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Letter to the Editor for March 23, 2016

Effects of low gas prices ripple through the economy

Aren’t gasoline prices lovely right now? Those of us on a tight budget particularly enjoy being able to fill our gas tanks for a little more than half of what it cost us to do so just a couple of years ago. With what we save on gas, we have more money for other things. The positive effects of inexpensive energy thus ripple throughout the economy, benefitting both businesses and individuals.

Yet all of the measures which the Democrats advocate make energy more expensive. In the legislative session just ended, the Democrats voted to forbid electrical utilities from purchasing inexpensive coal-generated electricity, while requiring them to use renewables, which are four to 10 times more expensive. The negative impact on our energy prices when these steps are in place will be extreme. Another example: President Obama wants to slap a $10 a barrel tax on petroleum. That would put a stop to gas selling for under $2 a gallon.

The stated rationale for these and other measures is to prevent further climate change. But Oregon by itself is only a tiny part of the global economy, and measures which we take will have only the most infinitesimal impact on the global consumption of fossil fuels. The developing countries, such as China and India, are rapidly increasing their use of these fuels, and thus quickly offset any reductions which Oregon may make. They are lifting millions of their people out of poverty so abject we can’t even imagine what it is like, so they are not about to hamstring their economies just because Al Gore made a scary movie.

Oregon is not going to end climate change all by itself; the United States can’t either. Rather than waste our resources in a futile attempt to halt the inevitable, it would seem far more sensible to study those times when the Earth’s climate was actually warmer than it is now, learn how things were really like back then, and thus figure out ways how we can best adapt to a changing climate.


Pete Sundin

Baker City

City kids, town school

Burnt River High School in Unity has welcomed foreign students from across the globe for more than a decade.

But the newest program at Baker County’s smallest high school — enrollment of 27 this year, nine of them foreign students — doesn’t require students to get on a jet plane to study in America.

In fact they won’t even leave Oregon.

The latest batch of boarding Bulls — Burnt River’s exceedingly appropriate mascot — will hail from Portland.

Ranking of ‘saddest’ cities only seems legitimate

I doubt there’s even been a great shortage of banality in the world, but in the Internet age we wallow in the ridiculous as never before as we imbibe our daily or even hourly draft of drivel.

We can’t avoid it.

Actually we could avoid it.

But that would require that we sever our wifi umbilicals, and we’re not about to forego hilarious cat videos and the ability to put down a 50-pointer in a “Words With Friends” game during a backpacking trip in the wilderness.

The dissemination of the inane, as I suggested, is not a modern phenomenon.

I’m sure there was a guy at every Roman bath who regaled his group with tales of a trivial nature — the top 10 chants heard at the Colosseum last night, for instance — during their daily ablutions.

Letters to the Editor for March 16, 2016

Flag design, use of capital letters have wide effects

This is in response to Craig Austin’s letter challenging my interpretation of the use of a gold fringe on the American flag, which he believes is strictly decorative rather than representing Admiralty, the law of the sea. He also claimed that the use of all capital letters for names on licenses and court documents is strictly a preference rather than having any significant meaning. I would suggest that Mr. Austin carry his research a bit further.

In 1933 the U.S. was declared bankrupt. The country had a debt of $100 billion payable in gold. The world had about $11 billion in gold, of which America had $4 billion. The U.S. was declared bankrupt under Chapter 11. All assets were confiscated, including gold and land, and turned over to the banking system. The congressional record of 1933 contains the facts regarding the bankruptcy.

Since Mar. 9, 1933, the U.S. has been in a declared state of emergency (See Senate Report, 93 Congress, Nov. 19, 1973) 

In 1933 President Roosevelt invoked the Wars Powers Act and suspended the U.S. Constitution, placing the Executive Branch in control of the entire country. At the same time he declared all American citizens enemies of the state. Since then the use of all capital letters for names on all licenses, etc. defines you as an object of the state.  When CRAIG AUSTIN is used instead of Mr. Craig Austin, and he responds to it in that form he accepts the inferior position of a non individual, just  chattel of the state. If Mr. Austin believes it is just style, he should challenge it and let us all know the results.

Mr. Austin also claims that even under Admiralty, we have lots of rights, implying that the Constitution isn’t all that important. The purpose of our Constitution is to restrict the federal government, recognizing that our individual rights are from God, not man. Under Admiralty man is in charge, we are subjects, and our “rights” can be changed.

I appreciate Mr. Austin’s letter. It forced me to review the facts and may prompt more people to examine the policies of government, at all levels.

Jasper Coombes


Why I’m supporting Kody Justus in the election

We had the opportunity to meet Kody Justus and his family about two years ago. He is one of the most honest and loyal people we know. The love of our country and our county that he shows is refreshing.

Kody stands for our Constitution, which is the backbone of America.

Growing up on a ranch, leaving the military and coming back to Baker County where he is very involved with the county and the Republican Party.

If you want someone who will be boots on the ground the day after the election, this is who you should vote for.

Ramona Creighton

Baker City

I cherish my rights, and will vote for Justus and Hoopes

Writing or speaking on political issues is a privilege, not a right.

Owning a gun is a privilege, not a right.

Your choice of education for your children is a privilege, not a right!

If I can make you believe your rights are merely a privilege then I can easily strip you of those privileges. Many Jews believed that if they just showed their travel papers, if they just wore the patch on their clothing, if they just submitted to the government they would be fine. Approximately 6 million Jews were killed. Hitler didn’t just target the Jews, he also used his power to kill an estimated 5 million others including mentally or physically disabled, Gypsy, Jehovah’s Witnesses, homosexuals, Communists, and trade unionists. The only thing many of these groups had in common is that their government didn’t like them. Once we give the government power they will not stop at dealing with the issues we wanted them to handle. The leaders will change, the issues will change but their power over you will not.

