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Letters to the Editor for Oct. 17, 2014

Kitzhaber’s campaign claims ring hollow

We have a real chance to change the direction that Oregon is going; I hope the voters take a really hard look at Dennis Richardson when they cast their ballot.

In listening to Governor Kitzhaber’s ads circulating in Oregon, there were a lot of half-truths grading into “there he goes again,” one of Ronald Reagan’s debate lines when running for president. 

Cover Oregon and his bridge to nowhere were coming unraveled and he went on a seven-week vacation. Now the feds want their matching funds back, and guess who’s on the hook for that? Us, that’s right, us, the taxpayers. 

Governor Kitzhaber says he has balanced the books and is closing our budget gap, when in reality it was our next governor-elect, Dennis Richardson, that was the one responsible and did the real work that solved the budget crisis. 

Kitzhaber says he has created “tens of thousands of new jobs.” Really? Oregon’s unemployment rate is higher than the national average since our governor took office, and is running around 7 percent. Under our governor our schools have fallen to 49th in the nation for high school graduation. I bet if we have him another four years he could get it to 50th. If you’re as sick of this as I am, mark your ballot for Dennis Richardson for governor.

Chuck Chase

Baker City

Merkley voted to give our gun rights to the U.N.

I keep seeing a lot in the news about the “do-nothing Congress” and it always seems directed at the Republicans in the House. However, people seem to forget that there are two bodies in the Congress, i.e., the House and the Senate. The House with a Republican majority has been pretty active, having passed over 350 bills, many of them bipartisan, which have been sent to the Senate, where they languish on Harry Reid’s desk with full approval of the Democratic majority, of which Jeff Merkley is a member.

Recently Jeff, along with 45 other senators, voted to give our 2nd Amendment rights to the U.N. by voting to approve the United Nations Arms Treaty. This treaty, which had the support of the Obama Administration, would have effectively placed a global ban on the import and export of small firearms. The ban would have affected all private gun owners in the U.S. and had language that would have implemented an international gun registry on all private guns and ammo. Amazingly, 46 out of our 100 senators were willing to give our constitutional rights to a foreign power! If they had managed to get this passed, what would they have given away next? Regardless of where you stand on gun rights, would you want to give any of our constitutional rights away? I, personally, don’t want to give any of our constitutional rights to the U.N. or anyone else. Yet Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden both supported the Obama Administration in this endeavor and actually voted for this action.

A vote for Jeff Merkley is a vote to continue the disastrous policies of Barack Obama. Vote for Monica Wehby, Republican for U.S. senator. Help put Harry Reid out of a job!

Alberta Bailey

Baker City

Re-elect Merkley to keep the American Dream alive

The Herald’s editorial board’s apparent belief (Oct. 10) that being a Republican neurosurgeon qualifies one to be a U.S. senator lacks credibility on three fronts. It offers a small-bore view of a much bigger picture.

Start with the plausible future shortage of irrigation water. Its probable cause would be drought made more likely and more severe by climate change that is already upon us. This threat could only increase under a Republican-led Senate that promotes increased extraction and burning of fossil fuels. But it would decrease under a Democratic Senate that faces the profound challenge of global warming and mandates CO2 reduction and production of alternative energy. Right off the bat, Senator Jeff Merkley wins!

Next, we have the question of available, affordable health insurance, which has already reached over 7 million Americans, including over 300,000 in Oregon. Certainly, the Affordable Care Act needs refinement and improvement, hopefully morphing into Medicare for All. But this is unlikely to be realized under a Republican Congress that works relentlessly to throw us back into the unregulated clutches of ruthless, for-profit insurance companies.

And, finally, there’s the question of meeting our local economic interests. How better could this be accomplished than by supporting the ability of hard-working Oregonians to earn a livable family income and obtain an affordable education? The odds are next to zero that this will come from a Republican Congress that seeks to lower already bargain-basement taxes on the wealthy few who are absorbing and hoarding an obscene share of our national income and our national wealth.

No, Herald editors and readers, we must not join with those who would march us in lock-step off an environmental, medical, and economic cliff. Instead, let us elect those who, free from fear and ideology, would lead us back to the golden era of the ’40s, ’50s, and ’60s, when we all had a fighting chance at the American Dream.

Marshall McComb

Baker City

Elect Wehby, a trained problem solver, to Senate

Life seems more regulated by government intrusion than ever before. From Obamacare, forest roads that are open or not, to what kind of light bulb that can be purchased. For many these regulations become a problem.

