and when I mentioned our interest in rockhounding he came alive. He freely shared his valuable knowledge, sending us on a future full of travel and discovery.  A huge thank you to both Jayson and Jason for making us feel we matter.  

Mike Meyer

Baker City

Letter to the Editor for March 13, 2015

John Hoopes the right choice for county sheriff

I would like to express my vote of confidence in John Hoopes to be chosen as sheriff of Baker County.

I have known John since he was a young boy. I have watched him grow to become a hard-working, honest person. I have seen him in all phases of his life. I know him to be a person of trust. He has been a great help to many people.

He has given his time, energy and knowledge to a stranded person, a stranger or a friend in their time of need.

He is one to take his job seriously and to learn and implement that knowledge to not only help others but to teach them the things he has experienced and done. He would be a great leader to those in the department.

He joined the Marine Corps to serve his country in times of turmoil. Anyone that has been in the armed forces knows the pressure of basic training and also the many hours of intense training to handle yourself and others in your specialty assignment. He served overseas and in this country.

The Corps had enough faith in him to make an example of what the Marine Corps could do for an individual. They gave him the responsibility to be a recruiter. He traveled around the country talking of the advantages that would be theirs if they joined the Corps.

I know that John is one who understands, can instruct others, give assignments, listen and make decisions. His objective is for each officer to be dedicated, cooperate with each other, and feel good about their jobs.

He has had 15 years with the department and has knowledge of what will be required as a sheriff. He wants for each of us to feel that where there is a need, someone will be there to help us all to be safe in any circumstance we find ourselves in.

Bob Harris

Baker City

Letters to the Editor for Feb. 18, 2015

B2H power line threatens county’s crown jewel

 I admire Whit Deschner’s letter to the editor of Feb. 4 about his opinion of the Boardman to Hemingway Transmission line. I agree with him.

I live in Bend and read what I can on your paper, but am not a subscriber. I am an avid Oregon Trail supporter and also a fan of the Interpretive Center on Flagstaff Hill.

It is my opinion that this power line will have a very negative effect on the Center and Baker City and its tourism in general. I have not seen much about the power line in the newspaper other an announcements of meeting, etc. This is the crown jewel of Baker County, I would hope the newspaper would get behind a public outcry against the power line.

Gail Carbiener


Kitzhaber accomplished much during his long career

John Kitzhaber got a lot more right during his distinguished 35-year political career than your editorial of Feb. 16 allows. Once the dust settles from the current upheaval, I trust that we will be able to look back with gratitude at his efforts on our behalf.  

On Feb. 15, the conservative editorial board of The Oregonian published a balanced assessment of Kitzhaber. I would like to quote their summary of his accomplishments as an example of a worthy tribute to a progressive and dedicated public servant:

“This is a regrettable moment in Oregon history. Kitzhaber’s imprint on Oregon shows vision and leadership. He advocated for policies to save salmon and other native species, helping the state balance economic development and energy needs with its extraordinary natural bounty. He conceived and guided implementation of the Oregon Health Plan, offering health insurance to hundreds of thousands of needy Oregonians. He conceived and led the state’s health care transformation, with an eye to pushing medical costs down — potentially a national model for health care delivery. And he steadfastly championed efforts to expand early literacy programs as the key to successful public education.”

Marshall McComb

Baker City

Letters to the Editor for March 4, 2015

Unborn children remain second-class citizens

In the 19th century, Native Americans were severely mistreated. To the government, they were an obnoxious impediment to the settlement of the continent, and so should be removed by any means fair or foul. They were herded onto lands which nobody else wanted. Indian treaties were routinely broken. Whites often murdered Indians with impunity, but let a couple of bucks seek revenge, and the cavalry was called out.

However, from William Penn on, the Quakers treated Indians fairly and with honor. To them, all mankind, including Indians, were created in the image of God and so worthy of respect. Quakers became advocates for the Indians and sought to get Americans to recognize our common humanity. Attitudes did change over the years, and nobody today believes that “the only good Indian is a dead Indian.”

Black slavery ended in the 19th century, but African-Americans remained second-class citizens far into the 20th century. Blacks were denied the right to vote, sometimes violently. They were regarded as an inferior race, and “kept in their place” through segregation. Blacks were often lynched.

Rev. Martin Luther King and other civil rights leaders reminded Americans that our founding documents state that all men are created equal, and that we all are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights. Their educational efforts paid off, and today we have a black president, something unthinkable not that many years ago.

Another group of human beings remains second-class citizens today, our unborn children. The Constitution promises us all the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Yet our unborn children are often denied the right to life, and without that, the other two are meaningless. In the ancient Roman and Greek cultures, a child’s father had the absolute right of life or death for his children. He decided whether a newborn would be welcomed into the family or abandoned on a hillside to die of exposure. All we have done is to change from the father to the mother which parent has the power to choose life or death for their children. Some progress!

