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Letters to the Editor for May 1, 2013


Rosemary Abell would greatly benefit Baker School Board

Rosemary Abell did not grow up in Eastern Oregon so she does not have the connections some of the other candidates for 5J school board have. What she does have is an outstanding record of leadership and involvement in education.

Besides her own impressive educational background, she has worked in several positions at the state level, including a science assessment specialist for the Oregon Department of Education.

 On the national level, she has worked as a peer reviewer of state plans addressing both the Approving America’s School Act and No Child Left Behind. Since 2001, she has worked on national, state, and district projects as an educational consultant. I have known Rosemary for several years, but the more I have learned about her involvement and hard work, the more I am amazed that we have a local person with such a record who is willing to serve our community on the local school board.

 Baker 5J would benefit greatly by having Rosemary Abell on our local school board.

Maryalys Urey

Baker City

Food and farm guide benefits growers, consumers

As a small farmer in Baker County, I have really benefited from the Eastern Oregon Food & Farm Guide. This guide helps connect consumers to local food producers like me. It helps connect farmers, ranchers and gardeners to the local products and services they need. The guide is a print and online directory and guide to local eating and good living and this year there will even be an interactive PDF for iPad!

Oregon Rural Action publishes the guide each year in June to promote local food production and consumption. This year, with funding support from the Oregon Department of Ag Specialty Crop Grant program, the guide is expanding. Now folks from across Eastern Oregon (not just NE Oregon) will be included.

ORA is hoping to reach at least 100 listings of farmers, ranchers, food processors, bakers, canners, restaurants, wineries, schools, hospitals, community gardens, farmers markets, grocery stores, farm stands, caterers and others who grow, make, sell or serve locally produced food and farm products. Dedicated volunteers and interns are calling, visiting and contacting folks to sign up. Anyone can be listed just by joining ORA at a basic membership of $30 per year. This membership supports the over $3,000 printing cost for the guide and the organization.

Sign up online to be listed in the farm guide at www.tinyurl.com/oraffd2013 or call 541-975-2411. More info is at www.oregonrural.org.

Valerie Tachenko

Baker County

Obamacare: Propping up the paper industry all by itself

Obamacare is now the law of the land, we are reminded. From its inception, it has been remarkably controversial, with some people swearing that it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread, while others demand its immediate repeal. But Obamacare has had one positive effect, one which no one else seems to have commented on.

Think it through. In its final form, the legislation setting up Obamacare ran to well over 2,000 pages. But the Department of Health and Human Services probably issues 100 pages of implementing regulations for every page in the legislation. So thousands of copies must be printed and distributed of the thousands and thousands of pages of Obamacare regulations. Now think about how much paper is used to publish all of this. And think about how many trees must be grown to provide the wood pulp to manufacture all that paper! So how much carbon is being removed from the earth’s atmosphere every year from the printing of all that regulation? Tons of the stuff!  Obamacare is obviously helping in the fight against global warming!

This is why we need more Democrats in government, for they are the ones who love to churn out regulations by the ton, arranging all the aspects of our lives in mind-numbing detail, from the greatest to the least. The more regulations our Democrats produce, the more paper is consumed in printing them out, and the more carbon is taken out of the earth’s atmosphere.

We only need to take care that they don’t overdo it, and remove so much carbon that it will trigger another ice age. 

Pete Sundin

Baker City

Proposed smoking ban smells of government overreach

If the phrase “government overreach” means anything to our city councilors, they should decline to take up smoking-in-the-park as an issue. 

I’m not a smoker. But this isn’t about smoking. It’s about the city not being able to keep its nose out of anything.

There’s no financial benefit to the city in taking up the issue. Smoking is on the decline these days, and there are already (unenforced) littering laws on the books to deal with smokers who toss their butts on the ground.

The new councilors probably think it’s a great “feel good” issue to get behind. Someone needs to remind them that, in government, doing nothing is always better than doing something for no good reason.

One of the councilors has opined that simply banning smoking seems too harsh. So the idea of marking off designated smoking areas has been floated. Now, common sense says that these areas will have to have signs and there will have to be butt cans and the dumping of same, and clean up on a regular basis. This “feel good” issue becomes a dead loss to taxpayers.