As a current member of Congress, Senator Merkley is a contributor of the increase in these regulations and problems. He could be considered a problem maker.

Doctors are trained to be problem solvers. Give Dr. Wehby a chance to solve some of these problems and decrease unnecessary regulations.

Are you better off now than six years ago?

Vote for Dr. Wehby, a trained problem solver.

Robert McKim

Baker City

Letters to the Editor for Oct. 15, 2014

Senator Merkley has a lot to answer for

Senator Merkley has some very important questions he should answer before the election. At a town hall meeting in Baker City the majority of persons attending were against Obamacare.  He then proceeded to vote for a 2,700-page document that I doubt he or anyone else fully understood.  President Obama promised that healthcare premiums would go down about $2,500 but instead have increased that much or more.  Also Senator Merkley and his fellow senators set up there own healthcare program as obviously it is much better than what they created for their fellow Americans.

Next the “Fast & Furious” arms program created by our Justice Department under Eric Holder that resulted in the death of a U.S. border agent and many Mexicans. Has he assisted in the investigation of who was responsible? If he has, I have not seen it reported.

The IRS scandal is another one that is unconceivable in our country. What has Sen. Merkley done to investigate this rotten corruption?

Another one is the inexcusable mess at the Veterans Administration. This was a slap in the face of all military veterans and what has the senator done to uncover the facts on this one?

Next is the Benghazi cover-up! That is a national disgrace and where does Sen. Merkley stand on this one? Has he come forward to aggressively investigate who was responsible?  Border security and the failed immigration policy and lack of enforcement by the Justice Department is another failure that has not been addressed.

Lastly, I was disappointed when he voted for the United Nations Resolution 2117 that dealt with international gun control that would challenge the sovereignty of the United States. Major problems created by the Obama administration just keep piling up one after another. It is reported that Sen. Merkley has voted more than 90 percent of the time on the Obama agenda.  Sen. Merkley should answer these questions and what he has done and is doing to get the facts out if he wants to have any credibility with the Oregon voters.  Simply put, it is time for a change!

Gary McManus

Baker City

Urging voters to write in Rosemary Abell for Council

I am delighted that Rosemary Abell is running for Baker City Council as a write-in candidate!

Rosemary is a community leader. She currently volunteers as Secretary of Historic Baker City and works as a trainer for Baker County’s Ford Family Leadership Program. In addition, Rosemary’s professional experience as an educator strengthens our Baker School District Budget Committee.

Rosemary is a property and business owner in Baker City. With her husband Larry, she continues the ongoing restoration of the historic Pythian Castle building, and supports community revitalization efforts. Rosemary cares deeply about the success of Baker City and our region.

I strongly recommend that all Baker City voters write in Rosemary Abell for Baker City Council.

Kata Bulinski

Baker City

Rely on government to stop Ebola? I’m not confident

A dangerous virus is loose in the world and it seems that we must rely on our government to stop its spread into the United States. I am not totally confident that is going to happen. They tell me that there is no reason to stop flights from West Africa from coming to the United Sates, even though Britain has banned them. I am told that there will be “screeners” at the airports. At the same time I am told we have a shortage of doctors and nurses in the U.S. so who are these “screeners” that are the front line defense against Ebola? I hope I don’t find out that their other job is flipping hamburgers at McDonalds. Do they have any medical training whatsoever? 

What will happen if we hear that Ebola has broken out in Mexico or South America? The southern border is a joke right now. Should ISIS deliberately infect some Jihadist that would try and walk around American shopping malls do we have a plan? I’m sure we do. I would just like to hear it.

Steve Culley


Yes on 92: We deserve to know what we’re eating

Because I’m extremely allergic to many foods, I watch my diet very closely. However, I am not that much different from other Oregonians. They all like to know what they’re eating and exactly what they’re paying for at the store.

With 60-plus countries already requiring GMO foods to be labeled, most major food producers selling overseas are already labeling those shipments with GMO labels. A representative of the Grocery Manufacturers Association has said that adding a few words to the label has no impact on the price of making or selling food at all.

Thus it would say: Vote yes on Ballot Measure 92.

