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Ebola and travel

We don’t think there’s any reason to get hysterical about Ebola in the U.S.

The virus is frightening, but there’s no reason to believe Ebola, which is far less infectious than, say, the cold or flu viruses, will ever spread widely in this country.

That said, we’re perplexed by the resistance of federal officials to restrict air travel between the U.S. and the west African countries where Ebola is prevalent.

Some of the explanations for this resistance seem nonsensical.

Letters to the Editor for Oct. 17, 2014

Kitzhaber’s campaign claims ring hollow

We have a real chance to change the direction that Oregon is going; I hope the voters take a really hard look at Dennis Richardson when they cast their ballot.

In listening to Governor Kitzhaber’s ads circulating in Oregon, there were a lot of half-truths grading into “there he goes again,” one of Ronald Reagan’s debate lines when running for president. 

Cover Oregon and his bridge to nowhere were coming unraveled and he went on a seven-week vacation. Now the feds want their matching funds back, and guess who’s on the hook for that? Us, that’s right, us, the taxpayers. 

Governor Kitzhaber says he has balanced the books and is closing our budget gap, when in reality it was our next governor-elect, Dennis Richardson, that was the one responsible and did the real work that solved the budget crisis. 

Kitzhaber says he has created “tens of thousands of new jobs.” Really? Oregon’s unemployment rate is higher than the national average since our governor took office, and is running around 7 percent. Under our governor our schools have fallen to 49th in the nation for high school graduation. I bet if we have him another four years he could get it to 50th. If you’re as sick of this as I am, mark your ballot for Dennis Richardson for governor.

Chuck Chase

Baker City

Merkley voted to give our gun rights to the U.N.

I keep seeing a lot in the news about the “do-nothing Congress” and it always seems directed at the Republicans in the House. However, people seem to forget that there are two bodies in the Congress, i.e., the House and the Senate. The House with a Republican majority has been pretty active, having passed over 350 bills, many of them bipartisan, which have been sent to the Senate, where they languish on Harry Reid’s desk with full approval of the Democratic majority, of which Jeff Merkley is a member.

Recently Jeff, along with 45 other senators, voted to give our 2nd Amendment rights to the U.N. by voting to approve the United Nations Arms Treaty. This treaty, which had the support of the Obama Administration, would have effectively placed a global ban on the import and export of small firearms. The ban would have affected all private gun owners in the U.S. and had language that would have implemented an international gun registry on all private guns and ammo. Amazingly, 46 out of our 100 senators were willing to give our constitutional rights to a foreign power! If they had managed to get this passed, what would they have given away next? Regardless of where you stand on gun rights, would you want to give any of our constitutional rights away? I, personally, don’t want to give any of our constitutional rights to the U.N. or anyone else. Yet Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden both supported the Obama Administration in this endeavor and actually voted for this action.

A vote for Jeff Merkley is a vote to continue the disastrous policies of Barack Obama. Vote for Monica Wehby, Republican for U.S. senator. Help put Harry Reid out of a job!

Alberta Bailey

Baker City

Re-elect Merkley to keep the American Dream alive

The Herald’s editorial board’s apparent belief (Oct. 10) that being a Republican neurosurgeon qualifies one to be a U.S. senator lacks credibility on three fronts. It offers a small-bore view of a much bigger picture.

Start with the plausible future shortage of irrigation water. Its probable cause would be drought made more likely and more severe by climate change that is already upon us. This threat could only increase under a Republican-led Senate that promotes increased extraction and burning of fossil fuels. But it would decrease under a Democratic Senate that faces the profound challenge of global warming and mandates CO2 reduction and production of alternative energy. Right off the bat, Senator Jeff Merkley wins!

Next, we have the question of available, affordable health insurance, which has already reached over 7 million Americans, including over 300,000 in Oregon. Certainly, the Affordable Care Act needs refinement and improvement, hopefully morphing into Medicare for All. But this is unlikely to be realized under a Republican Congress that works relentlessly to throw us back into the unregulated clutches of ruthless, for-profit insurance companies.