If not for the make work project of an intern, this issue probably wouldn’t have been brought up. But now it has the dreaded momentum. It’ll probably become an ordinance. Of course, enforcement is another story. Chief Lohner won’t have his officers do anything extra, so it will be left up to citizens to confront other citizens. That conversation will probably go something like this: “Hey, jerk, you can’t light up here! It’s the law!”

The current conversation, by the way, is probably something like this: “Excuse me, sir. I’d appreciate it if you didn’t smoke here. My pregnant wife and kids are picnicking, so if you don’t mind....”

In the end, nothing will have changed except that Baker residents will have become a little less tolerant of each other. And the council will have wasted time and money to jump on the anti-smoking bandwagon (the parade for which passed a couple of years ago, in case you weren’t paying attention.)

It has a name: It’s called government overreach.

Doug Darlington

Baker City

Everyone deserves clean and healthy city parks

I am writing in response to the April 26 opinion piece “No need for ban on tobacco.”

Baker County is currently ranked last among all counted counties in the 2013 National County Health Rankings. With nearly one in four Baker County adults smoking, we should be compelled to act. With over one third of 11th-grade boys using smokeless tobacco, we should be compelled to act. With birth mother smoking rates double that of the state and national rates, we should be compelled to act.

Prohibiting smoking indoors is a great first step, but a 2007 report from Stanford University shows comparable air pollution and health risks from outdoor and indoor smoke. Therefore, not only does outdoor smoke exposure pose a health risk to park users, but smoking and using tobacco in public places generates unsightly litter and gives children the impression that smoking and tobacco use is an accepted practice.  

Tobacco free parks are consistent with the mission of the City Parks and Recreation Department to “… enhance its natural resources, parkland, and recreational opportunities for current and future generations.”  Our parks are full of people who choose to enjoy our natural beauty, recreational opportunities, and small town life. Isn’t it then the right of every community resident to be able recreate and gather in public spaces that are clean and healthy? With a town surrounded by such physical beauty, we should be in support of community values and begin to take the necessary steps to reverse Baker County’s health trajectories. The policies and environmental change, such as the one under consideration by the City Council, will help do this.  

In the next month the city council will hold meetings to discuss tobacco free parks.  Voicing support through attendance, emails, or letters will assure them that the community supports decisions that enhance shared spaces in Baker County and healthy environments for our future generations.  

If you are ready to quit tobacco please call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or go to www.quitnow.net/oregon/.

Torie Andrews

Tobacco Prevention Education Coordinator

Baker County Health Department

 

Letters to the Editor for April 26, 2013


I’m supporting Richard McKim for school board

The election for school board position 4 is upon us.  There are several candidates. I believe Richard McKim is the most outstanding candidate and deserves my vote and yours. Richard is highly qualified and comes from a family line of school board members.  Please mark your ballot for Richard McKim.

Virginia Kostol

Baker City

Two votes for Cassidy, McKim for school board

Kevin Cassidy and Richard McKim will get our votes for Baker School District 5J board of directors.

They each have a child in the Baker schools. They are very concerned with the quality of education for our students. They have no hidden agendas. We are very pleased that they will devote their time and energy to improve and enrich the education of our young people.

John and Frances Burgess

Baker City

U.S. action on climate change is essential

On April 10 the idea that “If the U.S. shows leadership (on climate change) other nations will follow” was scoffed at because the majority of the poor world will not be able to act and it is expensive. Apparently since big poor nations can’t act, we should dismiss the issue too. The idea that the United States should not spend money on solving a global issue we created is terribly myopic.

I offer one reason why U.S. leadership can make a difference. Publicly funded American research provides affordable and often life-saving tools the entire world enjoys routinely. In fact, publicly funded research and engineering projects are a hallmark of American prosperity. Examples include the Panama Canal, modern hydroelectric and nuclear electricity, the space program, the Internet, and the human genome project. These assets paid for by the American taxpayer, continue to pay dividends today the world over. Even the extraction of the very oil that causes climate change is subsidized! 

Public funding for renewable energy is an essential investment that already offers exportable technology poorer nations cannot replicate. Technological solutions researched by America will become cheaper and more enticing once the legwork has been done. We are still known as an innovation economy. There are riches to be made and a planet to be saved in this endeavor. In this ever-changing society, I find it odd that the technologies that threaten our long-term prosperity are the same technologies that we hold so dear.