Pete Sundin

Baker City

Baker vs. Idaho Power: A fixed game from the start

Recently, I obtained tickets for the B2H bowl held in the Baker County Courthouse. Attendance was minimal, since little — if any — notice was given about the game. Due to price caps the home team, the Bakerites, were poorly represented, but did their best against a professional, well-practiced, Idaho Power visiting team who, unrestricted by price caps, played an extremely physically political game quickly wearing out Baker. 

Questionable rule interpretations seriously marred the match-up since the BLM, reffing, began the game by letting Idaho Power have the ball with no coin toss. Immediately Idaho Power went long, using a, “divided they fall,” alternatives play, splitting the Bakerite defense by proposing various minor adjustments where to run the line within the county.

Baker locals finally got the ball deep in its own territory and gallantly tried to run the ball but unfortunately, the rain began and the b.s. used to fertilize the field, became extremely slick.  A fumble ensued and Idaho Power insisting that they recovered, quickly scored with a “we don’t care play.”

On their next possession, the Bakerites, trying to point out that Idaho Power was running the power line through five Oregon counties while only using one of its own, lost yards and punted.

Bakerites countered with a “we get nothing” offensive and a brilliant, “statue of: it will ruin our tourism trade if the power line goes in,” play. They might have reached the end zone but their runner was blatantly faced-masked down by Idaho Power and the infraction was not called by the BLM referee. 

Once again,  Baker was forced to punt.

Idaho then scored with a “we pay local taxes double reverse,” and then continued to run up the score by using the old and deceiving, “there really is an imaginary need for the power line” play.

The game was called and the BLM referee pronounced there would probably not be an extension of the season and that, unless the Bakerites really started protesting, the season would end March 19. Nevertheless, Baker has vowed a comeback. For the sake of fair play, let’s hope they do. 

Whit Deschner

Baker City

Don’t discount the risks of vaccinations

As I read through the waiver before signing it, I gulped at the possible things that could happen to my baby as a result of the vaccinations. I pushed the nagging fears aside as unreasonable and signed it. Done. I’ve been a “responsible” parent.

But that troubling feeling didn’t go away, so I began to look more closely into the safety of vaccinations. 

That was 22 years ago. Since then my research on the so-called “safety” of vaccinations has filled my file. And I’ve come to a better understanding of what it means to be a good and responsible parent: Knowing vaccine risks and failures and weighing those against the benefits.

Risks? Some of the more serious ones:  convulsion/seizure, high fever, high-pitched screaming (“purple crying”?), collapse/shock, brain inflammation. $3 billion in federal vaccine injury compensation has been awarded to vaccine victims in America. (Nat’l Vaccine Injury Comp. Program Statistics Report — July 1, 2014).  The Institute of Medicine has published a series of reports confirming that vaccines can cause injury AND DEATH!! (As referenced in the article “Back-to-school Vaccines: Know the Risks and Failures” on the National Vaccine Info. Center web-site NVIC.org). 

Let’s look at a bit of the history of medicine.  There were many practices that were initially embraced that were eventually shown to be in error and thrown out. One example is the practice of bleeding a sick person to get rid of the “bad blood.” George Washington was bled to death. We don’t do that anymore.

Let’s not make the same mistake with vaccinations. Know the risks and failures, and don’t discount those who have done their research (even though they might not have a medical degree) and have chosen not to vaccinate based on what they found. 

Mary Andersen

Baker City

Letters to the Editor for Feb. 25, 2015

Baker County shows integrity in fighting for public access

Integrity: “An adherence to moral principles, honesty.” 

Where has that gone, and why can’t we find it in the discussion on the motorized access restrictions to the Blue Mountains?

Some work in shades of gray, elected to positions they feel they need to protect to continue their paychecks and their positions of power. Some work in backdoor deals to protect their business venture to access resources they need to keep themselves afloat. Some work in “partnership” with groups that strive to see general motorized use removed from the forest under some moral calling of protectionist dogma that inflates their egos and swells their pocketbooks with lawyer fees. When companies begin to state “why does the public need to be there” and civil servants tell businesses that “any interference or preventing the Forest performing road closures will jeopardize timber outputs on the Forest,” we see the lack of integrity from both elected officials and civil servants alike.

For the record, the counties do not “lose their seat at the table” if they refuse to sign the MOU accepting cooperating agency status with the Forest Service. This narrative has been passed around by county officials far too long. What it does require is elected officials doing their jobs and being held personally accountable for their actions. Instead of giving themselves political cover when they sell our access down the river.

One county has shown personal integrity to protect its residents to see a forest plan revision developed that protects the quality of life for all their residents, not just the few influential companies that benefit from the “go along to get along” mentality, and that is Baker County.

Integrity isn’t about doing what is easy, or personally advantageous. Integrity is standing behind the words you say and doing what is right. That seems to be sorely missing from a great deal of elected officials and civil servants nowadays.

