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Home arrow Opinion arrow Letters

Letter to the Editor for Jan. 27, 2014


Government taking away our freedoms

Blatant disregard and prejudice for smokers and 2nd Amendment defenders by city, state, federal agencies, blatant disregard for drinkers and other so-called sinners and so-called alarmists that believe in Constitutional rights, not privileges. The city is using prejudice to pass bans on freedoms in parks, outdoors. Already have non-constitutional areas of town, making them downright dangerous for all who visit those areas, including our children. Still takes time for cop to run from one side of building to other even if in same building. All that time, more potential casualties, minimum 10 minutes for backup.

Wake up. All parts of the Constitution have to do with freedom, just as relevant today as when it was written. Possibly more relevant now. Everyone seems to forget freedom of speech and religion, or lack thereof. Want all religious symbols destroyed. Get over it. All monuments in Washington, D.C., would have to be destroyed, all have at least one Bible in foundation. Check facts out yourself.

While you’re at it, re-read the Constitution’s Bill of Rights. Especially those that swore to uphold the Constitution. Not everyone wants others to help save everyone from everyone. We prefer to think for ourselves. All states that have tough gun controls also have huge crime rates.

All government land is supposed to be accessible to all citizens, not just when money is available. Forest Service roads over 100 years old are supposed to be left open, forever, even in so-called roadless areas, which are inaccessible to all disabled people. To any person not gifted with perfect help.

Part of freedom is being thick-skinned enough to let others not only believe whatever, but to use their own brain to make their own decisions.         

Carl Koontz

Baker City


Letter to the Editor for Jan. 24, 2014


Backcountry travelers need to know about avalanches

In response to the article about “Locals escape avalanche scare” that appeared in The Observer and Baker City Herald on Friday, Jan. 17:

Yes, they are lucky to be alive. I wasn’t there, but in reading the article the only training it suggested that the group had was many years of snowmobiling riding and that all were backcountry winter users.  

All backcountry users need to attend avalanche awareness presentations, or Avalanche training Level I, II, or III courses which are given by many organizations. 

These presentations and training provides the following information:

• Safe travel routes

• Snowpack evaluations

• Social habits and make up of groups

• Avalanche beacons and use

• Avalanche shovels and use

• Avalanche probe poles and use

• Shovel technique for rescue

• Self rescue in an avalanche

Each individual backcountry traveler, whether it is by snowmobile, backcountry skis or snowshoes, should carry beacons, shovels, and probe poles and have the training to know how to use them. 

A backcountry traveler should be trained to identify the dangers of avalanche and how to self rescue and be safe. No matter how you travel in the backcountry in the winter you need the right equipment to take care of you and your partners. 

There are many organizations that can provide avalanche training and awareness. A few of those organizations are American Avalanche Association, National Ski Patrol, and Wallowa Mountains Avalanche Center.

Please be safe when traveling in the backcountry. Remember, each individual in a backcountry party must have the training and proper equipment to rescue each other when an avalanche occurs. 

Mike Gooderham

La Grande

Anthony Lakes Ski Patrol member, and Level II avalanche instructor


Letter to the Editor for Jan. 17, 2014

Letter writer questioned, didn’t condemn, homosexuals

In recent letters from Jay Boyd and then Gary Dielman about homosexuality, Mr. Dielman chastises Mrs. Boyd for writing that homosexuality is against natural law. Mr. Dielman continues that natural law is nowhere written down. There follows a long list of wonderfully gifted people who were homosexual and in his last paragraph writes that Mrs. Boyd should not condemn them with her natural law. From what I recall of Mrs. Boyd’s letter, she was saying homosexuals shouldn’t be surprised that people think homosexuality is unnatural. I could not conclude that Mrs. Boyd was condemning them or hating them. Since homosexuals are clamoring for normalcy, isn’t it a social question to be thought about by society in general?

It was Mr. Dielman’s use of the words “violate the Natural Law” in his beginning and the word “condemn” in the last paragraph that caught my attention. Mr. Dielman, are you asking me to conclude that gifted people have no faults — or if they do have faults, they are not to be held accountable for them because they are gifted? May we not examine whether homosexuality is natural? May we not think about the why of marriage in the first place as Pete Sundin’s letter of Jan. 13 so thoughtfully puts forth?

As to a written source for natural law, it is mentioned in Romans 1:27 in those instructions we call the Bible. There is a long list of faults. All end in death. It would be eternal death for all of us if Jesus hadn’t loved us before we repented — loved us to the point of satisfying justice by dying for us; at the same time making it a sin to hate any guilty person. Whether one accepts that as “truth” is another question.