When ecosystems can no longer provide the necessary water and air filtration, food and natural resources we are accustomed to, we will see economic collapse. I urge the reader to trust the science which has long been in. Energy and emission solutions are a responsibility that comes with the privilege to exhaust an entire planet’s worth of cheap energy in 200 years. This is not a political issue, but one of equity. We are right to be concerned about our children and grandchildren. But their economic problems will stem from ecological and environmental deficits, not simply monetary ones.

Eric Layton

Baker City

 

Letters to the Editor for April 24, 2013


Rebuttal on background checks

I’m writing this because the editor of the Baker City Herald made a grievous mistake in his April 19 column: “Sad, perplexed watching Newtown’s survivors.” After saying he was a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment he goes on to say that the right to keep and bear arms is not sacrosanct. I beg to differ.

A little information first. I’ve been writing to the local papers on the Second Amendment ever since Bill Clinton decided to go duck hunting. You see when a Democrat goes hunting or picks up a firearm you know as a gun owner you are in for it. John Kerry tried to show his love for guns on his wild goose chase and Mr. Obama was recently shown killing clay pigeons at Camp David.

 

Letters to the Editor for April 17, 2013


The value of media attending executive sessions

The editorial that appeared in the April 12 issue, “Secrecy from Salem,” makes a reference to the presence of media members at executive sessions of public meetings — “who normally are allowed to attend executive sessions to gain valuable background for reporting...”

I believe this is not wholly accurate, and your readers should know just a little more.

A media member at such meetings may not share with other persons what they have heard, or report it.

 

Letters to the Editor for April 10, 2013


OTEC omitted Dalton's previous experience in Ruralite profile

Oregon Trail Electric Cooperative inadvertently omitted the previous experience portion of Mr. Doug Dalton’s profile in the April issue of our Ruralite Magazine. Mr. Dalton’s previous experience portion as stated in his submitted candidate profile should have stated that he held positions of “Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, and Controller for Idacorp, Inc. – a subsidiary of Idaho Power Company, as well as IdaComm Inc., and IdaCorp Energy, Inc.”

 As was stated in the April edition of Ruralite, OTEC has not independently verified the accuracy of any of the candidates’ profiles and submits this correction in order to remedy a clerical omission. Please see our website for complete candidate profiles as well as information on the Annual Meeting coming up on April 27 in La Grande. Our website is located at www.otecc.com

Jim Horan

Communications and Government Affairs

Oregon Trail Electric Cooperative

Daugherty is conservative leader OTEC needs

The OTEC board needs a conservative leader with experience in the private sector. Randy Daugherty is that leader.

 Randy was born and raised in Baker City and understands and believes in the values of the citizens of Eastern Oregon. Having served on the Baker City Council, Budget Board, Planning Commission, School District Efficiency Committee, and countless other positions shows his dedication to the community. Never have I met anyone who serves his community so tirelessly than Randy Daugherty.

 The recession has put a greater emphasis on having a candidate who understands how the economy works and someone who has actual business experience, something Randy Daugherty has. His 30 years’ worth of experience in the private sector gives him an insight no other candidate has. Managing a successful business celebrating its 100th anniversary this year shows his track record of success. Randy Daugherty is without doubt the best candidate for the OTEC board, providing stability for the future.

 I strongly encourage you to vote for Randy Daugherty for OTEC position 9. 

Kyle Knight

Baker City

Daugherty won’t disappoint on OTEC board

The position of a Board member of OTEC is not just an honorary one. It will demand time, flexibility and commitment. A person would need to have the time to spend, not just locally, but also on the road to represent the members. 

It would be almost like having a part-time job. It will need a person who has a flexible schedule to spend that time and effort to be successful at it. As a person with a successful business in Baker City, there is one who is capable of handling the demands of the position at OTEC. 

The candidate I feel that fits that profile better than the others here locally, is Randy Daugherty. Our children used to compete in swim meets in Oregon and Idaho together, and I got to know the family on this basis. I admire him for his commitment to anything he does. 

Vote for Randy Daugherty for Position 9 on  the OTEC Board of Directors, he will not disappoint you. 

Peggie Longwell

Baker City

Chase would bring fresh perspective to OTEC board

OTEC would benefit greatly by the election of Charlene Chase to its board of directors. Chase brings her proven organizational skills as a career administrator to the table and promises the full commitment of her time and energy to fulfilling this responsibility. She has successfully served on many boards over the years. Chase has a deep interest in serving OTEC’s membership and the goals of the Cooperative’s administration. Charlene is an intelligent and experienced team player who would bring a strong creative energy to the board. If you haven’t voted, I urge you to seriously consider Chase as new blood and fresh perspective for the OTEC board, and cast your vote for her, as I have. 

