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Sorting out the nationís, and countyís, politics

I recently read a book whose author tried to explain why tens of millions of Americans moved to new cities and towns during the past half century or so.

Bill Bishop pulled off this immense feat in a way I would not have imagined possible before finishing his book, which was published in 2008.

“The Big Sort: Why The Clustering Of Like-Minded America Is Tearing Us Apart,” in which Bishop collaborated with statistician Robert Cushing, enthralled me.

I’m glad I gave Bishop a chance.

5Jís Friday plan has potential

The Baker School District’s four-day week schedule, now about halfway through its fifth year, has in the main worked well.

Families have adjusted to the inconvenience of having kids home rather than in class on most Fridays.

Students’ scores on standardized tests have remained competitive, and in many cases exceeding the Oregon average.

Letters to the Editor for Jan. 20, 2016

A grocery allegory: What if occupiers showed up here?

The unarmed occupiers of the former Haggen/Albertsons have stated that they will not leave until either WinCo or Fred Meyer moves in. Many of these scofflaws are not even Baker City residents, some heralding from distant places like Huntington, Sumpter and Haines. In a statement by spokesman Abbon Mundy, “We are not leaving until the government looks into this Albertsons/Safeway monopoly and the shady dealings that brought the demise of Haggen.” “Until we have another grocery store, other than Albertsons, we are here for the long term.” Mundy then added, “And no Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, those puppet commercials freak me out!” 

The occupiers called attention to their presence with a huge parking lot bonfire fueled by tons of outdated worthless Haggens coupons. Local sheriff’s spokesperson Iwanna Storetoo said “It’s a good thing that fire didn’t get out of control, otherwise they’d be looking at some serious jail time!” She went on to add, “At this time we are monitoring the situation and have contacted other jurisdictions for additional support if things escalate.”

Local resident Igoto Boiseforfood said “Most of em ain’t even from here, they’re trespassing and just look at that asphalt damage! “They are nothing but common criminals that need to go back where they came from.”

Verilittle Tuchooz, a resident of Durkee, couldn’t disagree more, “It’s about time someone stood up to these out of control grocery conglomerates, thank God we still have people in this world that won’t just sit back and take it.”

When accused of being “nothing but a troublemaker” by local hecklers, Mundy responded by pointing across the road at the ever flowing sea of vehicles looking for a parking spot, at the crowds of people held hostage by whatever Safeway had to offer at whatever price and exclaimed “I’m not the problem, the trouble is right there in front of you!”

Only one government official responded concerning the occupation. Rep. Eylive N. Ontario said that there could be a federal case for defamation leveled on Mundy for his “racist comments against commercial puppets.”

Mike Meyer

Baker City

Grocery closure affects bottle recycling, too

I have been a bottle recycler for the past 10 years. It has always been a chosen responsible chore to recycle my bottle purchases. There have been times over those 10 years that I, along with many others, have become frustrated with the condition of the bottle recycle machines and areas offered to the local recycling citizens by the two local grocery stores.

Now with only one local grocery with the only bottle recycle center available, this frustration is an absolute mess. The actual designated recycle area size is state-regulated, as to the merchant building size plus the selling of deposit paid for designated bottles such as water, soda, beer etc. But, and here is the kicker, only if the merchant should choose to bother with providing a recycle area. The health maintenance of the area, the mechanical workings of the machines, the staff to assist the recycling citizens when the machines are filled to capacity, is strictly left to the store managers.

I recently contacted the Oregon Liquor Control Commission as to what happened with the recycle machines at the empty former Haggen storefront. I was informed those machines were owned by the Haggen corporation, and how and where they went was that corporation’s business and the state agency has no say in the matter of dealing with the lack of recycling opportunities for the 10,000 Baker City citizens.

I would like to suggest to the current grocery corporation that the policymakers who now most definitely have a local monopoly to please address the lack of an adequate recycle center for bottles purchased at the only local grocery business.

And to the Baker City Council and business development planners, please include this needed requirement into any new and incoming business developments.

In the interim, I will be looking for any nonprofit group, church or school team who would desire my bottles to aid in their fundraising endeavors. I realize that they must also be recycloing at the aforementioned center, but perhaps it would hlep to limit the number of frustrated citizens jamming up the area unsuccessfully.

Cheryl Gushman

Baker City

Letters to the Editor for Jan. 18, 2015

We need to speak up for abused animals

It’s hard to witness animals being abused by lack of food in the winter. Summer is a hard time also, but winter there’s no grass growing for horses and cows to forage on.

I have been watching some horses with a small colt being abused by a lack of food. Not sure what the water situation is, but some days there’s very little food, other days they don’t get anything. This is winter, everything is frozen, nothing growing and they have no voice to say “we could use some hay, it fills us up and helps our bodies produce heat to keep us warm on these cold, cold winter nights.”