Tharrell Tilgner


Merkley has failed; let’s give the Republicans a chance

Jeff Merkley claims he’s fighting for middle class jobs. My question is, what jobs? As far as I can remember he hasn’t voted for any legislation that provides long-term sustainable jobs in the private sector. He’s for any jobs in infrastructure that’s paid for by the taxpayer, which needs to happen, but nothing in the private sector. He’s for investing in renewable energy; remember we gave billions to a firm called Solyndra and they promptly went bankrupt. We gave billions to an electrical car company; as soon as they got the money they moved to Finland. Our tax dollars weren’t very well invested. I’m not against renewable energy but I feel it should be funded by private investors and not taxpayers. The reason no private investors are jumping into it is because they know it’s a losing proposition. Renewable energy is very expensive and not reliable. All Oregon’s wind power goes to California.

Merkley voted for Obamacare which is costing taxpayers billions. Cover Oregon alone cost $300 million and no one signed up. Nationwide out of 320 million Americans only 7 million have signed up. The reason is the affordable health care act is unaffordable. Look around you. Conservative states are doing well, liberal states are always putting out fires. Our government and many unions can opt out. Why is that?

Merkley votes to raise taxes, bloated government, and to not fight terrorism. The first two years of Obama’s presidency the Democrats held a super majority in the Congress meaning the Republicans could not stop them but still the Democrats couldn’t even pass a budget. They don’t want to have to work within a budget. We’re over $17 trillion in debt now with no light at the end of the tunnel. I personally have not seen anything run by the government that doesn’t cost several times more than estimated.

Let’s give the Republicans a chance. They did well during the Clinton administration! The Democrats’ policies both national and in Oregon aren’t working.

Rodney Rogers


Letters to the Editor for Oct. 13, 2014

Defend 2nd Amendment, elect Dennis Richardson

With all the scandals and wasting of money that keep hitting the news about current Governor John Kitzhaber, it’s sometimes hard to get a clear and simple message out to the voters of Baker County.

In just a little over 20 days the voters will determine Oregon’s future. We are truly blessed to have a candidate of Dennis Richardson’s caliber running for governor. 

Dennis has been endorsed by National Rifle Association and Oregon Firearms Federation. He has met both of these organizations’ stringent criteria to earn their endorsement.  Protecting the Second Amendment is more important today than ever. Please, cast your vote for the next governor of Oregon.  

Lorri Speelman

Baker City

Electing Richardson will help get Oregon back on track

I believe we need a new governor for Oregon. In a 10-month period, current Gov. Kitzhaber took seven weeks of paid vacation, and he took a trip to Bhutan to attend a conference on “Gross National Happiness.”

All of this while over half of the state was experiencing extreme drought conditions. Kitzhaber missed key deadlines to finish reports required to implement the Water Supply Fund, which delayed the fund. Reports not finished and he failed to appoint the taskforce to develop the program he signed into law.

Now we have the unofficial first Lady of Oregon, Cylvia Hayes, who has a dual role in Kitzhaber’s personal life and political life. Hayes has accepted contracts from the state of Oregon with payment going to her. This appears to be a very big breach in Oregon ethics laws. Records show Hayes signed consulting contracts worth at least $85,000 for work that overlapped with her work in the governor’s office.

Former Oregon Supreme Court Justice William Riggs has said, “In effect she’s selling her special relationship with the governor to clients from whom she’s getting a fee. It smells bad.”

This election, we can elect a new governor, Dennis Richardson, a good solid family man. Dennis can hit the road running in January and get Oregon back on the right track. I urge all Baker County voters to cast their ballot for Dennis Richardson.

Terry Speelman

Baker City

Letters to the Editor for Oct. 8, 2014

No dynasty for Kitzhaber; elect Dennis Richardson

Do four terms make a dynasty? Governor Kitzhaber has ridden the political bandwagon for too many years already. If he had made a significant contribution to the welfare of the entire state rather than to just the high concentration of “sheeple” who follow with blind faith everything he promises, maybe it would be understandable. But he hasn’t, taxes go up and incomes go down.

 To quote Sarah Palin, “How’s that workin’ for ya?” Hope and change? Not what I expected. Higher unemployment, only low-wage jobs, if there even are any jobs.  

The choices are Kitzhaber, more of the same, or Dennis Richardson.

Since we all know the record of Kitzhaber, I will leave him to your imagination. I’d rather discuss the reasons why you should look to a major change in the way our state will be doing the business in the future.

