Baker City Manager Mike Kee’s proposal to give the city’s 16 non-union employees a 1.5 percent pay raise, retroactive to Jan. 1, is reasonable.
That’s comparable to the contracts the City Council approved last year with the city’s three unions. Those deals include annual raises of either 1 percent or 1.5 percent.
Moreover, the non-union staff, which includes department heads, three public works supervisors and three assistant fire chiefs, hasn’t had an across-the-board pay hike since 2011.
The non-union raises would cost the city about $19,000, a modest amount as part of the city’s overall budget, and one that would not require the city to reduce any services.
We were not, however, persuaded that pay raises are needed based on the comparison chart that Kee gave to councilors to bolster his argument.
We agree with Suzanne Fouty that there are too many feral or otherwise unwanted cats in Baker City.
We also agree with Fouty, who coordinates the Mollie Atwater and Friends Spay/Neuter Program, that an infusion of cash to deal with the problem would improve our quality of life.
But we think there might be a way to achieve that goal without requiring residents to help pay for a project some of them might oppose.
Obama’s green energy policies not realistic
In 2008, presidential candidate Barack Obama told reporters that his green energy policies would “necessarily cause energy prices to skyrocket.” This didn’t seem to concern him, for as soon as he was inaugurated, he put them into effect. Most people notice the consequence of his policies in the price of gasoline. In 2009, gas was selling for well under $2 a gallon. Today it goes for between $3 and $4 a gallon.
The extra money we spend for our motor fuel means that we have less money to spend on other things. Businesses pass their higher fuel costs on to their customers, another bite out of our pocketbooks. Most economists feel that these increased energy costs are one reason why the current recovery from the Great Recession is the most sluggish in recent history.
The European Union is about a decade farther down the renewable energy road than we are. In their pell-mell rush toward high-cost wind and solar energy, European industries now pay twice as much for their electricity as the U. S. does, making them much less competitive globally. To survive, European industries are beginning to relocate outside of the EU.
As a consequence, the EU is ditching its renewable-energy standards as a matter of economic survival. Binding limits on each member nation’s emissions have been lifted. Berlin has announced that it will end lavish tax breaks for solar power. Brussels has decided that jobs for citizens have a higher priority than saving the planet.
President Obama has stated that he is a pragmatist; he is interested only with what works. But even as Europe is mothballing its green energy experiment, President Obama wants the U. S. to continue on down the green energy path. He states that “the country that harnesses the power of clean, renewable energy will lead the 21st century.” He seems to have learned nothing from the EU’s failure to achieve global dominance through wind farms and solar panels. His ideology has trumped reality.
Nature controls the Earth’s climate, not people
There has been a great amount of anxiety regulations, and huge costs imposed on the public by people who think man’s activity is creating our global warming.
The truth is that all works of man are insignificant compared to natural things that have been going on since time began.
First of all, the sun and its flares are the cause of the world’s temperature. Astronomers have observed that the sun moves in long, progressive cycles that change its position relative to the Earth, and cycles of sunspot activity change the amount of energy that is projected on the Earth. These cycles are estimated to be about every 40,000 years. This probably accounts for our ice ages. Geologists have observed at least four on exposed rock surfaces.
About 12,000 years ago our last ice age started retreating. Most of Canada and many of the northern tier of the U.S. were covered by an ice sheet more than a mile thick.
I, for one, am glad that it warmed up.
Eventually the world will start cooling and another ice age will come down on us, but I’m not going to wait for it.
As to all so-called pollutants that are destroying our ozone layer, remember a few years back, we had to change an efficient refrigerant over to a less efficient fluid because of the dangerous chlorofluorocarbons. Well, tests showed that when Mt. Pinatubo erupted in the Philippines it ejected more chlorofluorocarbons than all of mankind.
In regard to carbon dioxide emissions, one of the world’s most prominent geologists, Australian Ian Plimer, has stated that the volcanic ash emitted into the Earth’s atmosphere in just four days by a volcano in Iceland has erased every effort we have made to reduce the evil beast, carbon. And there are around 200 active volcanoes on the planet spewing out this crud every day.
Add to this the matter of forest fires, such as we had last year in the U.S. and Australia, will negate all the efforts to reduc cabon in our world for the next two to three years, and it happens every year.
The big numbers painted on the outside west wall of the Powder Valley High School gym tell the story of Badger basketball.
Each pair of numbers denotes the year a Badger sports team won a state championship.
Powder Valley has been a consistent contender competing against Oregon’s smaller high schools, those with an enrollment of 105 or less.
America can get back on solid financial footing
Thank you for raising the issue of voter apathy in your op-ed of Feb. 28. Indeed, we have about 2,600 people over age 17 in Baker County who are not even registered to vote. But, since Oregon actually has the country’s sixth-highest voter turnout rate, it seems that we should look beyond our state for the real source of voter disgust and disillusion.
