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Get tough with public records law

Oregon’s public records law is failing.

If you’re a member of the public, anyway.

The law is working pretty well for government officials.

Letters to the Editor for Feb. 20, 2015

Wolves: Good for national parks, bad for livestock 

Twenty years after being reinstated in Yellowstone National Park, wolves are moving into Oregon. We are still trying to figure out if reintroducing wolves to the Northwest is a good idea.

Wolves are endangered. This allows them to repopulate what was once their vast hunting ground. The beautiful creatures have been settling in nicely in many of their previous homes. In Yellowstone, wolves naturally glide into the ecosystem. Now that the elk numbers have dropped to around 5,000-6,000 head, the increase in the wolf population has also begun to level off. Elk herds are now at healthy levels. With wolf threat imminent, only the strong survive. Wolves are obviously an integral part of a wild ecosystem.

Unfortunately, outside national parks wolf numbers continue to rise, even though deer and elk numbers have dropped. So why does what works inside Yellowstone not work outside? It’s actually a fairly simple answer: livestock. Sheep and cows are easy prey. While some studies show that only small portions of cattle deaths are predator-caused — mostly not wolves — a study done by Oregon State University revealed that when cows are exposed to wolf scent, a condition similar to PTSD occurs. Stress can cost a rancher $261 per head annually in weight loss and lower pregnancy rates. Wolves may not kill as many livestock as other predators, but their effect on herd health will drive up production costs. Small ranchers risk going out of business, while large operations must increase prices to cover the added costs. When that happens, consumers see it at the grocery store.

In a natural environment wolves can match their numbers to the availability of game, while at the same time keeping the herds healthy. When it comes to an ecosystem where food supply is essentially unlimited, wolves cause major damages, especially to producers’ and consumers’ pocket books. Repopulating the wolves in national parks is beneficial to the animals there; however, spreading these creates to areas with livestock is detrimental to a very large community, which includes livestock, wild game and people.

Aiden Coomer

Baker City

Obama needs to call out radical Islam for its actions

There’s a lot of empty talk about Islam. Who are the good Muslims and who are the extremists. According to the Koran, the holy book, Islam means “submission” not “peace.” If you’re not a Muslim you’re a pagan or infidel and are to be killed. That’s what the book says.

I understand that at times the Koran can be changed to please some new revelation, which makes one wonder about its facts. A reading of the Koran placed against the events of Muhammad’s life indicates “revelation” changed according to circumstances of his life. An entire doctrine grew up around the radical change in his teaching. The doctrine of “abrogation” which means “annulment.” It’s simply a newer revelation from Allah that can cancel and replace an old one because the newer ones are better.

Looks to me like the radical are closure to scripture than the good people. I also believe it is time for Obama to call these so and act. Quit protecting them, and putting down the Christians every change he gets. Lots of red flags coming out fo the White House. After the prayer breakfast it makes one wonder over Obama’s true beliefs and faith.

Richard Fox

Baker City

‘Saturday Night Live’: An American institution

“Saturday Night Live” is the greatest TV show in American history.

I didn’t know, until Sunday night, that I believed this.

But then I watched NBC’s 3 1/2-hour extravaganza commemorating the program’s 40th anniversary, and was convinced of SNL’s unique position.

Actually I watched 2 1/2 hours of NBC’s 3 1/2-hour extravaganza Sunday night, and the rest later in the week.

The problem is the special started at 8 p.m. Most nights my eyes start drooping before 9 and my wife ends up nudging me and asking when did I learn to read with my eyes closed.

Let us vote on cougars

The perennial, and so far futile, effort to add geographic flexibility to managing cougars in Oregon has returned to the state Legislature.

This year’s proposal is pretty much identical to the one that failed to gain traction in the Capitol in 2013.

Actually there are multiple proposals — Senate bills 126 and 453, and House Bills 2050 and 2181. The basic idea in each case, though, is the same: To give voters in each of Oregon’s 36 counties the chance to allow hunters to use tracking dogs to hunt cougars.

Kitzhaber as victim? No way

John Kitzhaber, Oregon’s first four-term governor — albeit barely — will go, but not quietly.

Or with a great deal of dignity.

Kitzhaber announced last Friday that he will resign at 10 a.m. this Wednesday.

Secretary of State Kate Brown will replace him as governor.

Kitzhaber’s resignation letter is brief, covering just the essentials.

But the written statement he read early Friday afternoon is not.

Kitzhaber scandal comes too late for the voters

I’ll bet Dennis Richardson wishes Oregon voters picked their governor this February instead of last November.

Possibly some of the 733,230 people who voted for Richardson’s opponent, John Kitzhaber, giving Kitzhaber an unprecedented fourth term, also regret Oregon’s electoral calendar.

The initial scandal involving Kitzhaber and his fiancee, Cylvia Hayes, started a month or so before the election, but it seems almost trivial compared with the revelations of the past couple weeks.

