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Home arrow Opinion arrow Letters

All the outcry over a gym name?

The following input reflects my own thoughts and do not reflect the opinion of the 5J School Board.  

By the way, I tend to write in an “unvarnished” manner when in a mood. Enjoy.

We, as a board, decided to honor someone, and named the large gym in the high school “Peacock Court.” If that upsets you, I expect to see you at the next school board meeting to make public comment. We welcome community involvement. If that makes you giggle, and you are over age 15, you will someday mature. 

Regarding the Dec. 3 letter to the editor:

I don’t understand how the board’s decision became “pompous.” I don’t think that word means what some think it means. Were you even there? After all, no one who has recently written about the decision was there to my knowledge. We made a decision. That is what we are elected to do. It was just a decision, no pomposity involved. 


1. It was written that the board “...completely ignore what would seem proper protocol.” I suppose it might “seem” so to some, but we followed proper protocol, and I don’t live in a world of what “seems,” I live in the world of what “is.” This comment is therefore invalid. If the only complaint is “style points” with how we went about it, fine, I will live with my actions. This “scab picking” is old. The displeasure is duly noted. Got it. I made my decision. I am moving on to the next issue. Please feel free to discuss this with me prior to the next board meeting. I will show up an hour early for convenience. 

2. The people who have been asked if they knew who Mr. Peacock was must not have been the least involved in the workings of the school district for the last three decades (1984-2014). Otherwise they would know of Mr. Peacock’s vast contributions.  An average of 100 students per year group, plus at least one relative, times 30 years equals well over 6,000 people who know who Jerry Peacock is.

Why should anyone think these people would suddenly, out of thin air, care one bit about the naming of a gym? Likewise, the obviously scientific poll of “People Gary Dielman Knows” gave similar results. I think he reported the results here some weeks back, but I was not up to reading another screed.    

3. Again, I read of the tiresome issue of Mr. Peacock’s last name. Did any of us pick our last name? I doubt Jerry Peacock did. But I bet he is proud of it, and should be. If someone wants to make that an issue, it says more about them than our Bulldogs, and they need to look in the mirror, and grow up. If visiting teams make comments, again it says more about them than our students.

Does anyone really think our students are that weak of character? Our kids are made of stouter stuff than you give them credit for. They are creative enough to come up with a retort that will shame opponents who dare to belittle their gym. Would all this be an issue if Jerry Peacock’s name was Brock Sampson? Or Thor Armstrong? His name is an irrelevant side issue that I consider childish. If I hear about it as an issue again I am going to puke.

4. The decision was not behind closed doors. Gather facts before accusing. This is not Ferguson, Missouri, where feelings override facts. I guess this answers my earlier “Were you even there?” question. The Dec. 3 letter author wasn’t. Otherwise, they would not make obviously wrong claims. They didn’t know one way or the other, so they guessed. Nice research, champ.

5. The only public outcry I have seen or heard has been generated by Mr. Dielman’s letter, which also made an issue of Mr. Peacock’s last name. I was taught that when one side starts getting personal, they have run out of facts, and the other side has won the argument. If we are all going to be consistent, I should expect a hue and cry from the crowd, pouting about an entire exterior wall of the high school that has been painted to honor a teacher.

6. Since it seems to be in fashion, I’ll make fun of my own name: Why hasn’t one swinging Richard gotten off their recliner on one Tuesday evening to make one public comment at one school board meeting since we made this decision several months ago? All I can conclude is that no one cares; a few are just barely pouty or sulky enough to write the editor.

I am curious about the stir that the naming of the Helen M. Stack building caused back in the 1920s. My word, an entire building? (.....oh, wait, now I got it: people had real issues to worry about back then, and thicker skins) I’m sure someone will have the time on their hands to pore through the archives at the library and set me straight.

In summary, don’t make assumptions. Gather information before making accusations, or else you look stup… how do I put this delicately.....“poorly prepared” to make your point.

We all have a generation of kids to prepare for a hard world out there. I suggest we hold hands, and focus on preparing them. We will all be dead for a very long time. Our kids are what we will have to show for ourselves. Not a gym name....  


Rich McKim is a member of the Baker School Board.

Letter to the Editor for Dec. 5, 2014

Thank you, Mr. Peacock: 

On Nov. 25 I was walking to the main office in Baker High School, passing through the Commons. I saw Mr. Peacock talking to some of my fellow classmates. As I approached, I realized that everyone that passed by addressed Mr. Peacock. Kids I had never seen before; we were all from different friend grounds and backgrounds. But one thing, one person, united us all. That man was Mr. Peacock. We all knew him and he new all of us — every last one.

