The Baker County voters who will decide between incumbent Fred Warner Jr. and challenger Bill Harvey for the position of Baker County Commission chairman have a tough choice.
Harvey is a strong candidate.
We’re impressed by his passion for Baker County and by the amount of time he has devoted to his campaign. Harvey has traveled throughout the county over the past couple months. He has attended a bunch of public meetings. He has talked to many dozens of residents.
And Harvey brings more to the ballot than enthusiasm.
Who was really responsible for rescinding travel plan?
It is hard to find someone in Baker County not familiar with the Wallowa-Whitman’s attempt to introduce a Travel Management Plan on our forest. The Forest Service was (is) to implement a system of roads and trails, provide us with maps, and close our treasured “open forest.”
In response, our county decided to go out and inventory the roads and submit a plan. A committee was formed (which included a seat at the table for Hells Canyon Preservation Council) and many took on the road inventory chore.
The first time I shook Sid Johnson’s hand I felt an instant sense of familiarity.
His hand was my grandpa’s hand.
It was rough with sandpapery callouses, the fingers thick and gnarled like oak limbs, but it was also protective, in the manner of a wool blanket that is itchy but will keep you warm on a January night.
It was the hand of a working man.
A hand made to grasp a hammer, to plane a board, to build structures that would endure for decades.
It turned out that Sid and my grandpa had quite a lot more in common than well-weathered hands.
Tired of federal regulations, I’m voting for Bill Harvey
I’m ready for a change.
I’m tired of spending all my time attending meetings. If I’m not in a meeting, I’m hopelessly buried in some 1,200-page document from our Forest Service or the BLM.
We’re not convinced that the federal government’s roundup last week of a Nevada rancher’s cattle, an operation carried out with guns and helicopters, is the best way to resolve this two-decades-old dispute.
Although hundreds of people who support rancher Cliven Bundy and his family showed up to protest the cattle roundup, we don’t believe the situation, which has more to do with cattle, public land grazing policy and an endangered species of tortoise than it does with protecting the public, warranted such aggressive tactics.
Bundy’s situation isn’t a case study in private property rights. The land where his 900 cattle have been grazing belongs to the public and is managed by the BLM.
Not impressed with Fred Warner’s efforts
I am not a Baker County resident, therefore these are simply my observations and personal dealings as an outsider looking in and a concerned member of property owners in the County.
I have attempted to work with Fred Warner Jr. on a vast array of issues over the last couple of years, and for the most part, I have found Fred to be ineffective at best and unwilling to engage at the worst.
A county commissioner is supposed to run the monthly business of the county and watch out for the best interest of local residents.
I personally have attempted to engage with Fred on the Mainline Trail Project, which converts the abandoned grade from Sumpter to Bates (Grant County) into a bicycle trail. Over 100 emails I never received any correspondence back from Fred, and very seriously felt like he was openly ignoring my request because he simply desired the trail more than he wanted to address the concerns of the people of Austin, I never understood why Baker County was planning activities in Grant County.
The trail Fred and his staff were planning would have closed roads, created a bike path through my family’s property and several other large pieces of property. Mr. Warner was unwilling to deal with Baker County staff that openly misled the public and kept information from us and I find that inexcusable.
Fred allowed the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest staff to hold meetings in Baker that were public meetings, without notice to the public that they were being held. Those meetings were vital to the public fully understanding the county’s role in agreeing to close down our forest and what deals are being cut.
And, where was Fred at the Blue Mountains Forest Plan Revision meeting? Nowhere to be seen is where.
Again, while not a county resident, I wonder why anyone would vote for a commissioner that simply refuses to listen to the public and deal with issues head on.
I’m hopeful Bill Harvey will get the opportunity to start addressing all of these issues.
John D. George
Election season is upon us, and ballots for the May 20 primary will be mailed April 30.
Fortunately, voters will have multiple opportunities not only to hear from the candidates but also to pose questions themselves.
Two candidate forums are scheduled.
Why change a winning formula? Re-elect Warner
I’ve often heard it said, “Never change a winning team.” To that I say, “amen.” During my eight years of service on the Baker City Council, I’ve watched Fred Warner balance budgets and maintain essential services despite dwindling resources, stand eye-to-eye with governmental regulators, and leverage Baker County dollars to complete much needed road projects. I’ve seen him work to achieve consensus and solutions that benefit all Baker County residents, not just a select few. He has put aside any personal bias and represented our citizens well.
I was in a Boise hotel the first weekend of spring break, watching my two younger kids frolic in the swimming pool with half a dozen others, when I realized that none of these children was alive on Sept. 11, 2001.
This thought struck me with some force.
At least one of the swimmers looked to me to be 11, although he might be a precociously tall 9 or 10.
But I’m as sure as I can be, without getting a look at boy’s birth certificate, that he isn’t as old as 12 1/2.
Time, of course, gets away from us no matter how closely we think we’re tracking its progress.
The world does need alternative energy
In his April 3, 2014, op-ed in The Record-Courier opposing the Huntington windfarm, Mr. Bill Harvey did us a grave disservice by declaring that our need for renewable energy is “not based on fact or need.” He thus asserted his denial of the existence and impact of global warming, a belief he explicitly stated in his letter to the editor of the Baker City Herald of July 22, 2013.
In seeking to impose his misguided and unscientific beliefs on us, Mr. Harvey is flying in the face of almost all climate scientists, and he is sowing seeds of doubt and confusion around a profound environmental threat to our well-being.