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Heading off Oregon beer tax proposal

We’re mystified as to why certain Oregon legislators believe it’s a reasonable proposition to make up for 32 years of inactivity with a single bill.

A tax increase of 1,900 percent?

That legislation is destined to fail no matter what’s being taxed and what the money would be used for.

Letters to the editor for February 24, 2009

A valuable lesson

Let’s be clear about one thing: The only true villain in the Dean Barnes case is Dean Barnes.

Barnes, a 34-year-old Baker City man, sexually abused two 16-year-old girls last year.

He pleaded guilty to three felonies last week in Baker County Circuit Court.

Judge Greg Baxter sentenced Barnes to at least 15‡ years in prison. That’s an appropriate punishment.

We applaud Judge Baxter for ordering Barnes to serve the two mandatory minimum sentences of 75 months — the penalty for first-degree sex abuse — one after the other.

A better option

The Baker School District’s Facility Efficiency Committee came up with a couple of suitable ways to trim the district’s costs.

This unfortunate task seems inevitable.

The state, which supplies about 56 percent of the district’s dollars, announced Friday that its budget deficit is getting bigger.

District officials estimate that the district’s share of state revenue will plunge by $869,000 for the fiscal year that ends June 30. That’s more than double the $365,000 shortfall the district had projected.

As a result, the school board is confronted with the likelihood of needing to close two schools in Baker City rather than one.

Rooting for America rather than against its politicians

I hope the stimulus plan President Obama signed into law this week revives the American economy from its current bout of narcolepsy. And if it does, I won’t be bothered a whit when President Obama and the Democrats in Congress lay claim to the credit.

I understand this position brands me as unreliable, and possibly even a a traitor, in certain political circles.

Some conservative commentators — radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh is the most prominent of them — are rooting for Obama to fail.

Thanks, taxpayers

We don’t as a rule congratulate people for doing something they’re legally obligated to do.

But Baker County property owners deserve to be lauded for their dedication to fulfilling one of the fundamental duties of an American.

They pay their property taxes.

Well, almost everyone does.

Letters to the Editor for February 20, 2009

Impersonating Elvis, wearing panty hose, and other joys of live theater

It’s every amateur actor’s nightmare.

You come on stage during opening night when you’re not scheduled to, spouting lines you’re not supposed to say until later in Act II.

And you’re not even wearing that sassy black dress that the nice wardrobe chief let out so it’ll fit your less-than-feminine physique.

That was the gist of my big gaffe last Friday, when Eastern Oregon Regional Theater’s “Any Body Home?” opened its two-weekend run at the Extension Building in Baker City.

Letters to the editor for February 19, 2009

Change chimp law

Sometimes it takes a chimpanzee nearly killing a woman to make you think.

Travis, the 200-pound chimp that Sandra Herold of Connecticut had raised since it was an infant, attacked Herold’s friend, Charla Nash, on Monday.

Nash suffered severe injuries to her hands and her face. Police shot and killed the chimp.

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