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Letters to the Editor for April 28, 2014


Warner leads with results, not promises

This is a letter of support for Fred Warner for County Commissioner.   

I’ve had the opportunity to work with Fred on several issues the past few years and have found him to be very solution-oriented in every case. An example is when the Anthony Lake Ski Resort was going to be closed.  Fred and the Baker County Board of Commissioners brought in some local business people, crafted a low-risk business model and agreed to take the ski area as a gift from the previous owners.  At the time, $30,000 was sitting in a Transient Room Tax fund generated by a fee that local motels collect from overnight stays and dedicated to economic development. The county allocated that money to fund startup operations for the ski area.  The county did not commit any funding, has never been asked for other funding nor has it given any funding to Anthony Lakes.  Since that startup four years ago, Anthony Lakes has made local payroll of over $1.7 million and spent almost $1.8 million on goods and services from local businesses. In 2013-14, out-of-town skiers at Anthony Lakes spent over 425 nights in local motels — and this number grows yearly.  This translates into huge increased business for local restaurants and shopping at local merchants. This has been an extraordinary and sustainable return to Baker County at no cost to the county taxpayers.


Bennett’s experience gives him the edge


Mark Bennett is the incumbent in his campaign against his fellow Republican challengers Gene Stackle and Dick Fleming for Position 2 on the Baker County Board of Commissioners.

But incumbency isn’t Bennett’s major advantage, and it’s not the main reason we urge registered Republicans to vote for him in the May 20 primary.

What distinguishes Bennett is his experience in helping to run Baker County, and the knowledge he’s gained during more than 20 years as a county employee.

Bennett’s career includes stints in two jobs that give him a depth of expertise about issues that matter to county residents, a depth that few candidates for his position have boasted.


Letters to the Editor for April 25, 2014

Harvey is a fresh voice  for Baker County

We have been Bill Harvey supporters since he filed, but after the forum last Tuesday, our choice has never been more clear, after some issues were brought to light, with which we are uncomfortable. 

1. Mr. Warner stated that he was protecting Baker County from a lawsuit by overturning the unanimous planning commission decision that rejected a wind farm project. What Mr. Warner didn’t make clear in the forum was that the lawsuit threat was created by his office not filing legal paperwork in a timely manner. That is the uncomfortable reality. 

2. Also, Mr. Warner oversaw the altering of a GOP 2nd Amendment resolution to, in his words, “fit Baker County” (as if the 2nd Amendment is different here). His edits excluded the protection of so-called “assault weapons” and “rejection of laws that violate the 2nd Amendment.” Oddly, Gary Dielman had a great deal of input into a GOP resolution, and Mr. Warner felt his changes made the resolution “completely harmless,” according to Mr. Dielman. We think Mr. Dielman meant “completely useless.” We ask: how does affirming an amendment to the Constitution cause harm? The edits removed the intent of the resolution to support the 2nd Amendment. As veterans, this watering down of our founding documents is repellent.


Riddle of the smashed lighter: Why do we litter ?

Big problems rarely lend themselves to easy solutions.

We can’t reverse global warming by twisting a thermostat.

We can’t make Vladimir Putin behave himself by yelling at him to lay off Crimea and Ukraine.

We can’t balance the federal budget by....

Well, actually we could do that by playing hide the checkbook with Congress, but first we’ve got to get our hands on the thing.

There is, though, one widespread mess that we could clean up today, and we’d probably save energy in the process.

Littering.


Hire more, spend less?


In most businesses and government agencies, employees’ salaries and benefits are the biggest part of the budget, so it follows logically that the more workers employed the greater the cost.

Not necessarily.

If an organization has so few workers that those on the payroll have to work a lot of extra hours, the attempt to run a lean operation can backfire and lead to corpulent overtime bills.

In some cases an outfit might save money by hiring a new employee and severely curtailing overtime.


Letters to the Editor for April 23, 2014


Bennett is a proven, capable county commissioner

Incumbent Mark Bennett has proven to be a very capable and effective Baker County Commissioner. Mark and his wife, Patti, operate a cattle ranch in the Unity area.  

He was appointed to fill the commissioner vacancy created when Carl Stiff resigned due to health reasons. Mark has in the past been appointed to a number of important positions in the Baker County government. He has held the position of director of the Baker County Planning Commission, manager of the Emergency Operations, lead representative for Baker County for the location of the Boardman to Hemingway electrical power line, interim city manager for Unity, lead member of the Natural Resource Advisory Commission. The commission must know and understand how to deal with the various federal and state agencies that are present in Baker County.


Saluting Lynette Perry, the Herald’s own Easter Bunny


Saturday marked the 20th-annual Baker City Herald Easter Egg Hunt. It’s an event that draws hundreds of local children each year to gather free eggs and toys in Geiser-Pollman Park.

But it almost disappeared in 1995.

That year the Baker City Jaycees, who had been the organizer of the annual event, disbanded. It looked as though the Easter Egg Hunt would not go on, for lack of a sponsor.


Letters to the Editor for April 21, 2014


I’ve worked with Warner, and I’m voting for him

I am writing in support of Fred Warner for Baker County Commission chair. I have had the opportunity to work with Fred in a variety of capacities, as an employer, a fellow elected official, and like all citizens of Baker County, as our highest elected county administrator.


We can influence the feds


The federal government, it turns out, isn’t quite the inflexible monolith it’s often purported to be.

Last week the U.S. Forest Service decided to give the public an extra 60 days to comment on the draft version of new forest management plans for the Wallowa-Whitman, Umatilla and Malheur national forests.

This was a welcome concession.

Although mandatory seems to us the more appropriate adjective, considering the various documents the Forest Service released to the public in March exceed 1,000 pages.

And this is not light reading, in the figurative or the literal sense.


Elect Fred Warner to another term


The Baker County voters who will decide between incumbent Fred Warner Jr. and challenger Bill Harvey for the position of Baker County Commission chairman have a tough choice.

Harvey is a strong candidate.

We’re impressed by his passion for Baker County and by the amount of time he has devoted to his campaign. Harvey has traveled throughout the county over the past couple months. He has attended a bunch of public meetings. He has talked to many dozens of residents.

And Harvey brings more to the ballot than enthusiasm.


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