ESA out of control
To the editor:
Referring to the (Sen. Gordon) Smith meeting in Pendleton last week:
I would like to say a few words on the Mike Medberry, Executive Director, Hells Canyon Preservation Council, comments stated in the Baker City Herald April 25.
First of all. preservation in the group's name tells it all. Talk about the Smith meeting having no diversity, duh.
Let's get to the little white lies that Mike would have you believe that we have lynx cats in the Blue Mountains. There is no known modern-day scientific evidence of that. It is just wishful thinking. The last wolverine sighting was in 1986, and the wolf we have had a couple come in from Idaho, we do not need these animals where there is not any now. Let's put our people to work. We need minerals, trees and grass for livestock grazing.
Mike has the Doolittle syndrome stating that the animals did not have a voice. He is what we working people call an alarmist. We have a beautiful distribution of animals in the Blue Mountains now so we do not need more predators.
Let's put an end to the economic terrorism by the HCPC. They have wrecked havoc on the people of Oregon and the country through their lawsuits because we have an outdated and out-of-control Endangered Species Act.
It costs the U.S. Forest Service, BLM and users of the land whether they're four-wheelers, sportsmen or just plain everyday users of the land, hundreds of thousands of dollars every year in court costs just so we can have a right to use our public land.
Anyone interested on commenting to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Canada Lynx Critical Habitat Designation should do so now. Email email@example.com or write USFWS, Montana Field Office, 585 Shepard Way, Helena, MT 59601 What the spotted owl could not do the lynx surely will. April 30 is the deadline.
Ed Hardt, president
Eastern Oregon Mining Association
'Yes' on library levy
To the editor:
I'm an avid reader. The library is the lifeline that keeps me connected and current with all my favorite authors. But the library is so much more than fiction heaven for book lovers.
When I was diagnosed with cancer last year, the library became a literal lifeline as a source of informative and supportive books, helping me make decisions, know what to expect, and take an active role in my treatment.
The wide selection of audiobooks allow me to andquot;readandquot; when I can't while driving, walking, biking, or working in the yard.
Thanks to our library, my family discovered Lemony Snicket and has spent many enthralling hours together as Tim Curry brought the Baudelaire children's tale in the andquot;A Series of Unfortunate Eventsandquot; to life!
We are so fortunate to live an a community that supports its library, and to have a library board and staff with the vision of continually improving services and increasing their availability.
The archiving and posting of hundreds of historical pictures on the library's Web site, the ability to borrow books from libraries all over the state, the wide variety of educational and entertainment videos, all the resources of the internet accessible for those without computers at home the list of ways the library enriches our lives goes on and on!
To ensure that it continues to do so, I urge everyone to vote andquot;yesandquot; on renewing the Baker County Library District tax levy in the May 16 election.
City attorney 'not a good fit for me'
To the editor:
I recently informed the City Manager I would be resigning from my position as City Attorney with Baker City. I hope you can accept my apologies for serving for such a short time in the position. I guess that I have come to realize the hard way that the position is not a good fit for me.
A lot of thought has gone into my decision, and it is based mostly on my own personal desire to find a more fulfilling and/or less stressful job that more closely fits my personality. It is not based on any experiences that I have had with the City staff, the City Manager, or the City Council. One could not ask for a better group of people to work with.
This includes former City Attorney Tim Collins, who I know firsthand must have put a lot of himself into the work that he has done for the City.
It also includes City Manager Jerry Gillham, who is an excellent and dedicated leader.
The other City staff members are all very kind and dedicated people as well, and deserve a great deal of credit for the work that they do.
Before closing, I want to say thank you to my partner, Rebeca, for supporting me in this decision.
New middle school building needed
To the editor:
We need to focus the community on the primary objective, which is andquot;to provide an adequate facility to give our children a quality mental and physical education.andquot; It is not to select the cheapest option or preserve and restore historical buildings. It is to provide a quality facility, which will fulfill the present and future educational needs of the community.
