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Letter to the Editor for Feb. 7, 2014


Drivers: Please slow down on 17th Street

I live on 17th Street. The traffic on the corner of Campbell and 17th is real bad. I’d like to know why people feel that have to drive 35 or 40 mph on this street, when they pass cars going the same speed! Once in a great while a cop will catch someone, but not very often.

People walk and run on this road. Someone will get hir or hurt. It’s downright scary. So please slow down. Our speed limit is 25 mph; there are signs. I know there are people who live here too that want you to slow down.

Sharon Maley-Styer

Baker City


Snow surveying, a 78-year tradition, nears the end


They’ve been measuring snow up at Anthony Lakes for almost as long as they’ve been skiing on it.

Not constantly, of course.

But still this is a considerable span.

For perspective, when the first snow survey was undertaken beneath the imposing granitic prow of Gunsight Mountain, pretty much nobody outside the U.S. Navy had heard of Pearl Harbor.

Hitler wasn’t exactly a household name, either.

Unless your household was in, say, Berlin or Munich.


Keeping the public informed


Oregon’s Public Meetings Law is designed to ensure elected officials conduct their business, which is to say our business, in public forums.

The law applies to city, county and state agencies, but not to federal agencies such as the Forest Service and BLM. We note this distinction by way of setting the stage for a recent situation in which two of the three Baker County commissioners, Mark Bennett and Fred Warner Jr., met with Forest Service officials to get an update on the planned revisions of management plans for the three national forests in the Blue Mountains.

With a three-person board it takes just two to make a quorum. But the presence of a quorum doesn’t necessarily mean the gathering is a public meeting — one which the board must publicly announce in advance and which the public is entitled to attend.


Letters to the Editor for Feb. 5, 2014


Watching a Good Samaritan at work in Baker City

As I sat down at my desk this morning (Jan. 31), I looked out my window and saw the Community Connection bus stop in front of the Presbyterian Church and driver Bob White jumps out and runs over to a lady walking on the ice-packed sidewalk.  He then helps escort her to the front door of the church. I got goosebumps as I realized that he was going out of his way to assist this woman. He saw someone who was walking on icy walkways and ran to help. I holler at my co-worker Kelly, “come here and look at this.” We “ooooh” and “awww” as we watch this Good Samaritan and we think, what a great way to start our Friday morning to see something that fills your heart to know that there are such caring people here in Baker City!

Thanks Bob!

Karlynn Dolby

Baker City

County meeting with Forest Service without notice

You, born a free man or woman in America, are being told it is for your own good to not be allowed to travel into your mountains. You are told that once the USFS gets its way with road closures, aka “travel management,” that you may be fined $5,000 or be subject to two years in prison for doing nothing more than what your great-grandparents, grandparents, and parents have done for generations, that is travel freely into your mountains. Again, penalized for living your life and following your own order of life of pursuing your life, liberty, and happiness.

The USFS and elected officials have “rules” to follow. In case of the USFS, they work under “planning rules” of which they are picking and choosing from as to meet out their desired condition of “may meet with objectors” using the 2012 planning rule, for a plan that is being developed under the 1982 planning rule that states the USFS “must meet with appellants.” And of which our current forest supervisor has admitted mixing of those planning processes would be inappropriate for them to do, and yet, they are doing it right now.

Our elected officials are currently meeting with WWNF staff in a quorum fashion, meaning a majority of the elected commission body is present (2 out of 3), and discussing the Forest Plan Revision, which constitutes a “public meeting,” however they have failed to give public notice of any such meetings, even though the WWNF staff has been told the public wants notice of those meetings. Which gives just another example of officials breaking the rules/laws to meet out their own agendas.

You will be not allowed to travel down roads the USFS deems unnecessary, or that your elected officials negotiate away in collaborative groups, but when they find it uncomfortable to have you at a meeting, or more convenient to mix rules to meet out their desired outcome, bending and breaking the rules is completely acceptable, will you be afforded the same latitudes when you’re caught not obeying? 

