If every action government agencies take on our behalf, and with our money, happened during a public meeting, there wouldn’t be much need for a public records law.
Obviously this isn’t the case.
Indeed, much of the government action, so to speak, happens outside the public’s purview. These actions almost always produce records, though — emails, memos and the like.
The notion that the public should be able to have a look at these records — “our” records, as we like to think of them — is hardly new. Oregon’s Public Records and Public Meetings laws were passed in 1973.
Yet over the ensuing four decades the trend has been to make it more difficult for people to see public records.
In the grand tradition of federal government documents, the BLM’s draft environmental impact statement (EIS) outlining possible strategies for managing sage grouse habitat in Oregon is of daunting length.
At 900 pages or so, it requires strong arms to heft the paper copy, and a muscled microprocessor to open the pdf version.
But also in common with some other federal treatises of even greater mass — the Affordable Care Act, for instance — the sage grouse plan could have significant effects that aren’t obvious from a cursory reading.
Which, let’s be honest, is about all most people have the time and inclination to invest.
How many ways can you think of to combine ground beef, refried beans, various forms of cheese, and sour cream?
Not as many as Taco Bell can.
Probably it’s not even close.
The fast food giant employs people whose creativity with taco shells and tortillas is boundless.
(I don’t know what to call these people, but “chef” just doesn’t sound appropriate for a business for which, it seems to me, the ultimate culinary achievement is to offer the most calories per dollar.)
Foes of homosexuality should mind their own business
In a recent letter to the editor, Jay Boyd insists that “homosexual acts violate the Natural Law.” But Boyd does not cite where one might find a copy of that law.
Well, if there were such a law, then following are some of the people that Boyd’s letter, by implication, accuses of being lawbreakers. The names are just a few selected from hundreds on an internet list, chronological by birth, of famous male homosexuals. (http://www.ranker.com/list/famous-gay-men-list-of-gay-men-throughout-history/)
Alexander the Great, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Walt Whitman, Tchaikovsky, Oscar Wilde, Marcel Proust, E. M. Forster, Cole Porter, Thornton Wilder, Noel Coward, Aaron Copland, Vladimir Horowitz, John Gielgud, Christian Dior, Laurence Olivier, Cesar Romero, Tennessee Williams, Alec Guinness, Leonard Bernstein, Montgomery Clift, James Baldwin, Marlon Brando, Truman Capote, Gore Vidal, Rock Hudson, Andy Warhol, Edward Albee, Stephen Sondheim, James Dean, Tab Hunter, Anthony Perkins, Richard Chamberlain, Van Cliburn, Johnny Mathis, Yves Saint-Laurent and Rudolf Nureyev.
My advice to Boyd and others who condemn homosexuality: Keep your noses out of other people’s bedrooms.
Oh, yes. I’d really like to see a copy of that Natural Law.
It was inevitable that the tragic bus crash that happened on Interstate 84 near Pendleton, one year ago today, would precipitate a lawsuit.
The 12 plaintiffs, 10 of whom were riding on the bus that careened off the freeway and into a ravine, killing nine people and injuring 38, might have a decent case against the tour bus operator, Mi Joo Tour & Travel Ltd. of Vancouver, B.C., and the driver, Haeng-Kyu Hwang.
(The two other plaintiffs are the estates of two passengers who died.)
But the claim of negligence against Oregon and its Department of Transportation seems to us misguided.
City, county should block marijuana dispensaries
Both the Baker City Council and Baker County Board of Commissioners are deliberating whether to allow “medical marijuana” dispensaries within city and/or county limits. I strongly encourage both bodies to exercise the authority they have under the law to prohibit the establishment of such businesses. Medical marijuana, perhaps well-intended when it was initiated in this state, has proven to be greatly abused. Medical experts estimate that less than 2,000 people in Oregon legitimately suffer the ailments the law was designed to address by providing pain relief through marijuana use.
