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Letter: District Attorney Matt Shirtcliff urges "no" vote on legalizing marijuana


On Nov. 4, voters in Baker County will have the opportunity to vote on whether marijuana should be legalized in the state of Oregon. As your district attorney, I would encourage Baker County voters to vote NO.

I make this recommendation for two primary reasons. First, Measure 91 is flawed and full of loopholes. Second, legalizing marijuana will have the effect of putting more children at risk.

This measure would allow a person previously convicted of felony drug crimes to get a license to grow, distribute and sell marijuana in a retail shop.  There is nothing in the law to limit how many retail shops a felon can operate.  

This measure makes no established driving rules for marijuana impairment and creates a substantial risk of increased driving fatalities relating to marijuana-impaired driving.  Traffic fatalities involving marijuana use have increased in the state of Washington since legalization.


Letter to the Editor for Oct. 27, 2014


Vote, and Americans will thank you

Every eligible voter must vote and vote informed or we are on the road to becoming something other than free Americans. Right now we are on the verge of losing our right to self-protection, losing access to our countryside, losing our choice of where we live and among others, how we educate our kids. Everybody will thank you for being one of our Americans that has utilized their right, and voted.

And I’ll be one of those that thanks you.

Rush Long

Baker County


Schools panic alarm needs work


The Baker School District’s emergency alarm system is a great addition to local schools, one with the potential to save lives should someone threaten a school.

But as is the case with much new technology, the system has been plagued by glitches.

Specifically, a pair of accidental activations of the system — one on Sept. 24, one on Oct. 23 — at Brooklyn Primary School brought a full contingent of police and other emergency responders to the school, which houses about 450 kids from kindergarten through third grade.

Practice drills are worthwhile, of course, but neither of the events at Brooklyn was planned.


If Kitzhaber isn’t vulnerable, is any D in Oregon?


The Oregon governor’s race, previously as dull as a “Golden Girls” marathon, has been jolted to life by scandal.

I’m certainly more curious than I was a month ago.

This isn’t because I think incumbent John Kitzhaber will lose.

I believe Oregonians will give Kitzhaber, a Democrat, an unprecedented fourth term.


Letters to the Editor for Oct. 24, 2014


Measure 90 would reduce voters’ freedom

I just finished reading through the pros and cons in my Voters Guide regarding Proposition 90 (I know, I know, I should have done it sooner) and it hit me like a ton of bricks!  This is not a good thing, folks, for any of us, regardless of your political leanings.  It takes away those freedoms that our forefathers worked so hard to include into the Bill of Rights and the Constitution — the balance of power, the inclusion of all our opinions and beliefs, the governing of the people, by the people. 

The makers of Prop 90 meant well.  At first, I thought it might be a good idea. However, after looking at all the possibilities, such as having only one party to vote on in the general election, I realized the inherent dangers. We must continue to have a choice of not just two parties, but the alternatives as well. We must continue to hear all sides of the question and to work to find the balances that will insure a fair and democratic solution to all the problems of governing an excitingly diverse, argumentative, but extremely livable community.  Let’s keep it that way! Vote No on Proposition 90!  Thanks for listening.

Roxanna Swann

Baker City

Ferrioli urges all voters to cast their ballots

Over many election cycles, I’ve listened to conservatives who didn’t cast a ballot complain “My vote doesn’t count so why bother?”

 Here’s why:

 Four years ago, Chris Dudley lost the election to John Kitzhaber by less than 23,000 votes. The margin was less than 2 percent! 

Think of how different Oregon would be without the failures of the past four years! 

According to the Secretary of State, in that election cycle, 135,000 registered Republicans who received their ballots in the mail, did not vote. 

Perhaps they were discouraged, or didn’t believe their candidate could win, or maybe they just couldn’t find a stamp.

 For whatever reason, some rural conservatives are content to sit on the sidelines while Portland liberals call the tune. 