This individual who owns these horses needs to ask, “Do I need them? Can I afford to feed them properly?”

If the answer to both is no, then do the humane thing and sell them. The horses did not ask to be treated like this. This individual has been turned in to the local authorities several times but nothing seems to come of it. Do we have to wait for animals to die before the authorities do something? They need to take all complaints of animal abuse seriously, whether it be dogs chained up with no food, water or shelter, or stacked in carriers and living in their own poo, or cats living in horrible conditions with little or no food and water. Horses, cows, goats are trying to live on little or no food having to eat their own poop. I have seen this, not a pretty sight.

So I’m asking anyone that has or is witnessing these abuses to speak up, write letters, call the local authorities, maybe they’ll do something if enough people stand up for animals that have no voice to speak for themselves. It would be a great year if the animal abuse of all levels could be cleaned up and the abusers held accountable.

Linda Chandler

Baker City

Obama cries for Sandy Hook, but what about abortion?

I was quite impressed by Obama’s tears for the tragedy at Sandy Hook. It was a terrible tragedy, which could have been lessened a lot if there would have been a gun controlled by a responsible person that could have stopped this mentally deficient idiot.

It would be heartwarming to see Obama shed some tears for the millions of little babies that Planned Parenthood is killing. Of course it is a very thriving business, selling baby parts — the livers, hearts and brains are especially valuable if they can harvest them while the baby is still breathing. This is a fact, as the lady doctor was gloating about the good job she had done.

Obama will do anything he can to stop the defunding of Planned Parenthood. I do not want my money going to support these abortion mills.

This is the most pro-abortion president ever. And if Hillary gets elected she will continue this horrible crime.

Pat Culley

Baker City 

Tweaking EPAís nose

The question of how the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers would enforce its Waters of the United States rule is, well, murky.

But even the potential powers the rule could give the federal agencies to restrict how water is used in the West are troubling enough.

So troubling, in fact, that even Congress, where partisan bickering is the defining characteristic, agreed that the rule goes too far.

City email policy: Yes

We’re pleased that the Baker City Council is considering posting on the city’s website emails written by, or sent to, councilors.

We hope councilors adopt a proposed policy, and put it into practice, soon.

This would help the city to comply not only with the letter of Oregon’s Public Records Law, but also with its spirit.

Letters to the Editor for Jan. 15, 2016

Refuge protesters are trying to protect local residents

The Malheur Refuge occupation is not focused just on the unconscionable and malicious federal assault against ranchers whose land is coveted by the BLM. The Hammonds are the tipping point, the final straw for these peaceful protesters. No other known remedies remain to stop the loss of private rights, land, jobs and resources for local inhabitants. 

Over 100,000 signatures from across the nation have supported a Petition for Redress of Grievances, which has been ignored.

Further adding to the unrest is the unconstitutional federal plan to take two and a half million acres from neighboring Malheur County to create a National Canyonlands Monument. This proposed taking will destroy the ranching economy there, and Malheur County ranchers are also at the Refuge occupation.

Representative Greg Walden addressed Congress about this incident and admitted that the Refuge was indeed “public land.” If the federal government owned the land he would say so.  They only manage it for us. The occupiers are part of the public, and have not harmed one thing. They have not yet been given any order to leave the premises, so they are not trespassing. Court documents must be produced to evidence that the United States Government has actual TITLE to the land, and I do not believe it exists. BLM employees have been reportedly shredding documents. 


Under the terms of the Enabling Act that brought the State of Oregon into the union of several states, the federal government contracted to DISPOSE of public lands. And they have done so in all the eastern states.  But, because the western states are so valuable in natural resources, a huge federal bureaucracy has sprung up to permanently control these resources. Thus, our local economies have suffered. Mills have been shut down. Mining is overregulated. Ranchers are bankrupted. We can’t even enjoy the forests. So why are federal laws that simply DO NOT APPLY within the states tolerated?

These Refuge occupiers have pledged their lives and sacred honor to bring this perfidious federal scheme to the national stage.  Please seek the TRUTH.  Resist the lies.

James Iler

Baker City

Harvey should continue to do what he’s been doing

Since Gary Dielman was so presumptuous as to suggest New Year’s resolutions for County Commissioner Bill Harvey, I’ll be so presumptuous as to suggest how Harvey should react.

1. Ignore Gary Dielman’s suggested resolutions.  Mr. Dielman writes good historical articles but his political leanings are way too leftist.

2. Keep pressuring the USFS to coordinate with the County’s Natural Resources Plan. Every map shows the USFS to lie within county boundaries, not the other way around. The USFS should be working harder to be good neighbors with Baker County and all the counties it affects and working closely with them to develop mutually acceptable plans. Regarding planning rules, the Wallowa-Whitman NF needs to be pushing back against the Regional Office in Portland. The Regional Office needs to be pushing back against the Washington, D.C., office.  Local perspective is better than D.C. perspective.

