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Letter to the Editor for Nov. 25, 2015

Border security our best move to thwart ISIS

As we head toward the future, which looks like some kind of war, I’m reminded of the Vietnam era. One of the conventional sayings was, “If we don’t fight them over there we will have to fight them over here.” I’m hearing it again. Sounds profound and wise, but is it?

A little geography might be appropriate here. The U.S.A has a big ocean on both sides, a weak southern neighbor and an ally on the north. Last time I checked ISIS was lacking a Navy and an Air Force. So how would it be that we would have to “fight them over here?” Well, they have to get here and it seems like the way they travel is by air on commercial airlines that land at an airport. It would seem logical that before they get on that airplane they would be vetted and when they landed at one of our airports we should check them out again and keep track of where they went and if they overstayed their welcome. If they can’t come we don’t have to worry about them fighting over here. If we control our borders we don’t have to fight them over here. If we start restricting the numbers coming over here the less we have to worry about fighting them over here.

We should hold off on the boots on the ground push because they are over there and they are changing the way the leftist governments of Europe think. They might have to fight them over there and might just decide to drop the disarmament of their populations. Possibly those coalitions to fight radical Islam might actually end up being coalitions instead of America and some tokens.

Steve Culley

Baker City

Letter to the Editor for Nov. 23, 2015

‘Odor patrol’ another infringement on our freedoms

Lilacs... the harbingers of spring, how I love their sweet, sweet perfume. I have many lilacs in my yard. So if this odor ordinance passes, when someone doesn’t like their smell or are allergic to their buds, will I be ordered by the “odor patrol” to cut them down? The cottonwood trees are very odorous and wreak havoc on allergy and asthma sufferers. Can the city be held responsible for maintaining so many of these trees along the river?

Most people diagnosed with allergies are allergic to many different pollens, dusts and danders. So those complaining of specific marijuana allergies, are you quite sure? Have you had a medical “scratch test” to verify your claim? Or are you simply harassing your neighbor because you do not agree with him? The people of Oregon have voted on this issue. Because the vote did not go your way, does not give you the right to disrespect the rights of those who are following the law.

It was suggested by Al Free that Police Chief Wyn Lohner has a “personal vendetta against marijuana.” It appears to me to be much deeper that. Wasn’t Lohner the author of rodeo cowboys and beer don’t mix related to the Beer Garden? In another article in the newspaper, Lohner suggested that postal and utility workers could peek into people’s backyards and report on vicious dogs, how they are controlled and who knows what else? See a trend here?

There is a solution for those of you who are above the law and the demands of the voters — you can comply like we all do or you can all get together and secede from Oregon. It could then be called “Lohner’s People’s Republic of Baker City.” This is not meant to be funny, it is dead serious. Our Constitutional rights are slowly being chipped away and our God-given freedoms are being disrespected daily. We need to wake up and be vigilant against those who would change our way of life to fit their own personal beliefs and agendas.

Patti Hanley

Baker City

Saving our public records

Oregon’s Public Records Law is an admirably concise and straightforward piece of legislation.

At least it used to be.

In 1973, when the Legislature passed not only the Public Records Law, but also the Public Meetings Law, the intent was obvious — that the public, which is to say every citizen — is legally entitled to attend meetings of public bodies and to have a look at every record government agencies produce.

A century in Pine Valley: Marcella Taylor’s great life

What a life Marcella Taylor lived.

It’s not merely the longevity that stands out to me, although Marcella, who was 101 when she died Oct. 22, belonged to an extremely exclusive club.

The number of Americans who survive for a century is considerably less than 1 percent of the population.

Considerably less than one-tenth of 1 percent, come to that.

Letter to the Editor for Nov. 20, 2015

Pot odor ordinance too subjective to be fair

I have thought almost endlessly for days about the idea of an ordinance against marijuana odor.  I have also researched what other communitieshave done in response to a few complaining citizens.  I’ve come to the conclusion that it would be ridiculous.

I sympathize with the handful of residents that may be allergic to marijuana pollen. However, there are many residents allergic to a myriad of substances we frequently have in our air — cottonwood, lilacs, wood smoke, roses and grass clippings just to name a few. We don’t find ourselves discussing at length as a community how to handle these irritants. We don’t threaten to force people to remove trees, or bushes, or lawns for that matter because the neighbor has a health problem. We leave it up to the individual to either obtain allergy medication, stay indoors, or move away from the problem. Why would we treat marijuana any differently? Why the vendetta against a single plant? Like it or not, marijuana is legal to produce (excepting a couple of age and quantity related limitations) and should be treated as such. 

I am concerned that if a code is enacted it will be too subjective. I found Pendleton’s way of handling it (amending an existing public nuisance ordinance) to be very unreasonable. It’s only directed toward marijuana; the level of odor is not quantitatively measured. It is simply left up to whichever officer responds to decide on case-by-case basis whether or not it’s too odoriferous. How is this fair?  

In regard to the idea of mandating only indoor grows to control the spread of odor, there are already concerns about the ability of our power grid to handle it. I also discovered much evidence that covering a crop or moving it indoors simply condenses the scent, making it stronger than if the plants were raised in open air. 

