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Events should continue


It would seem at first glance that it’s been a tough run these past several months for Baker City events.

Last August the Chamber of Commerce announced that it would no longer sponsor Miners Jubilee.

And now Historic Baker City Inc., which puts on the Taste of Baker, the Christmas parlor tour and the Christmas parade, is set to lose about half of its revenue through the downtown Economic Improvement District.

Yet we remain confident that there are those among Baker’s business community and volunteers who are numerous and energetic enough to ensure that those events which residents truly value will continue to happen, even if the names of the organizers and sponsors change.


Letter to the Editor for Jan. 13, 2014


Marriage not necessary for homosexuals’ legal rights

Advocates of homosexual marriage present the issue as a matter of civil rights. This is misleading. Marriage is not a right granted by the government; it is an institution found in cultures all over the world and throughout history. For the most part, marriage has been understood as a man and a woman binding their lives together in a lifelong union, creating a home in which they will raise the children which they jointly produce. Some cultures allow other forms of marriage, most commonly polygamy, but the traditional form of marriage is by far the most common.

One reason for the universality of traditional marriage is that it provides the best environment for the raising of children. Other things being equal, children do best when they grow up with their biological mother and father. There are instances where this is not the case, but these are exceptions to the general rule.

Unfortunately, over the past few decades our society has increasingly shifted to an alternative form: marriage as an emotional attachment between two people, which lasts only as long as the attachment does. When that ends, so does the marriage, regardless of the consequences to the family which has been formed. The impact on our society from this alternative to traditional marriage has been far from good. Individuals have gained some freedom, but the children of divorce are deprived of the benefits of having both biological parents in their home, and so suffer.

Homosexual marriage takes us further down this road, for it is again an emotional attachment between two people, not the creation of a home where children are raised by both of their biological parents. It is a further weakening of the American family.

Homosexual couples have some valid concerns: hospital visitations, wills, insurance benefits, etc. But they share these concerns with other people who may be living together without a sexual connection, such as two sisters, or a mother and her son. These concerns may be met through appropriate legislation, rather than doing further violence to the institution of marriage as it has traditionally been understood.

Pete Sundin

Baker City


Feeling the pressure to put Baker in best light


I spent an hour or so on the phone the other day trying to explain what sort of town Baker City is.

This is not as easy as you might think.

At least not when the conversation feels more like an interrogation.

The man who called said he and his wife are considering buying a home in Baker City.

Of several towns they’ve visited, Baker City is by a large margin their favorite, he told me.

But he still has questions.

A whole lot of questions.


Wise to look at pot stores


We’ve not seen evidence that anyone plans to try to open a medical marijuana store in Baker County.

But we agree with Baker City Police Chief Wyn Lohner that local elected officials should start thinking about the issue, and in particular about whether they want to restrict or outright ban such businesses.

Whether such prohibitions would survive legal challenges is an open question, but that hasn’t discouraged other Oregon cities from taking action.

Since Aug. 14, when Gov. John Kitzhaber signed into law House Bill 3460, which legalizes medical marijuana dispensaries, several cities, including Medford and Gresham, have enacted ordinances that in effect ban such businesses.

The basis for these bans is that marijuana remains illegal under federal law, which does not recognize the Oregon statute, and that cities and counties have the legal right to prohibit businesses that violate federal law.


Beef up public records law


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.


Sage grouse plan: Long, important


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.


Taco Bell’s genius; and Sam Bass has a big fan


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.)


Letter to the Editor for Jan. 1, 2014


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.

Gary Dielman

Baker City


ODOT not at fault in bus crash


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.


Letters to the Editor for Dec. 27, 2013


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.

Jerry Boyd

Baker City


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