Aletha Bonebrake

Baker City

U.S. acting alone won’t do much about climate change

Catastrophic climate change advocates tell us that terrible things will happen unless global warming is stopped. What if they’re right? Let’s think through their solutions for stopping global warming and see how they work out.

The United States never adopted the Kyoto Treaty. But suppose we did, and met all of the targeted goals for reducing our CO2 production (something which no other nation did.) Then in 2040, the world’s temperature would be reduced by 0.07º.

The President’s Corporate Average Fuel Economy for the auto industry is set for 55 mpg by 2025. If this goal is achieved, the atmospheric CO2 concentration anticipated for January 2040 will be postponed until … February 2040. Note that in both cases, global warming is not stopped in its tracks; it isn’t even slowed significantly.

The United States is not the only nation producing CO2; we are not even the largest — China is. Any step which we take unilaterally will have only the most miniscule effect on global warming.

“Ah, but if the U. S. shows leadership, other nations will follow,” we’re told. But that’s not likely. Between them, India and China have well over a billion people living in abject poverty. One of the best items of recent news is that the growing economies of these countries are beginning to lift some of their people out of such extreme deprivation. Will these nations abandon their present energy policies which bring such immediate benefit to their people? No, they’ll take their chances with something which may or may not take place decades down the road.

Even though green energy policies completely fail to stop global warming, they do benefit some people. Liberals can feel good about themselves; they are reducing their carbon footprint. Al Gore’s wind farms will make him even richer. President Obama’s cronies will go on getting bushels of government money for creating green jobs. So they’ll most likely continue.

But our children and grandchildren will have to reconcile themselves to a steadily declining standard of living as energy prices skyrocket (President Obama’s own term for the consequences of his energy policies). 

Pete Sundin

Baker City

Pick up fishing line, cut up plastic to save animals

Earlier this spring I saw a young deer in our yard with a nose completely wrapped in fishing line and the plastic can holders that act as carriers for cans of soda and beer. I am sure by now that deer died for lack of water and food as the noose around his nose would have grown tighter as he grew and would have made it impossible for him to eat or drink at some point.

Please, this summer, while you’re all out and having fun with summer activities, pick up any loose fishing lines folks have left laying about and cut up those can holders so no noose is possibly formed with them. Take it all to your house and put it into your garbage can; don’t leave it on the ground.  Safe a life. It only takes a minute of your time.

Iva Mace

Baker City

Daugherty would be a benefit to OTEC board

My name is Ron Williams. I am a Harney County resident, local business owner and have been a customer of Oregon Trail Electric Cooperative for many years. 

I am writing this letter in support of my dear friend, loyal customer of mine, and a Baker City native, Mr. Randy Daugherty. Randy is the owner of Baker Garage, Inc., and this year, he has been nominated as a candidate for a position on the OTEC board of directors.

I personally believe that Randy is a highly qualified candidate for this position. 

His work ethics, outstanding accomplishments, and professionalism that he has acquired through the success of his own business would be direct attributes to the OTEC board of directors, which effects all of us residents in Baker, Grant, Harney and Union counties.

As a business owner myself, I believe that the key to success is consistency (along with hard work and dedication, of course), which Randy so effortlessly demonstrates. With this consistency, he also has the knowledge and talent of working with the public, and would truly be a benefit to this board.

You can read more about Mr. Daugherty in his profile in the April edition of the Ruralite. Please contribute to this election for the best interest of our communities.

Join me in voting for Randy Daugherty OTEC board, Position 9.

Ron Williams

Hines

 

Letters to the Editor for April 5, 2013


Dalton’s experience makes him ideal for OTEC board

I endorse Doug Dalton for the vacancy on the OTEC board of directors. We are very fortunate to have an electrical cooperative in Union, Baker, Grant and Harney counties, keeping resources created in Oregon administered by citizens of Oregon, and not some multi-state or multi-national company. Our cooperative is a success in large part because of the determination, hard work and knowledge of the board of directors.

OTEC board members must be knowledgeable, experienced and competent. Add to that integrity and hard work and you have Doug Dalton. He has previous experience as chief financial officer, controller in the utility industry. That experience cannot be understated. His understanding and experience with utility companies gives him an edge as it eliminates the learning curve of any new board member. It is that type of experience that an OTEC director needs to be effective from the beginning.