And, finally, there’s the question of meeting our local economic interests. How better could this be accomplished than by supporting the ability of hard-working Oregonians to earn a livable family income and obtain an affordable education? The odds are next to zero that this will come from a Republican Congress that seeks to lower already bargain-basement taxes on the wealthy few who are absorbing and hoarding an obscene share of our national income and our national wealth.

No, Herald editors and readers, we must not join with those who would march us in lock-step off an environmental, medical, and economic cliff. Instead, let us elect those who, free from fear and ideology, would lead us back to the golden era of the ’40s, ’50s, and ’60s, when we all had a fighting chance at the American Dream.

Marshall McComb

Baker City

Elect Wehby, a trained problem solver, to Senate

Life seems more regulated by government intrusion than ever before. From Obamacare, forest roads that are open or not, to what kind of light bulb that can be purchased. For many these regulations become a problem.

As a current member of Congress, Senator Merkley is a contributor of the increase in these regulations and problems. He could be considered a problem maker.

Doctors are trained to be problem solvers. Give Dr. Wehby a chance to solve some of these problems and decrease unnecessary regulations.

Are you better off now than six years ago?

Vote for Dr. Wehby, a trained problem solver.

Robert McKim

Baker City

Legalizing pot: An embattled weasel says ‘yes’

I don’t go in for conspiracy theories — except ones involving suppression of evidence proving Bigfoot is real — but I’m intrigued by the timing of the federal government’s proposal to list the American fisher as a threatened or endangered species.

The fisher, in case you’ve not come across one (and except in a zoo, you probably haven’t) is a type of weasel that was prized by trappers in the 19th and early 20th centuries for its luxurious pelt.

Not surprisingly, given the prevalence of trappers in that era, there aren’t many fishers around these days.

If you haven’t seen a picture, imagine a diminutive wolverine — cute, albeit in a weasly way, but no doubt quite capable of inflicting grievous damage if you tried to cuddle one as if it’s a kitten.

Letters to the Editor for Oct. 15, 2014

Senator Merkley has a lot to answer for

Senator Merkley has some very important questions he should answer before the election. At a town hall meeting in Baker City the majority of persons attending were against Obamacare.  He then proceeded to vote for a 2,700-page document that I doubt he or anyone else fully understood.  President Obama promised that healthcare premiums would go down about $2,500 but instead have increased that much or more.  Also Senator Merkley and his fellow senators set up there own healthcare program as obviously it is much better than what they created for their fellow Americans.

Next the “Fast & Furious” arms program created by our Justice Department under Eric Holder that resulted in the death of a U.S. border agent and many Mexicans. Has he assisted in the investigation of who was responsible? If he has, I have not seen it reported.

The IRS scandal is another one that is unconceivable in our country. What has Sen. Merkley done to investigate this rotten corruption?

Another one is the inexcusable mess at the Veterans Administration. This was a slap in the face of all military veterans and what has the senator done to uncover the facts on this one?

Next is the Benghazi cover-up! That is a national disgrace and where does Sen. Merkley stand on this one? Has he come forward to aggressively investigate who was responsible?  Border security and the failed immigration policy and lack of enforcement by the Justice Department is another failure that has not been addressed.

Lastly, I was disappointed when he voted for the United Nations Resolution 2117 that dealt with international gun control that would challenge the sovereignty of the United States. Major problems created by the Obama administration just keep piling up one after another. It is reported that Sen. Merkley has voted more than 90 percent of the time on the Obama agenda.  Sen. Merkley should answer these questions and what he has done and is doing to get the facts out if he wants to have any credibility with the Oregon voters.  Simply put, it is time for a change!

Gary McManus

Baker City

Urging voters to write in Rosemary Abell for Council

I am delighted that Rosemary Abell is running for Baker City Council as a write-in candidate!

Rosemary is a community leader. She currently volunteers as Secretary of Historic Baker City and works as a trainer for Baker County’s Ford Family Leadership Program. In addition, Rosemary’s professional experience as an educator strengthens our Baker School District Budget Committee.