Let me give one of my personal stories about Mr. Peacock. I didn’t attend public school until my junior year. One time during my junior high years I had come to the high school for one of my brother’s sports fundraisers. Mr. Peacock saw me. I knew of him but didn’t know him personally. He saw me and said, “Hi, Little Payton.” I was known. No one in the entire school knew me or bothered to ask me who I was. But one person cared. Mr. Peacock somehow knew me when I was unknown. I am now a senior and his caring personality is still ingrained in my mind with admiration.

And I am not the only one he knew. Last year I would see him standing in the halls between classes saying “hi” to students and addressing them by their names. He knew them. And he still does; he still cares.

Some may say that it was a mistake to name the new school court after Mr. Peacock. I personally strongly disagree. There is no person more worthy than Mr. Peacock to be the namesake for the new court. He united our school for years, knowing every student. He has impacted students and the entire school with his leadership. Baker High School is blessed to have a former principal as amazing and inspiring as Mr. Peacock to dedicate the court to.

I read a letter to the editor criticizing the school board for not involving the community in the decision to name the hew high school court. I don’t know the rights or processes of the board, but to me the outcome of their decision seems right. To say I’m not biased would be a lie. But it’s hard not to be when I have experienced Mr. Peacock’s impact in our school. 

A quote from the letter states that, “Actually, it seems a little weird. It (the name Peacock) doesn’t fit well, in my opinion, with the bulldog image. Having that name painted on the floor is strange.” Sure, it seems weird to put the name “Peacock” on a school with the bulldog as their mascot. But to say that it does not fit well with the bulldog image is a false statement. Mr. Peacock has invested immensely into the high school and has impacted many individuals in his 22 years as principal. If I could pick one individual to represent our school’s image, it would be Mr. Peacock.

The name was not chosen as an alternative mascot, it was chosen to honor one man, alongside the symbol of Baker High School, to show how much he has meant to our school.

“Naming a gym for a guy who will soon be forgotten is silly.”

I agree, naming a gym after a guy who will soon be forgotten is silly. But that’s the thing — Mr. Peacock will not soon be forgotten. He has left a permanent mark on me and many other individuals in our school and community. I guess those who have not met Mr. Peacock do not understand this, but those of us who will be using the court — current Baker High School students and future students — know and will hear about the great principal who led this school with nobility and love. We will all understand why the court was named after such a great man.

We love you, Mr. Peacock. Thanks for everything you have done for us.

Anna Payton

Baker City 

Letter to the Editor for Dec. 3, 2014

School board ignores public in naming court

Regarding the naming of our school’s gym floor “Peacock Court”: After reading of this remarkably pompous decision by the Board to completely ignore what would seem proper protocol to include the public’s input in the decision-making process, I asked people if they knew who Peacock was, only one person of the 14 I asked knew! When the Board of Director’s decided to name the court “Peacock” without public input, they made it clear they have little respect for public opinion on such an important matter.  Evidently the Board does not acknowledge the public’s right to input on something that represents our community.  This is not to mention that it’s the public that pays the taxes to support our educational institutions, and elects the Board.    

The name will most assuredly generate embarrassing commentary from visiting teams for future generations of our students to endure for years to come. I sincerely hope this behind-closed-doors decision generates the public outcry that it deserves!

C.V. Gwin

Baker City

Letters to the Editor for Nov. 14, 2014

Every vote should be counted

I agree with Mr. Stephen S. Smith’s letter about counting each vote. While I applaud the county clerk’s wishing to save money the larger issue is nullifying someone’s vote.  Those votes should be protected and counted even when the final answer is obvious.  Count them and never let that happen again.  

Iva M Mace

Baker City

Why does the BHS Gym need a name?

After reading Mr. Dielman’s letter regarding the gym naming, we believe the Baker High Gym is not about the school board.

It’s about the kids and their sports, good times and good memories.

Why is a name even needed?

Ron and Sherry Quigley

Baker City

Letters to the Editor for Nov. 10, 2014

Everyone’s vote should count, and be counted

Congratulations to Mr. William Harvey on his electoral victory. He is obviously well-prepared and will do fine. Each day he and all of our elected officials are remembered in my recitation of Martin Luther’s general prayer.

However, our county clerk has decided not to count all the votes that were cast. An election is not a horse race. There are many ways to read the results. At times I have voted for a sure loser, even voted against the person I hoped would win. I did so to lower the winner’s mandate in the desire that election losers may not lose their voice entirely. There are many ways to use one’s vote. These subtleties of elective democracy seemed to have been lost at the Courthouse. The vagaries of our system need to be rediscovered.

