The Baker City Council last week revived a debate that councilors started last spring.
The issue is whether the city has enough employees to do all the tasks residents expect.
Councilor Mike Downing contends the city workforce is too small.
He believes the city needs more firefighters, police officers and public works employees.
Mayor Richard Langrell and Councilor Roger Coles disagree.
When I was a kid the ingredients for a perfect day were a bicycle, a Hardy Boys book and some bottle caps.
Although I could get by with just the bike and the book.
The bottle caps were sort of a bonus — akin to getting two hits in a Little League game and then heading straight to Dairy Queen for a butterscotch sundae.
(As a light-hitting infielder, such a feat was about as rare for me as a Willamette Valley blizzard.)
The era of the bottle cap, at least as an attraction for a kid with time to burn, ended so far as I can tell somewhere around the Reagan administration, but whether its demise was gradual or sudden I can’t say.
I am writing here specifically of beer bottle caps.
A Union County group thinks all voters in that county should be able to choose among county commission candidates in primary elections.
This is an idea worth considering in Baker County as well.
Both Baker and Union counties are among a minority of Oregon counties — 16 of 36 — where county commissioners are partisan offices.
We don’t mind that, per se.
Letter writer questioned, didn’t condemn, homosexuals
In recent letters from Jay Boyd and then Gary Dielman about homosexuality, Mr. Dielman chastises Mrs. Boyd for writing that homosexuality is against natural law. Mr. Dielman continues that natural law is nowhere written down. There follows a long list of wonderfully gifted people who were homosexual and in his last paragraph writes that Mrs. Boyd should not condemn them with her natural law. From what I recall of Mrs. Boyd’s letter, she was saying homosexuals shouldn’t be surprised that people think homosexuality is unnatural. I could not conclude that Mrs. Boyd was condemning them or hating them. Since homosexuals are clamoring for normalcy, isn’t it a social question to be thought about by society in general?
It was Mr. Dielman’s use of the words “violate the Natural Law” in his beginning and the word “condemn” in the last paragraph that caught my attention. Mr. Dielman, are you asking me to conclude that gifted people have no faults — or if they do have faults, they are not to be held accountable for them because they are gifted? May we not examine whether homosexuality is natural? May we not think about the why of marriage in the first place as Pete Sundin’s letter of Jan. 13 so thoughtfully puts forth?
As to a written source for natural law, it is mentioned in Romans 1:27 in those instructions we call the Bible. There is a long list of faults. All end in death. It would be eternal death for all of us if Jesus hadn’t loved us before we repented — loved us to the point of satisfying justice by dying for us; at the same time making it a sin to hate any guilty person. Whether one accepts that as “truth” is another question.
The list of skills I wish I had is longer than many novels, and at its top are the ability to build things and to fix stuff that gets busted or stops working.
I don’t mean complicated things, like brains or nuclear reactors or jet aircraft.
I know how modest my limits are.
But aside from the occasional triumph of swapping a car’s starter, or assembling a stone wall that’s still standing after several years, my attempts at building and fixing even relatively simple items usually end with profanity and, frequently, a minor but painful flesh wound.
(Fortunately to my own flesh, most generally.)
I’m sufficiently self-aware, though, to realize that even my successful exploits, besides being rare, mainly result either from dumb luck or from the task being so simple that most fifth-graders could pull it off.
(And I mean no disrespect to fifth-graders.)
Natural Law exists in the heart, not on a piece of paper
In a recent letter to the editor, I wrote that homosexual behavior violates the Natural Law. Gary Dielman responded that he wonders where he can get a copy of that Natural Law. To clarify: the Natural Law is not a man-made document which we may photocopy and distribute. The Natural Law (not quite the same as the law of nature) is written in the human heart and mind. It explains why virtually all cultures have a moral code that essentially reflects the Ten Commandments.
The Natural Law says that objects have an intended purpose. For example, a kitchen table is intended to serve as a place on which to set food, plates, and utensils in order to enjoy a meal. If a person sits on the table, using it for a chair, the natural purpose of the table has been violated. No big deal: people sit on things intended for other purposes all the time. There are very few natural consequences for this “violation” of Natural Law.