As opposed to the several thousand who may have a real and legally permitted need for marijuana there are over 27,000 people in this state who currently hold medical marijuana cards. Even some medical professionals who support the limited need for medical marijuana acknowledge it has evolved into a major scam. From my law enforcement experience elsewhere I can tell you that the quality of life in Baker City/County will deteriorate quickly if marijuana dispensaries are allowed to open. Those truly sick with a need for the drug already have ways to obtain it. They do not need a store front operation which attracts abusers for that purpose. The negative impacts on businesses and residences adjacent to such dispensaries will be great and our elected officials will rue the day if they are foolish enough to approve such “business” operations.
Somewhere along about the mid 80s headphones broke out of the home, and although they occasionally slink back inside they’ve never been quite the same since.
They’ve become disposable, for one thing.
Not by design, to be sure, in the manner of a diaper or a coffee filter.
If used as headphones traditionally were used — to listen to “Dark Side of the Moon” while you’re sprawled out on a waterbed, for instance — even the flimsiest set could last for years.
But modern headphones, which must be small and light because we expect them to deliver our music and our podcasts and our audiobooks while we jog and pedal and rappel off the north face of the Eiger, simply can’t withstand the rigors of the iPod, cross-training world for long.
Although you don’t even need to be especially energetic to destroy a set.
Gay activists demand acceptance, not tolerance
Whether you call Phil Robertson’s censure by A&E a “free speech” issue or a bad business decision, it’s important to note that it is the “gay-rights” group GLAAD who is behind it, pushing their own agenda. But most people recognize that Robertson is being censored and bullied in a way homosexualists themselves object to, simply for saying something that is recognized as truth by a large majority of the citizens of this country.
Continue to close your eyes to the homosexualist political agenda if you wish, but the fact is that “gay rights” issues are not about tolerance; they are about forcing people to not only tolerate, but to fully accept the “legitimacy” of the homosexual lifestyle to the point where no one is allowed to speak against this disordered lifestyle.
The “gay rights” agenda is not about ending discrimination against same-sex couples; it’s about “normalizing” homosexual behavior – ignoring the fact that homosexual acts violate the Natural Law, are physiologically unhealthy, and they are correlated with a number of socio-emotional problems! “Hate speech” laws are one way to accomplish this “normalization”; censoring a celebrity for speaking against homosexual behavior is another. Another tactic – being pursued in Canada – is to forbid homeschooling parents to teach their children that homosexual acts are immoral; for public school children there has been pro-“gay” agenda at work in the schools for years. And recently, in California, “gay conversion therapy” was banned, so that parents may not seek treatment for their sexually disordered children. We are also beginning to see the courts rule against private businesses, such as the bakery owner who declined to accept a wedding cake order from a homosexual couple.
Whether you call the Robertson imbroglio a “free speech” violation or a bad business decision, the ultimate goal is to make it illegal to say (or even think!) that homosexual behavior is immoral, unhealthy, or disordered. The blatant propaganda that promotes the homosexual lifestyle is full of lies, and is damaging to the very fabric of society.
Ban smoking? How about no traffic fumes, either
Let’s keep all traffic, especially diesel, from around parks, it is proven to cause death if too much inhaled. Hell, let’s make it illegal in all of town.
Makes as much since as no smoking in parks. Same as violation of Second Amendment rights. Not privileges. I’m an ex-smoker, hoping for intelligent life in this town that I was born in.
Cancer survivor urges support for St. Luke’s van
As a cancer survivor who depended on and appreciated the St. Luke’s van last winter, I am writing this letter to encourage others who have utilized the van to write letters of support and gratitude to St. Luke’s. It’s up to us to keep the van running. I don’t believe I could have survived seven months of treatment — some of it going to Fruitland every day for weeks — without the van. Each of you that I had the privilege of riding with became true blessings to me and I know we helped each other through those challenging times of treatment. Wasn’t the van our bubble of support and peace? Please take a minute and send your thoughts to:
Mark Parkinson, administrator
190 E. Bannock St.
Boise, ID 83712
And don’t forget to put in a good wood for our driver, Don McClure. He’s a treasure!
Future cancer patients and their families will be ever grateful to you. Thank you all. Forever thankful.
