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Letters to the Editor for Sept. 11, 2013


City needs to consider all options for its water supply

For over a century, Baker City has enjoyed some of the best-tasting water of any city in Oregon. Collected on the slopes of the Elkhorns from pristine mountain streams, our water has long been a source of civic pride. Well, those mountain streams aren’t always pristine; sometimes they contain nasty parasites that sicken people, as we recently learned the hard way. And so the recent discussion has been, “How do we keep this sort of thing from happening again?” We are told that we have two options: a UV treatment system, which would cost $2.3 million, or a filter system, which would cost $17.7 million.


Is UV light enough?


Baker City Manager Mike Kee said recently that the city’s water supply could be protected against cryptosporidium within 12 months with the installation of an ultraviolet light treatment plant.

That’s good.

Our question is whether it’s good enough.

Although crypto has been the focus of the city’s efforts for the past several weeks, and rightfully so, the parasite is hardly the only water-treatment threat the city faces.

And UV light, though effective against crypto, is no defense against some of those other threats.


Letter to the Editor for Sept. 9, 2013

Catholic apostasy doesn’t make tenets less valid

Gary Dielman is wrong about Galileo, but I’ll address a more current issue he broaches in his Aug. 28 letter. In response to my comment that following Catholic doctrine is what makes one Catholic, he said, “When it comes to artificial means of birth control — condoms and pills — most Catholic women pay no attention to the Church’s teachings. In a Gallup poll last year, 82 percent of Catholics... considered birth control ‘morally acceptable.’ And 98 percent of Catholic women admit to having used a non-natural method of contraception on at least one occasion during their reproductive years, contrary to Church dogma.”

 He is absolutely right. There is a mass apostasy in the Catholic Church today. Most of those who call themselves Catholic simply reject the faith. In politics we call this treason; in religion, we call it apostasy: the rejection of the tenets of your own faith. The majority of Catholics no longer believe in the precepts of the Church, which include the requirement to attend Mass every Sunday, and to go to confession at least once per year. And yes, the vast majority of those who call themselves Catholic do not believe artificial contraception is wrong; at least 50 percent of those who call themselves Catholic support “gay marriage”; and Catholics basically put Obama in the White House.

However, the fact that the vast majority of Catholics do not follow the tenets of their faith does not make those tenets any less valid; rather, it makes those “Catholics” wrong. The Church is right on those issues mentioned above, and there are good reasons underlying Church teaching. Anyone who wants a faithful Catholic’s perspective on those issues is welcome to email me at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or visit my blog at http://philotheaonphire.blogspot.com.

Jay Boyd

Baker City


Time for a special session


Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber is ready to try again where he failed, by a single vote, earlier this summer.

Kitzhaber called this week for a special session of the Legislature to convene Sept. 30 with one goal: Approving the governor’s “grand bargain.”

That two-pronged plan includes cuts in Oregon Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) beyond what lawmakers passed this spring, bringing the total paring to $900 million, as well as $200 million in new taxes.

It’s the second part of the package that doomed the grand bargain earlier this summer.


Letter to the Editor for Sept. 6, 2013


Glad to read about UV treatment plan

Hooray! Good to read the Herald headlines of  9-4-13. 

 I’m glad the UV water treatment can be in place in a year.  I felt the need to have “something” done by the city, so it pleases me that an early solution is considered.   

Thank you, in advance, to the Council members (whoever they may be) that plan to approve the plan. Let’s get a majority vote on this.  

Phyllis Badgley

Baker City


America’s reputation doesn’t depend on Syria


I was listening to Secretary of State John Kerry the other day as he explained why the U.S. is obliged to bomb Syria, and he seemed awfully sure of himself.

Confidence is valuable in a fighting soldier, to be sure — as valuable, sometimes, as a good rifle.

But when those who send others to fight wax rhapsodic about the moral imperatives of the coming battle, well, my instinctive skepticism deepens.

(See: Sir Douglas Haig’s diary entries before the Battle of the Somme.)

Kerry is certain, for instance, that Syrian president Bashar Assad is responsible for a chemical weapons attack on his citizens on Aug. 21.