3. Don’t get hung up on human-caused global warming/climate change. There are far more pressing problems to focus your energy on. Just because President Obama thinks global warming is the biggest threat to America, the rest of us don’t need to fall prey to his poor guidance. There are a number of other things the president is wrong about, too. Regarding climate change, everyone should have the opportunity to hear now-retired OSU climatologist George Taylor’s information on long-term climate data and interpretation.

4. Keep praying! I appreciated your speaking at the Fourth of July worship service in the park and I respect you for wearing your Christianity on your sleeve, whether at Commission meetings or generally in the community. Our country needs more Christian leaders and more honest prayer. Our county, state, and nation need to follow the Bible’s admonition of II Chronicles 7:14.

5. Keep pushing for as much local control, or at least influence, as possible on currently federal land. The folks in Washington, D.C., with their endless stream of rules and regulations, guided by the ever-present influence of eco-wacko groups, need to be balanced by practical people who understand the land and culture.

Carry on with the common sense leadership you demonstrate.

Jim Carnahan

Baker City

A winterís day, sharing the trail with a coyote

I followed the tracks of a lone coyote through snow for better than a mile on a recent sun-dazzled Saturday, and when I turned back I felt a kinship with this cunning omnivore.

Mainly, though, I felt tired.

More tired, I’m sure, than the coyote was after covering the same  ground.

Coyotes rarely top 35 pounds, and being both relatively svelte and possessed of well-furred paws, they can often stay atop snow without foundering the way people, who typically bid the 35-pound mark farewell before they’re enrolled in first grade, are apt to do.

(I was wearing snowshoes to offset my natural disadvantage, but the principle holds.)

Letters to the Editor for Jan. 13, 2016

Refuge protesters want new, tyrannical ‘government’

I am writing to warn my fellow Eastern Oregonians about a threat to our way of life.

On Dec. 15, 2015, Ammon Bundy and Ryan Payne met with about 40 residents of Harney County in Burns. Bundy said the local residents should create a “Committee of Safety.” The head of Bundy’s militia, Ryan Payne, warned the Burns residents that they needed a “Committee of Safety” to protect them from floods, crime waves, and even the “U.N. invading the U.S.”

Bundy and Payne also explained what the “Committee of Safety” is. It is an unelected replacement for your local democratically elected government. If the “Committee of Safety” doesn’t agree with how the local government is handling something, instead of holding politicians accountable, running for elections, or protesting, they can call in a militia to “take care” of the problem.

During this meeting, a local Burns resident asked if the creation of this shadow government needed to be brought to a vote before the more than 7,000 residents of Harney County. No, Bundy and Payne said, you can just tell the public about it after we create this new government.

Bundy and Payne explained that this government had the power to call in “militia” from all over the country to do their bidding, and that they could hold their own trials to convict and sentence people. The “Committee of Safety” is nothing less than treason, and it represents an attempt by a room of 40 people, encouraged by Bundy, to overthrow their local democratically elected government with the support of armed militia from out of state. The “trials” they talked about are kangaroo courts. There are no checks or balances, no ballots, no public participation. This is not democracy, and it’s un-American.

A “Committee of Safety” isn’t a way to address the legitimate concerns we have about land management issues, it is not about liberty, freedom, or returning power or land to the people — the “Committee of Safety” is about the tyranny of a few men over us all.

You can watch a full video of the Dec. 15 meeting here: https://youtu.be/64mkXIT76bk

Michael Oman-Reagan

Baker City

Call for diversity seems to lack that very thing

In response to Gary Dielman’s New Year’s resolutions directed to County Chair Bill Harvey in a Jan. 8 Herald letter to the editor I would like to focus on Mr. Dielman’s use of the word diverse. This word apparently means diversity of all thing things except diversity of thought.

According to Mr. Dielman, there can apparently be only one answer to such things as an invocation during county meetings, accepting all regulations from the Forest Service and BLM about our land, and of course there can be only one answer to anthropogenic climate change. Those answers according to Mr. Dielman are: no invocation, accept all regulations without comment, and we must all happily follow the climate change lemmings over the cliff.  So where is the diversity of opinion?

What I would like to know is who is being harmed by a short prayer to open a county meeting except the perpetually offended? And concerning Forest Service and BLM regulations why shouldn’t the county have a say? Finally to accept climate change one should cultivate a rich fantasy life and accept without question the “science” which is tainted and inconclusive at best.

The problem of anthropogenic climate change is that it has never been about science but only about politics.

Neal Jacobson

Baker City

Normalcy in Harney County

Students in Burns and Hines returned to their classrooms Monday.

But Forest Service and BLM employees in that area stayed home. Although some of them have been working from home rather than in their offices, according to media reports.

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