I have worked with Doug in his role as chief financial officer of the Baker 5J School District. He was a sound money manager. When Doug told us what we could expect fiscally, we as a board were able to plan effectively because he was always so accurate in his predictions. When faced with a drastic and sudden shortfall in district revenues attributed to the recession, Doug led a fiscal restructuring of the district that had minimal impact on student learning time and class size. He will bring that financial knowledge along with his experience in the utility industry to the OTEC board to benefit all the members.

Doug has always exhibited the utmost integrity, honesty and directness. I trusted his advice completely. As the former school board chairman my experience with Doug was that he was never one to “beat around the bush.” He had the enviable ability to see through multiple scenarios and provide appropriate analysis. In doing so he was direct, gave us the facts, laid out our options and gave his recommendation — which always seemed to be the best choice.

I urge all OTEC members to vote for Doug Dalton for the Baker County board seat.

Damien Yervasi

Baker City

Government wants more power over citizens

In a letter a while back I wrote about the difference between being a citizen or a subject. It’s even closer today both physically and spiritually. The government wants more power over us and the atheists want to take God from us. Oops! I almost forgot, according to them there is no God. Explain to me then why are they in fear of any symbol of Him? Thank God there’s more now waking up to this danger. God’s real, folks, and He’s not going away.

Let me tell you my story, my testimony, my witness to a true and real God. But first I want to give acknowledgement to six men who give up their time to us ex-G.I.’s to drive us from Baker to Boise five days a week in all kinds of weather to our VA appointment. I rode with them 40 times in a row and still go from time to time. These men are unsung heroes but should be noted and thanked for their service. Thank you, Bob, Karl, Alan and Alan, Phil and John.

There’s not enough space to explain my full testimony so I may write more than one letter on it. Grew up in California, went from building hot rods to motorcycle groups. Not knowing then but knowing now, God already had His hand on me. He kept me from many things that would lead to prison or worse. Then He put me into the service for the next four years. Still not listening, ended up in the USAF hospital for three months in terrible pain, about to lose my right leg. Walk out three months later, I know now because of God’s power, right leg healed. Back in California, married with kids, back into motorcycles when a fellow I knew came all the way from Colorado, walks into my house, sticks his finger in my face, tells me God has sent him to me God wants. I know this may, and thought maybe I should pay attention. Will fill in blanks next.

Richard Fox

Baker City

Double standard on school district budget issues

Although I saw Mr. Munn’s letter to the editor from last week as a bit offensive, I have to say that it nonetheless provided me with some comic relief. Here’s why:

It appears that Mr. Munn attempted to submit a complaint anonymously, assuming that the victim of his complaint would never know who filed it. Unbeknownst to him, the response is cc’d to the petitioner, and then Mrs. McQuisten obviously was able to see who had done it. When Mrs. McQuisten’s  letter to the editor named him, it must of have been embarrassing for him.

Secondly, Mr. Munn asserts that the $10,000 paid for the recall effort was an unjust victimization of our children, but let’s put things into perspective. The district has a multi-million dollar budget. I find it ironic that they are able to budget tens of thousands of dollars for administrative raises to salaries that are already over $100,000 annually, but somehow rationalize that the $10,000 to pay for the recall effort was somehow unfair. In fact, they even threatened to support a recall effort against Director Knight if he did not either rescind his remarks or resign. So essentially, what Mr. Munn is saying is that it is okay for the district to support a recall effort against Mr. Knight and victimize our children (by way of $10,000), but a citizen who  believes the board overstepped its bounds is not allowed to do the same. It seems to be a huge double standard. I’m curious as to whether Mr. Munn would have filed a complaint against the board majority if they would have followed through with their threat.

Mr. Munn’s letter came across to me as angry, and quite frankly, desperate of saving face. I’ve honestly heard better rhetoric coming from the “Dear Leader” in Pyongyang recently. My advice to him would be simple: just own it. You got caught!

Jason Smith

Baker City

 

Letters to the Editor for April 3, 2013


Chase has the leadership experience for OTEC board

 I’m asking all OTECC members to join me in electing Charlene Chase to fill Board Position 9. We need another woman to replace the remarkable OTECC founder, Peggi Timm.