Nationally, the unaddressed structural economic problem of loss of good paying jobs to off-shoring and computer automation has been with us for about 35 years, and it’s still growing. More and more of us are being thrust into poverty, while the top 1 percent now take home over 20 percent of total income.
Many of us have lost promising educational and economic futures, and there seems to be little we can do about it. We’re still a wealthy nation, but how many are optimistic?
Our politics have become extremely partisan. But, while we’ve been fighting each other, the phenomenally wealthy have seized more and more influence and control. They are largely ignoring working families and the needs of the planet. They resist “paying it forward” from their own good fortune, and are thus restricting our economic growth.
I urge my fellow readers to carefully ponder and internalize the meaning of our Pledge of Allegiance to “one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.” What a contrast with today’s political discourse – brimming with fear, anger, and disinformation!
Are we to continue to wage a debilitating fight? May I suggest that we tune out the voices that would divide us, including Fox News and right-wing talk radio. Let us, instead, listen to each other, including those 2,600 unregistered potential voters. Remembering our nation’s proud heritage, I’ve no doubt we have the imagination and creativity to forge answers that meet everyone’s needs.
The United States emerged from the Great Depression and victory in World War II with an unprecedented, 30-year period of prosperity (taxing the wealthy at more than twice today’s rates). Together, We the People did it once; together, we can do it again.
The local group Forest Access for All, which opposes further restrictions on motor vehicle travel on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, contends the Forest Service isn’t giving residents enough time to review a lengthy new document the agency is releasing later this week.
The records that constitute the Blue Mountains Forest Plan Revision exceed 1,000 pages.
This is an important document, albeit one that doesn’t propose to close any roads.
Feeling unrepresented by members of Congress
I have openly requested Congressman Walden’s staff to assist me with Travel Management, the collaborative group and the Blue Mountain Forest Plan Revision. I have asked local staff in Riley Bushue, and now Kirby Garrett. Recently I contacted Brian McDonald, chief of staff at Representative Walden’s D.C., office, again, no response.
I did have the opportunity to visit with Rep. Walden on Jan. 11, 2013, in Mt. Vernon on the issue of Travel Management. Representative Walden assured me he would bring the issue up to Rep. Hastings and work to address them, and let me know through Mr. Bushue what was going on. I repeatedly asked for follow up, no response was ever given from Mr. Walden or his staff on the issue.
I have repeatedly contacted Mr. Bushue and now Mr. Garrett on issues revolving around development of Sub-Part A of Travel Management, the collaborative group and the upcoming Forest Plan Revision, no response has ever been given to my concerns. I recently contacted Mr. Garrett asking for a congressional inquiry as to why the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest Supervisor Staff is being allowed to hand pick which “public meetings” the public are allowed to attend, again, no response.
Is this truly the kind of “representation” we deserve or want from an elected official? I know I don’t.
Is it proper for only some to be paid to attend meetings and keep people locked out of them, or hold them during times the general public can’t attend them? If you don’t think it’s happening, just start asking for meeting times, agendas, and attendees list, you’ll find no one’s real willing to let you know, because they don’t want you there.
It’s incredibly simpler to control a message when you control the conversation and tell others how you are going to march people down a process. But the sickening part is when elected officials allow it to happen, unchecked, which is what Mr. Walden continues to allow to happen, with poor staffing and even poorer engagement in the matter.
John D. George
So far as is known, Oregon’s newest wolf pack hasn’t attacked any livestock.
But this pack, which apparently consists of five wolves, is in one respect the most worrisome group of wolves in the state.
The reason is that nobody knows where they are.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) hopes to ease that concern, as soon as possible, by netting at least one of the wolves and fitting it with a GPS collar that emits a signal by which agency officials can track the wolf’s movements and, by extension, the pack’s.
That knowledge is vital in helping ODFW alert livestock owners when wolves are nearby.
We were reminded of this just this week, when an adult male wolf from the Snake River pack wandered west into northern Baker County.
It’s not clear what that lone wolf is up to. But fortunately ODFW knows where he is, because biologists put a GPS collar on the wolf in March 2013. And the Snake River pack, unlike the new, unnamed pack, is a confirmed livestock killer, having killed one cow and injured two others in Wallowa County last fall.
The sooner ODFW can keep tabs on the newest wolf pack, the better.
Evidence of global warming obvious to anyone
In a letter to the editor, Chuck Chase poo poos the danger signs of global warming. Chase calls it “voodoo science.”
Yet even grade-schoolers can understand the signs.
Melting of the earth’s ice caps — Arctic, Greenland, Antarctica — are canaries in the coal mine that world leaders are ignoring at mankind’s peril, and in favor of corporate profit and unsustainable materialism.
The Cub Scouts were few in number but when the doors were closed they seemed to expand until the room, which can comfortably accommodate at least twice as many adults, felt full at the atomic level.
I fancied that I could hear the faint rasp of electrons colliding as they tried to carve out a little elbow room.
Actually I couldn’t hear much of anything except nine young voices, all going at once and sounding like a natural disaster, albeit one that doesn’t hurt anybody or knock down any buildings.