Dennis Richardson, besides being one heck of a nice guy and a fine family man, has had a distinguished career. Not many folks can say they flew helicopters, over 1,000 hours, in a combat zone, and received 19 air medals for his valor. That’s true dedication to duty.

He has made 10 trips to China as an international trade delegate to enhance relations in trade between China and Oregon. As governor, Richardson vows to continue to focus on stimulating Oregon’s economy through international trade.

In 2005 he served as Speaker Pro Tempore in the Oregon House, then in 2011-13 was co-chair of the Joint House/Senate Ways and Means Committee. He has worked for Oregonians for many years and has been able to establish a fine record while doing so.

If you want a closer look at the man and his accomplishments just go online to see his bio at www.dennisrichardson.org/biography.htm

This man deserves our support, and it is truly past time for Governor Kitzhaber to move over for a new face.

It’s time to vote for Dennis Richardson.

Peggie Longwell

Baker City

Local money supporting Richardson, Wehby

Recent letters to the editor are filled with misinformation that must be addressed. 

First, the signs for Dennis Richardson for governor and Dr. Monica Wehby for U.S. Senate were bought and paid for by the local Republican Party and not some BIG money from somewhere else as was stated.

I believe and support a different direction we so badly need in our state. That is why I joined in with several like-minded people and got involved with local Republicans to help raise money in Baker County to support both Republican candidates.

Second, Governor Kitzhaber and Senator Jeff Merkley are destroying our economy and our country. These men do not represent the common people of our state and our country. The far left believes there is an endless supply of money and then mismanages what we do have and this must STOP! The result from their actions is that every opportunity for job creation is made impossible and our lives are taken over by government control. 

We can work with Dennis Richardson as our governor and Dr. Monica Wehby as our senator. They both strive for the betterment for the state of Oregon and have both spent time in Baker County (your county) on several occasions. 

I have one question: When was the last time Governor Kitzhaber came to visit with you in Baker County?

Please join me in doing everything possible to make Oregon better by voting for Dennis Richardson for governor and Monica Wehby for senator.

Bill Harvey


Democrats are the real party of billionaire backers

Mr. Ramon Lara’s letter to the editor seemed concerned about billionaires taking over Republican politics. He needs to look inside his own party before casting the first stone. California billionaire Tom Steyer (NexGen Climate Action Committee — a political PAC) just gave $100,000 to the Oregon Democratic party for funding ads targeting Oregon legislative races, in an attempt to keep Oregon blue. Steyer is helping Oregon Dems try to unseat State Senator Bruce Starr and Betsy Close — both Republicans. 

The Democrats also have Mr. George Soros. Soros’ political PACS include the infamous “Moveon.org” and “League of Conservation Voters Victory Fund to name a couple. Former Enron billionaire John Arnold gave $500,000 to help pass Ballot Measure 90. Why is an out-of-state billionaire trying to change our election system here in Oregon? And, don’t forget Michael Bloomberg who donates heavily to his own Super PAC, which concentrates on gun control issues among other Democratic causes.  

Nearly all of the materials for a candidate come from their own election committee. This includes signs, fliers, car magnets, bumper stickers, buttons, etc. For example, Dennis Richardson, who is the Republican candidate for governor, provides to his county committee materials to help rally the vote in Baker County. 

 The Baker County Republicans seldom purchase these materials. But we do have fundraisers (raffles, banquets, etc.) which allow the local committee to raise money to donate to individual candidates and help promote them locally. All candidates rely heavily upon personal, grassroots contributions.

This year the Republican Party has the unique opportunity to change Oregon. The Republicans can take back the governor’s office by electing Dennis Richardson. We have many great state senator and legislative House candidates running statewide. We can take back the Oregon House and Senate.   We have the opportunity to take back one of our Senate seats with the election of Dr. Monica Wehby, who can help retire Harry Reid. If you want to learn more about this election, please call me at 541-519-5035 or stop by our office at 1923 Court Ave.

Suzan Ellis Jones

Chair, Baker County Republican Party and county chair for Dennis Richardson for governor

Letter to the Editor for Oct. 3, 2014

Don’t let guard down on forest road access

As we move out of the busiest “recreational” season of the year, summer, it’s always good to reflect on what open access to public lands is really about, and the current actions to restrict that access.

Too often folks only look at their access through a narrow prism of recreation, and we need to broaden that view considerably. We always need to remember that each person that enjoys open access to public lands as a recreational opportunity must supply up in our small remote towns that are our lifelines when the rest of us are “recreating.” Those communities’ survival are dependent on their ability to openly access the resources around them.

