Jayson Jacoby
The Baker City Herald

A stacked deck on the High Court?

To the editor:

Ms. Elena Kagan was recently appointed by President Obama and

subsequently confirmed by the United States Senate to be the next

Supreme Court justice. Now the United States Supreme Court will consist

of three Jewish justices and six Catholic justices.

Many of us hope that the next appointee will be a Protestant, but the way the political winds have blown recently many of us fear that the next appointee could be a Muslim.

Carl Kostol

Baker City

City Council understands budget quite well

To the editor:

The signature "John Galt" in a letter the Herald printed Aug. 18 was apparently fake (a character from a novel). Another anonymous blogger avoids responsibility for what he/she says. Name-calling is useless and self-destructive. It doesn't work at the budget table, where we talk about efficiency, cost spiral, taxes and fees, limited funds, and services.

There is one point from that letter that should be clarified, though. All councilors are aware we need bonds to pay for water systems and streets, critical services. It is the citizens we have to convince. Unfortunately, property taxes already go up each year to pay city expenditures. Present water and sewer rates cannot pay the $7-$10 million needed for a new purification system and wastewater system. The water fund won't be self-sustaining if we don't raise rates. The question is, "how much?"

Despite what "John Galt" thinks, Council may use general fund reserves to pay part of the water system costs, and reduce the fees we need to charge citizens. The same goes for streets. Budget savings can hold down taxes. A few hundred thousand per year doesn't sound like much compared to $7 million, but over time, it can make a big difference to pay those loans down. If we cut costs and pay down the loans, we save compounded interest each year. Bonds are like credit cards. You can pay interest, or you can pay them off and use the money elsewhere. It's financial planning and choice, not ignorance.

I get a good laugh when someone calls me a "good old boy." I might know a bit more about decorum than "John Galt" gives me credit for. No thanks, John. I don't want support from anyone who has to hide bad behavior behind a false identity.

Clair Button

Baker City