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Letters to the editor for February 3, 2009

Stimulus and sand

Democrats in the Oregon Senate tout the $176 million Oregon Jobs Stimulus Plan, which the Senate passed last week, as an “investment in Oregon families.”

But in Baker County the biggest beneficiaries seem to be sheds that keep traction-adding gravel out of the weather until an ODOT truck drives out in a blizzard to spread it on a slippery highway.

We like the basic idea behind the legislation, Senate Bill 338.

Get together, get results

Complaining is easy.

Getting results usually isn’t.

And so we applaud the Baker County residents who have picked the hard way in their quest to influence where Idaho Power Co. builds a transmission line through the county.

The group is called Move Idaho Power. About 110 people turned out for its initial meeting in late January in Baker City.

We don’t know how much clout, if any, Move Idaho Power will wield as the Boise company proceeds with its plan to build the line between Murphy, Idaho, and Boardman. Idaho Power hopes to finish the line by 2013.

Letters to the editor for January 30, 2009

State government’s playing it both ways

Oregon’s government, I’d wager, has more in common with Las Vegas than most Oregonians realize.

Salem lacks a neon-studded Strip, of course.

And so far as I know Wayne Newton hasn’t played the State Fair since, well, forever.

But if you get on the e-mail list for various state agencies, as I have, you come to understand pretty quickly that working for certain of those agencies, and running a casino, are not such dissimilar careers as you probably supposed.

Although state workers aren’t likely to see Siegfried standing by the water cooler.

Or Roy.

Stimulus plan good, but could be better

President Obama’s strategy for reviving America’s economy has a lot of potential.

The president’s proposal, an $819 billion version of which passed the House on Wednesday, would put people to work.

And it would return money to millions of taxpayers’ pockets.

But Obama’s plan also has flaws.

We’re not surprised.

When politicians from either party prepare to spend billions of dollars, they inevitably bloat bills with projects which, though they might be worthwhile, stray far from the purported purpose of the legislation.

Letters to the editor for January 29, 2009

Lend the city your vision

It’s one of those questions for which pretty much everybody who lives in Baker City has an answer: “What do you want this place to look like in 20 years?”

Residents can express their opinions in several ways, including writing letters that are published on this page, or speaking at City Council meetings.

But now city officials are looking at a new way to gauge citizens’ views.

Constitution on trial

The U.S. Constitution isn’t on trial this week at the Wallowa County Courthouse in Enterprise, but it sure seemed like a couple of that venerable document’s sacred amendments were in trouble on Monday.

Fortunately the Constitution, as it usually does, prevailed.

But that victory doesn’t assuage our outrage at what happened after the jury was seated on Monday.

That jury will decide whether Donna Dunning is guilty of attempted murder and second-degree assault.

Dunning is accused of hitting Travis Beach in the head with a rock on Jan. 18, 2007.

During the same incident, Dunning’s boyfriend, Shane Huntsman, and her cousin, Dennis Beach, were both shot to death.

After the jurors were picked, Judge Philip Mendiguren issued an order stating that the media could not report on testimony until the trial, which is scheduled to last two weeks, is over.

Mendiguren’s ruling is one of the more egregious assaults on the noble tradition of America’s legal system that we’ve heard about.

Letters to the editor for January 27, 2009

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