Jayson Jacoby
The Baker City Herald

Free market? I wish there were such a thing

Free-market exponent Pete Sundin wrote a letter to the editor praising free choice, something I can agree with, if there really were such a thing.

How short Mr. Sundin's memory is. He has seemingly forgotten that unregulated free choice in worldwide financial markets led to the recession the U.S. and Europe are facing today. Mr. Sundin isn't the only one with a short memory.

I just learned today about the LIBOR scandal that promises to eclipse the derivatives scandal of 2008. LIBOR stands for "London Inter-bank Offered Rate." That's the average rate set by banks that determines what interest is charged to buy and sell money between banks. In the culture of big finance, LIBOR trickles down to also affect the little guy's interest payments on credit card, car loan, and mortgage.

Barclays, a 300-year-old British bank, has admitted to rigging LIBOR to its advantage, and disadvantage of others. (Read about it in The Economist here: http://www.economist.com/node/21558281, or just Google "LIBOR scandal.") Barclays has agreed to pay U.S. and British regulators almost a half billion dollars in penalties. Several other big-name banks are being investigated for similar activity.

Once again we learn that the game of free-market high finance is not conducted on a level playing field. Not only do financial institutions pay its traders obscenely high salaries and bonuses, but they also cheat.

The Economist refers to the LIBOR scandal as the "rotten heart of finance."

Now, back to Mr. Sundin's letter to the editor about free choice. There is no free choice for the little guy, when the big guys don't play by the rules.

Gary Dielman

Baker City

Locals help make Cycling Classic roll smoothly

The Baker City Cycling Classic couldn't have happened this year without the support of our local community, and they came out more committed to the race than ever before.

Baker Loves Bikes would like to thank all our volunteers, the Baker High School students, their parents and their coaches for their dedication. The City of Baker City for the help making the courses clean and safe. Our police and fire departments for ensuring the safety of those racing and spectators.

Many local businesses supported the race financially or with volunteers for us. This help allowed us to put over $2500 into the BHS programs that worked with us and with continued support like this we will be able to increase our donations as we move forward.

The field at this years BCCC was up by 30 percent from last year and with the rider feedback we've been receiving already, we're sure to have an even larger field next year. This event brings bike racers from all over the country to Baker County and the money they pay to be here goes directly into programs at Baker High School,which makes it unique. More money from this event stays right here in Baker, than just about any other event in the county, and it's all from sources outside our area.

We also received help from the Northeast Oregon Compassion Center and in return they received a large donation of food for the food bank for the third year in a row. For the first time we worked with the fifth-grade classes to create the beautiful and colorful posters for the BCCC. Many of the posters could be seen around downtown Baker, but some graced the walls of bike shops around the Pacific Northwest, as far away as California.

As we move forward to our 12th year of racing in Baker City we become the second longest consecutively run bike race in the state of Oregon, and that is thanks in large part to the support of Baker County and YOU. Thank you all so much we couldn't do it without you, and the riders all thank you too.

Brian Vegter

Baker City

Vegter is the race promoter for the Baker City Cycling Classic, and vice president of Baker Loves Bikes.