Re-electing the incumbent in a congressional district which one party has dominated for decades can become something like a habit.
Oregon’s Second District, which includes all of the state east of the Cascades, hasn’t sent a Democrat to Washington, D.C., since Baker’s Al Ullman, who served a dozen terms, the last ending in 1981. Fortunately, our current representative, Greg Walden, has been such an effective and diligent voice for our region that endorsing him for an eighth term is hardly a rubberstamp.
Walden, whose opponent, as in 2010, is Democrat Joyce Segers of Ashland, has since his first term been a tireless advocate for vital local issues such as managing public lands for multiple uses, including responsible logging, and making sure farming and ranching, the linchpin of Baker County’s economy, remain viable businesses.
The biggest change during Walden’s tenure is his increasing power in the Capitol. Although the only Republican in Oregon’s delegation, Walden is also the only member in a leadership position in Congress.
Voters should make sure our region retains that position by giving Greg Walden two more years as our representative.
Were the backers of Measure 80 — the marijuana legalization measure on the Nov. 6 ballot — interested solely in allowing people 21 and older to grow and to smoke the stuff in the privacy of their homes, they’d have a better chance of persuading voters to approve the initiative.
But there’s a lot more to Measure 80 than letting adults get a legal high.
The initiative reads like propaganda designed to convince voters that marijuana is not only just another intoxicant, like alcohol, but a wondrous substance that can help to cure the state’s physical as well as fiscal ills.
Measure 80, with its emphasis on establishing state-licensed pot shops, seems to us more beneficial to people who want to sell marijuana than to people who just want to smoke it.
A keystone of the measure is creating an Oregon Cannabis Commission. This commission would, among its many other duties, issue licenses to qualified marijuana growers, license stores that could sell marijuana, set prices, and even establish standards for the “quality and potency” of pot sold at sanctioned stores.
So much for the rustic “grow your own” ethic of past decades.
Besides which, five of the seven members of the commission would be elected at large by marijuana growers and processors.
Last we checked, Jack Daniels and Jim Beam aren’t members of the Oregon Liquor Control Commission.
Although Measure 80 supporters insist that legalizing marijuana will make it harder for kids to get pot, that claim, based on the language of the measure itself, seems laughable.
For instance, although the measure regulates marijuana that’s ready to smoke, it specifically exempts hemp from any regulation. Yet the measure defines hemp as including marijuana seeds and starter plants.
Notwithstanding proponents’ touting of hemp for its various industrial uses, including biofuel, it’s obvious that the vast majority of the marijuana grown now ends up in people’s lungs, not their fuel tanks.
Pretending that marijuana seeds and starter plants won’t eventually be put to that use, and thus don’t need to be regulated, is ridiculous.
It used to be that supporters of legalizing marijuana tended to frame the issue as one of personal freedom, the right for adults to decide for themselves what they eat or smoke or drink, without interference from the government.
Measure 80, though, seems designed to get the state government intimately involved in the marijuana business.
That’s not a proper role for the state, and voters should reject Measure 80.
We can’t afford four more years under Obama
Ever shop at Bronson Lumber out on 10th Street? Or Trader Rays on Broadway? Well, you won’t anymore, as both businesses are gone. So is Spence Industrial Supply and Tenth Street Market. There used to be a couple of antique stores on Main next to the Scrapbook Emporium. They’re not there anymore; neither is the Scrapbook Emporium, for that matter. It’s not unusual for a small business to fail, but usually another business comes along to make use of the space. But the buildings that housed the above businesses are empty, tenant-less.
My wife and I know what it is like to own a small business during a recession. You grit your teeth and hang on, knowing that in a few months, maybe a year, there’ll be a brisk recovery and things will get better again. That is the way recessions have always ended for the past 70 years … except for this one. It’s been four years now, and the economy is still painfully anemic; unemployment remains above 8 percent, not exactly the sort of change we were promised four years ago.
Business owners finally tire of the struggle, working long hours for little or no money. They’ve lost all hope for the future, so shut their doors, and another small business bites the dust.