John D. George

Bates

Linthicum would bring fresh viewpoint to Congress

A breath of fresh air blew into Baker City Saturday, Jan. 24 in the form of a new Republican candidate for U.S. Congress. Dennis Linthicum, with his wife, spent nearly two hours with a small group of us at the Little Bagel Shop discussing his ideas and ideals and answering our questions. His platform is from a strong, long-term constitutional conservative viewpoint, something sadly missing from our nation’s legislator mix. Those in particular who would like to see the western states become more prosperous will be interested in learning more about Dennis.

One of Dennis’ objectives, on which he will need a lot of help, is to essentially turn the federal managed forests, the national forests, into state forests with no federal involvement. Consider what that would do for the management of our forests and for the state’s economy! At the present time more than 50 percent of the western states is controlled by the federal government. Thus it controls our natural resources, including minerals and mineral exploration, access for enjoyment, forest products, access to wildlife, etc., all of which could be better managed and enjoyed by those who live in the vicinity. But his interests and potential influence is far broader than just resources.

The following quote from Dennis pretty well indicates his position on the things that matter most to those of us who live in Oregon: “Favoritism has become the status quo in politics, but it is nevertheless unjust and unfair. Government restricts our freedoms every day, and gives us few choices about our lives through bureaucracies, corporate welfare and needless regulations. In both our business and personal spheres, we are  seeing our choices shrink and options fade, and we know that it’s time to bring common sense and liberty back to Oregon.”

How could one disagree?

Dennis’ website is Dennis2014.com, his email is This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it and his phone number is 541-892-6512. He would welcome your questions and comments.

Jasper Coombes

Haines


Langrell: Drop mayor title, stay on as councilor


Baker City Mayor Richard Langrell, who is demanding the city reimburse him almost $15,000 in water and sewer bills he paid over the past nine years, should give up his title.

But he also should continue to serve as a city councilor, representing the people who elected him in November 2012.

In the council-manager form of government that Baker City adopted more than half a century ago, the title of mayor carries no special powers. The mayor can’t, for instance, veto a decision by his colleagues.

Basically, the mayor’s duties, beyond that of a regular councilor, are to preside over meetings and sign ordinances and other documents.


General aviation vital to economy


Even as a company that has roots dating back over 125 years, we believe in the philosophy of adapting to changing times to promote our growth and development. Since my family first purchased property in Eastern Oregon in the 1870s, our business has grown to four locations, including our main location in North Powder. And, for more than 30 years, Beef Northwest has made use of general aviation aircraft and I can say with full certainty that without this critical business tool, we would not be able to serve our many customers across the Pacific Northwest and Canada.


Letters to the Editor for Feb. 3, 2014


Spaying and neutering pets saves animals’ lives

According to the Humane Society of the United States, nearly 3 million cats and dogs are euthanized in U.S. shelters each year. That means one homeless pet is euthanized about every 12 seconds. Often these animals are the offspring of cherished family pets, even purebreds. Maybe someone’s cat or dog got out just that one time or maybe the litter was intentional, but efforts to find enough good, permanent homes failed. The result is that homeless animals have to be euthanized. Spaying and neutering saves lives.

Spay/neuter awareness month takes place in February, and World Spay Day takes place on Feb. 25. New Hope for Eastern Oregon Animals, the Alpine Veterinary Hospital, Baker Animal Clinic, the Baker Animal Hospital, Baker City and Baker County along with humane organizations, rescue groups, veterinary clinics and individuals across the U.S. and around the world are organizing reduced cost spay/neuter clinics, and are bringing awareness to the importance of spaying and neutering. To volunteer or to spay/neuter your pet at reduced cost, call me at 541-523-6863 or visit www.newhopeforanimals.org. Together, we can ensure every pet enjoys a long, happy and healthy live in a loving home.

Karen Skeen

Baker City

New Hope for Eastern Oregon Animals spay and neuter chairman

We need to get rid of the perch in Phillips Reservoir

Continuing to allow perch to remain in Phillips Reservoir is costing Baker County over $1.5 million a year in revenue. If you would like this to be corrected, let the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife know your feelings.

