Chris Collins
The Baker City Herald

Entire Council not to blame

To the editor:

Who is the source of the bickering at City Council? I decided that a year ago. Who is the problem now? At least have the guts to lay blame where it really belongs. The Council is not cantankerous. A minority has waged an endless election campaign. It is only a tough time to run for Council because the minority abuses anyone who disagrees with them. The Council is not responsible for people who start inappropriate recalls, slander, start boycotts, vandalize property, or disrupt public meetings with profanity and childish behavior.

The Council cannot "banish" a councilor who "wallows in the past." That is your job. Mayor Dorrah's "harangue" was a timely admonishment directed to the right person. How else can we stop inappropriate behavior? Whom do you criticize? What do you really want? Perhaps if Jayson Jacoby regularly attended Council meetings, he would have heard Mayor Dorrah address the issue of personnel costs. Wake up! Larger issues ahead! We have to borrow $7-10 million for water systems improvements alone in the next four years. The staff says we have fallen behind in street maintenance. Council cut expenditures to help fund those improvements. With conservative financial management, we need not pay interest for 30 years. Tough decisions? You bet!

What makes a "solid" councilor? Would we rather have complacent rubber stamps? Anyone can file a lawsuit. Proving the merit in court is another matter. Enough said. Some newspapers promote discord to sell papers, not help solve problems. Don't be one of those. To solve bickering on the Council, put the blame where it really lies. Dissent that is appropriately on-issue is fine. Address the behavior and wasted backsliding. To solve runaway costs, support those who make serious change in budget expenditures. The majority cannot allow a minority to win through intimidation and mudslinging. Individual councilors get worn down by stress and fighting. Good people can't stay away for fear of being battered. We can only hope good councilors keep up their morale. Support them. Come take your turn, but please, don't come intent on fighting.

Clair Button

City Council member

Baker City

Appalling census-taking techniques

To the editor:

Ihave met the Gestapo; and it was on my front porch in the form of a census taker. I do not ascribe to the glorious promise of the progressive/socialist movement so strongly afoot in this country today. Since 1950 I have proudly and honorably participated in five U.S. Census surveys, always only filling out the constitutionally/legally required information. How many people reside here? Like on employment applications, when I have chosen not to answer those optional questions like race, or whatever, I have never been further harassed for that information until now.

Recently, a woman from the Census Bureau showed up wanting to ask me some questions. I politely told her that I had, months ago, including all of the details I was willing to reveal about my family, completed my survey and sent it in. She said she was neither aware, nor could she confirm that they had received it. She sharply thanked me, and then went away. Later, by revealing a fact to a relative of mine that she had said came from my survey, proved her to be a liar.

About a week later this same woman showed back up at my house, ostensibly to get some small details like children's birthdays and whatnot. This census taker woman, unsolicited, informed my wife that she had gotten all of the other information she wanted from a relative of mine. Telling this relative of mine that I was "uncooperative," and not telling this person that the Census Bureau was not entitled to any more information beyond that which I had already given, she tricked this ignorant, naive, misguided, disloyal, socialist, utopianistic relative of mine. I do not know if this bureau agent asked whether or not this person knew either firsthand, or otherwise, if I was either presently, or had at any time in the past been associated with a tea party or not; but I would hope that most American citizens would find these Gestapo-like tactics appalling, very frightening and unacceptable.

Gordon Bonebrake

Baker City