President Obama was elected with a mandate to get things moving again. But he has his own priorities, and relentlessly pursues them with no regard for their effect on the economy.
The expensive health insurance policies mandated by Obamacare have already caused many small businesses to shed jobs. Once Obamacare is fully in place, 800,000 jobs will have been permanently extinguished.
President Obama admitted that his energy policies would necessarily cause energy prices to skyrocket. But energy is the life blood of any economy, and high energy prices make our manufacturers less competitive against the world.
President Obama nixed the Keystone Pipeline project, which would have created thousands of good-paying jobs. His War on Coal is wrecking havoc in many states. And on and on …
We cannot afford four more years of President Obama.
Williams is compassionate, fair and professional
It is with great pleasure that I write this letter recommending Don Williams as your next Justice of the Peace.
I have known Don in both a personal and professional capacity for nearly 20 years. I first met and began working with him when he was in charge of Baker County’s Juvenile Department. As a deputy sheriff at the time, I observed Don in that environment and I quickly came to understand he was holding the kids involved in the juvenile system accountable, along with their parents. I knew right then I was going to like this guy.
Don then became the supervisor of the Children and Family Services office. We continued working together in the fight against child abuse.
When Don went on to work for the PRCF it seemed to be just a natural progression in his career. Since I had known him, he had always in some way been on the side of protecting the innocent while holding offenders accountable.
Don has a unique knowledge of the law, having been involved with it from the juvenile process all the way through the adult system.
For as long as I’ve known Don he has been a man of his word. He’s compassionate, fair and professional when dealing with the public.
So, when I say it is with great pleasure I write this letter about Don, it is because Don has lived and worked for many years in Baker County making it a better place. As Justice of the Peace he is well qualified. His calm demeanor and sense of right versus wrong will help guide him on the bench. His compassion and fairness will ensure that proper justice be delivered.
Former Baker County Sheriff
We’re supporting Bogart for Justice of the Peace
We are supporting Steve Bogart for Justice of the Peace.
Steve has been involved in city, county and state affairs for many years and has been fair, honest and competent in all. He is qualified to be a good Justice of the Peace and what’s more, he cares!
Howard and Colleen Brooks
We hiked up to the Elkhorn Crest Trail on one of those early autumn days when both the nostalgia of summer, and the treachery of the coming winter, are palpable.
It was, to be specific, the final day of September.
Which is about as early as you can get in autumn.
Although quite late, obviously, for September.
Our route was the Cunningham Cove trail.
This path starts next to the North Fork of the John Day River, within sight of the Forest Service’s historic (and rentable, July 1-Oct. 31) Peavy Cabin, and climbs 2,000 feet to the Crest Trail.
And by “climb” I don’t mean the gentle ascent of the quadriceps-friendly, switchbacking trails common to the Wallowas.
The grade of the Cunningham Cove trail alternates between merely grueling and borderline ridiculous.
When the economy is humming along, government coffers tend to be full.
The relationship could fairly be described as symbiotic.
Businesses pay employees to produce goods and services that customers buy. The government takes a piece of the action, in the form of income and other taxes, and uses the money to maintain roads and emergency services and schools that make efficient and profitable commerce possible.
Trouble can arise, though, when the economy stagnates.
When tax revenues decline, government agencies sometimes look for new sources.
The danger comes when the government, by imposing a new fee or tax, discourages economic activity and thus prolongs the financial doldrums, ultimately hurting both the private and public sectors.
A real estate transfer tax is an example.
And although there is only one such tax in effect in Oregon now — in Washington County — the Legislature and the governor could create a statewide tax and change the law to allow local governments to do the same. A statewide tax has been proposed several times, in fact.
Voters, though, can take away that authority by voting “yes” on Measure 79. We think they should.
There’s no legitimate reason for government at any level to tax the transfer of real estate. Imposing such a tax now, with the housing market barely beginning to recover from the recession, would be particularly ill-timed.
Fortunately, voters can get rid of a similarly onerous and unnecessary tax by voting “yes” on Measure 84. It would initially reduce, then eliminate altogether, the state’s inheritance tax. Currently, estates worth up to $1 million are exempt, but amounts above that are subject to taxes.