You may hear the same old stories:

1. We are netting perch yearly in Phillips Reservoir.

2. We can’t use Rotenone, it will kill all the fish, including the bull trout, if any. Ask them how many bull trout they have netted out of Phillips the past four years. By the way, if no bull trout are found in Phillips, do the perch eat them? I would wager to say over a million perch are inhabiting Phillips.

3. A third argument they have is what about the environmentalists? OK, they have used Rotenone in other places in Oregon (i.e., in Malheur County and in Western Oregon) with positive results.

4. Oh, by the way, they will probably say Rotenone is too expensive. Rotenone would be used one year and would not need to be used again for probably 10 years. My response to that is what about the $1.5 million Baker County is losing each year?

Now is the time to get with it. Wouldn’t it be great if the fishing for trout in Phillips was as good as it was in the 70s before someone illegally  introduced perch in Phillips? Fellow sportsmen, if we continue to have such a shortage of water or climate change, it would be the perfect time to Rotenone Phillips Reservoir. I understand that is not a poison and the flow of Rotenone can be controlled so it will not go downstream from the dam. Timing is essential to cut the cost of Rotenone and cut the loss of revenue occurring yearly in Baker County.

Good fishing for trout would result in the return of the fishermen.

Frank Bishop

Baker City


Conflict and Coles


Baker City Councilor Roger Coles should have publicly announced during the Council’s Jan. 14 meeting that his wife, Dawn, works for the Baker County YMCA.

During that meeting Roger Coles criticized City Manager Mike Kee and other city staff for failing to work with the YMCA to plan for needed repairs at Sam-O Swim Center. The city owns the swimming pool and the YMCA manages it.

To be clear, we don’t believe Councilor Coles has an actual conflict of interest in this matter.


Letters to the Editor for Jan. 31, 2014


Oregonians should re-elect Sen. Jeff Merkley

Your editorial on the Republican Senate candidates forum (“The GOP challenge,” Jan. 27) offered only muted approval, saying, “We’ve yet to interview the candidates so we’re not prepared to recommend voters choose one of the quintet over (U.S. Senator Jeff) Merkley.”  Perhaps the Herald’s editorial board found, as did I, that the five candidates offered embarrassingly little in the way of positive policy ideas to support rural America and the middle class (similar to the policy-free Republican response to President Obama’s State of the Union address on Tuesday night).

Instead of even mentioning such central issues as stark economic inequality, structural unemployment and underemployment, and dangers of devastating global climate change, the candidates took refuge in such ideological issues as abortion and phasing out Social Security, and even found a “socialist, communist agenda” lurking behind the new Common Core school testing standards.  And they uniformly called for repeal of the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”), even though it is already benefiting millions of Americans.

I was particularly disappointed to hear front-runner Jason Conger declare that “Borrowing from the Social Security Trust Fund is a breach of trust.”  This is the same zombie untruth that left President Bush out on a limb in 2005.  Conger and his fellow candidates should know by now that the $2.7 trillion Social Security Trust Fund actually invests in United States Treasury bonds backed by “the full faith and credit of the U.S. government.”

As a result, I have no hesitancy in vigorously supporting the re-election of our outstanding Senator Jeff Merkley.  Merkley has an exceptional understanding of the issues facing our nation, and he has the leadership ability to bring “We The People” together to solve those issues.  I heartily recommend the speech that Merkley gave to the Netroots Nation conference last June (Google: “Merkley Netroots”).  

We face the choice between a country ruled by a wealthy few, leaving most of us out in the cold, or a country ruled by We the People that benefits everyone. I urge the Herald and my fellow readers to energetically support the re-election of Senator Jeff Merkley.

Marshall McComb

Baker City


President puts his full faith in the government


President Obama got through several hundred words of his State of the Union speech Tuesday night without reverting to his favorite subject, which is government.

This doesn’t make the president unusual, of course.

It just makes him a politician.

All politicians like to prattle on about government. Sometimes they extoll its virtues and sometimes they lampoon its failures, but as an institution it never strays far from their minds.


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