We are fortunate to have three good candidates for the position, but I’m supporting Charlene Chase as the candidate most deeply grounded in consumer and community values, as evidenced by her work as a CASA advocate and as chair of two local school boards. Charlene has the leadership experience, the time, and the dedication we need to energetically represent us, as demonstrated by her initiative and follow-through to become a petition candidate, and her lifelong record of active public service.

Donna Landon

Baker City

Jobless ‘figures’ influenced election in Obama’s favor

Six weeks before the last election we learned that the unemployment rate had dropped  by two-tenths of one percent.  The timing was designed to influence the election. Many thoughtful persons thought that the figures were contrived due to the nearness of the election, but this did not deter the Obama boosters for one moment. They had Obama on TV many times daily and every single day for the six weeks until election day. Even when the unemployment figures worsened to just one-tenth of one percent for the last week, he kept at it. His message was always the same: “The unemployment figures were the best since he had been elected.” This statement was a monstrous exaggeration of the facts. There was virtually no improvement in the unemployment rate. It was still 8 percent minus that pitifully tiny fraction.

Opponents missed a golden opportunity. They should have had as many people as they could afford on TV every day explaining that Obama’s proclaimed “improvement” was so tiny that it was very close to zero.

Experienced propagandists believe that you can make people believe anything if you repeat it often enough. I believe this is what took place last November and it influenced the election a good deal.

Carl Kostol

Baker City

OTEC committee member backs Daugherty for board

I’ve served with Nelson Clarke and Lynne Burroughs on the OTEC board nominating committee for the last two years. They honored me by asking me to chair, and in the course of this service I’ve gained a deep understanding of the enormous burden that is held by an OTEC board member. They work such long hours on difficult issues that might be considered largely uninteresting to many of us. Truly, we should heartily thank every one of the OTEC board members for their service to us! Successful board members have a long history of service on other board and civic organizations, and have held leadership roles with distinction, have lengthy and deep ties to this community, and are accessible to community members. 

Randy Daugherty exemplifies these qualities, and is, in my opinion, the best board candidate. He successfully operates a century old family business, has a strong education in business/accounting. He’s served with distinction as a leader on the Baker City Council as well as the tough city budget board and the 5J facility committee among countless other civic positions. A Baker City native, he’s available to all of us every day. Sitting at his office with the big window looking over Washington Street, he just couldn’t be more accessible.

I would like to take the opportunity to clarify the committee’s nominating process.  Randy Daugherty applied in a timely manner for the board position. He was our committee’s sole nominee, in addition to our beloved incumbent Peggi Timm. Mr. Doug Dalton did not apply until the last minute after learning that Ms. Timm was about to resign. The committee found him to be a viable candidate and added his name to the slate. I’ve learned that Mr. Dalton’s nomination has been described as being “hand selected by the OTEC Nominating Committee.” That is simply not true. I want the record to be clear that Mr. Dalton was never the Committee’s sole candidate.

Barbara Sidway

Baker City

 

Letters to the Editor for April 1, 2013


Rebuild our land and economy 

I read the story about Sen. Ron Wyden in the March 22 issue. Sen. Wyden stated some things that seem to go against the actions he normally takes when voting on issues concerning natural resources. He described it as: “pursuing this on a dual track: boosting timber cuts and providing a safety net that provides for schools, roads and police in resource dependent communities, and then our bipartisan coalition will also support reauthorizing the (Secure Rural Schools) payment program.”

On the other hand, in February Wyden introduced three bills that will add thousands of acres to wilderness areas and national monuments and a lot of miles of Oregon rivers to the wild and scenic rivers system. Wyden said: “Each of these parts of the bill aim to protect natural treasures in Oregon, preserve them for use and enjoyment and build upon the economic opportunities they provide for their local communities.”

As chairman of the Energy and Natural Resource Committee, he also warned that returning to the logging practices of the 1980s boom to replace county payments is not a viable solution because: “Experts tell us it is not possible to cut enough trees to produce historic levels of funding in rural counties and comply with the multiple uses of our federal forests that our communities want and meet our bedrock environmental laws.”

I say that may be true about “not possible to cut enough trees,” especially if you continue to introduce legislation that keeps removing more land from natural resource production, which includes mining. Even now, since there has been years of devastation to these industries, there may not be enough trained loggers or miners around, since they also had to move from the area to find other jobs.