When the existing facilities were constructed, an adequate facility provided the necessities to teach the three R's and nothing more. There have been great changes since then and much more is needed. Some changes needed to provide a facility to house 500 students with a design life of 30 to 50 years are as follows:
o We need an adequate kitchen facility. We are serving two meals a day. This means a facility to prepare and serve in excess of 1,000 meals a day during a six-hour period. To assure safe food, freezers, refrigerators, steam tables and an industrial-type dishwasher along with very tight temperature controls are required.
o We need to increase and/or improve the gym facilities. We need to provide gym space for both boys and girls for all sports and physical education. If all students have an hour of gym with 25 students per class, 20 hours per day of gym time is required. This is the equivalent of three regulation size gyms.
o Outdoor facility needs for sports and physical education are much the same. I would estimate the equivalent of two regular size football fields would be needed with a standard track.
o Providing classroom space for 500 students will require approximately 40 percent more space with facilities for computers, visual aid equipment, etc. and new, developing equipment that hasn't even been thought of.
I think it would be next to impossible to fit all the needs into the existing complex. If we did jam everything needed into the existing complex, there would be no margin for errors.
Projecting a total of 500 students by the year 2056 is less than one percent growth rate. If growth is five percent, as it is in Bend, we could easily have over 1,200 students by the year 2056, and over 500 by 2015.
If this happened, we would not want to be saddled with a facility that is too small with no rooms for expansion and facing the same situation we now have.
Appoint a panel to study cemetery
To the editor:
At Tuesday night's council meeting, the public made it clear they were not pleased with cemetery restrictions of any sort. The mayor indicated no public restrictions would be imposed with full public participation and their involvement would not be hurried. That is a very good thing. He did, however, opine that andquot;there would be rules.andquot; While that has the ring of eminent domain, our mayor is a true servant of the people and would or will not embrace any course of action that will favor the administration at the expense of the public. That being said, the problem exists and it will not walk away.
If a panel of not less than three independent citizens were appointed and charged with providing specific examples (photographs, etc.) of what is acceptable, developed over a full season, rule makers would then be logically challenged. andquot;Hands onandquot; public participation is indicated at this interest level.
To the editor:
What is all the fuss about a few graveyard decorations and a bit of dog poop? Both problems can be taken care of with a minimum of effort and very little cost. I admit that I don't really have a dog in this fight (that might not be the right choice of words in this case) since my dad and grandparents are buried in Union, a quaint little town where the cemetery caretaker does his job, honors our loved ones and lets us do the same. If this happened there they'd probably just hang the fool and be done with it. Ah, the simple life!
The dog trouble just needs a steady-handed early riser to take out the trusty 30.06 and andquot;bang,andquot; the dog problem is solved. A quick stop for some stir-fry seasoning and rice and it's andquot;Kagogi anyone?andquot; Someone who lets their dog run loose to poop in the neighbor's yard is bad enough, but letting them loose in a cemetery is just too stupid for words. You should be ashamed of yourself. If there is any justice in this world, a very big dog will leave a huge one on your headstone someday. Your family might even consider it a form of reincarnation.
The decorations problem is even easier to solve and doesn't have the noise or legal problems of shooting in the city limits. The caretaker job obviously needs to be re-bid if the current contractor is unable or unwilling to do the job that they contracted to do. I assume that the contractor realized that people decorate the graves of loved ones, often leave mementos and expect the caretaker to actually care.
If this has never been an issue in the last 150 years, why is it suddenly a problem now? Maybe the city can use that $500,000 they have burning a hole in their pocket to put down Astro Turf and get rid of the grass mowing altogether.
City funds could help spay, neuter
To the editor:
Last week the Baker City Herald published a very heartwarming and interesting article on orphaned pups and their mother which had been confiscated as evidence. They encouraged people to adopt these animals and donate to their care. It is my understanding that Best Friends of Baker, Inc., and Marie Atwater and Friends were accepting some of the responsibility in helping to prepare and place these animals for adoption. Kudos to these organizations!
Monday I read that the city has half a million dollars in excess taxes and is asking for suggestions as to how these funds might be spent. In the absence of a shelter, I would suggest that the City of Baker City spend one percent of the half million dollars in assisting in the spay and neuter of animals in Baker County. If a $50 voucher were provided to individuals on assistance, it would cover the cost of neutering a male cat, and it would pay for more than half of the spay cost for female dogs and cats. A spayed or neutered animal in 200 homes in Baker City would make quite a difference when it came to birthing time toward the end of summer. There would be fewer calls for the police to pick up abandoned pets and hopefully a reduction in the large number of $40 euthanasias required to dispose of animals each month.
