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Letter to the Editor for Feb. 4, 2015

Maybe Idaho Power will understand Dr. Seuss

Dear Idaho Power, please find in the enclosed parcel:  

1 (one) GPS (Global Positioning System) navigator. 

I am sending you this because you are obviously lost or your route planners are complete morons.  You are definitely in the wrong place. Permission to run your power lines is, to the west of here, an Energy Corridor generously mapped out by our government to help you, a private company, shuffle your power around with minimum hassle to generate dividends for your shareholders, obviously none of whom live in this area. 

1 (one) Unabridged Merriam-Webster Dictionary dog-eared on page 969 where you will find the word, ‘no’ highlighted with a yellow marking pen. It is a fascinating word, an adverb, usually used to answer a question. But you never asked any questions. You just barged your way in with wrong assumptions, such as:  

• That we rural Oregonians wouldn’t care if your unnecessary, ghoulish, ugly transmission lines scar and desecrate our rural landscape.

• That you could turn a quick buck compromising our lifestyle and values.

1 (one) hearing aid generously donated by the Dr. Seuss Audio Corporation. This hearing aid is top-of-the-line and you should have no problem hearing what we here in Baker County are saying and have been saying all along:

We do not want your transmission lines

We do not want to hear them whine

We do not want them here or there

We do not want them anywhere

We do not want them near our house

We do not want to disturb sage grouse

We do not like them high and spanned

We do not like them on our land

We do not want them through the trees 

Why can’t you just let us be?

We do not like your company 

We like our vistas pylon free

We do not want lines near or far

Why can’t you leave things as they are? 

We do not want your power grid 

We will not feed your greedy id 

We do not want your lines here or there

We do not want them anywhere! 

Whit Deschner

Baker City

Botching block grants

We understand why Haines City Recorder Valerie Russell was surprised to learn that the Baker County town, in the span of a single year, had become rather affluent.

Haines had not, in fact, done anything of the sort.

We’d rather report otherwise, but the reality is that Haines, population 416, along with much of the rest of Baker County and indeed rural Oregon, has been slow to recover from the Great Recession.

No need to restrict snowmobiles

We were pleased to hear from Dan Ermovick, the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest’s recreation planner, that a new Forest Service snowmobile policy won’t have any immediate effect on snowmobilers on the Wallowa-Whitman.

We’ll be happier still if it turns out there’s no significant long-term effect, either.

There shouldn’t be one.

Wolf news: Good for everyone

The return of wolves to Oregon over the past several years has been a polarizing issue, with a pro-wolf camp, an anti-wolf camp, and little room between for the ambivalent to pitch their tents.

But the latest wolf news gives people on both sides of the debate reasons to, if not celebrate, then at least applaud politely.

Now that biologists have confirmed at least seven pairs of wolves have produced pups — and at least four pairs have done so for three straight years in Northeastern Oregon — the state has moved from Phase 1 to Phase 2 in its wolf management plan.

A wonderful man is gone, but his legacy lingers

I was in a motel room in Meridian, Idaho, when I got the word that my brother-in-law, Bill Pennick, had been taken to the hospital after his heart stopped.

Bill died a couple days later, on Jan. 20, at Salem Memorial Hospital.

He was 41.

It seems to me not only tragic, but also ridiculous that a man who never smoked and was active and otherwise healthy should die at that age from a heart problem.

Letters to the Editor for Jan. 26, 2015

Flat tax system would benefit government 

No matter where I have resided  (to be honest, only Vancouver, Washington, and Baker City,) I have been drawn to the opinion page of the local newspaper. It gives one a little idea of the local mindset. 

  On Dec 24, I couldn’t help but be impressed by Marshall McComb’s letter  “America must return to economic fairness.” I hope others noticed. This is an incredibly well-written, well- thought-out wake-up call to all of us, especially in a dangerously depressed economy such as Baker City. 

   I am only hoping that his ungodlike depiction of Ronald Reagan did not stop personal investigation. That very depiction, and the “union busting” reference, is why it should have never stopped mine, but I was busy ...  And then ...

   On Jan 9, “America must deal with income inequality” — Mr. McComb was not giving up!

I noticed. Every citizen needs to notice.

I had saved the paper with his first letter on this subject  (as far as I know) because I planned on a response ... but I got busy.

I now want to tell Marshall McComb that I would have never considered watching “Inequality for All” except for his persistence. Thank you Marshall! You are absolutely right. Everyone should watch it. This whole inequality thing never ends. 

I often wonder what happened to the “flat tax” idea and conversation? Seems like an (across the board) 5- to 15-percent flat tax could fix a lot of problems. It has always been said that, with this kind of system, the government would have more revenue than ever before. My guess is that the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) along with big government would do anything in its power to stifle such a proposal. Think of the downsizing. Thousands of well-paid paper shufflers, policy makers and complicated tax code writers would suddenly be out of a job. That would mean smaller government and, if we have learned anything in this life, we know, somewhere along the line, that idea, as well as the flat tax discussion, was put to rest. 

Thirty five years union, retired and still struggling.   

Mike Meyer

Baker City

Letters to the Editor for Jan. 23, 2015

My mother deserves some credit for my actions

I offer my deepest thanks for all the kind words written by the Baker City Herald staff in regards to my involvement in helping that family whose house was on fire. I feel honored to have helped them, and blessed to have been in the right place at the right time. 