This election is being conducted while our National Guard units are scattered all over the world, fighting for our freedom, our liberty, and our precious right to vote. They will never surrender. 

But by not voting we will surrender the Oregon we love and where we raised our families. 

There is no excuse for any Oregonian to fail the duty of citizenship when the cost of voting is the price of a stamp.  

Please change Oregon for the better! Cast your ballot and mail it today. Let no Oregon ballot go unvoted! 

Ted Ferrioli

State Senator, District 30

John Day


Election ’14: Our choices


The Nov. 4 election ballot is a lengthy one, and we’ve published our endorsements for several races and measures over the past month or so.

Our preferences:

• Dennis Richardson for Oregon governor

• Monica Wehby for U.S. Senate

• Greg Walden for U.S. House of Representatives

• Cliff Bentz for Oregon House of Representatives

• Measure 88 (drivers cards without requiring proof of legal residence in Oregon): NO

• Measure 90 (top two candidates, regardless of party, advance from primary election to general election): NO

• Measure 91 (legalizing recreational use of marijuana for ages 21 and over): NO

• Measure 92 (labeling foods containing GMOs): YES

• Baker City measures 1-59 and 1-60 (authorizing sale of two forest parcels near Salmon Creek): YES on both


Letters to the Editor for Oct. 22, 2014


No better candidate for Baker than Bill Harvey

I would like to say there is no better candidate for Baker County Commissioner than Bill Harvey. He has been in business in Baker County for many years and is a man of integrity who will do what he says and stand behind his word. His many years of successful business experience reflect this! I have personally seen this for myself.

Andrea Lucas

Baker City

Where have all the true statesmen gone?

I’m befuddled and disappointed to the point of the ancient cliché, “All about us are crazy but me and thee and sometimes I worry about thee.” Doesn’t anyone listen to radio, watch TV or read the paper?  The information is rampant about a 100 percent increase in pot-related traffic deaths in Colorado and the high number of kids getting high on pot-laced cookies, punch or whatever in Washington. Yet a majority of folks in conservative Baker say it should also be legalized here.  WOW! While I’m at it, do the local Democrats really believe we should vote for all the ballot measures they recommend?  It’s hard for me to understand how most of those ever got on the ballot in the beginning. They certainly have no basis for approval.   

 I was raised a Democrat through the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s, but the party changed or maybe our family and others in our circle saw the light. Subsequently, we all changed affiliation over time. The only president, whose hand I have ever had the honor of shaking, was Harry Truman’s at the White House in 1949. I liked his explanation that he was called upon to occupy the position of the presidency,  rather than just being named the “President.” Another statesman of whom I was proud was Oregon’s Wayne Morse. He was not always right, but he worked very hard at what he was elected to do. He was also fun to watch in harness racing competition.

 Yes, I’ve been around a long time, but it’s difficult to watch the deterioration of the principles and great individual freedoms our founding fathers put into place. The liberal establishment in Oregon and nationally, through deceit, illegal manipulation, lies, lack of morals, in addition to bankruptcy and the curtailment of the wise use of our abundant natural resources, are determined to turn this great republic into a socialist state. I hope and pray it’s not too late to get this great country turned around. Let’s hope we have some patriots to elect on the right. I don’t see any on the left.

Dan Warnock

Baker City

Republicans favor small government

The political ads now running mostly ignore the important fact that the governing philosophies of the two major political parties are quite different. The Democrats favor big government. They believe that our modern life is so complicated that the average person is not competent to make good decisions on things, and so we must allow government experts to make our choices for us. Republicans favor small government. They feel that the average citizen is reasonably intelligent and so competent to make decisions which directly affect themselves.

Obamacare is an excellent example of this Democratic philosophy in action. Government bureaucrats decide what must be included in our health care insurance policies. Insurance companies must offer policies with the mandated coverage. Employers must provide these policies to their employees, even if they have moral qualms about some of the specific items covered. Individuals not otherwise covered must purchase one of these policies, whether or not they want or need all of the coverage which they are paying for. A government panel of experts decides which medical procedures are to be used.

