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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


Yes on city’s two land sales


The latter two items on the Nov. 4 ballot for Baker City voters could almost escape a voter’s attention who has plowed through local, state and federal races and seven statewide measures.

But these two Measures  — 1-59 and 1-60 — could bring a welcome influx of cash to Baker City’s water department.

We recommend a “yes” vote on both measures.

Voter approval would allow the city to sell two parcels of forest land along Salmon Creek, about eight miles west of Baker City near the city’s watershed.

(The city charter requires voter approval before the city sells real property worth $5,000 or more.)

The city acquired the property decades ago but doesn’t need the land for any aspect of its water distribution system. The county assessor’s office lists the real market value of one parcel at $160,560, the other at $25,230.

This is an opportune time to sell the parcels and put the money in the water department budget. The city will be spending about $3 million to disinfect its drinking water with UV light, a process that protects against cryptosporidium, the microscopic parasite that contaminated the city’s water during the summer of 2013 and sickened hundreds of people.

Moreover, selling the property will get the land back on the property tax rolls, generating revenue for public services in Baker County.


Letter to the Editor for Oct. 20, 2014


Warner already lost; he shouldn’t be in the running

How can Fred Warner even think about running? He knew he couldn’t win as a Democrat so he switched to a Republican in name only and he lost again. So he became a Republican, how can he even be in the race at all? He has already lost as a member of the Republican party. How can a write-in be even legal. Fred is just trying to do what he does best and that is try and confuse people to think he is still in the running.

Harold Reed

Baker City


Ebola and travel


We don’t think there’s any reason to get hysterical about Ebola in the U.S.

The virus is frightening, but there’s no reason to believe Ebola, which is far less infectious than, say, the cold or flu viruses, will ever spread widely in this country.

That said, we’re perplexed by the resistance of federal officials to restrict air travel between the U.S. and the west African countries where Ebola is prevalent.

Some of the explanations for this resistance seem nonsensical.


Letters to the Editor for Oct. 17, 2014


Kitzhaber’s campaign claims ring hollow

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

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

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

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

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

Chuck Chase

Baker City

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

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

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

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

Alberta Bailey

Baker City

Re-elect Merkley to keep the American Dream alive

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

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

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

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

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

Marshall McComb

Baker City

Elect Wehby, a trained problem solver, to Senate

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

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

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

Are you better off now than six years ago?

Vote for Dr. Wehby, a trained problem solver.

Robert McKim

Baker City


Legalizing pot: An embattled weasel says ‘yes’


I don’t go in for conspiracy theories — except ones involving suppression of evidence proving Bigfoot is real — but I’m intrigued by the timing of the federal government’s proposal to list the American fisher as a threatened or endangered species.

The fisher, in case you’ve not come across one (and except in a zoo, you probably haven’t) is a type of weasel that was prized by trappers in the 19th and early 20th centuries for its luxurious pelt.

Not surprisingly, given the prevalence of trappers in that era, there aren’t many fishers around these days.

If you haven’t seen a picture, imagine a diminutive wolverine — cute, albeit in a weasly way, but no doubt quite capable of inflicting grievous damage if you tried to cuddle one as if it’s a kitten.


Letters to the Editor for Oct. 15, 2014


Senator Merkley has a lot to answer for

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gary McManus

Baker City

Urging voters to write in Rosemary Abell for Council

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

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

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

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

Kata Bulinski

Baker City

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

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

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

Steve Culley

Richland

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

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

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

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

Tharrell Tilgner

Richland

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

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

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

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

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

Rodney Rogers

Haines


Re-elect Cliff Bentz to House


Cliff Bentz has already proved himself an able representative for Baker County in the Oregon Legislature.

But we might need Bentz’s abilities even more in the future, which is why we encourage voters to re-elect the Ontario Republican to another two-year term in the state House of Representatives.

Bentz’s Democratic challenger, Peter Hall of Haines, is an intriguing candidate. Hall says he’s a different sort of Democrat, one who understands the needs of Baker County residents, including the importance of farming and ranching.

But when it comes to the most crucial element of all — availability of water for irrigation — Bentz’s experience and expertise are unrivaled.


Letters to the Editor for Oct. 13, 2014


Defend 2nd Amendment, elect Dennis Richardson

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

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

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

Lorri Speelman

Baker City

Electing Richardson will help get Oregon back on track

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

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

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

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

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

Terry Speelman

Baker City


Re-elect Walden to U.S. House


Greg Walden has been representing Oregon’s 2nd Congressional District, which includes Baker County, for a decade and a half, but we don’t see any evidence that Walden is getting complacent.

Indeed, the Republican from Hood River has used his increasing clout in Washington, D.C., to become an even more effective representative for our county and region.

We urge voters to reward Walden with a ninth two-year term as our congressman.


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