Wyden’s proposals are more like finishing off already struggling economically deprived communities. The tourist and recreationist opportunities cannot compete with jobs that support families from resource production. Wilderness is supposed to be lands that do not have evidence of man. Therefore, trading with private landowners to remove them from access to the water for cattle and farming, or limiting that access so that recreationists can float by is ridiculous and does more harm to the economies of the communities.

As fuel loads increase from overgrown forests that are now considered wilderness, should there be a fire (from natural causes) it will burn hotter and more complete. This has been known to sterilize the land, such that it takes even longer to come back. There will be no pristine beauty or treasure afterwards, because those fires are unstoppable.

We have more trees growing now than in the early years. It is because there was a point when we understood we needed to plant more trees than we harvest. In the 1980s it was standard practice to plant seven trees for every tree cut; some places did more.

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski said that Secure Rural Schools was supposed to be temporary, to provide rural counties with time to rebuild their economies. I think it is misunderstood that everything we have comes from the earth: It has to be grown or mined, there is no other source. The more land you take out of production and remove evidence of man from, the more you take out of the economy and risk a devastating destruction of the land, because man is not there to tend the land and take from it the resources we need.

So how does a community rebuild its economy? The news article said that Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell “identified up to 83 million acres in need of treatment... 12.5 million acres require treatment using large machinery.”

Well at least we have a start of recognition for part of the problem. There are less and less people able to produce because of too high restrictions on land use, and our government spends way too much on pet projects that frankly do not create family wage jobs. Maybe some are starting to see the light.

Guy Michael is a Baker County miner.

 

Chase has a strong commitment to OTEC

My husband and I are new Baker City residents. Many things brought us to this area — a thriving arts community, beautiful country, and plenty of opportunity for outdoor recreation. We also found out pretty quickly how wonderful the people of Baker City are. And one of the people we’ve been fortunate to meet is Charlene Chase, who is now running for the vacant spot on the OTEC board.

Charlene Chase’s background as an educator, principal and school board member show that she has the background to qualify her for this position. Her community involvement, including being a CASA volunteer, shows that she has a genuine interest in the quality of life in our area.

One of the reasons Charlene Chase has said made her want to run for a position on the OTEC board is that she wants to preserve the original, strong commitment to have OTEC be a true cooperative — a utility that well serves all its members. Having such a utility is just one more reason my husband and I are so pleased to now live here. And that is why we are voting for Charlene Chase for the OTEC board.

Nancy Coffelt

Baker City 

 

Letters to the Editor for March 29, 2013


5J recall took money that could have gone to schools

Kerry McQuisten’s recent letter in which she portrays herself as a victim who has been exonerated is incorrect on both counts. McQuisten signed her name to a recall petition that contains multiple provable falsehoods (for details see http://bakercityrecallfacts.blogspot.com). In doing so, she besmirched the reputations of two people whose only sin is they volunteered with no pay to help improve the education of this community’s children and she cost the 5J District $10,092.58, funds that could have been used for the children’s education.

 My complaint to the Secretary of State was not for vengeance. It was a request for accountability. Unfortunately, the Oregon statute has a loophole. A person only has to say that he/she didn’t know the statements in a recall petition were false and the state can go no further.  This is what has happened in this case.

 McQuisten says in her letter that the Secretary of State “found no evidence that our ballot statement was false.” I have a copy of the letter she refers to and it actually says that the Secretary of State found “insufficient evidence that you knowingly made false statements,” which is entirely different.

 The kindest thing that can be said of McQuisten is that she made no effort to check the facts on her recall petition in her haste to pursue her destructive agenda. She now fashions herself as a reporter for the Record Courier. I would leave it to the readers of that paper to decide about her credibility. 

 The takeaway is that the children have been deprived of funds that should have been used for their education, the community has been put through a wrenching recall petition,  and two good people have been unfairly attacked all based on a series of provable lies. If you value the community’s children’s education don’t vote for any candidate with any ties to McQuisten or Mr. Knight in the upcoming election for two school board positions. Do your homework; find out who each candidate is and what their agenda is. And vote for the children, not McQuisten’s destructive agenda.

Rusty Munn

Baker City

Daugherty the best choice to replace Peggi Timm

Those of us who are members of OTEC will soon be receiving ballots that will include selecting someone to replace Peggi Timm, one of OTEC’s original founders and the first board president. Those are big shoes to fill. I will never forget when Peggi and others approached the Baker City Council with the idea of forming a cooperative to supply our local power needs. I thought then that it would be a nearly impossible task – but I underestimated Peggi’s ability and tenacity. She has contributed so much to our community in many different roles through the years; we owe her a great deal. Thank you, Peggi.