Suzanne Kahle

Baker City



Letter to the Editor for Jan. 15, 2014


Natural Law exists in the heart, not on a piece of paper

In a recent letter to the editor, I wrote that homosexual behavior violates the Natural Law. Gary Dielman responded that he wonders where he can get a copy of that Natural Law. To clarify: the Natural Law is not a man-made document which we may photocopy and distribute. The Natural Law (not quite the same as the law of nature) is written in the human heart and mind. It explains why virtually all cultures have a moral code that essentially reflects the Ten Commandments.

The Natural Law says that objects have an intended purpose. For example, a kitchen table is intended to serve as a place on which to set food, plates, and utensils in order to enjoy a meal. If a person sits on the table, using it for a chair, the natural purpose of the table has been violated. No big deal: people sit on things intended for other purposes all the time.  There are very few natural consequences for this “violation” of Natural Law.

It’s a bigger deal when the Natural Law is violated with regard to the human body and human interaction. The human stomach is meant to digest particular types of food; ingesting  steel ball bearings violates the natural purpose of the stomach, and the consequences will be felt in an unpleasant way. Similarly, human reproductive organs have a specific purpose, and we all know what that purpose is. Violating the end purpose of the human sexual parts and the human sexual act is a violation of the Natural Law. The homosexualist agenda would like us to believe there are no significant physical consequences, but that is simply not the case. Homosexual acts between men eventually lead to some very serious physical health problems that are not discussed in any pro-homosexual lifestyle propaganda, and which are generally not considered by “straight” people.  Space does not allow me to address them here. Nevertheless, these serious problems do exist, and are evidence that homosexual behavior violates the Natural Law.  

Want a copy of the Natural Law? Look into your heart, think critically, and use your common sense..

Jay Boyd

Baker City


Letter to the Editor for Jan. 13, 2014


Marriage not necessary for homosexuals’ legal rights

Advocates of homosexual marriage present the issue as a matter of civil rights. This is misleading. Marriage is not a right granted by the government; it is an institution found in cultures all over the world and throughout history. For the most part, marriage has been understood as a man and a woman binding their lives together in a lifelong union, creating a home in which they will raise the children which they jointly produce. Some cultures allow other forms of marriage, most commonly polygamy, but the traditional form of marriage is by far the most common.

One reason for the universality of traditional marriage is that it provides the best environment for the raising of children. Other things being equal, children do best when they grow up with their biological mother and father. There are instances where this is not the case, but these are exceptions to the general rule.

Unfortunately, over the past few decades our society has increasingly shifted to an alternative form: marriage as an emotional attachment between two people, which lasts only as long as the attachment does. When that ends, so does the marriage, regardless of the consequences to the family which has been formed. The impact on our society from this alternative to traditional marriage has been far from good. Individuals have gained some freedom, but the children of divorce are deprived of the benefits of having both biological parents in their home, and so suffer.

Homosexual marriage takes us further down this road, for it is again an emotional attachment between two people, not the creation of a home where children are raised by both of their biological parents. It is a further weakening of the American family.

Homosexual couples have some valid concerns: hospital visitations, wills, insurance benefits, etc. But they share these concerns with other people who may be living together without a sexual connection, such as two sisters, or a mother and her son. These concerns may be met through appropriate legislation, rather than doing further violence to the institution of marriage as it has traditionally been understood.

Pete Sundin

Baker City


Letter to the Editor for Jan. 1, 2014


Foes of homosexuality should mind their own business

In a recent letter to the editor, Jay Boyd insists that “homosexual acts violate the Natural Law.” But Boyd does not cite where one might find a copy of that law. 

Well, if there were such a law, then following are some of the people that Boyd’s letter, by implication, accuses of being lawbreakers. The names are just a few selected from hundreds on an internet list, chronological by birth, of famous male homosexuals. (http://www.ranker.com/list/famous-gay-men-list-of-gay-men-throughout-history/)

Alexander the Great, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Walt Whitman, Tchaikovsky, Oscar Wilde, Marcel Proust, E. M. Forster, Cole Porter, Thornton Wilder, Noel Coward, Aaron Copland, Vladimir Horowitz, John Gielgud, Christian Dior, Laurence Olivier, Cesar Romero, Tennessee Williams, Alec Guinness, Leonard Bernstein, Montgomery Clift, James Baldwin, Marlon Brando, Truman Capote, Gore Vidal, Rock Hudson, Andy Warhol, Edward Albee, Stephen Sondheim, James Dean, Tab Hunter, Anthony Perkins, Richard Chamberlain, Van Cliburn, Johnny Mathis, Yves Saint-Laurent and Rudolf Nureyev.