Story behind Wallowa Co.’s 2nd Amendment ordinance
The 2nd Amendment Preservation Ordinance passed by Wallowa County on Dec. 16 was compiled by Leo Castillo of Lightmasters of Eastern Oregon over the course of the last year; with help from attorneys, similar ordinances around the nation, and input from organizations such as the Second Amendment Foundation.
The concerns expressed by Wallowa County legal counsel were forwarded for comment to a constitutional attorney who has been working with us. His response was received on the morning of the 16th. Its contents were considered, added, reviewed and the final product printed just prior to the meeting that evening.
Comments of this attorney were read aloud with the changes that had been made to the ordinance. Copies were given to each of the commissioners.
It was this version of the ordinance in its entirety that the commissioners passed. They did so with the approval of those present. The statement in the Dec. 18 story of the Baker City Herald on page 5A that states “Castillo’s version differed from the version that was ultimately passed” is not true.
Wallowa County legal counsel and the Goldwater Institute attorney had similar suggestions regarding the “religious” sounding part of the ordinance, and Chad Nash from Stewards of the Wallowas had a brilliant suggestion: citing our Declaration of Independence instead, which mentions our Creator in the same context as the ordinance. We applied it.
Wallowa County’s legal counsel did her job in giving her professional opinion to the commissioners regarding the ordinance. The commissioners were not “dragging their feet” at all in the matter, but were committed to passing an ordinance that could survive the test of time, and uphold our common heritage, which is where the real victory is.
Wallowa County citizens and elected officials should be commended. I believe the general spirit should be one of gratitude; a fine example of what unity and courage can produce.
My partner and co-founder of Lightmasters of Eastern Oregon is deathly ill and in the hospital. His name is Mike. He has worked tirelessly on the webpage for the last year. Please keep him in your prayers.
Some people don’t much like the hydroelectric dams on the Columbia River, but even a dam-hater has to admit that the power those dams produce qualifies as “renewable.”
Certainly there’s no reason to believe the mighty Columbia is apt to stop flowing.
Yet according to a law the Oregon Legislature passed in 2007, the Columbia’s hydropower isn’t renewable. That law requires large utilities — our local Oregon Trail Electric Cooperative (OTEC) isn’t included — to get at least 25 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2025.
Christmas event outgrows Rachel Center
The Rachel Pregnancy Cancer would like to thank everyone who volunteered or provided items for the annual Christmas Extravaganza at the old Blockbuster building in Baker City. We’d also like to thank the Hinsdale family for donating use of their building.
The success of this event over the years has allowed us to help many families fulfill their Christmas wishes. Community donations of toys, clothing and other items have continued to grow year after year. Our dedicated group of volunteer organizers and the helpers who process donations, set up and run the event are to be especially commended. God bless you all.
Growth, however, is a double-edged sword. This event has outgrown the abilities of the Rachel Pregnancy Center. As a small nonprofit dedicated to preventing abortions through Christian counseling and day-to-day support of families in our community, we find that the Christmas event, by virtue of its success, has begun to impede our primary focus.
We are looking for a community organization or private group to continue to improve this popular event in the years to come. The Rachel Center will provide support in this transition, offering contacts and organizational advice, and forwarding donated items to “seed” next year’s event.
Interested parties can contact me at the Rachel Pregnancy Center at 541-523-5357 for more information.
Director, Rachel Center
Park smoking ban not smart or fair
Latest survey says over 64 percent of people over 21 years old smoke. We pay taxes to support our parks, and banning the majority of people is not smart or fair. Move a few tables to the corners and a few “butt” cans for those who smoke. Guys chew tobacco and spit, people cough and sneeze and dogs peeing and poopin’. We (you) haven’t ousted them, yet.
And, I want all the money the city has taken from me, approximately $400 over the years, so I can buy more medical insurance to pay the hospital or for my cremation when I fall. You printed a picture last year of one of the worse sidewalks, and nothing has been done to fix it.
We the people voted the city council members in because we thought they would do the right thing for all of us. We have the power to vote them out, too.
P.S. Dear Santa: Please give our council the brains and common sense to work for all of us. Yes, I’ve been good!