From firewood to heat their homes, to supplementary foods to feed their families, to remembrance sites where they have laid family to rest, the list goes on and on, these communities are directly tied to the landscape and their ability to access it.

Please remember, open access is not simply a recreational fight, it’s a fight of basic human rights to openly and freely access resources to sustain individual local residents and communities now and into the future.

Right now the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest supervisors (WWNF) office staff is developing the Sub-Part A report for the travel management plan behind closed doors. This “report” will determine what “they” feel is the minimum roads systems needed to manage our mountains, and the access to them. They have seen numerous request to open up the report development process and allow the public input prior to development of the report and the forest supervisor has stated the public will only see the report after its development, which disallows public participation in the development of the report. It is important you stand up and call for the WWNF to allow for your input into developing that report.

Thank you for everything you all have done in helping keep our mountains open for being active in the road closure issue as I for one appreciate you for it, and those that resided from these lands appreciate you for it.

John D. George


Letters to the Editor for Oct. 1, 2014

Wehby won’t go along with Obama doctrine

I urge voters in November to take a hard look at Monica Wehby, who is campaigning  to replace Senator Jeff Merkley. Unlike Senator Merkley, who supports and will vote for the UN Arms trade treaty which is being pushed by Obama on gun control, Monica supports our 2nd Amendment gun rights. Unlike Senator Merkley, Monica isn’t in the pocket of environmentalists that are destroying America’s economy by locking up more wilderness and wild lands, which Monica strenuously opposes. Senator Merkley signed on to a bill by Senator Wyden’s Forest Restoration bill that lets environmentalists appeal and appeal and appeal, locking up timber sales for years if not forever. While environmentalists get paid to appeal by Jeff and Senator Wyden because they left out a clause allowing just one appeal. A vote for Jeff Merkley is a vote for the Obama doctrine and of course Obamacare, which by the way Jeff voted for.  

Chuck Chase

Baker City

Wyden, Merkley votes violate Constitution

Each of our elected officials, at all levels of government, takes an oath before entering office that he or she will obey the U. S. Constitution in all of their official actions. There are no exceptions, not even for Oregon U.S. Senators Wyden and Merkley. It matters not what one’s personal preferences are, the Constitution is the LAW OF THE LAND! [The following “Freedom Index” information is available (click on “Voting Index” at TheNewAmerican.com).]

The record shows that during the 113rd Congress both Senator Merkley, who is up for reelection, and Wyden violated their sworn oath to obey the Constitution on 30 opportunities with 93 percent of their votes.  And many Americans wonder how our government got so far out of control. Without going into detail on each, here is a sampling of where both senators violated the Constitution.  

Debt Limit Suspension, S. 540;  Child Care, S. 1086;  Unemployment Benefits Extension, H.R. 3979;  Ukraine Aid, H.R. 4152;  Minimum Wage, S. 2223;  Border Security, S. 744;  Student Loans, S. 1238;  Immigration Reform, S. 744;  and Aid to Egypt, S. 1243.

There is no question whether the U.S. Constitution remains the law of the land until it is amended. These two senators representing Oregon have sworn to uphold it against all enemies, both foreign and domestic! But they each have repeatedly, and deliberately, violated their sworn oath. Call their behavior what you will but technically they each are clearly domestic “enemies” of the Constitution and therefore the Nation. Surely, in all of Oregon we can find two candidates to replace them that will take their oath of office seriously. We are clearly obligated to try. 

Jasper Coombes


Letters to the Editor for Sept. 29, 2014

Time for change in D.C.: Vote for Monica Wehby

As election time rolls around again, it’s time to give some thought to the direction you want your local, state and national politics to follow.

After having sent 33 letters to Senator Merkley since 2009 on many different  issues from global warming to unemployment benefits, I find that the response to my concerns is curiously consistent with someone who has no interest in the needs of his constituency.  He has returned the following response to almost every single contact or query I have sent to him. “While we may disagree, I value knowing your views on this important matter and appreciate the opportunity to share my perspective.”

 I think it’s time for a major change in our representation in Washington, D.C. It  would be quite a pleasant change to have someone who shares some of our common values. I have heard some people have expressed concerns about Dr. Wehby’s  stance on some social issues. No one person can be 100 percent acceptable to all people, but I can say that she follows more of my personal beliefs than anyone else running for the position. Dr. Wehby has spent hundreds of hours visiting, talking to and learning about local issues.