Each person’s vote should count. I think Thomas Jefferson would concur. I don’t beleive Vladimir Putin would.

Stephen S. Smith


Walden thanks Baker County voters for support

I’d like to thank the voters of Baker County for your support in electing me to represent you in the U.S. House of Representatives. I am humbled by your confidence in me and pledge to continue working hard for policies that will grow jobs, root out wasteful spending, improve access to health care, and stand up for our veterans.

Now is the time to put the campaigns behind us and work to improve the lives of ordinary Oregonians. I pledge to work as hard as I can to solve our problems, here at home and across the nation. I take this responsibility as your representative very seriously, and I will do my part to reach common ground to leave Oregon and America a better place for the next generation.

Greg Walden

U.S. Representative

Hood River

Let’s work together to keep trash off our roadsides

Anyone who has property along any roadway in Baker County, this letter is for you.

When my hsband and I moved here 18 years ago we were so pleased to see how clean Baker’s roadways were no matter where we traveled. We learned the prisoners of Powder River Correctional Facility were able to go out and clean. They did a great job, but I hear they do not do this any more.

I would ask that all people who have property along any roadway to please keep it clean of trash and garbage and keep Baker County beautiful.

Thank you.

Dixie Amis


Letters to the Editor for Oct. 29, 2014

Avoid partisanship, register as an independent

Although I favor full disclosure on foodstuffs, and not modifying Nature’s perfection, I cannot support this GMO measure. Let’s get it right, and continue to grow our own, and buy local. 

While I support the decriminalization and availability of the herb Cannabis sativa, this measure is not fully thought out enough. If Oregon wants revenue from taxation then the question of income tax versus sales tax should be addressed again. As a society, let us not threaten the lives of young people.

When in doubt, I personally am voting for a woman since they tend to “do the right thing,” and for the contender who took the time to come to my door and let me hear his voice and see his eyes.

I favor Measures 89, 90, and the continued support of the Pine-Eagle Health District. State constitutions should rarely be amended, and Oregon should avoid debt.

Did you know? Some young people of voting age do not register because they don’t feel ready to be called to serve on a jury. I hadn’t thought of that. Anyone who has served (or attended a juror’s orientation) can understand the moral weight of serving. I find myself less critical of these individuals.

I recommend that ALL thinking voters consider registering as an independent, so the persistent us/them syndrome of partisanship can fall to the wayside, and allow the issue at hand, and person of choice, be what matters.

Linda Bergeron


Discouraged by trash on public, private lands

My husband and I own a small acreage in Baker County we drive six miles up a county road through U.S. Forest Service lands to get to. It is so discouraging to see the trash, cans and bottles thrown out along that route and other Forest Service roads in the area. Most recently I found on our property a heap consisting of 82 beer cans, two half-gallon empty vodka bottles and a red plastic cup. What does that tell you?

Woodcutters, campers, hunters or those who simply enjoy a drive in the forest, please show respect for our public lands (and private property) and pack out your cans and bottles to recycle (Baker City has a great recycling center) and your trash to throw out at home. Let’s all work together to keep our forests not only “green” but “clean” as well.

Marilyn Rowe


Election is choice between people, corporations

Global warming (aka climate change) is every person’s most important problem, whether they realize it or not. But even so, other and much less important problems must be dealt with along the way while this big, increasingly sinister one cooks along. Lesser problems such as this year’s mid-term election which is so critically important this time to those bent on giving total control of the federal government to the GOP, which means to the 1-percenters and greedy corporatists.

The beneficiaries (and I don’t mean the dummies trying to make it happen) of this possibly coming electoral catastrophe care naught for the majority class of people (that’s us, including those trying too hard to bring it about) nor for their well-being. And even less for democracy, which constitutes a threat to their primacy. So maybe you can guess what is in store for us, if they win this election.

It would be nice to have another U.S. golden era that we lowercase Demos dream of, where human well-being once more trumped corporate greed. At least for a little while before global warming destroys us all. But it sure won’t happen unless a few of those people who sit on their brains discover the brains in their other end and vote accordingly so that we may retain that sometime possibility.

And in case you haven’t thought of it yet you will find that it is much easier to vote away our democracy than it is to vote it back.

Dan Martin

Baker City

Warner has shown lack of leadership

People tend to forget things over time, but unfortunately this has stuck in my craw for years. What I mention here would mean immediate dismissal for anyone working for private business on Main Street.

First, while local people struggled to pay for gas, food and clothes in 2004, Fred Warner Jr., apparently enjoying the government gravy wagon, handed out $126,000 as a Christmas bonus to county employees who continue to receive raise after raise in lucrative pay and benefits, greatly outstripping the private sector in this county.