It’s a bigger deal when the Natural Law is violated with regard to the human body and human interaction. The human stomach is meant to digest particular types of food; ingesting steel ball bearings violates the natural purpose of the stomach, and the consequences will be felt in an unpleasant way. Similarly, human reproductive organs have a specific purpose, and we all know what that purpose is. Violating the end purpose of the human sexual parts and the human sexual act is a violation of the Natural Law. The homosexualist agenda would like us to believe there are no significant physical consequences, but that is simply not the case. Homosexual acts between men eventually lead to some very serious physical health problems that are not discussed in any pro-homosexual lifestyle propaganda, and which are generally not considered by “straight” people. Space does not allow me to address them here. Nevertheless, these serious problems do exist, and are evidence that homosexual behavior violates the Natural Law.
Want a copy of the Natural Law? Look into your heart, think critically, and use your common sense..
It would seem at first glance that it’s been a tough run these past several months for Baker City events.
Last August the Chamber of Commerce announced that it would no longer sponsor Miners Jubilee.
And now Historic Baker City Inc., which puts on the Taste of Baker, the Christmas parlor tour and the Christmas parade, is set to lose about half of its revenue through the downtown Economic Improvement District.
Yet we remain confident that there are those among Baker’s business community and volunteers who are numerous and energetic enough to ensure that those events which residents truly value will continue to happen, even if the names of the organizers and sponsors change.
Marriage not necessary for homosexuals’ legal rights
Advocates of homosexual marriage present the issue as a matter of civil rights. This is misleading. Marriage is not a right granted by the government; it is an institution found in cultures all over the world and throughout history. For the most part, marriage has been understood as a man and a woman binding their lives together in a lifelong union, creating a home in which they will raise the children which they jointly produce. Some cultures allow other forms of marriage, most commonly polygamy, but the traditional form of marriage is by far the most common.
One reason for the universality of traditional marriage is that it provides the best environment for the raising of children. Other things being equal, children do best when they grow up with their biological mother and father. There are instances where this is not the case, but these are exceptions to the general rule.
Unfortunately, over the past few decades our society has increasingly shifted to an alternative form: marriage as an emotional attachment between two people, which lasts only as long as the attachment does. When that ends, so does the marriage, regardless of the consequences to the family which has been formed. The impact on our society from this alternative to traditional marriage has been far from good. Individuals have gained some freedom, but the children of divorce are deprived of the benefits of having both biological parents in their home, and so suffer.
Homosexual marriage takes us further down this road, for it is again an emotional attachment between two people, not the creation of a home where children are raised by both of their biological parents. It is a further weakening of the American family.
Homosexual couples have some valid concerns: hospital visitations, wills, insurance benefits, etc. But they share these concerns with other people who may be living together without a sexual connection, such as two sisters, or a mother and her son. These concerns may be met through appropriate legislation, rather than doing further violence to the institution of marriage as it has traditionally been understood.
I spent an hour or so on the phone the other day trying to explain what sort of town Baker City is.
This is not as easy as you might think.
At least not when the conversation feels more like an interrogation.
The man who called said he and his wife are considering buying a home in Baker City.
Of several towns they’ve visited, Baker City is by a large margin their favorite, he told me.
But he still has questions.
A whole lot of questions.
We’ve not seen evidence that anyone plans to try to open a medical marijuana store in Baker County.
But we agree with Baker City Police Chief Wyn Lohner that local elected officials should start thinking about the issue, and in particular about whether they want to restrict or outright ban such businesses.
Whether such prohibitions would survive legal challenges is an open question, but that hasn’t discouraged other Oregon cities from taking action.
Since Aug. 14, when Gov. John Kitzhaber signed into law House Bill 3460, which legalizes medical marijuana dispensaries, several cities, including Medford and Gresham, have enacted ordinances that in effect ban such businesses.
The basis for these bans is that marijuana remains illegal under federal law, which does not recognize the Oregon statute, and that cities and counties have the legal right to prohibit businesses that violate federal law.