Letter to the Editor for Sept. 4, 2013


Bring our military home

Relative to the editorial in the Monday, Sept. 2 paper, I couldn’t agree more!

 We have been at war for 12 years and it is time for the American people to say “enough!” Who made us the judge and executioner for the world? Who gave President Obama the right to start shooting missiles at Syria? He has become so self-important he thinks he rules the world. Well, he’s wrong. He’s made the Constitution into a “suggestion” rather than the law of the land! If he doesn’t like a law, he tells his Department of Justice not to enforce it or changes parts of the law to agree with his thinking. If he doesn’t like the response from Congress, he says “We don’t need Congressional approval, we’ll just go around Congress.” He has become arrogant and dictatorial as if he were a king, instead of the president.   What ever happened to three equal branches of government?

 If we go ahead with this “limited” strike against the Syrian government, I’ll bet the response from them won’t be “limited.”  If Obama thinks he can go in and throw missiles around willy-nilly with impunity, he’s got another “think” coming.  The people who will pay the price for his arrogance are the servicemen and women who are on the firing line. We’ve got ships lined up in the Mediterranean like we did in Pearl Harbor in 1941, and we’re likely to get some of Syria’s 4,700 surface-to-air missiles right back at us. 

We’ve become the laughingstock of the world!

It’s time to stop this insanity and bring our ships and servicemen and women home NOW! Let the Arabs fight their own wars!

Alberta Bailey

Baker City


Water talks in the open


In the wake of Baker City’s crypto outbreak, our elected city councilors have a responsibility to make sure that city employees responsible for the water system are doing their jobs competently, in order to prevent another public health crisis.

Unfortunately, the City Council’s public “work session” last Thursday accomplished little except to further confuse city residents who already have more questions than answers about this summer’s unprecedented contamination of their drinking water.

During that meeting councilors talked about the tone of emails they have received, apparently written by other councilors, dealing with alleged mistakes made by city staff.

Councilor Kim Mosier described the language of these emails as “hostile.”

Councilor Barbara Johnson deemed the missives “mean-spirited."


Letter to the Editor for Sept. 2, 2013


Struggle for true equality continues

Here we are in the conversation of race and opportunity once again — for one week at least. One cannot help but be moved by the recent commemoration of the Rev. Dr. King’s dream speech, and the remembrance it freshens of people united in support of equality. 

This was underscored by the words of the first African-American president, and others, reflecting on those times and inspiring the present.

It occurs to me to consider networking in relation to the topics of race and opportunity. It can begin in college or the workplace when individuals make important connections where they will gain support and camaraderie for their pursuits. In the sphere of Ivy League whites, those contacts can be as effectively powerful as a zoom drive into credentials and wealth. When “race” is recognized as culture, then the European-American propensity toward meetings with agendas, where the majority rules, can slam directly against the traditions of other races. By example, the culture of some African-Americans would often rather talk on the doorstep, or drop into a kitchen over food to discuss and conclude informally and friendly-like. The traditional ways of the indigenous nation-tribes would still rather meet in council, letting everyone be heard, sticking to the task until it’s done, or coming together yet another day till all are satisfied. On Earth, long before dictators and complex civilizations, communities came together to make decisions. Occupations, talents and strengths differed, but all were equal. While equality may seem relatively new, it is also very old ... it’s just been a long time that the rights of kings ran beyond reason, and the status quo trumped compassion.

How can equality live strong when a long-dominant race refuses to accept the other races’ traditions, and the dominant way is expected as the only way? How will equality look when the once-dominant becomes the minority, and tightens its already uncomfortable grip on banks, commissions and other realms of power? And what happened to consensus-building?

“Eternal vigilance is the price we pay for liberty,” wrote Jefferson. Yours, mine and ours. To my mind vigilance is more attentive than armed.

Linda Bergeron

Halfway


Stay out of Syria’s civil war


After more than a decade of war in Afghanistan and Iraq, we’re distressed that Americans need even to consider the possibility that a single member of our military will die or be injured while intervening in Syria’s civil war.

The notion that an attack in Syria by the U.S. and other western allies is the only, or even the best, way to prevent the further use of chemical weapons in that war seems to us an illogical one.

To be sure, diplomatic alternatives offer no guarantee of success, either.


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