My advice to Boyd and others who condemn homosexuality: Keep your noses out of other people’s bedrooms. 

Oh, yes. I’d really like to see a copy of that Natural Law.

Gary Dielman

Baker City


Letters to the Editor for Dec. 27, 2013


City, county should block marijuana dispensaries

Both the Baker City Council and Baker County Board of Commissioners are deliberating whether to allow “medical marijuana” dispensaries within city and/or county limits. I strongly encourage both bodies to exercise the authority they have under the law to prohibit the establishment of such businesses. Medical marijuana, perhaps well-intended when it was initiated in this state,  has proven to be greatly abused.  Medical experts estimate that less than 2,000 people in Oregon legitimately suffer the ailments the law was designed to address by providing pain relief through marijuana use.

 As opposed to the several thousand who may have a real and legally permitted need for marijuana there are over 27,000 people in this state who currently hold medical marijuana cards. Even some medical professionals who support the limited need for medical marijuana acknowledge it has evolved into a major scam. From my law enforcement experience elsewhere I can tell you that the quality of life in Baker City/County will deteriorate quickly if marijuana dispensaries are allowed to open. Those truly sick with a need for the drug already have ways to obtain it.  They do not need a store front operation which attracts abusers for that purpose. The negative impacts on businesses and residences adjacent to such dispensaries will be great and our elected officials will rue the day if they are foolish enough to approve such “business” operations.

Jerry Boyd

Baker City


Letters to the Editor for Dec. 24, 2013


Gay activists demand acceptance, not tolerance

Whether you call Phil Robertson’s censure by A&E a “free speech” issue or a bad business decision, it’s important to note that it is the “gay-rights” group GLAAD who is behind it, pushing their own agenda. But most people recognize that Robertson is being censored and bullied in a way homosexualists themselves object to, simply for saying something that is recognized as truth by a large majority of the citizens of this country.

Continue to close your eyes to the homosexualist political agenda if you wish, but the fact is that “gay rights” issues are not about tolerance; they are about forcing people to not only tolerate, but to fully accept the “legitimacy” of the homosexual lifestyle to the point where no one is allowed to speak against this disordered lifestyle.

The “gay rights” agenda is not about ending discrimination against same-sex couples; it’s about “normalizing” homosexual behavior – ignoring the fact that homosexual acts violate the Natural Law, are physiologically unhealthy, and they are correlated with a number of socio-emotional problems! “Hate speech” laws are one way to accomplish this “normalization”; censoring a celebrity for speaking against homosexual behavior is another.  Another tactic – being pursued in Canada – is to forbid homeschooling parents to teach their children that homosexual acts are immoral; for public school children there has been pro-“gay” agenda at work in the schools for years.  And recently, in California, “gay conversion therapy” was banned, so that parents may not seek treatment for their sexually disordered children. We are also beginning to see the courts rule against private businesses, such as the bakery owner who declined to accept a wedding cake order from a homosexual couple.

Whether you call the Robertson imbroglio a “free speech” violation or a bad business decision, the ultimate goal is to make it illegal to say (or even think!) that homosexual behavior is immoral, unhealthy, or disordered. The blatant propaganda that promotes the homosexual lifestyle is full of lies, and is damaging to the very fabric of society.

Jay Boyd

Baker City

Ban smoking? How about no traffic fumes, either

Let’s keep all traffic, especially diesel, from around parks, it is proven to cause death if too much inhaled. Hell, let’s make it illegal in all of town.

Makes as much since as no smoking in parks. Same as violation of Second Amendment rights. Not privileges. I’m an ex-smoker, hoping for intelligent life in this town that I was born in.

Carl Koontz

Baker City

Cancer survivor urges support for St. Luke’s van

As a cancer survivor who depended on and appreciated the St. Luke’s van last winter, I am writing this letter to encourage others who have utilized the van to write letters of support and gratitude to St. Luke’s. It’s up to us to keep the van running. I don’t believe I could have survived seven months of treatment — some of it going to Fruitland every day for weeks — without the van. Each of you that I had the privilege of riding with became true blessings to me and I know we helped each other through those challenging times of treatment. Wasn’t the van our bubble of support and peace? Please take a minute and send your thoughts to:

Mark Parkinson, administrator

MSTI Administration

190 E. Bannock St.

Boise, ID 83712

And don’t forget to put in a good wood for our driver, Don McClure. He’s a treasure!