When was the last time you sat down to a casual breakfast or social gathering with Senator Merkley? I’d be willing to bet the answer is “never.” I have personally spent many hours at events here in Baker County where Dr. Wehby has spent her time getting to know the needs of Eastern Oregon on a one-to-one basis. She listens and does not ignore the people.              

Vote for Dr. Monica Wehby for U.S. Senator.

Jim Longwell

Baker City

School bomb threats aren’t the real danger

Both the Baker County Press and the Baker City Herald have editorials about the recent threat of a bomb in school and have invited comments. I have a few.

The problem doesn’t seem to me to be one of out-of-control juveniles but rather one of over-controlling nanny state adults who are thinking-challenged.  Let’s take a few facts and look at them. I guess you could call a bomb threat an act of terrorism or at least it is treated as such with police responses, shutdowns and lockdowns and all the new terms of the new nanny state where people can’t think anymore without asking somebody in “authority.”

First fact, serious terrorists fly planes into buildings, bomb buildings, shoot people etc. and then take credit afterwards. They don’t leave a note saying this place is going to blow up.  In all the thousands of school bombing threats nationwide over the past several years none have happened.  There have been millions spent on police overtime and lost school time but no explosions.  

In the local case I would make the assumption that the teachers and everyone else involved had a damned good idea who made the threat, probably knew the kid couldn’t make breakfast let alone a bomb but still opted to go through the “let’s pretend we have a threat” scenario.  

  What should have happened is the kid should have been called to the principal’s office. Remember the old days when going to the principal’s office was a real threat?  

With real threats in the world like ISIS, and the open borders it’s time to grow up and refocus. School policy should be to ignore bomb threats.  I know, scares the hell out of you but you will get used to it and things can return to normal after a while.

Steve Culley


Don’t let billionaires take over our elections

Have you seen all those slick Richardson and Wehby signs that have sprouted up around town? As Dan Martin noted in his recent letter, Koch and ALEC have come to town! That is Koch brothers’ money and ALEC’s agenda have landed in little ol’ Baker County.

The famous Koch billionaires have been providing primary funding for the campaigns to replace our two people’s representatives, Gov. John Kitzhaber and Sen. Jeff Merkley, with their corporate representatives. And then implement ALEC’s mission to replace laws and regulations by and for the people with those by and for the corporations.

Kitzhaber and Merkley are working for a people’s agenda that includes among other needs supporting the middle class with living wages and affordable higher education, getting corporate money out of politics, providing affordable health care for all.

ALEC wants to replace Kitzhaber as one of four governors who stand in the way of implementing their state legislative agenda throughout the 50 states. They want to replace Merkley to gain control of the Senate so that their agenda for corporate control is implemented at the federal level. Merkley has stood in the way of ALEC’s pursuit to destroy medicare and social security.

Are we going to let out-of town-money and greedy corporate interests defeat our two excellent people’s representatives? Get registered! REGISTER and VOTE. Vote to protect the people’s interests and let the corporatists know that our government is “of the people, by the people, for the people.” 

Ramon Lara

Baker City

Letters to the Editor for Sept. 24, 2014

Back Kitzhaber, Merkley to restore victory for common man

“We all do well, when we all do well.”  This is how master filmmaker Ken Burns encapsulates the core insights and beliefs of Theodore, Franklin, and Eleanor in his epic documentary “The Roosevelts.”  (If you missed it, it’s online on PBS.org through Sept. 28.)

“We all do well, when we all do well.” These seemingly simple words are profoundly inspiring if we let them enter our hearts and inform us. And they can breathe life and hope into even the most cynical and despairing among us, as we recall how almost everyone prospered during 1950s and 1960s, when the results of the Roosevelts’ phenomenal leadership reached full fruition. 

And, yes, the words should also jolt us awake, as we compare our country today with the way we were back then. In the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s, one wage earner could provide for an entire family; we built the interstate highway system; tuition at our state colleges was virtually zero; we instituted Medicare; and there was the promise of even better things to come for future generations. Top marginal income taxes on the wealthy were over 90 percent, but most everyone prospered as those taxes were converted into beneficial spending and economic growth.