Rosemary is a property and business owner in Baker City. With her husband Larry, she continues the ongoing restoration of the historic Pythian Castle building, and supports community revitalization efforts. Rosemary cares deeply about the success of Baker City and our region.

I strongly recommend that all Baker City voters write in Rosemary Abell for Baker City Council.

Kata Bulinski

Baker City

Rely on government to stop Ebola? I’m not confident

A dangerous virus is loose in the world and it seems that we must rely on our government to stop its spread into the United States. I am not totally confident that is going to happen. They tell me that there is no reason to stop flights from West Africa from coming to the United Sates, even though Britain has banned them. I am told that there will be “screeners” at the airports. At the same time I am told we have a shortage of doctors and nurses in the U.S. so who are these “screeners” that are the front line defense against Ebola? I hope I don’t find out that their other job is flipping hamburgers at McDonalds. Do they have any medical training whatsoever? 

What will happen if we hear that Ebola has broken out in Mexico or South America? The southern border is a joke right now. Should ISIS deliberately infect some Jihadist that would try and walk around American shopping malls do we have a plan? I’m sure we do. I would just like to hear it.

Steve Culley


Yes on 92: We deserve to know what we’re eating

Because I’m extremely allergic to many foods, I watch my diet very closely. However, I am not that much different from other Oregonians. They all like to know what they’re eating and exactly what they’re paying for at the store.

With 60-plus countries already requiring GMO foods to be labeled, most major food producers selling overseas are already labeling those shipments with GMO labels. A representative of the Grocery Manufacturers Association has said that adding a few words to the label has no impact on the price of making or selling food at all.

Thus it would say: Vote yes on Ballot Measure 92.

Tharrell Tilgner


Merkley has failed; let’s give the Republicans a chance

Jeff Merkley claims he’s fighting for middle class jobs. My question is, what jobs? As far as I can remember he hasn’t voted for any legislation that provides long-term sustainable jobs in the private sector. He’s for any jobs in infrastructure that’s paid for by the taxpayer, which needs to happen, but nothing in the private sector. He’s for investing in renewable energy; remember we gave billions to a firm called Solyndra and they promptly went bankrupt. We gave billions to an electrical car company; as soon as they got the money they moved to Finland. Our tax dollars weren’t very well invested. I’m not against renewable energy but I feel it should be funded by private investors and not taxpayers. The reason no private investors are jumping into it is because they know it’s a losing proposition. Renewable energy is very expensive and not reliable. All Oregon’s wind power goes to California.

Merkley voted for Obamacare which is costing taxpayers billions. Cover Oregon alone cost $300 million and no one signed up. Nationwide out of 320 million Americans only 7 million have signed up. The reason is the affordable health care act is unaffordable. Look around you. Conservative states are doing well, liberal states are always putting out fires. Our government and many unions can opt out. Why is that?

Merkley votes to raise taxes, bloated government, and to not fight terrorism. The first two years of Obama’s presidency the Democrats held a super majority in the Congress meaning the Republicans could not stop them but still the Democrats couldn’t even pass a budget. They don’t want to have to work within a budget. We’re over $17 trillion in debt now with no light at the end of the tunnel. I personally have not seen anything run by the government that doesn’t cost several times more than estimated.

Let’s give the Republicans a chance. They did well during the Clinton administration! The Democrats’ policies both national and in Oregon aren’t working.

Rodney Rogers


Re-elect Cliff Bentz to House

Cliff Bentz has already proved himself an able representative for Baker County in the Oregon Legislature.

But we might need Bentz’s abilities even more in the future, which is why we encourage voters to re-elect the Ontario Republican to another two-year term in the state House of Representatives.

Bentz’s Democratic challenger, Peter Hall of Haines, is an intriguing candidate. Hall says he’s a different sort of Democrat, one who understands the needs of Baker County residents, including the importance of farming and ranching.

But when it comes to the most crucial element of all — availability of water for irrigation — Bentz’s experience and expertise are unrivaled.

