Small car drivers a casualty of global warming war
An insurance company has been running commercials showing several cars getting crunched one way or another. The most dramatic of these is of a small white car parked between two trucks; the truck in front begins to back up, and the little car buckles and crumples as if it were made of cardboard, not steel. My first thought was that anyone buying one of those bitty cars should be required to watch a video of that commercial, as they will need to become extra cautious drivers since their vehicle will give them virtually no protection during a collision.
But one of those tiny cars may become a part of your future. The federal government has mandated that in a few years, the Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency for auto makers will rise to 55 mpg. Auto manufacturers will only meet that standard when most Americans are driving tiny little cars like the one in the commercial.
The trouble is that small cars are inherently less safe than larger ones are. A few years ago, a Harvard University study showed that in the United States, around 2,000 small car passengers die each year in collisions who probably would have survived had they been riding in a standard sized automobile. That's a population the size of Baker City's wiped out every five years.
Now that is a statistic you don't see bandied about much. Environmentalists don't like to admit that one of their pet projects is getting people killed. They won't tell you that when you buy a small, "fuel-efficient" car, you are volunteering to become a casualty in the war on global warming. If you don't believe this is so, just watch the commercial and picture yourself in that little white car as it is being crushed between those two trucks.
Back bill requiring health insurance comparison study
Our health care system is broken. We all know individuals and families without adequate health insurance, and without adequate health care. How can we provide health care to everyone at a cost we can afford?
House Bill 3260 would require the Oregon Health Authority to conduct a study comparing the costs of providing health care to all Oregonians under (1) the existing system; (2) a single payer insurance system; (3) a combination of patient chosen public and private health insurance; and (4) one or more additional options designed by the researchers. The first hearing on this bill is scheduled for April 5.
You can find the actual language of the bill at: http://gov.oregonlive.com/bill/2013/HB3260/
I urge everyone to contact their state legislators now. Ask them to support and vote for this bill. It's easy to make contact using the state's on-line tool: http://www.leg.state.or.us/writelegsltr/
The state representative in District 60 is Rep. Cliff Bentz, Rep.CliffBentz@state.or.us, (503) 986-1460. The state senator in District 30 is Sen. Ted Ferrioli, Sen.TedFerrioli@state.or.us, (503) 986-1950.
Not all Oregon rivers are wild and scenic
Oregon is diverse so why put the same designation on even more waterways in our state to be "wild and scenic?" Stop Senate Bill 401! The folks that wrote the bill don't have a clue what's on the ground for all the listed waterways covered under this bill, including the North Fork of the Burnt River in southwestern Baker County.
Don't be ignorant and support a bill you don't have a clue about. Worse yet, this is another underhanded attempt to stop federally authorized mining and regulate private land use in Oregon.
For the North Fork, smaller tributaries add additional flow during normal years, yet late summer finds water flows have subsided considerably to show more river bed than water.
This dried up rocky riverbed is visible driving along through the Wallowa-Whitman along the North Fork Burnt River Road (Whitney Road). This narrow and windy gravel road, maintained by Baker County, not the cash-strapped FS, is a mere 100 feet from the so-called "wild and scenic" river.
Several dispersed campgrounds litter the forest for several miles along its timber shady length, inside the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. These generations-old campsites provide a popular getaway from summer's sweltering heat of the lower Treasure Valley as well as during fall's deer and elk hunting seasons. The mentioned area is far from being a recreational mecca as the nearest public services are miles away.
As far as fish, there are no steelhead and salmon living in this river. The occasional bull trout and rainbow are safe. Suction dredging does not suck up eggs and smolt as Oregon DEQ already regulates this with season of use restrictions to mitigate such an occurrence.
If this bill does get so far as to pass the Senate and reach the House of Representatives' agenda, please be wise enough to know what each river has to offer before slating them all as "wild and scenic" thus taking additional jobs from fellow Oregonians in a continued attempt to exclude mining, timber and range management on public lands as well as controlling those same uses on private lands.
Betty E. Duncan
We feel fortunate to have Billie Ruth Bootsma Clinic
The Billie Ruth Bootsma Clinic at our local St. Alphonsus Hospital is a tremendous asset to the residents of Baker County and Eastern Oregon. It is a lovely, comforting, well-designed upscale facility. It is far nicer than some of the other clinics where we have been.
The staff is very professional and competent. They do everything possible to put their patients at ease. They have become our good friends.
The oncologist, Dr. Bronstein, comes once a week. He is also very professional and current in the new research and developments in the treatment of cancer and various health care problems. We feel very fortunate to have the Billie Ruth Clinic and its staff in Baker City.
I won't be intimidated by bullying tactics
Last December, 5J superintendent Wegener and board members Burroughs, Henderson and Bryan made quite a stink about wanting to sue me after the recall effort. They consulted an expensive attorney who, as I understand it, advised they would likely lose that suit. Her response should have stopped their childish vendetta. It didn't.
Burroughs, who spent thousands during her anti-recall efforts, filed a civil complaint with the Secretary of State (SoS) questioning the few hundred dollars spent on the effort against her. The SoS's staff spent hours handling her complaint. The only infraction found was a clerical error - a form was accidentally filed late.
Still unable to exact revenge, these folks took things another step. On Christmas Eve (yes, you read that right), the SoS received a criminal complaint against me signed by Burroughs' personal friend and 5J Budget Committee member Rusty Munn. The purpose of a complaint under the law Munn cited is to persuade the SoS to turn a citizen over to the Attorney General for felony prosecution, which includes jail time if convicted. The SoS's office was again forced by law to investigate over two months, spending countless staff hours and taxpayer dollars. As everyone remembers, Munn and Burroughs included "what's best for the children" and "not wasting taxpayer money" as their objections to our recall effort. Yet attempting to throw the mother of two young children in jail and spending thousands of taxpayer dollars on a personal vendetta posed no apparent issue for them. I believe those 5J patrons who weren't sure of the collective character of this group, will surely see it now.
Last week I received a letter from the SoS informing me they'd found no election law violation on my part, no evidence our ballot statement was false - and they consider the issue closed. They informed Munn they wouldn't pursue his complaints further. If Munn and Burroughs believe their bully tactics will silence me or prevent other parents in the community from exercising their rights and holding 5J accountable, they're wrong. I'm looking forward to the May election!