Seems to me, it's almost a push, no extra cost to the city and by far more humane.
Save the children
To the editor:
I don't know how many people know about the Rachel Pregnancy Center, 2194 Court Street. Stop by and take a look around.
If you missed the spring benefit concert last night, you missed a real blessing. For two years in a row they have refreshed us with their professional performance with beautiful voices of praise. I hope to see the concert packed next year if they would so please us again.
For right now though, donation blessings for the great work they are doing at the center saving lives one at a time.
A little girl was throwing starfish into the sea. A man said, andquot;What are you doing?andquot; She said, andquot;I'm trying to save the life of this starfish.andquot; He said, andquot;But there are so many, what difference would one starfish make?andquot; She said, andquot;It makes a difference to this one.andquot; Let's save the little children, please!
Look at cemetery
To the editor:
For and to all the fine people in our community, I was riding my bike through our lovely city today with my youngest child. While on our little excursion we decided to visit our Baker City parks and cemetery. It is a nice place to walk, run or ride your bike, not to mention the quality time that one can share with a loved one.
Now the amazing thing about all of this was that my young daughter commented how pretty they were. I asked her what she meant. She replied, andquot;It looks nice, just like our house.andquot; What a kind statement from a six year old. It made me feel good about how I keep my yard at home. Even more importantly, it pointed out to me what a beautiful job that Don Fink is doing. I forget sometimes to take a look around to see what other people do for other people without any selfishness. Thank you, Don Fink, for reminding me to find the good around me.
I encourage every one to take a trip through some of our city's greater assets, our parks and cemetery. If you do not want to go alone, call me. I will go with you because it is worth seeing over again and again.
Thanks to our public works and Don Fink for making our city a beautiful place to live.
Smith meeting lacked diversity
To the editor:
The meeting in Pendleton last week on increasing logging andquot;needsandquot; should sound an alarm in the minds of anyone who values the beauty, diversity and productivity of the Blue Mountains' forests. The hundred or so people who attended were mostly supporters of the timber industry, which, admittedly, is as endangered as animals in the forest. But increasing logging in forests that have been scalped is not going to provide a workable answer. Only moderation will, along with the give and take that moderation implies.
What was most endangered in Pendleton, however, was the diversity of people, those who don't refer to the three National Forests as the andquot;Iron Triangleandquot; and those who see more than andquot;board feetandquot; among the trees. Many of the animals that creep through forests of the Blue Mountains lynx, wolverine, wolves and bighorn sheep, for example are imperiled by logging that has already occurred. They were not offered a voice. And more logging is not a sensible answer.
Sen. Smith invited a single voice spread to a hundred people and asked agency representatives insulting and leading questions; he offered no sensible solutions. The senator's rhetoric cried for more timber in a landscape where there are simply fewer of the big trees. Unfortunately he invited no dissent. Without diverse opinions on forest issues there will be no debate only loggers speaking to hear themselves and no lasting decisions, but only bigger challenges.
Executive Director, Hells Canyon Preservation Council
Spend city money on veterans
To the editor:
What a great idea it would be for the City of Baker City to share some of their $500,000 on our veterans.
I am a veteran and a volunteer who helps transport veterans to the VA Hospital in Boise. The Disabled American Veterans need all the help they can get to purchase a transport van every two years.
I wouldn't think there are too many families in Baker City that don't have a family member or friend who is a veteran. I don't think there is any way better to thank our veterans than to help with this effort.
Baker City, please help our veterans with these needs and costs to continue this most important transportation program.
Thank a veteran, thank a volunteer.
Senators should oppose wiretaps
To the editor:
Our government is based on the separation of powers and the rule of law. President Bush has dishonored these principles and violated our trust.
Numerous legal scholars from both the left and right agree that the president overstepped his authority and broke the law when he authorized the National Security Agency to spy on American citizens.
S.2455 would severely weaken the rights of people in the United States by ratifying the secret program of the National Security Agency to monitor telephone and email communications without the court approval required by federal law and the Constitution.
S.2453 authorizes a broader spying program than the president has admitted and would guarantee that Congress and the American people will never get the facts about this unlawful wiretapping.
Congress has a duty to get the facts, not help the Bush administration cover them up. Our senators must oppose both S.2453 and S.2455.
President Bush's abuse of power threatens the very foundation of our democracy.