But I need to share the credit with my mother who was responsible for raising me into the man I am today. I could not have asked for a better mother, who has always had a kind heart and was always the first to help someone in need.  Thank you Mom!  I love you!

Markeith  Reese

Baker  City

America must take another look at land-use policies

Access and use of the Land is perhaps the most important problem facing America today. The problem is that so few people recognize the problem and how it relates to them, particularly those who live in the metropolitan areas.

I say most important because no industry, no business, and no jobs, can continue without the produce and resources that are recovered from the earth. Another fact that few are aware of is that All New Wealth Comes from the Ground, there is no other source. It is created when farmers, ranchers, and fishermen harvest the food and fibers in their crops and timber men, miners and oil men recover our vital resources. This wealth is expanded when we process and manufacture more useful products from the resources.

All others share this wealth by distributing the products or by providing a service for one another. Thus the basic industries are the foundation of our entire economy.

Our Country has serious economic problems and needs more jobs and money.

The problem is that the agencies that have been charged with administering our lands, the  BLM, Forest Service, EPA, etc., have been so carried away with issuing a never ending series or regulations restricting access and use of the land, often disregarding Congressional Law and decisions of the Highest Courts of our land that they are destroying. The very industries that supply the wealth and resources that support our Country.

They have been so carried away by  Environment Policies and their slogan “Save the Earth” that they have forgotten the basic fact of life, that no life on earth can survive unless we Harvest the food and resources of the earth.

It is a noble thing to save a few special places for the future but you can’t have them ALL.

The same forces that uplifted our beautiful mountains brought the minerals to the surface and change the climate to make timber growth productive.

Unless we reassess our access and use of the land policies our Country is facing economical breakdown and your job and all environmental concerns will go out the window.

Kenneth Anderson

Baker City

In 1898, Portland gushed over Baker City, Sumpter

Have you ever read a Portland newspaper that described Baker City this way?:

“Baker City enjoys the distinction of never having had a setback by hard times. During the late years of financial and business depression Baker City continued her steady march to the front and she has trebled her population and quadrupled her volume of trade... a large number of commercial houses carrying heavier stocks of goods than those of any other town in the state outside of Portland. The national bank there does a larger business than any other banking-house in the state outside of the metropolis.”

The same publication had this to say of Sumpter:

“Counties of Eastern Oregon can boast of no place that is more solid, sturdy and assured of a brighter future than the town of Sumpter, at the head of Sumpter valley.

“Nestling among the wooded rolling foothills of the mountains, protected from the biting winter breezes of the north, in a spot that is a veritable garden of nature, is Sumpter. Climatically the Sumpter valley is one of the favored spots of earth, summer or winter. No extreme heat or cold comes to the sheltered city.”

The newspaper is The Evening Telegram.


Use chain saws or lose our trails

The 1964 Wilderness Act, for all its flowery language about the sanctity of nature, clearly expresses the notion that people are not only allowed to visit wilderness areas, but that such places should be managed to ensure we can enjoy their beauty.

We just have to get around on our feet or by horseback, since motor vehicles are prohibited.

That makes sense.

It’s difficult, certainly, to fulfill one of the Act’s goals — that in wilderness areas the “imprint of man’s work (is) substantially unnoticeable” — if there are rigs rolling along paved roads at 50 mph.

What doesn’t make sense is allowing hiking trails — some of which follow routes that Native Americans blazed thousands of years ago — to become impassable because workers can’t use chain saws to cut up trees that fall across the tread.

Letter to the Editor for Jan. 16, 2015

Harvey in charge, it’s a bright new day for Baker County

Good morning. It is a good morning for Baker County. Now is the beginning of a new day! After 12 years of the status quo we can now anticipate some economic progress and freedom in Baker County. That is our goal. 

Our county is rich in resources, natural and human, but poor  in opportunity. One of our greatest problems has been that the federal agencies, which we have hired to manage and protect the natural resources on our public lands, now appear to believe they own those lands and resources. Their management technique is largely that of precluding our access and use. As a result each year large areas of forest burn for lack of  constructive use and on-the-ground management. Then salvage lumber from the remaining dead trees is precluded, all wasted resources and money. Would intelligent forest management permit this?

Mineral resources are also held hostage by the federal agencies. The agencies have delayed the mining of some claims for very long periods asserting the time is required to make sure that no environmental restraints are violated. Some mining applications have been delayed for years instead of a few months as envisioned by the laws that govern the process.  A vigorous, and safe, mining industry would add very greatly to the local economy.  Then why can’t it be?

Local controls are robbing our prosperity also. The process required for permission to build a new house is tedious and expensive. Each step of the way requires study or inspection each of which has a time delay and dollar fee attached. The cost of approved access in some cases precludes building.  Both the extra time and money required by excessive local control discourages construction of, particularly rural, new homes.

The above is but a tiny tip of a gigantic iceberg that has brought our economic and social progress to a grinding halt. We now have a leader, Bill Harvey, who understands basic economics and our rights under the Oregon and U.S. Constitutions. Let us all give Commissioner Harvey our enthusiastic support and enjoy the benefits of the new day. 

Jasper Coombes


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