Although the tax system includes credits for farms and ranches that can exempt from taxes operations worth as much as $7.5 million, there are plenty of farms and ranches in Oregon, including in Baker County, that exceed that value. Inheritance tax revenues are barely a blip in the state budget — 1.5 percent of the general fund — but the tax can be an insurmountable burden for people who want only to keep a business in the family.
Political opposition shouldn’t include stealing signs
Our right to express our political views includes the right to put signs in our yards — pretty obvious as you drive around Baker. But there is no right to go onto private property and steal the sign you don’t agree with.
That is what happened at my house last Saturday. Should I assume that those opposing the re-election of President Obama are adding this kind of illegal action to their current list of lies?
Support Johnson, Mosier for Baker City Council
Support Barbara Johnson and Kim Mosier for City Council.
At the AAUW Candidates Forum, I was extremely impressed with the presentations of Barbara Johnson and Kim Mosier for City Council. Barbara Johnson’s warmth, willingness to listen, and many years of dedication to community leadership positions will contribute to the strength of our council’s decisions.
Barbara and her husband, Ken, chose to move to Baker City eight years ago, cherishing the wonderful small-town atmosphere and community spirit of our town. Both immediately “connected,” and became active volunteers.
I know Barbara to be a fair-minded, wise, unbiased woman, who will work to support the valuable work of the city staff and current City Council. Kim Mosier has served Baker as deputy district attorney and county counsel starting in 2003, then moved away for an Oregon Attorney General’s Office position.
She and her husband returned in 2008 to raise their young children in Baker City, sharing their love of outdoor activities and passion for community values. Kim cares greatly about the issues that improve the livability of Baker, including community safety, parks, and public services.
Kim’s experience combines logical decision-making with the fresh voice of young families in Baker City. I believe we need the perspectives of both these women. I urge you to vote for Barbara Johnson and Kim Mosier for Baker City Council.
Vote for fairness: ‘Yes’ on Ballot Measure 84
Voters: We have a chance to strike a blow for fairness by voting “Yes” on Measure 84 this November. Measure 84 phases out the Oregon Death Tax (estate tax) over the next three years, and eliminates it entirely as of Jan. 1, 2016.
The Death Tax is a double tax. You work hard all your life, pay your income and property taxes, and then the state taxes your property, again, when you die and your heirs are left with the bill! And guess who gets paid first from the estate ... it isn’t your heirs!
Strike a blow for fairness and freedom and vote “Yes” on Measure 84.
Americans for Prosperity
Chapter Leader, Baker County
Segers would help us; Walden not so much
At the Baker candidates’ forum we heard repeatedly how our state and local governments are strapped for cash. But America is not a poor nation.
The problem is that our wealth is increasingly going to a few exceptionally wealthy individuals who are paying historically low taxes. According to IRS records, the top 5 percent now take in about one-third of our total income. It’s starving consumer demand, and that hurts everyone.
I believe we need a U.S. Congress that can counter this upward redistribution of wealth from the middle class to the rich that started decades ago. Without correction, life will continue to be sucked from the middle class, the economy will continue to stagnate, and only the wealthy will benefit from the American dream.
If we re-elect Greg Walden, our economy will likely continue to be held hostage by right-wing extremists in the House of Representatives. Walden has gone along with them, rubberstamping a whole series of costly measures, including the Bush tax cuts, the Iraq war, the debt-ceiling crisis, the Ryan-Romney Budget which ends Medicare as we know it, and against Wall Street reform.
Ryan-Romney are, despite false denials, also calling for even more tax cuts for millionaires and austerity spending cuts, both of which will lead to lost jobs as they have in Europe, and they don’t even start reducing the national debt for decades. And Walden will fall right in line and vote with them.
If, instead, we elect Democratic candidate Joyce Segers, we will have a chance to free ourselves from the no-new-taxes pledge that the Republicans have signed (oh, yes, including Walden, Romney, and Ryan) and adopt fair and sensible plans to recycle some of the trillions now sitting in Cayman Islands banks and elsewhere, currently unavailable to reduce our national debt and get the economy moving.
