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Yes on Measure 56

The good thing about Oregon’s double-majority law is that it encourages people to vote.

The bad thing about the law is that it also discourages people from voting.

We think the latter factor outweighs the former, which is why we urge voters to approve Measure 56 on the Nov. 4 ballot.

Measure 56 would partially overturn the double-majority law that’s been in effect since voters approved it in 1996.

Here’s the situation now: Except during general elections in even-numbered years, any measure that would raise property taxes — whether statewide or in an individual city, county, school district or special district — can’t pass unless two things happen (hence “double majority”): half of the eligible voters cast a ballot, and at least half of those who do so vote yes.

Measure 56 would eliminate the double-majority rule for all property tax-raising measures on ballots in May or November. Double-majority would still apply to tax measures that go before voters in other months.


Bailout bitter pill to swallow, but. . . .

The $700 billion bailout bill Congress is debating is the legislative equivalent of an inoculation.

It hurts, but it’s necessary.

Congress should pass the bill because the consequences, should lawmakers dawdle, could be disastrous.

That said, the public must demand that Congress tailor this bailout so that, to the fullest extent possible, the people being bailed out are those who didn’t contribute to the financial morass in which America’s economy, and much of the rest of the world’s, has gotten mired.

The reality, of course, is that many people who are partly responsible will benefit from Congress’ intervention.

People who signed mortgages they couldn’t afford — a fact which anyone with the math skills of a second-grader could have calculated.


Training helps protect all of us

If you live in Baker City, almost every day dangerous substances pass within a couple miles of your home.

And considerably closer than that, if your address is near the freeway or the railroad tracks.

But we never see the toxic chemicals or other similarly hazardous stuff that rolls through on the road or the rails.

At least we hope we don’t.


Letters to the editor for September 23, 2008


Letters to the editor for September 22, 2008


Letters to the editor for September 19, 2008


Buster makes an appearance in Baker

A famous visitor walked into my office the other day and he came right over and licked my hand.

I have so few famous visitors, and no previous one had ever licked me, and so this incident, despite the saliva, made a routine day mildly interesting for me.

My guest was Buster. He is the most heavily publicized English bulldog I know.

He’s also the only English bulldog I know.

This is not of course any fault of Buster’s, and I don’t believe my inability to get acquainted with multiple bulldogs ought to diminish Buster’s celebrity.

Buster, as you might recall, was the subject of several headlines around here during late May and early June of 2007.

Buster’s owner, Forrest Keller of Vashon Island, Wash., rode to Baker City during a Memorial Day weekend motorcycle tour.

Unlike most motorcyclists, Keller doesn’t mind riding with a bulldog strapped on the gas tank.


Who’s out of order?

Baker City Resolution 3407 states in admirably blunt language how city councilors are supposed to behave during their meetings.

Based on what transpired during the Council’s Sept. 9 meeting, it seems to us that some councilors ought to re-read that resolution.

Section 5(a) of the resolution includes this sentence: “All members of the Council shall accord the utmost courtesy to each other, to city employees, and to public members appearing before the Council and shall refrain at all times from rude and derogatory remarks, reflections as to integrity, abusive comments, and statements as to motives and personalities.”

Section 7 of the resolution reads “A member shall confine discussion to the question under debate, avoid personalities, and refrain from impugning the motives of any other member’s argument or vote.”

Compare those sentences with what Councilor Terry Schumacher said near the end of the Sept. 9 meeting.


Letters to the editor for September 18, 2008


Letters to the editor for September 17, 2008


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