I'll miss Stackle, Watkins, Bogart
To the editor:
Thank you, Gene Stackle, for your dedication and loyalty to the people
in Baker City/County and beyond that have a love and interest in
setting up a business here. Your professionalism and integrity are
above reproach. Thank you for the hours you put into business
development, business retention and presenting potential business
owners with information they need to put a business plan together, to
start a business.
You always work with the public, setting them up for success. Not giving them the fish, but teaching them how to fish. And the people you saved from themselves who were not ready or prepared to start a business. I have had the honor of serving with you on several volunteer boards and have always trusted your judgment and honesty. I admire your desire to do what is right and how you search for ways for potential business owner to succeed. You do what is best for the community.
I am a past BEGIN (business development) Board member; I read the reports of new contacts (business started and retained). Your efforts have brought economic benefits to all of us who live in Baker City/County. What an awesome team you and Jennifer Watkins are. You both have brought into our community a lot of money and your talents will be hard to replace. How sad for Baker City/County that we lose two of the people who have the ability to bring in money.
Oh, let us not forget Steve Bogart. Steve, I am proud of you for standing by your employees and saying it like it is. We are going to miss you too. Thank you for your professionalism and integrity. Out of the ashes the phoenix will rise. Ya think?
Terry Drever Gee
Relay for Life will amaze you
To the editor:
I have been involved with the American Cancer Society Relay for Life for the last three years and this year I joined the Committee as the Activities and Entertainment co-chair. I wanted to tell why I became involved with this cause.
My first real encounter with this terrible disease was about 10 years ago, when my husband's stepdad died of colon cancer. But that happened so fast, it really didn't register how awful cancer is. From the time we found out Ron had cancer to the time he died was just a matter of weeks. Then five years ago, my husband's grandma was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was 90 years old. A mastectomy was performed and because of her age, she couldn't have chemotherapy but she did have radiation treatments. My mother-in-law took her to Weiser twice a week for treatment. When treatment was done, Grandma Great was told her cancer was gone. And at the age of 94 she passed away cancer-free! If it were not for the efforts of the ACS and all of its supporters, she would not have been cured of cancer.
I highly encourage everyone to come to the Relay for Life event on July 24-25 at the Baker High School track. This is such a great way to raise money for research and for finding a cure. Everyone I have come into contact during these events has such a strong belief that we will cure cancer in our lifetimes. Come down and meet some survivors and hear their stories. I promise, you WILL be touched by what you see and hear on this amazing night.
A bit of city manager history
To the editor:
The current news tells us little about the history of the city manager problem. But listen to your elders. In the early 1950s Baker had the mayor form of city government. Ming McKim was mayor for a while and he was followed by Jim Hanley (Tom's grandfather). Then an old high school classmate of mine, Bob Applegate, was hired as city manager. I think that Bob was doing a good job, but after a few years of shouting and waving of arms a measure appeared on the ballot to return the city to the mayor form. This measure passed. Poor Applegate began looking for a job and soon found one in El Cajon, Calif. But, wonder of wonders, a judge declared the previous vote fraudulent and ordered a new vote. This time the measure failed.
Now Baker was without a manager and Applegate had a very good job. El Cajon began to grow very fast and Applegate stayed there until he retired.
While he was in Baker little was known of Applegate's record in World War II. He had told me that he was shot down in the Pacific and had been fished out of the water by an American submarine. But this year a new book is just out called "Whirlwind : The Air War Against Japan," by Barrett Tillman. On page 211 you can read that: Rookie Corsair pilot, Lt.(jg) Robert M. Applegate traded gunfire with Kaneyoshi Muto. Both fighters went down but the 23-year-old Oregonian slew the "toughest dogfighter in the Imperial Navy and lived to tell the tale."
Elsewhere in the book several pages are devoted to Muto's previous exploits.
Editor's Note: Although he makes no mention of this in his letter, Dr. Kostol, a retired physician, also amassed a record of heroism as an aviator during World War II.
Council's record one for the books
To the editor:
Congratulations to our micro-managing City Council. I am submitting their record of city manager turnover to the Guinness Book of World Records. Another first for Baker City!
Just think: In little over a year they have fired a city manager for being hot-tempered, less than a month after praising his management skills. Some of his accomplishments prior to his unceremonious firing were to: 1) solve the police housing dilemma; 2) save the cost of a full-time attorney; 3) convince Mr. Chance to come on as city planner to revise our antiquated city code and outline ideas for future growth.
As a reward, four councilors, avoiding any discussion or citizen input and to the surprise and chagrin of the other three councilors, fired him.
Since Mr. Brocato's firing they have: 1) offered the manager's position to a candidate their search team recommended they not hire; 2) indicated to interim manager Collins his services not needed; 3) micro-managed Manager Bogart to the point where he was literally handcuffed hence his resignation; 4) they turned economic development over to the county, in the process turning down over $130,000 in economic development funds in order to create a larger savings in cash carryover. Undoubtedly they were encouraged by the fact that savings banks are paying a little over 1/2 of 1 percent in annual interest; 5) by adopting a larger cash carryover they axed four jobs including that of assistant city manager Jennifer Watkins, the city's most valuable employee due to her wealthy of knowledge of city matters.
I close with one prediction and two suggestions for city voters to ponder.
Prediction: Our Council, by a vote of 5-2, will opt to settle the Brocato lawsuit out of court, thus avoiding the embarrassment of a trial in federal court.
Suggestion 1: Return to the pre-50s mayor-council government - no city manager - with Dorrah as mayor and Calder as vice mayor.
Suggestion 2: For a preview of what Baker City will look like under the leadership of this "dynamic duo," read about Thalia, Texas, in Larry McMurtry's novel "The Last Picture Show."