The overriding issue here is not between Republicans and Democrats. It’s between the 1 percent “haves” and the 99 percent “have nots.” The stakes could not be greater.
Vote for Joyce Segers. We won’t get the help we need, if Greg Walden remains in office.
Pope’s guidance will be needed on City Council
Although I don’t live in the city of Baker, and accordingly am not able to cast voters in the City Council race, I would like to encourage those who do qualify to cast a vote, to do so for someone who is best qualified for the job. More importantly, one who has the integrity to always do the right thing, and to demand no less of his colleagues. That person is retired Circuit Court Judge, Milo Pope.
I had the privilege of working for six years, appearing frequently before Judge Pope in Baker County Circuit Court, on behalf of the public, and children, presenting cases related to juvenile offenders and abused children. Although at times I did not agree with his disposition of cases, I always admired him for his candor, wisdom, courtesy, and above all his brutal honesty. When I felt he had erred on a decision, he always did so on the side of compassion in his effort to bring out the best in people and to encourage them to become an asset to their community. Many times, he provided the encouragement and impetus for change in folks, who theretofore had no concept as to what it meant to be a valued part of their community.
Mr. Pope is one who truly cares for people, and for the welfare of this great place we call Baker City. He is always unerringly mindful of ethics and legality in his work, and uses his legal knowledge and needed background to interdict on council decisions which may prove costly to the city. With the number of newly elected folks who will be coming onto the council, his guidance will be greatly needed. I encourage your vote to retain a candidate that the future of Baker City badly needs: Milo Pope.
The Oregon Legislature referred two matters to voters in the Nov. 6 election, and we recommend “yes” votes on both Measure 77 and 78. Both amount to little more than housekeeping.
Measure 77 would amend the state constitution to allow the governor to declare a catastrophic disaster — in the case of a massive earthquake, for instance. Currently, the governor has only statutory authority in such cases, which could make it difficult to direct state dollars to emergency services and other critical needs.
Measure 78 makes minor wording changes to the constitution, clarifying the separation of the legislative, executive and judicial branches. It replaces masculine pronouns in referring to the Secretary of State with gender-neutral ones. The current office holder, by the way, is Kate Brown.
Whether you like or you abhor gambling, Oregon’s public services are hooked on it.
The state lottery, which voters approved in 1984, is Oregon’s second-largest source of revenue (behind only income taxes).
Oregon also has nine tribal casinos. Although exempt from certain taxes, some of their profits also benefit Oregonians, both tribal members and, through philanthropic programs, people who don’t live on reservations.
But this current system, which supplies a relatively reliable source of money for public schools, state parks and other functions, could be changed substantially if the backers of The Grange, a casino that would be built in Wood Village, an east Portland suburb, get their way in the Nov. 6 election.
They are promoting two measures, 82 and 83, that would make The Grange possible.
The potential harm this non-tribal casino could cause to state services, and to the tribes, is too severe to justify our supporting either measure.
Measure 82 would change the state constitution to allow non-tribal casinos.
Measure 83 would specifically authorize only one such casino — The Grange.
Supporters argue that the new casino would help rather than hurt state government. The Grange would be legally required to give the Lottery Commission 25 percent of the adjusted gross revenue from gambling (The Grange’s other operations, such as a restaurant and hotel, would not have to pay the 25 percent).
The 25-percent share, backers insist, would help to offset the revenue that The Grange would siphon from tribal casinos and the Lottery.
But some experts, including University of Oregon economics professor Tim Duy, disagree.
The Grange would of course create construction jobs. But those would be temporary.
The hit to the Lottery, which would have a direct effect on public schools, likely would be more lasting.
With schools already scrimping, that’s a risk we’re not willing to take. We recommend “no” votes on Measure 82 and 83.
Williams’ experience will benefit Baker County
I am pleased to write this endorsement of support for Don Williams as candidate for Justice Court judge.
Don has been a resident of Baker County for many years. During that time he has served our county as director of the Juvenile Department, local branch manager of Services to Children and Families for the Oregon Department of Humans Services and manager of the Alcohol and Drug program at the Powder River Correctional Facility/Oregon Department of Corrections.