Today, government has stepped back, as jobs have been shipped overseas or automated; wages have stagnated for 35 years, and the profits have gone to the top one percent who pay minimal taxes. Predatory mortgage loans and credit cards have bankrupted many; unregulated big banks triggered the Great Recession; and college tuition and user fees have skyrocketed.

Even so, one of our great political parties, led by ideology and wealth, is advocating even greater sacrifice and loss, as evidenced by the front-page interview of Monica Wehby in the Record-Courier on Sept. 18, in which she twice emphasized the need to “get government out of our lives as much as possible.”

Let us, together, restore the victory for the common man won by the Roosevelts. Google “Governor John Kitzhaber on the issues” and Google “U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley working for the middle class” to learn more.

Marshall McComb

Baker City

The slippery slope of insurance coverage exemptions

I read, with interest, Pete Sundin’s letter re: The Little Sisters of the Poor doing good works and being required to comply with the mandate to provide to all its employees health insurance including the provision of birth control. First and foremost, employers do not have the right to know how their employees use the health care they are provided. That information is only for doctors and their patients to know; NOT the employers. 

Secondly, if the Affordable Health Care act restricts coverage to any medical problem, then birth control will lead the insurers to not provide coverage for a broken leg, a heart attack, or a cancerous nodule. The insurance companies are very interested in taking our money while they are not as enthusiastic about paying money out to someone who needs medical care.

Give ’em an inch, they’ll take a mile. 

Iva M. Mace

Baker City

Letters to the Editor for Sept. 22, 2014

Obamacare hurting, not helping, downtrodden

At the 62nd National Prayer Breakfast, President Obama said, “Our faith teaches us that in the face of suffering, we can’t stand idly by, and that we must be the Good Samaritan.” The Little Sisters of the Poor, a Catholic charity, is certainly one organization which is acting as the Good Samaritan. This group of women “offer to the neediest elderly of every race and religion a home where they will be welcomed as Christ, cared for as family, and accompanied with dignity until God calls them home to himself” (quoting from the charity’s mission statement).

Yet the Obama administration insists that this charity must comply with the mandate to provide to all of its employees health insurance including contraceptives and abortifacients or face annual fines of around $2.5 million. This places the Little Sisters in a terrible dilemma.  They cannot in good conscience do as ordered, yet an annual fine of that magnitude would seriously impede their ability to relieve suffering among the elderly poor.

So the Little Sisters is suing the Obama Administration, saying that their First Amendment rights of freedom of worship are being violated. And they are not alone. The HHS mandate has brought on a veritable Niagara of lawsuits from similar Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and other charitable organizations, groups which do not stand idly by in the face of suffering.

Now the Obama Administration has shown no indication that it intends to follow the letter of the law in regards to the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). It freely grants exceptions and issues revisions as it sees fit. But not for the Little Sisters of the Poor nor all similar groups which look after society’s losers. With these charities, the administration is adamant. They must do as directed or face the consequences.

Politicians, including our president, make a lot of noise about their concern for the poor and downtrodden, yet the current administration is acting as a huge impediment for those who actually go out and do good. Obviously something is at work here besides concern for the destitute.?

Pete Sundin

Baker City

Merkley works for people, not corporations

Gary McManus set out to smear Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton (Baker City Herald, Sept. 10) by “proving” they are both Socialists, a bit of nincompoopery most famously peddled by Rush Limbaugh. Smearing is what tar brush artists do when they have no real “bullets” to smirch with.

Then he abruptly turns to attack Jeff Merkley, which shows the hand of the Koch brothers and the ALEC conspiracy, which is a real and very sinister conspiracy and not merely an election year boo word.

One way you can tell, if you have no other, if your legislator is a good one is if the ALEC conspiracy targets him. This year they have Jeff in their sights. And when you have a good one like Jeff Merkley you defend him; you don’t attack him, for Pete’s sake! He has worked like a horse for ordinary people like me and you. And even for ungrateful people who may be attacking  him. Because he doesn’t seem very expert at it, Gary’s attack on Jeff may seem like a petty pee-on-his-leg smear. But if he is singing for ALEC and the Kochs, who spend millions to destroy those politicians who work for the people instead of for the corporations, I have another and even greater reason for defending him.