On one occasion one richly paid county employee could not even spell the word “assessor” to whose office she was sending me in the courthouse. Another such richly paid employee stole money undetected for 11 months in the Justice Court office in 2011.

Second, a couple years ago there were three instances reported in which Baker County funds, well over $24,000, had to be returned because of negligent and incompetent double-dipping. It was also discovered that county officials failed to properly authorize cash transfers to the tune of $302,236. What kind of management skill and oversight responsibility does Mr. Warner and his department heads demonstrate? I wonder if any steps have been taken to set higher standards of performance and honesty for county employees.

Third, as previously reported, Mr. Fred Warner Jr. has developed close ties with much of the political, socialistic and hypocritical nonsense on the west side of Oregon and which stretches all the way to D.C. Contrary to what Mr. Warner believes, I find these socialistic connections compromising, abhorrent and ultimately destructive to the best interests of men, women and children living in Baker County. It’s time for a dismissal, as the voters have already determined in May.

Peggy Anderson-Iler

New Bridge

Letter: District Attorney Matt Shirtcliff urges "no" vote on legalizing marijuana

On Nov. 4, voters in Baker County will have the opportunity to vote on whether marijuana should be legalized in the state of Oregon. As your district attorney, I would encourage Baker County voters to vote NO.

I make this recommendation for two primary reasons. First, Measure 91 is flawed and full of loopholes. Second, legalizing marijuana will have the effect of putting more children at risk.

This measure would allow a person previously convicted of felony drug crimes to get a license to grow, distribute and sell marijuana in a retail shop.  There is nothing in the law to limit how many retail shops a felon can operate.  

This measure makes no established driving rules for marijuana impairment and creates a substantial risk of increased driving fatalities relating to marijuana-impaired driving.  Traffic fatalities involving marijuana use have increased in the state of Washington since legalization.

Letter to the Editor for Oct. 27, 2014

Vote, and Americans will thank you

Every eligible voter must vote and vote informed or we are on the road to becoming something other than free Americans. Right now we are on the verge of losing our right to self-protection, losing access to our countryside, losing our choice of where we live and among others, how we educate our kids. Everybody will thank you for being one of our Americans that has utilized their right, and voted.

And I’ll be one of those that thanks you.

Rush Long

Baker County

Letters to the Editor for Oct. 24, 2014

Measure 90 would reduce voters’ freedom

I just finished reading through the pros and cons in my Voters Guide regarding Proposition 90 (I know, I know, I should have done it sooner) and it hit me like a ton of bricks!  This is not a good thing, folks, for any of us, regardless of your political leanings.  It takes away those freedoms that our forefathers worked so hard to include into the Bill of Rights and the Constitution — the balance of power, the inclusion of all our opinions and beliefs, the governing of the people, by the people. 

The makers of Prop 90 meant well.  At first, I thought it might be a good idea. However, after looking at all the possibilities, such as having only one party to vote on in the general election, I realized the inherent dangers. We must continue to have a choice of not just two parties, but the alternatives as well. We must continue to hear all sides of the question and to work to find the balances that will insure a fair and democratic solution to all the problems of governing an excitingly diverse, argumentative, but extremely livable community.  Let’s keep it that way! Vote No on Proposition 90!  Thanks for listening.

Roxanna Swann

Baker City

Ferrioli urges all voters to cast their ballots

Over many election cycles, I’ve listened to conservatives who didn’t cast a ballot complain “My vote doesn’t count so why bother?”

 Here’s why:

 Four years ago, Chris Dudley lost the election to John Kitzhaber by less than 23,000 votes. The margin was less than 2 percent! 

Think of how different Oregon would be without the failures of the past four years! 

According to the Secretary of State, in that election cycle, 135,000 registered Republicans who received their ballots in the mail, did not vote. 

Perhaps they were discouraged, or didn’t believe their candidate could win, or maybe they just couldn’t find a stamp.

 For whatever reason, some rural conservatives are content to sit on the sidelines while Portland liberals call the tune. 

This election is being conducted while our National Guard units are scattered all over the world, fighting for our freedom, our liberty, and our precious right to vote. They will never surrender. 

But by not voting we will surrender the Oregon we love and where we raised our families. 

There is no excuse for any Oregonian to fail the duty of citizenship when the cost of voting is the price of a stamp.  

Please change Oregon for the better! Cast your ballot and mail it today. Let no Oregon ballot go unvoted! 