I have known and worked with Don during his service to our community and county. He has consistently demonstrated his ability to work hard, and to serve impartially, objectively and professionally.
Don currently presides as interim judge for Justice Court. A vote for Mr. Williams is a vote for a candidate who already has shown competence and effectiveness as Justice Court judge.
I encourage you to join me in voting on Nov. 6 for Don Williams as our next Justice Court judge.
Williams can make the hard decisions necessary to serve
I support Don Williams for Baker County Justice of the Peace. He is well qualified. My experience with Mr. Williams dates from January 1994 when he began his service as director of the Baker County Juvenile Department. I was then circuit judge.
He was a godsend. And, according to the presiding judge in Clackamas County from whence he came, his coming to Baker County was a considerable loss to them.
Mr. Williams is a problem solver. He is smart, kind, and courageous. His abiding interest, as a juvenile director and later as the director of the Baker County Children’s Services Division was to improve the lives of people in difficulty. Mr. Williams always came to court prepared, both concerning the facts and the law. He has the temperament that is essential for a judge. He is entirely capable of making hard decisions.
Williams is best qualified to serve as Justice of the Peace
Dear friends of Baker County, on Nov. 6, 2012, we must make a very important decision. That is, who will represent us as the next justice of the peace.
The position is more difficult now than ever in the past, as hours have been reduced and funds have also been reduce. We have “two good men” running for the position; however, we believe Don Williams is the more qualified.
He has experienced varied levels and aspects of the law, from police officer to juvenile counselor to Juvenile Department manager, to DHS branch manager, to Powder River Correctional Facility program manager, to Drug and Alcohol program manager, and finally to a 27-month period as pro-tem justice of the peace — the position which he is seeking in this election.
Aside from Don being a good friend, for several years we had the unique opportunity of working under his supervision. We were GED instructors and Transition Class instructors when he was the program manager at Powder River Correctional Facility. Don made us feel very confident, comfortable and safe as we did our volunteer jobs. Also, it was apparent that he possessed excellent critical-thinking and decision-making skills. Don was always very positive and presented a warm friendly working environment.
We are extremely fortunate to have a person of Don’s caliber seeking this position. First, please join us in voting. Secondly, we urge you to vote for Don Williams, whom we believe has the personality, integrity, and experience to do an outstanding job for Baker County Justice of the Peace.
Readers should check facts and not rely on opinions
Erroneous statements about “Obamacare” have appeared in a couple of letters to the editor over the last month, written by individuals who obviously have no idea what’s in the Affordable Care Act.
I thought everyone knew by now that Politifact named the “death panels” the 2009 Lie of the Year, and the “government takeover of health care” the 2010 Lie of the Year. One of your letter-writers claimed, “The Congressional Budget Office estimates that over the next decade, Obamacare will add another trillion dollars to the national debt.”
The truth is the opposite: The Congressional Budget Office estimated the Act would reduce the deficit by $210 billion over those 10 years. The fact is that the costs of Obamacare are fully paid for through tax levies and cost savings, in sharp contrast to the Bush Medicare prescription drug benefit, which was a $395 billion stimulus to the pharmaceutical and insurance industries, using 100 percent borrowed money.
Those who followed the Act’s lengthy progress through the Congress know that it was modeled after Romneycare in an attempt to make it palatable to Republicans and conservative Democrats. The majority Democrats gave up what they wanted (single-payer or at least a public option) and settled for an elaborate compromise that was negotiated with diverse interest groups. For example, the cost savings for Medicare were agreed to by the representatives of medical providers and insurance companies because they were willing to make that concession as long as everybody had health insurance.
Now these same $716 billion of cost savings appear in Congressman Ryan’s budget, yet he vows to renege on the deal that brought these cost savings about, while dishonestly attacking the president for “raiding Medicare.”
There are many objective, factual reports available on the Affordable Care Act. I urge your readers to review these reports or go to www.healthcare.gov, instead of relying on irresponsible opinions.