John D. George


Why should Baker give up financial benefits of pot?

Lumber mills gone, potato contracts — poof, mining and logging at a virtual standstill, boarded up storefronts... So what does that leave Baker County? I can think of cattle, hunting, fishing and tourism (a short list agreed but I bet I’m not far off). Suddenly in steps marijuana. Not the marijuana of “Reefer Madness” but the legal, regulated, taxable kind — a veritable gold mine if the cards are played correctly.

I am somewhat amazed at the talk of a “pot sales ban.” Not only is it inviting a lawsuit (something I hardly think the city can absorb) but literally throwing tourist dollars out the window. 

It’s not the dark ages anymore, although after reading that Baker City denied chronically ill patients local access to an inexpensive natural medicine proven to alleviate pain and combat the horrific effects (including nausea and appetite loss) of chemo therapy / radiation — I’m not too sure. Shame on you.

I can’t help but picture the fierce opponents of anything marijuana with their fingers wrapped around a whiskey bottle, beer or wine glass (I’m pretty sure which one causes more misery — you can look up all the comparisons if you have doubts).                      

Did Baker attempt to opt out of legal, regulated liquor sales or legal, regulated tobacco, gambling, firearms? If not, why not? Please tell me the difference? If you want to talk about crime, the children... I refer you directly back to alcohol, tobacco, firearms and gambling — “existing templates for regulation.”

Sorry I got off track, back to the tourism angle. Marijuana has a couple of fairly benign, well-documented effects: eating = local restaurants and grocery stores, sleepy = local motels and coffee shops. Baker City also has a main arterial to Idaho and, guaranteed, Nevadans and Californians will be coming.

Don’t let Ontario or La Grande snatch all the tourist money. If Senate Bill 542 comes to fruition Baker City would also reap the benefit of local taxation on sales. From what I’ve seen and read (crumbling roads...) I doubt Baker can afford to ignore any kind of potential revenue,  but then again...  

Mike Meyer

Baker City

Letters to the Editor for Feb. 20, 2015

Wolves: Good for national parks, bad for livestock 

Twenty years after being reinstated in Yellowstone National Park, wolves are moving into Oregon. We are still trying to figure out if reintroducing wolves to the Northwest is a good idea.

Wolves are endangered. This allows them to repopulate what was once their vast hunting ground. The beautiful creatures have been settling in nicely in many of their previous homes. In Yellowstone, wolves naturally glide into the ecosystem. Now that the elk numbers have dropped to around 5,000-6,000 head, the increase in the wolf population has also begun to level off. Elk herds are now at healthy levels. With wolf threat imminent, only the strong survive. Wolves are obviously an integral part of a wild ecosystem.

Unfortunately, outside national parks wolf numbers continue to rise, even though deer and elk numbers have dropped. So why does what works inside Yellowstone not work outside? It’s actually a fairly simple answer: livestock. Sheep and cows are easy prey. While some studies show that only small portions of cattle deaths are predator-caused — mostly not wolves — a study done by Oregon State University revealed that when cows are exposed to wolf scent, a condition similar to PTSD occurs. Stress can cost a rancher $261 per head annually in weight loss and lower pregnancy rates. Wolves may not kill as many livestock as other predators, but their effect on herd health will drive up production costs. Small ranchers risk going out of business, while large operations must increase prices to cover the added costs. When that happens, consumers see it at the grocery store.

In a natural environment wolves can match their numbers to the availability of game, while at the same time keeping the herds healthy. When it comes to an ecosystem where food supply is essentially unlimited, wolves cause major damages, especially to producers’ and consumers’ pocket books. Repopulating the wolves in national parks is beneficial to the animals there; however, spreading these creates to areas with livestock is detrimental to a very large community, which includes livestock, wild game and people.

Aiden Coomer

Baker City

Obama needs to call out radical Islam for its actions

There’s a lot of empty talk about Islam. Who are the good Muslims and who are the extremists. According to the Koran, the holy book, Islam means “submission” not “peace.” If you’re not a Muslim you’re a pagan or infidel and are to be killed. That’s what the book says.

I understand that at times the Koran can be changed to please some new revelation, which makes one wonder about its facts. A reading of the Koran placed against the events of Muhammad’s life indicates “revelation” changed according to circumstances of his life. An entire doctrine grew up around the radical change in his teaching. The doctrine of “abrogation” which means “annulment.” It’s simply a newer revelation from Allah that can cancel and replace an old one because the newer ones are better.

Looks to me like the radical are closure to scripture than the good people. I also believe it is time for Obama to call these so and act. Quit protecting them, and putting down the Christians every change he gets. Lots of red flags coming out fo the White House. After the prayer breakfast it makes one wonder over Obama’s true beliefs and faith.

Richard Fox

Baker City

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