Future cancer patients and their families will be ever grateful to you. Thank you all. Forever thankful.

Carla Anderson

Baker City

Story behind Wallowa Co.’s 2nd Amendment ordinance

The 2nd Amendment Preservation Ordinance passed by Wallowa County on Dec. 16 was compiled by Leo Castillo of Lightmasters of Eastern Oregon over the course of the last year; with help from attorneys, similar ordinances around the nation, and input from organizations such as the Second Amendment Foundation.  

The concerns expressed by Wallowa County legal counsel were forwarded for comment to a constitutional attorney who has been working with us.  His response was received on the morning of the 16th. Its contents were considered, added, reviewed and the final product printed just prior to the meeting that evening.  

Comments of this attorney were read aloud with the changes that had been made to the ordinance. Copies were given to each of the commissioners.

It was this version of the ordinance in its entirety that the commissioners passed. They did so with the approval of those present. The statement in the Dec. 18 story of the Baker City Herald on page 5A that states “Castillo’s version differed from the version that was ultimately passed” is not true.

Wallowa County legal counsel and the Goldwater Institute attorney had similar suggestions regarding the “religious” sounding part of the ordinance, and Chad Nash from Stewards of the Wallowas had a brilliant suggestion: citing our Declaration of Independence instead, which mentions our Creator in the same context as the ordinance. We applied it.

Wallowa County’s legal counsel did her job in giving her professional opinion to the commissioners regarding the ordinance.  The commissioners were not “dragging their feet” at all in the matter, but were committed to passing an ordinance that could survive the test of time, and uphold our common heritage, which is where the real victory is.  

Wallowa County citizens and elected officials should be commended. I believe the general spirit should be one of gratitude; a fine example of what unity and courage can produce.

My partner and co-founder of Lightmasters of Eastern Oregon is deathly ill and in the hospital. His name is Mike. He has worked tirelessly on the webpage for the last year.  Please keep him in your prayers.

Leo Castillo

Baker City


Letters to the Editor for Dec. 23, 2013


Christmas event outgrows Rachel Center

The Rachel Pregnancy Cancer would like to thank everyone who volunteered or provided items for the annual Christmas Extravaganza at the old Blockbuster building in Baker City. We’d also like to thank the Hinsdale family for donating use of their building.

The success of this event over the years has allowed us to help many families fulfill their Christmas wishes. Community donations of toys, clothing and other items have continued to grow year after year. Our dedicated group of volunteer organizers and the helpers who process donations, set up and run the event are to be especially commended. God bless you all.

Growth, however, is a double-edged sword. This event has outgrown the abilities of the Rachel Pregnancy Center. As a small nonprofit dedicated to preventing abortions through Christian counseling and day-to-day support of families in our community, we find that the Christmas event, by virtue of its success, has begun to impede our primary focus.

We are looking for a community organization or private group to continue to improve this popular event in the years to come. The Rachel Center will provide support in this transition, offering contacts and organizational advice, and forwarding donated items to “seed” next year’s event.

Interested parties can contact me at the Rachel Pregnancy Center at 541-523-5357 for more information.

Alberta Darlington

Director, Rachel Center

Baker City

Park smoking ban not smart or fair

Latest survey says over 64 percent of people over 21 years old smoke. We pay taxes to support our parks, and banning the majority of people is not smart or fair. Move a few tables to the corners and a few “butt” cans for those who smoke. Guys chew tobacco and spit, people cough and sneeze and dogs peeing and poopin’. We (you) haven’t ousted them, yet.

And, I want all the money the city has taken from me, approximately $400 over the years, so I can buy more medical insurance to pay the hospital or for my cremation when I fall. You printed a picture last year of one of the worse sidewalks, and nothing has been done to fix it.

We the people voted the city council members in because we thought they would do the right thing for all of us. We have the power to vote them out, too.

P.S. Dear Santa: Please give our council the brains and common sense to work for all of us. Yes, I’ve been good!

Shirley Schurman

Baker City


Letter to the Editor for Dec. 13, 2013


President doesn’t make laws; that’s Congress’ job

Just read the letter in today’s paper from Pete Sundin. Two things struck me. Mr Sundin, the president and his “administration” do not make laws. Congress makes laws.  The president either signs the congressional bills into law or vetoes them. That is his only power re: laws. 

The second thing is business owners are not being forced to provide birth control to their employees; they are being told to provide insurance or get into one of the state exchanges and thus choose the insurance they want. Which part of that insurance the employees choose is none of anyone’s business.  It’s really quite simple; please don’t make it any harder for yourself.

Iva Mace

Baker City


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