Vote Yes on Ballot Measure 79
We, the Baker Board of Realtors, would like to offer some information on Measure 79. This measure, which constitutionally prohibits a real estate transfer tax, will appear on the upcoming ballot.
By definition, a real estate transfer tax is a tax imposed by one or more government entities when property ownership transfers from one party to another. It is usually paid at closing and typically is a percentage of the selling price.
Voting YES on Measure 79 will stop state and local governments from imposing a new tax on real estate in Oregon. It will amend the state constitution and prohibit state and local governments from imposing taxes, fees, or assessments on the transfer (sale) of any interest in real property, except those operative on Dec. 31, 2009.
Measure 79 does not negatively affect current school funding, local government funding, or state revenues. No government entity will collect less money through passage of this measure. It merely stops state and local governments from targeting property owners with a new tax.
Please join us on voting YES on Measure 79.
Baker County Board of Realtors president
Vote for Don Williams for Justice Court judge
We have known Don Williams both professionally and personally for over 12 years. Unquestionably, he has the background, knowledge, experience for, and is the right person to fill, the position of Justice of the Peace.
Other than the qualifications he has demonstrated in this position, there is a greater reason we are supporting him in this election, and it is a reason that should have importance to us all.
If you are elderly, disabled or a family with young children; or if you are baby boomers, love outdoor recreation, love to hunt and fish, are ATV enthusiasts, or business owners in Baker (as we are), there is another compelling reason to cast a vote for Don in this election.
It is this: He shares the same passion for the outdoors and our community as we. Don is an active part of Baker County, and wishes to see business and our economic health prosper. He knows that the current Travel Management Plan proposed by the U.S. Forest Service, if put into effect, will greatly and negatively impact the reasons that many of us live in Baker County, as well as devastate the business communities of Baker County.
Don Williams is not a bystander, but a strong voice to keep all road access open to our national lands, and he is the only candidate who speaks on our behalf at USFS public meetings at every opportunity.
We need more folks in public office of Don’s character and willingness to take a firm stand on these types of important issues. He has our vote and the support of our businesses.
We encourage you to join us and give him your vote, too.
Ed and Thoy Busciglio
Americans face important decision in November
The people of America are faced with the most important decision since we decided to break away from England to become a free and independent nation.
Our forefathers were faced with ever more oppressive, controlling and restrictive regulations that they could not live with so they risked their lives and everything they owned for the freedom to live and work without these controls.
The citizens of our country are facing similar conditions today. We can choose to go on like we are, with an ever more controlling, expanding socialist system that regulates all facets of ours lives and business or go back to the free enterprise system that our forefathers used to make this country the best, most prosperous place in the whole world.
If we choose to go on as we are, bankruptcy is imminent. Just remember that the government cannot give you anything unless the government gets it from all the workers who support it first.
All new wealth (money) comes from the ground; there is no other source. It is expanded by processing and manufacturing more useful products from the Earth’s resources.
Our government has regulated the basic industries that produce the food and resources out of business to the point where they can no longer support our country.
If we allow our country to go bankrupt, that means no government check will have much value. They will be backed by printed money that will be worth less every day.
That means we cannot afford any unsupported government jobs, government projects, military and military industrial industries, including their pensions, no grants or subsidies or health-care benefits or even Social Security and every other thing the government is involved with.
Give it a lot of thought.
Williams will provide seamless transition
I support Don Williams for Justice of the Peace of Baker County because he has the experience to fill the job in a professional manner. His background and training give him the knowledge to fairly and correctly apply the law and render appropriate decisions. He has proven these abilities during his time on the bench as pro tem and in his many years of public service.
Over the last year there have been a number of significant changes in the operation of Justice Courts, which were brought about by changes to state law. Don has worked through these changes. This will mean a seamless and efficient transition into the position when he is elected.
I have spent over 30 years in law enforcement. Communities depend on local courts to provide a setting in which differences can be brought forward and resolved in timely and considerate fashion by a fair and impartial decision maker. Don Williams will bring these qualities to the Justice Court.
I support him for Justice of the Peace and recommend you cast your vote for him as well.