I have always preferred to stay out of politics but as I hear more and more politicians tell me that my right to choose my daughter’s education and my right to protect my daughter are a privilege, to this, I cannot and will not comply. My daughter deserves the rights that I have been blessed with and I will learn how to stand for her freedom. 

I may not be as educated or as well-spoken as some but that does not make my rights as an American any less. It also doesn’t make my responsibility to stand against injustice any less. I will no longer be content to merely vent to those who are in agreement with me. We must educate ourselves and vote for local representatives who will protect our rights. By electing and supporting county leaders that will protect my daughter’s liberty instead of blindly submitting to unlawful federal rules, I can make a difference.  For this very reason, I’m voting for Kody Justus as County Commissioner and John Hoopes for sheriff.  

Rachel Hearne Brown


Coordination helps counties defend needs of residents

Those are two terms that are used a lot in land use planning but there is a big difference in how they are applied when you deal with a public land agency like the Forest Service or the Bureau of Land Management and you are a local government unit. One of the biggest differences is that the public is engaged and informed with coordination. The County Commission has certain rights and authorities in the relationship as it is written in the federal law but a lot of counties don’t exercise it to its maximum usefulness.

Coordination is a WIN-WIN situation for Baker County and federal agencies.

As a Baker County Commissioner I represent a county who is going through the process of making sure that we are engaged with the federal government and land agencies as a coordinating agency.  In contrast, when you become a cooperating agency you have to sign a memorandum of understanding in order to participate and the meetings become private and confidential. The public is no longer engaged.

Baker County Commissioners have the duty to provide for the public safety, health and welfare, so must be involved in development and early stages of plans and policies that affect the human and natural environment and resources with Baker County.

Through coordination, local government can place emphasis on the “human environment” often ignored by those interested only in the “natural environment.”

Bill Harvey

Chairman, Baker County Board of Commissioners

Letter to the Editor for March 14, 2016

I don’t like Trump — but he’s a better option than Hillary Clinton

As a Republican I find Donald Trump an embarrassment. He’s arrogant, obnoxious, rude, vulgar, profane, sexist, racist, and more fluff than substance. He has a few, very few, good ideas but his only real success in the race has been in taking the presidential debates to a new low. I don’t understand why he’s in the lead. I would have preferred Mike Huckabee — preacher, experienced, thoughtful and reasonable. 

My second choice would have been Scott Walker — son of a preacher, experienced, and gutsy enough to have taken on public employee unions and won. But these two gentlemen are gone as candidates well before Oregon’s primary. That being said, would I vote for The Donald in a Trump vs. Clinton election?

Absolutely! Better Trump than the Obama-following, gun-grabbing, baby-murder supporting, debt-raising, security-defying, lying, liberal, socialist Hillary. We need a Republican in the White House.

Jim Carnahan

Baker City

On water, city has choices

The dollar figures in the Water Facilities Plan the Baker City Council approved Tuesday are daunting.

But some of the more expensive potential projects in the plan are ones city councilors will have to seriously consider over the next decade or so. 

And those discussions inevitably will include boosting the rates that residents and businesses pay for water.

Fear of Portland traffic prompts pleasant detour

For me Portland is the schoolyard bully I’d walk half a mile to avoid.

Even if that means I have to explain to my mom why my shoes are muddy and I’m late besides.

The problem isn’t Portlanders’ attitudes — they’re not loitering on street corners, mocking my Tuffskin jeans and my haircut and threatening to plunge my head into a toilet.

(At least not that I’ve noticed.)

Finicum shooting: Terrible but justified

The Deschutes and Malheur County officials who investigated the Jan. 26 fatal shooting of Robert “LaVoy” Finicum announced their conclusion during a press conference Tuesday morning in Bend.

The two Oregon State Police officers who fired the three shots that killed Finicum were legally justified in using deadly force.

Based on the evidence officials released, including cellphone video taken by a passenger in the pickup Finicum was driving, we agree.

Letter to the Editor for March 9, 2016

Trump-bashers should ask: Why is he so popular?

I am looking at the editorial page of Friday’s edition of the B.C. Herald and I see that it is pretty well taken up with what bad things Donald Trump is doing and what a disaster he would be for the Republican Party if he were the nominee and what a disaster he would be for the nation if he were elected president.

It seems to me that the opinion writers should be looking more closely at why so many people are voting for “The Donald”  in the first place. Could it be that people are frustrated, angry, furious, frightened or maybe very afraid? I think so, and here’s why. Parents learn that if their little girl has to go to the bathroom in school it’s OK if a boy comes in there also if he says “I think I’ll be a girl today.” They don’t know what their children are being taught about sex, religion, our country’s history or values. People don’t know if their church is going to be classified as a hate group. They don’t know if their next utterance will be politically incorrect and get them into trouble. I could go on and on.

Donald Trump has a reputation of making things happen.  He says he is going to fix things. Maybe he can. No one else seems too interested. Maybe, if we start pushing back a little harder, we can start fixing things ourselves.

Sig Siefkes

Baker City

Wage law lesser of two evils

Oregon’s minimum wage is going up.

But among the pressing questions, as Oregon prepares for an unprecedented seven-year, three-region escalation of the minimum wage, is this one: Does the plan that the Legislature and Gov. Kate Brown approved boost the minimum wage high enough, and get there fast enough, to satisfy people who advocate for a more aggressive approach?

We certainly hope so.

As of this writing, proponents of increasing Oregon’s minimum wage from $9.25 to $15 statewide, and reaching the latter figure in 2019, have not said whether they will try to take that proposal to voters by way of a ballot measure this November.

(Editor's note: After press time, organizers of the $15 minimum wage plan announced that they would not pursue a ballot measure this year.) 

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