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Letters to the editor for November 6, 2008

After this election day, even the losers win

I feel especially proud today to be an American.

Not because my candidate won.

I voted for John McCain, and he lost.

His defeat disappoints me because I think McCain would be a better president than Barack Obama.

But I’m hardly inconsolable, because I also believe that Obama could be a pretty good president.

And I hope he fulfills his immense promise.

City Council made right call on SDCs

The Baker City Council was wise to delay its discussion about possibly adding system development charges to the list of fees it assesses to people who build new homes or commercial structures.

SDCs are, potentially, a big deal — based on a consultant’s report, the charges could add more than $14,000 to the cost of building a home.

SDCs could be a crucial source of money for the improvements city officials hope to make to the water, sewer and street systems — or, in the case of the sewer system, might be forced to make.

More than half of Oregon’s 240 incorporated cities charge SDCs. Baker City never has done so.

Considering all that’s at stake, then, councilors shouldn’t be in a hurry to make a decision.

So far they haven’t been.

It’s time to let feedlot workers vote

Today Americans will decide who they want to lead this country for the next four years.

Voters will make their choice by casting secret ballots.

It seems to us that this method, which we use to fill the most important job in the world, ought to be a reasonable way to determine whether 85 workers at three livestock feedlots want to join a union.

Beef Northwest, the company that owns those feedlots, in Boardman, Nyssa and Quincy, Wash., agrees.

So do the 120 ranchers, including 16 in Baker County, who belong to Country Natural Beef, the cooperative that sends its cattle to the Boardman feedlot for finishing.

Letter to the editor for November 4, 2008

Election 2008: Our endorsements

Baker City Council (Vote for 4): Aletha Bonebrake, Clair Button, Jeremy Gilpin, Milo Pope.

Baker County Board of Commissioners: Tim Kerns, Republican

U.S. President: John McCain, Republican

U.S. Senator: Gordon Smith, Republican

U.S. Representative, 2nd District: Greg Walden, Republican

Oregon House District 60: Cliff Bentz, Republican

Oregon Senate District 30: Ted Ferrioli, Republican

Letters to the editor for November 3, 2008

Letters to the editor for October 30, 2008

No on Measure 58

The opening two sentences of Measure 58 read like the introduction to a rousing political speech.

“English is the language of opportunity in America. Learning English opens doors to better jobs and opportunities.”

It’s pretty hard to argue with those statements.

Unfortunately, Measure 58 rapidly devolves from there.

Although we think Measure 58’s apparent goal is laudable — to help Oregon public school students who aren’t native English speakers become fluent as soon as possible — the way in which the measure seeks to achieve that goal is terribly misguided.

Yes on Measure 60

A solid majority of Oregon’s public school teachers, we feel confident in asserting, are dedicated people who do a good job.

But teachers, even the successful ones, are not clones.

Some teachers are just plain better at their job than others.

This hardly makes teaching unique among professions, of course.

Not every lawyer, after all, can deliver an eloquent closing argument.

But as we know, the silver-tongued attorneys command bigger fees than their colleagues who tend to get tongue-tied in front of jury or judge.

We think teachers ought to be treated the same way.

The best teachers should earn more money, and have more job security, than the merely adequate teachers.

That’s the basic idea behind Measure 60, and we urge voters to support the measure on the Nov. 4 ballot.

Unfortunately, Measure 60 has been tarnished by the reputation of one of its chief petitioners, Bill Sizemore.

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