Letters to the Editor for Oct. 13, 2014

Defend 2nd Amendment, elect Dennis Richardson

With all the scandals and wasting of money that keep hitting the news about current Governor John Kitzhaber, it’s sometimes hard to get a clear and simple message out to the voters of Baker County.

In just a little over 20 days the voters will determine Oregon’s future. We are truly blessed to have a candidate of Dennis Richardson’s caliber running for governor. 

Dennis has been endorsed by National Rifle Association and Oregon Firearms Federation. He has met both of these organizations’ stringent criteria to earn their endorsement.  Protecting the Second Amendment is more important today than ever. Please, cast your vote for the next governor of Oregon.  

Lorri Speelman

Baker City

Electing Richardson will help get Oregon back on track

I believe we need a new governor for Oregon. In a 10-month period, current Gov. Kitzhaber took seven weeks of paid vacation, and he took a trip to Bhutan to attend a conference on “Gross National Happiness.”

All of this while over half of the state was experiencing extreme drought conditions. Kitzhaber missed key deadlines to finish reports required to implement the Water Supply Fund, which delayed the fund. Reports not finished and he failed to appoint the taskforce to develop the program he signed into law.

Now we have the unofficial first Lady of Oregon, Cylvia Hayes, who has a dual role in Kitzhaber’s personal life and political life. Hayes has accepted contracts from the state of Oregon with payment going to her. This appears to be a very big breach in Oregon ethics laws. Records show Hayes signed consulting contracts worth at least $85,000 for work that overlapped with her work in the governor’s office.

Former Oregon Supreme Court Justice William Riggs has said, “In effect she’s selling her special relationship with the governor to clients from whom she’s getting a fee. It smells bad.”

This election, we can elect a new governor, Dennis Richardson, a good solid family man. Dennis can hit the road running in January and get Oregon back on the right track. I urge all Baker County voters to cast their ballot for Dennis Richardson.

Terry Speelman

Baker City

Re-elect Walden to U.S. House

Greg Walden has been representing Oregon’s 2nd Congressional District, which includes Baker County, for a decade and a half, but we don’t see any evidence that Walden is getting complacent.

Indeed, the Republican from Hood River has used his increasing clout in Washington, D.C., to become an even more effective representative for our county and region.

We urge voters to reward Walden with a ninth two-year term as our congressman.

Wehby for U.S. Senate

Here’s a hypothetical, but hardly implausible, scenario: Let’s say that during the next six years a federal action will threaten to significantly reduce the supply of irrigation water to the farms and ranches that make up the nearly $100 million in annual sales backbone of the local economy.

Would you trust U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, or his Republican challenger, Monica Wehby, to best defend Baker County’s interests under that scenario?

We choose Wehby.

And we encourage voters to send her to Washington, D.C., in Merkley’s place.

The gift of a good book: The magic never ends

The words hand-printed in blue ink on the inside cover of the book have faded some over the 35 years since they were written, but their magic remains.

There is at least a dollop of magic, I believe, in every book.

But this particular book, a paperback copy of “The Incredible Journey” by Sheila Burnford which looks not so much dog-eared but as though an actual dog had given it a couple of half-hearted chews, is more magical than most in my library.

It was a gift, given to me at Christmas 1979 by my cousin, Leanne.

She recorded these facts with the blue ink I mentioned earlier.

Letters to the Editor for Oct. 8, 2014

No dynasty for Kitzhaber; elect Dennis Richardson

Do four terms make a dynasty? Governor Kitzhaber has ridden the political bandwagon for too many years already. If he had made a significant contribution to the welfare of the entire state rather than to just the high concentration of “sheeple” who follow with blind faith everything he promises, maybe it would be understandable. But he hasn’t, taxes go up and incomes go down.

 To quote Sarah Palin, “How’s that workin’ for ya?” Hope and change? Not what I expected. Higher unemployment, only low-wage jobs, if there even are any jobs.  

The choices are Kitzhaber, more of the same, or Dennis Richardson.

Since we all know the record of Kitzhaber, I will leave him to your imagination. I’d rather discuss the reasons why you should look to a major change in the way our state will be doing the business in the future.