A good example of a Republican health care program is Medicare Part D, the prescription drug program. Under it, insurance companies can offer a wide variety of policies, with minimal to extensive coverage. From these offerings, we can select a policy which best meets our individual situation. If our situation changes, or if we are unhappy with our current policy for any reason, we can change policies or even insurance companies at the end of each year.

If you like Obamacare and similar top-down programs, then vote for Senator Jeff Merkley. He voted for Obamacare and continues to support it. But if you’d rather have some choice in your health care insurance, then vote for Dr. Monica Wehby. She pledges to replace Obamacare with a program with more flexibility, not the one-size-fits-all health care plan which Obamacare is.

 Governor John Kitzhaber likes Obamacare, even though his administration’s attempt to implement it in Oregon was an expensive fiasco. Mr. Dennis Richardson favors small government programs. Something to think about when you vote.

Pete Sundin

Baker City

Best option is to vote ‘no’ on all ballot measures

If you are still undecided about the ballot measures, please vote NO. They are generally costly, serve special interest groups and limit liberty for the rest of us. 

First is cost. They either are funded by tax dollars or fees imposed on some group, usually not the group proposing the measure. Other ways they are costly is increased cost to consumers or business. Secondly, they are usually proposed by special interest groups like druggies, pushers, illegals, or students looking for free stuff this year. Other years, other special interest groups.  They benefit, we provide. Thirdly, most laws, whether statute law or ballot measure, limit “we the people”.  They limit, to some degree, virtually all areas of our lives. We have more than enough laws now. Let’s not vote for more of them.

For those undecided on the governor’s race or Senate race, a vote for Dennis Richardson and Monica Wehby would be useful for Oregonians. I am especially concerned about the current state of health care cost in Oregon and 2nd amendment issues.  Dennis and Monica have positions opposite of the current administration’s.

Tom Van Diepen

Baker City


Yes on city’s two land sales


The latter two items on the Nov. 4 ballot for Baker City voters could almost escape a voter’s attention who has plowed through local, state and federal races and seven statewide measures.

But these two Measures  — 1-59 and 1-60 — could bring a welcome influx of cash to Baker City’s water department.

We recommend a “yes” vote on both measures.

Voter approval would allow the city to sell two parcels of forest land along Salmon Creek, about eight miles west of Baker City near the city’s watershed.

(The city charter requires voter approval before the city sells real property worth $5,000 or more.)

The city acquired the property decades ago but doesn’t need the land for any aspect of its water distribution system. The county assessor’s office lists the real market value of one parcel at $160,560, the other at $25,230.

This is an opportune time to sell the parcels and put the money in the water department budget. The city will be spending about $3 million to disinfect its drinking water with UV light, a process that protects against cryptosporidium, the microscopic parasite that contaminated the city’s water during the summer of 2013 and sickened hundreds of people.

Moreover, selling the property will get the land back on the property tax rolls, generating revenue for public services in Baker County.


Letter to the Editor for Oct. 20, 2014


Warner already lost; he shouldn’t be in the running

How can Fred Warner even think about running? He knew he couldn’t win as a Democrat so he switched to a Republican in name only and he lost again. So he became a Republican, how can he even be in the race at all? He has already lost as a member of the Republican party. How can a write-in be even legal. Fred is just trying to do what he does best and that is try and confuse people to think he is still in the running.

Harold Reed

Baker City


Ebola and travel


We don’t think there’s any reason to get hysterical about Ebola in the U.S.

The virus is frightening, but there’s no reason to believe Ebola, which is far less infectious than, say, the cold or flu viruses, will ever spread widely in this country.

That said, we’re perplexed by the resistance of federal officials to restrict air travel between the U.S. and the west African countries where Ebola is prevalent.

Some of the explanations for this resistance seem nonsensical.


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