Jeff has turned out to be the kind of politician we always hope to get when we go to vote. And anyone who isn’t a millionaire should be supporting him. He has been working to protect Social Security and Medicare from those turkeys who want to either abolish or privatize those services. And Jeff is front among those seeking to rein in those greedy corporate pirates who are screwing us blind every day. And he works hard as anyone for jobs. If and when we ever get a national full employment bill you will probably have Jeff to thank. He is the people’s guy, just like he says in his letters. And he was before the election season, too. So, neighbors, get registered if you need to, and be sure to vote Jeff back in.

Dan Martin

Baker City

Letters to the Editor for Sept. 15, 2014

Walden’s record on Constitution is lacking

Congressman Greg Walden is asking Oregon voters to send him back to Congress for yet another term. Before we do that we should compare his existing voting record with the requirements of the U.S. Constitution, which is still the law of the land. Each elected public official from the president on down has sworn, that is SWORN, to abide by the Constitution in fulfilling the duties of the office for which he or she was elected. According to information contained in the Jan. 6, 2014, and July 28, 2014, editions of the “New American” publication, in which each bill involving a constitutional issue is  considered, Mr. Walden scored 53 percent. This indicates that he violated his oath to obey the Constitution roughly half the time. Some examples of his unconstitutional votes:

• H.R. 1960, June 13, 2013, voted to permit indefinite military detention of prisoners without trial. 

• H.R. 1947, June 20, 2013, voted for the Farm and Food Programs bill which would spend nearly $1 trillion tax dollars on federal food programs which is not allowed under the Constitution.

• H.R. 2397, Sept. 6, 2013, voted against an amendment that would prohibit the government from collecting  information on individuals not suspected of crimes.

• H.R. 4435, May 22, 2014, voted for indefinite military detention of any person detained under the Authorization for the use of military force authority in the United States.

Mr. Walden also voted, in violation of the Constitution for: Ukraine Aid, H. R. 4152; Use of military force, H.R. 4435;  Omnibus Appropriations bill, HR 3547; and the  Farm and Food Programs, H.R. 2642. 

For an individual who claims to, and has sworn to, uphold the U.S. Constitution, this is a very poor record. Shouldn’t we attempt to find a candidate for that office who will do what the law requires and what he or she has sworn to do? Let us try!

Jasper Coombes


Americans need to recognize dirty political tricks

Gary McManus’ recent letter to the editor seems to be based on information he got off the Internet that Snopes.com — the mythbuster website — has called “FALSE.”

In that letter McManus attributes to Saul Alinsky “eight rules to create a socialist state.”  

It took me just minutes to find out that Saul Alinsky, who has been dead since 1972, did not create those “eight rules” that McManus lists. The misinformation came from the Internet and smacks of political dirty tricks that the public finds so distasteful.  

I’m writing as someone who recently was the target of political dirty tricks, when local persons, pretending to be me on Facebook, carried on Facebook conversations with about two dozen unsuspecting Baker City citizens, organizations, and businesses, including, among others, two of our local newspapers, a 5J board member, and a couple of my next door neighbors. 

McManus pleads for “all Americans to wake up.” Yes, I agree! 

Gary Dielman

Baker City

Coles made right decision to not run for re-election

This letter is prompted by your recent item about city councilman Roger Coles who says it is time for him to “move on.”  I agree, it is time.

 The highlights of his swan song are these:

 “The budget boards have really been phenomenal. I think they’ve worked hard to keep the financial health of the city in check...” That statement from Coles assumes that he and other phenoms saved the city from financial deficit. That is not true and never has been. City staff has traditionally ended each fiscal year with a surplus.

 “I think you have people with different philosophies. You got people who are, however it is handled, it’s fine. Then you have people asking about accountability and responsibility.”  Mr. Coles counts himself as responsible and regards city staff as irresponsible. That is not true either. While Mr.  Coles’ place of business is just across the street from City Hall, he has appeared only one time to meet with City Manager Mike Kee.  He mostly berates city workers in public at council meetings, facts or no facts.

 “I wasn’t a person to sit there and be willing to rubber stamp what was put in front of me.”  That is true, he wasn’t.  His favorite mantra has been, “I can’t buy into that.” Among the efforts he could not buy into was the effort to guard against cryptosporidium in our water supply. When the crypto outbreak did occur, Coles pretended that he had advocated for a filtering system all along. But he repeatedly voted against protection. And now, years and one outbreak later, we are building a system. Finally, we have bought into it.

Roger Coles deserves our thanks for his willingness to serve on the council. He is not entitled to much credit for the manner in which he has done so.

Milo Pope

Baker City

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