Ted Ferrioli

State Senator, District 30

John Day

Letters to the Editor for Oct. 22, 2014

No better candidate for Baker than Bill Harvey

I would like to say there is no better candidate for Baker County Commissioner than Bill Harvey. He has been in business in Baker County for many years and is a man of integrity who will do what he says and stand behind his word. His many years of successful business experience reflect this! I have personally seen this for myself.

Andrea Lucas

Baker City

Where have all the true statesmen gone?

I’m befuddled and disappointed to the point of the ancient cliché, “All about us are crazy but me and thee and sometimes I worry about thee.” Doesn’t anyone listen to radio, watch TV or read the paper?  The information is rampant about a 100 percent increase in pot-related traffic deaths in Colorado and the high number of kids getting high on pot-laced cookies, punch or whatever in Washington. Yet a majority of folks in conservative Baker say it should also be legalized here.  WOW! While I’m at it, do the local Democrats really believe we should vote for all the ballot measures they recommend?  It’s hard for me to understand how most of those ever got on the ballot in the beginning. They certainly have no basis for approval.   

 I was raised a Democrat through the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s, but the party changed or maybe our family and others in our circle saw the light. Subsequently, we all changed affiliation over time. The only president, whose hand I have ever had the honor of shaking, was Harry Truman’s at the White House in 1949. I liked his explanation that he was called upon to occupy the position of the presidency,  rather than just being named the “President.” Another statesman of whom I was proud was Oregon’s Wayne Morse. He was not always right, but he worked very hard at what he was elected to do. He was also fun to watch in harness racing competition.

 Yes, I’ve been around a long time, but it’s difficult to watch the deterioration of the principles and great individual freedoms our founding fathers put into place. The liberal establishment in Oregon and nationally, through deceit, illegal manipulation, lies, lack of morals, in addition to bankruptcy and the curtailment of the wise use of our abundant natural resources, are determined to turn this great republic into a socialist state. I hope and pray it’s not too late to get this great country turned around. Let’s hope we have some patriots to elect on the right. I don’t see any on the left.

Dan Warnock

Baker City

Republicans favor small government

The political ads now running mostly ignore the important fact that the governing philosophies of the two major political parties are quite different. The Democrats favor big government. They believe that our modern life is so complicated that the average person is not competent to make good decisions on things, and so we must allow government experts to make our choices for us. Republicans favor small government. They feel that the average citizen is reasonably intelligent and so competent to make decisions which directly affect themselves.

Obamacare is an excellent example of this Democratic philosophy in action. Government bureaucrats decide what must be included in our health care insurance policies. Insurance companies must offer policies with the mandated coverage. Employers must provide these policies to their employees, even if they have moral qualms about some of the specific items covered. Individuals not otherwise covered must purchase one of these policies, whether or not they want or need all of the coverage which they are paying for. A government panel of experts decides which medical procedures are to be used.

A good example of a Republican health care program is Medicare Part D, the prescription drug program. Under it, insurance companies can offer a wide variety of policies, with minimal to extensive coverage. From these offerings, we can select a policy which best meets our individual situation. If our situation changes, or if we are unhappy with our current policy for any reason, we can change policies or even insurance companies at the end of each year.

If you like Obamacare and similar top-down programs, then vote for Senator Jeff Merkley. He voted for Obamacare and continues to support it. But if you’d rather have some choice in your health care insurance, then vote for Dr. Monica Wehby. She pledges to replace Obamacare with a program with more flexibility, not the one-size-fits-all health care plan which Obamacare is.

 Governor John Kitzhaber likes Obamacare, even though his administration’s attempt to implement it in Oregon was an expensive fiasco. Mr. Dennis Richardson favors small government programs. Something to think about when you vote.

Pete Sundin

Baker City

Best option is to vote ‘no’ on all ballot measures

If you are still undecided about the ballot measures, please vote NO. They are generally costly, serve special interest groups and limit liberty for the rest of us. 

First is cost. They either are funded by tax dollars or fees imposed on some group, usually not the group proposing the measure. Other ways they are costly is increased cost to consumers or business. Secondly, they are usually proposed by special interest groups like druggies, pushers, illegals, or students looking for free stuff this year. Other years, other special interest groups.  They benefit, we provide. Thirdly, most laws, whether statute law or ballot measure, limit “we the people”.  They limit, to some degree, virtually all areas of our lives. We have more than enough laws now. Let’s not vote for more of them.

For those undecided on the governor’s race or Senate race, a vote for Dennis Richardson and Monica Wehby would be useful for Oregonians. I am especially concerned about the current state of health care cost in Oregon and 2nd amendment issues.  Dennis and Monica have positions opposite of the current administration’s.

Tom Van Diepen

Baker City

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