Most of the pre-election stories focused on things Hayes did years before she met Kitzhaber.

No rush on pot sales ban

The Baker City Council wisely delayed any decision Tuesday on Police Chief Wyn Lohner’s proposed ordinance banning commercial sales of marijuana in town.

There’s no hurry.

The city’s moratorium banning medical marijuana dispensaries — the only kind allowed right now under Oregon law — is in effect until May 1.

Letters to the Editor for Feb. 11, 2015

Abortion rates are lowest since Roe v. Wade

I always read Mr. Sundin’s letters to the editor. He makes me laugh and then I get sad. If only life were like his latest letter predicted it would be, life would be wonderful. Unfortunately, it is not.

Since Mr Sundin does not quote his sources for his statistics I will quote mine: https://guttmacher.org/media/nr/2014/02/03/index.html. The Guttmacher is an organization which deals with statistics. In 2011 the abortion rate was the lowest it’s been since 1973 when Roe v. Wade legalized abortions. Abortions are being performed at an earlier age, eight weeks, thus risk to the mother’s life is much less and an eight-week collection of cells cannot survive outside the mother’s body. Thus, they are not children quite yet. Not all mothers love their children, Mr. Sundin. Some beat them, try to cook them in ovens or as was done recently in Portland, throw them into rivers to drown. Not all mothers should have children and most importantly, men have no right in telling a woman what she can or can’t do with her own body. Would you like Congress to make a law that after the age of 25 all men get castrated? Think about it. 

Iva M. Mace

Baker City

Even an old paper can shed fresh light on Baker

Being an extremely curious newbie to this fresh world called Baker City I wanted to let Jayson Jacoby know how much I appreciated his article/editorial of Jan. 23: “In 1898, Portland gushed over Baker City, Sumpter.”

It not only revealed some incredible history (who knew about the “Panic of 1893” — or that Baker City was at one time larger than Pendleton? — certainly not me!)  but also showed how the news, even in 1898, can mislead. 

Thank you, Jayson, for the research and dissection of the local history, I applaud your unbiased look at the newspaper industry. 

I also want to thank Kim Lethlean and Leo Poe for sharing their April 28, 1898, copy of The Evening Telegram with you. Without that sharing I would have been denied a local history lesson, an incredibly entertaining story and outstanding journalism.

Mike Meyer

Baker City

Tell your county leaders: Coordinate, not cooperate

First of all I would like to thank the County Commissioners from Baker and Wallowa counties for sticking up for its citizens and rejecting the Forest Service’s attempt at getting them to sign a Cooperation Agreement trading their rights just for a seat at the table.

I hope the rest of the counties that are involved in the Blue Mountain Revision will take a hard look at what the two above counties have done to protect the rights of the county. Ask your Commissioners to give the Baker and Wallowa County Commissioners a call and find out why they made the stand that they did.

Wednesday was a meeting day for most County Commissioners and I am sure that some of them made a decision one way or another. People out there concerned about losing their roads need to call or email their respective County Commissioners and ask about just where they intend to take the county. If it is anything but “Coordination” get ready for a big loss of roads in your county.

 It is crunch time we either stand our ground or lose a major portion of your roads and trails access. Be proactive and go to the Commissioner’s meetings, make an appointment with them, email or text them. The Tribes said it all, no Cooperation for them, it is government to government using coordination, why not us, don’t we deserve the same as the Tribes?

Chuck Chase

Baker City

Writer gives Baker          well-deserved accolades

Thank you for Betty Duncan’s letter of Feb. 4. She gives well-deserved accolades to Baker City. As a lifelong Baker resident, I agree completely, as I love this town and its people, same as Betty does.

I will share a quote written to me recently from a former Baker resident: “Baker City is such a wonderful slice of classic small town Americana that any holiday there seems heartwarming and special.”

Phyllis Badgley

Baker City

Use every tool with the feds

Bill Harvey, the new chairman of the Baker County Board of Commissioners, speaks with passion about protecting Baker County from the onerous and sometimes just plain silly decisions federal agencies make regarding the 1 million acres of the county that are public land.

(That’s about half the county’s area, by the way.)

We agree with Harvey about the importance of this topic, and we like his enthusiasm.

Ultimately, though, we want Harvey and fellow commissioners Mark Bennett and Tim L. Kerns to employ the strategy that gives the county the loudest possible voice, as it were, in exerting its influence over how federal agencies manage that massive chunk of ground that’s so vital to our economy and our way of life.

Future for mining? Why not?

We came away from the first Eastern Oregon Mining Summit with newfound optimism about the future of the industry on which Baker County was founded.

The Jan. 27 event in Baker City invigorated us mainly because several speakers said the reason large-scale gold mining has pretty much disappeared in Oregon is the widespread perception, among mining companies and investors, that the state’s laws and permitting process discourage mining.

But that’s not the case, speakers said.

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