So who should we select to replace her? We have a very strong candidate in Randy Daugherty. We’ve done a lot of business with Randy over the years. We’ve worked with him and watched him serve our community as a local business man, a member of the Budget Committee, a member of the Planning Commission, and member of the Baker City Council. He is a man of integrity. He is fiscally conservative. He was born and raised in Baker City. He understands the needs of our communities better than any of the other candidates presented to us. He fully meets all the competencies established by the co-op for new members of the board of directors. Please join us in voting for Randy for OTEC Board Position 9.

Larry and Peggy Pearson

Baker City

Chase has all qualifications for OTEC board

Charlene Chase is the prime candidate for the OTECC Board Position No. 9. Ms. Chase has the desire, time and qualifications to represent customers in our electrical cooperative. As a school administrator, and as a school district board member, she gained expertise in cooperative management. She will use these skills to help OTECC provide its members safe and reliable power in the most economical way possible.

Her community involvement through important community programs, including American Association of University Women, Baker County CASA, Baker Web Academy and Baker Early College Charter School Board, has given her insight into the needs of community members and has honed her abilities to work with many different kinds of folks.

Her goals for the OTECC Board considerations include: long-term economical energy for members by insuring current and future energy needs are met; keeping technology current; exploring opportunities for economic development; maintaining quality service while controlling operating costs and making sure that the Board represents member interests. When we think about a member of any board that represents us, we want that person to have a great deal of desire, time, and energy to complete the mission. We firmly believe that Ms. Chase has all of these characteristics plus the qualifications to bring a well-rounded set of life experiences that make her a very informed, active, working member of the OTECC Board.

Irv and Susan Townsend

Baker City

 

Letters to the Editor for March 27, 2013


So was it a wolf or wasn’t it a wolf?

What, may I ask, is a “possible wolf?”

Milo Pope

Baker City

Daugherty the overwhelming choice for OTEC board

We have known Randy Daugherty for many years both on a personal and professional level. His steady focus on all aspects of life make him the overwhelming choice for OTEC Board Position 9. Whether it be his professional life, his personal life or volunteering he has always put attention to detail a top priority. We have often heard him say “if you do the absolute best you can, that still might not be good enough.” We know as an OTEC board director, Randy will put forth the time and effort necessary to represent OTEC members at the highest level.

Join us in voting Randy Daugherty, OTEC Position 9.

Steve and Cindy McLean

Baker City

Doug Dalton has excellent qualifications for OTEC board

As you are identifying the most qualified candidates to serve our community on the OTEC board, it would be in your best interests to look closely at the characteristics of Doug Dalton. Doug currently serves as the chief financial officer for the Baker 5J School District. Our profession has been in economic stress for the past few years. I have witnessed other school districts and educational staff suffer both financially and professionally. Without adequate funding to sufficiently operate, staff has been reduced and days have been furloughed within those schools. Doug’s ability to implement a trajectory of planning has enabled Baker School District to make adjustments with minimal impact on student achievement.

Doug Dalton’s background knowledge is not in education but he does his research and applies his business sense to maintain our standards of excellence. Recognizing he has many years of experience in the utility and energy profession, I can only imagine the impact he could have serving on the OTEC board. Doug approaches the decision-making process well-informed and his skill set is just what our community needs to maintain the quality of life and resources we have come to appreciate and expect.

Nanette Lehman

Baker City

Dalton has extensive knowledge of electric utilities

Doug Dalton is a very qualified candidate to represent our electric utility needs as a member of the OTEC board of directors.

Prior to returning to Eastern Oregon in 2003, Doug worked seven years at Idaho Power. During that time he gained extremely valuable executive skills in accounting, finance and management that have helped him to understand the intricacies of the electric utility industry.

His experience with Idaho Power, plus the last 3 1/2 years as chief financial officer at Baker 5J has given Doug an insight to the art of boardsmanship.

Doug, his wife, Heidi and their two daughters are strong, responsible citizens of Baker County.

The Dalton family are very thoughtful and kind neighbors.

Please join us in voting for Doug Dalton to be a member of the OTEC board of directors. The OTEC ballots will be in the mail this Friday, March 29.

Dale and Leslie Bingham

Haines

 
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