I urge you not to open this proverbial “can of worms.” It should not be the business of legislators or law enforcement agents to manage. It teeters on the verge of a civil rights violation and will likely cause more trouble than it is worth!

Sarah Heiner

Baker City

Replace Sam-O showers

We applaud Baker City’s recently sharpened focus on improvements to the city’s only swimming pool, the city-owned Sam-O Swim Center.

Earlier this year the city set up a citizen committee — Councilor Sandy Lewis is the Council’s representative — to look at maintenance needs and other possible improvements to Sam-O, and make recommendations to the City Council.

Pot odor poses a dilemma

Few things are as subjective as our reactions to, and our attitudes about, odors. And in general, subjective matters make for poor laws.

Yet as the Baker City Council ponders whether to adopt an ordinance that could require people who grow marijuana to confine the distinctive scent to their property, we don’t want to dismiss as irrelevant the complaints from downwind residents.

Several people told councilors last week that the odor of growing marijuana had forced them to stay indoors.

Wi-fi robot that vacuums? Sounds painful to me

I have trouble getting around my house in the dark without barking a shin or stubbing a toe, even though I’ve lived there for 20 years and none of the objects that bruise me is capable of moving on its own.

Yet some entrepreneurs want me to buy a device that, so far as I can tell, would have the run of my place and could at any time ambush me.

Letters to the Editor for Nov. 11, 2015

History lessons, memorabilia from bygone Veterans Days

Viewing an envelope of November 1917 origin, I note the Return Address, “Oregon Red Cross War Fund.” I’m reminded that the Red Cross continues today, to aid people in wartime as well as peaceful settings. I note the 3-cent stamp. Sufficient to send an envelope then, now requires considerable additional postage, to send today’s voluntary contribution.  

 Formerly called Armistice Day, referred to signing the official document to cease World War I, 11th month, 11th day, 11th hour. Now known as Veterans Day, we honor all who have served. History tells us that President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed WWI, being fought, as “the War to end all Wars.” 

That edict, as we know, was not fulfilled.

Phyllis Badgley

Baker City

Reporting error led to inaccurate crime statistics

Baker County Consolidated Dispatch has looked into the 2014 FBI Uniform Crime Report.  

The FBI uses the OUCRs (Oregon Unified Crime Reports) that are submitted to the state from the dispatch center to create its report.  After reviewing the 2014 data, there was a reporting error that would change the results to match the numbers that Police Chief Wyn Lohner stated (11 reports of aggravated assaults rather than the 56 reported in the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report).

 We contacted the state to update the numbers, which it was willing to do, but the state informed us that it would not change the 2014 report as the FBI would not use the updated data. 

Changes have been made to ensure the accuracy of the Oregon Unified Crime Reports that are submitted to the state for future reports. 

In the future, the dispatch center will be double checking its figures internally before submitting the reports to the state.

We would like to apologize for any confusion this may have caused.  

Jason Yencopal

Baker County Consolidated

 9-1-1 Dispatch

Letters to the Editor for Nov. 6, 2015

Geologist says Owyhee lacks oil, gas deposits

I enjoyed reading Jayson Jacoby’s article on the Owyhee, having had the good fortune to spend about eight years of my life mapping the geology. The Owyhee is an area well worth exploring. I am puzzled, however, that the main reason given for seeking wilderness/national monument status is the pressing need to keep the Owyhee from being overrun by oil and gas interests. Based on my geologic expertise I would rate the oil and gas potential for the area south of Adrian as zero, zip and nada. The western Snake River plain north of Adrian is a different story. Different geology with different resources.

Precious metal resource potential is a different story. Gold and silver were mined on the Idaho side near Silver City. New discoveries of “hot-springs” type gold deposits have been made, most notable being Grassy Mountain. Frankly those with the most to loose by a wilderness designation are the recreational rockhounds. The Owyhee is home to the Succor Creek thundereggs and famous Owyhee picture jasper. Great area for collecting agate, mineral specimens and petrified wood. 

Other mineral resources include a sizeable uranium deposit near McDermitt, geothermal resources and industrial minerals such as zeolite and bentonite clay, both of which are used in environmental cleanups. There are also indications of “green energy” minerals such as lithium and the rare earth elements.

Mark L. Ferns

Baker City

Disappointed that Social Security payments won’t go up

I am writing to express my deep disappointment in the recent announcement that there will not be a cost of living increase for Social Security beneficiaries next year. As healthcare costs continue to rise, the strain on seniors, like me, is becoming unmanageable — especially as previous COLAs have failed to keep pace. It is difficult to understand how the huge increase in medical insurance premiums hasn’t caused the cost of living to increase substantially.

Though there is a growing movement in America to expand Social Security, next year’s lack of COLA demands immediate action. Seventy-nine percent of likely voters — Democrats, Republicans and Independents — support expanding Social Security benefits and paying for it by asking the wealthy to pay their fair share.

It is critical that Congress acts now to maintain dignity for seniors and people with disabilities by addressing the lack of a cost of living adjustment next year.

People like me are counting on it.

Ramon Lara

Baker City

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