Dennis Richardson, besides being one heck of a nice guy and a fine family man, has had a distinguished career. Not many folks can say they flew helicopters, over 1,000 hours, in a combat zone, and received 19 air medals for his valor. That’s true dedication to duty.

He has made 10 trips to China as an international trade delegate to enhance relations in trade between China and Oregon. As governor, Richardson vows to continue to focus on stimulating Oregon’s economy through international trade.

In 2005 he served as Speaker Pro Tempore in the Oregon House, then in 2011-13 was co-chair of the Joint House/Senate Ways and Means Committee. He has worked for Oregonians for many years and has been able to establish a fine record while doing so.

If you want a closer look at the man and his accomplishments just go online to see his bio at www.dennisrichardson.org/biography.htm

This man deserves our support, and it is truly past time for Governor Kitzhaber to move over for a new face.

It’s time to vote for Dennis Richardson.

Peggie Longwell

Baker City

Local money supporting Richardson, Wehby

Recent letters to the editor are filled with misinformation that must be addressed. 

First, the signs for Dennis Richardson for governor and Dr. Monica Wehby for U.S. Senate were bought and paid for by the local Republican Party and not some BIG money from somewhere else as was stated.

I believe and support a different direction we so badly need in our state. That is why I joined in with several like-minded people and got involved with local Republicans to help raise money in Baker County to support both Republican candidates.

Second, Governor Kitzhaber and Senator Jeff Merkley are destroying our economy and our country. These men do not represent the common people of our state and our country. The far left believes there is an endless supply of money and then mismanages what we do have and this must STOP! The result from their actions is that every opportunity for job creation is made impossible and our lives are taken over by government control. 

We can work with Dennis Richardson as our governor and Dr. Monica Wehby as our senator. They both strive for the betterment for the state of Oregon and have both spent time in Baker County (your county) on several occasions. 

I have one question: When was the last time Governor Kitzhaber came to visit with you in Baker County?

Please join me in doing everything possible to make Oregon better by voting for Dennis Richardson for governor and Monica Wehby for senator.

Bill Harvey


Democrats are the real party of billionaire backers

Mr. Ramon Lara’s letter to the editor seemed concerned about billionaires taking over Republican politics. He needs to look inside his own party before casting the first stone. California billionaire Tom Steyer (NexGen Climate Action Committee — a political PAC) just gave $100,000 to the Oregon Democratic party for funding ads targeting Oregon legislative races, in an attempt to keep Oregon blue. Steyer is helping Oregon Dems try to unseat State Senator Bruce Starr and Betsy Close — both Republicans. 

The Democrats also have Mr. George Soros. Soros’ political PACS include the infamous “Moveon.org” and “League of Conservation Voters Victory Fund to name a couple. Former Enron billionaire John Arnold gave $500,000 to help pass Ballot Measure 90. Why is an out-of-state billionaire trying to change our election system here in Oregon? And, don’t forget Michael Bloomberg who donates heavily to his own Super PAC, which concentrates on gun control issues among other Democratic causes.  

Nearly all of the materials for a candidate come from their own election committee. This includes signs, fliers, car magnets, bumper stickers, buttons, etc. For example, Dennis Richardson, who is the Republican candidate for governor, provides to his county committee materials to help rally the vote in Baker County. 

 The Baker County Republicans seldom purchase these materials. But we do have fundraisers (raffles, banquets, etc.) which allow the local committee to raise money to donate to individual candidates and help promote them locally. All candidates rely heavily upon personal, grassroots contributions.

This year the Republican Party has the unique opportunity to change Oregon. The Republicans can take back the governor’s office by electing Dennis Richardson. We have many great state senator and legislative House candidates running statewide. We can take back the Oregon House and Senate.   We have the opportunity to take back one of our Senate seats with the election of Dr. Monica Wehby, who can help retire Harry Reid. If you want to learn more about this election, please call me at 541-519-5035 or stop by our office at 1923 Court Ave.

Suzan Ellis Jones

Chair, Baker County Republican Party and county chair for Dennis Richardson for governor

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