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Flaws in our public records law

We’re pleased that Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has signed a law requiring the Secretary of State’s office to study how the state government is handling the public records law.

But we’d be a lot happier if such an audit weren’t necessary.

It shouldn’t be.


Letter to the Editor for June 22, 2015

Forest Service trying to hide road plan from public

The U.S. Forest Service has sunk to a new low in Eastern Oregon, that is, they have decided that you are too dangerous a group of people to be informed as to what roads they plan to close in your mountains. How do I know that? Because I have received a response telling me so.

While they put out propaganda of how they want to engage with you on the national forest, but when I or anyone else requests documents to engage, we are told we may cause “injury to the quality of the agency decision.” Let me emphasize, we, the people of Eastern Oregon may cause injury because we received a document to educate ourselves with.

Much like the mullahs in the mosques of Afghanistan, the Forest Service means to keep you ignorant as to what is going on around you. Communities and citizens are easier to control if they are kept from the truth of what’s going on around them and the decisions a few are making for the larger population. See, you/we/I are too dumb, too backwards, too unenlightened to understand the complexities of such ecological process, or are we?

I have a college education in natural resource. I know that water flows downhill and that active management techniques play a greater role in meeting the public’s needs than exclusion of use. I know that there is a “tread lightly” campaign being pushed by a small minority on the upper echelons of the Forest Service where man is looked at as a disease on the landscape and not a part of it. But most importantly I know this. You and I are not dumb, backwards or unenlightened.

It’s a lie, and we are dealing with liars in the leadership positions of the Forest Service, from the supervisor’s office up. If you want to keep your mountains open you are going to have to dig in. 

John D. George

Bates


Letters to the Editor for June 19, 2015

Worried about carbon dioxide? There was more in the past

This letter is in response to Marshall McComb’s letter to the editor on global warming. I agree with Marshall to a point we have come a long way in controlling pollution. Our pollution expertise 50 years ago was leading the charge on polluting our planet. That is until the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act which stopped this insane practice of spewing nitrous oxide, sulfur dioxide and other polluting gases that hung over the cities like a fog.

 But it seems now it is fossil fuel, oil and natural gas that contribute to carbon dioxide gas. We as humans contribute by the air we inhale and remove the oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. The trees and the vegetation love us because they need it to survive and thrive, and they give out oxygen so that we may survive and thrive also. Al Gore’s thinking on global warming could be self-serving because Al owns businesses building green energy equipment. 

 The Marshalls of the world want us to quit using carbon polluting oil and natural gas to cut down on the nasty old carbon dioxide. But even Marshall is a loss for words when you mention the volcanic fire chain in the South Pacific erupting several hundred times a year spewing out tons of carbon dioxide. Just the eruption in Iceland alone wiped out all of the Al Gore and Marshall McComb’s hard work and put more carbon dioxide in the air than we have since we started cutting back on carbon dioxide, that isn’t even counting the hundreds of eruptions a year. Not only that when a forest or even a grass fire burns it gives up to the atmosphere all of the carbon dioxide it has consumed in its entire lifetime.

 Back when Oregon was just an inland sea, volcanic eruptions, lava flows and mountain building were prevalent in Oregon. So much so the carbon dioxide levels were so high that it super saturated the inland see with carbon dioxide. This super saturation settled to the sea bottom and contributed to the limestone deposits that Ash Grove is mining today that are thousands of feet thick. I deal with fact and quit drinking Kool Aid and believing in fairy stories when I was a kid.

Chuck Chase

Baker City

Forest Service doesn’t manage land; it restricts public access

On June 3, Tom Montoya, Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, submitted a community editorial lauding the USFS and its efforts to implement the Blue Mountains Forest Plan. He announced the best way to “re-engage” the community, the stakeholders and the USFS. He advocates public meetings, which will provide “opportunities to discuss and develop ideas that will help us to improve the final Revised Forest Plans, and provide clarity on our final decisions.”

If my memory serves me, the comment period is over. Why have “marathon” meetings when the general public has to attend, unpaid, while USFS officials naturally get compensated?

We have been going through this process or similar processes since 2009. Let’s review what has happened. At least five forest supervisors have come and gone, none could get the “plan” right. The citizens have commented, studies have been done, and maps have been tendered, and what is the result? The citizens’ ideas and input have been largely ignored. The USFS seems to receive input and then largely, in my opinion, just make an arbitrary decision.

Why doesn’t the USFS spend the money that they allocate to the Forest Plan to managing the forest? I speak from experience. I own land totally surrounded by the national forest. I have seen no forest management for the last 25 years. No thinning, no weed control, no serious logging. The forest is overgrown.

The question is, since no or very little forest management is taking place, where is the money going and why is the USFS trying to jam a plan down our throats that largely restricts any reasonable uses on the national forest? I see the way that they will implement their plan will be to use the Travel Management Plan to totally restrict and limit almost all vehicular use.

Years ago, the Wallowa-Whitman had a motto of “land of many uses.” Today an adept motto would be the “land of no access and no uses.”

Leave the roads and trails alone. We have enough wilderness and non-accessible land already. In the “Discover Your Forest” advertisements, the USFS encourages youth to go to the forest. Could be a little difficult with no or very limited road and trail access, couldn’t it?

Allan R. Chase

Union


Pot bail out?

The Oregon Legislature might bail out Baker City and Baker County.

Both the City Council and the County Commission this year passed ordinances banning the commercial sale of marijuana. It’s not clear whether either has the legal authority to enforce a ban.


New book shatters myth of campus tolerance

I recently finished a book that I think was intended to make me mad but instead left me, in the main, feeling sad.

The book is “The Silencing: How The Left Is Killing Free Speech.” The author is Kirsten Powers, a registered Democrat and self-proclaimed liberal.


Doing all we can to avoid fires

The rains that distinguished the second half of May turned down the dial a couple of notches on the drought severity in Baker County.

But one of the beneficial effects of the wet weather — reducing the risk of wildfire — was short-lived.


Letter to the Editor for June 15, 2015

Global warming should be a bi-partisan issue

As a nation and as part of the global community, we are taking unnecessarily small steps toward moderating the overarching threat of global warming. What were once ominous warnings have now become in-our-face reality. For the sake of current and future generations, we must do better.


Wireless world: except for a certain umbilical cord

We live in a wireless world.

Until the rechargeable batteries that power our app-laden appendages spit out their last electron.

At that unpleasant moment we’re as dependent on a wire as a 1940s family huddled around their console Philco radio and listening to “Hopalong Cassidy."


Local GOP response to allegations

I would like to put to rest the silly accusations that have been circulating about the Baker County Republicans. They are born of ignorance. Among the questions raised are that local Republicans have closed rather than open meetings, and that only the 46 existing Republican precinct committee persons (PCPs) are allowed to attend when the meetings are closed.


Focus on 10th Street

We hope the meeting that took place Thursday night at the Little Pig launches a thorough discussion about one of Baker City’s more interesting, and potentially more bustling, business districts.

That’s 10th Street between Broadway and the Hughes Lane/Pocahontas Road intersection near the north city limits.


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