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It turns out ticks have their place, including the washing machine

My wife Lisa is friendly, caring and nurturing.

Except with ticks.

Suffice it to say that if Lisa saw a tick drowning (I’m presuming here, as my knowledge of ticks is scant, that ticks can be drowned) she wouldn’t throw it a life preserver.

Well, now that I think about it she might throw a life preserver.

Take the initiative

Oregon’s wide-open initiative system, which allows ordinary people to put pretty much any matter on the ballot and let voters decide, is one of those political quirks, like our aversion to a sales tax and self-service gas pumps, that make the state unique.

But some people think the state’s system is too lenient.

The list includes Oregon’s new Secretary of State, Kate Brown.

Brown has introduced legislation, House Bill 2500, which she contends would curb abuses of the initiative system while preserving citizens’ rights to take their case to voters.

Letters to the Editor for April 2, 2009

A bill with real pork

Feral pigs aren’t a major problem in Oregon.

Not yet.

But wild swine, which reproduce with disturbing rapidity, have the ability to wreak havoc on the state, including its valuable farm and ranch ground.

“They can tear up crops and rangelands overnight,” said Rick Boatner, invasive species coordinator for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

GOP bright ideas

Republicans don’t have an abundance of influence in Salem these days, but the minority party’s leaders have floated some ideas that the majority Democrats ought to consider.

At the top of that list is the GOP’s proposal to trim income tax withholding tables by 4.2 percent.

Senate Republican Leader Ted Ferrioli, who represents Baker County, estimates that change will boost Oregonians’ income by $100 million this year.

Letters to the Editor for April 1, 2009

Letter to the Editor for March 31, 2009

Reasonable changes to state ethics law

Oregon legislators haven’t forgotten last spring’s rash of resignations by mayors, city councilors and other officials in rural areas.

Several dozen officials, including more than a dozen in Northeastern Oregon, quit in protest of the Oregon Ethics Reform Act.

That law, which requires officials to fill out forms describing their sources of income (but not the amounts), is designed to ensure that mayors, councilors and others don’t abuse their positions for financial gain.

Letter to the Editor for March 30, 2009

Saying it well, in a few words

To the editor:

Iva Mace’s letter in the March 24 Baker City Herald was one of the best items I have seen in the Herald for a long time.  I have to admit, I stop reading some of the editorials and columns after the first few sentences.

She said it well, she said it succinctly. 

Maryalys Urey

Baker City

Ethanol optional

We understand that the Oregon Legislature has multibillion-dollar dilemmas to deal with, but we’re glad lawmakers have gotten around to another problem: Ethanol.

Last year a state law took effect that requires service stations to sell gas that contains 10 percent ethanol.

Ethanol is a plant-based fuel that doesn’t produce as much pollution as gasoline.

But ethanol is not without faults.

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