Jayson Jacoby
The Baker City Herald

Ogan has numbers sense

Mike Ogan is a candidate for Position 3 in the upcoming 5J School Board election. Mike has been in banking and finance for 25 years . He is a real numbers man. 5J has not enjoyed the presence of such a person on the board in my recent memory. Mike will prove to be an invaluable addition to the 5J Board. I would like to urge everyone interested in a quality school board to vote for Mike Ogan.

Carl R. Kostol

Baker City

Ogan, McKim best choices

The Baker County 5J school board has been close to nonfunctional under the current combination of members.Three people influenced by the superintendent have continued to follow a road of status quo to the detriment of our school children. What is needed is a board that can work together to the betterment of the educational opportunities available to students.

"Oregon's high school graduation rate is fourth worst in nation" (Betsy Hammond Oregonian 20 Nov. 2012.)Although Mr. Wegener claims that our scores went up, all of our state report card numbers actually went down. (Oregon Department of Education)

Busing children all over town is a poor use not only of learning time but also of transportation funds.Fiscal responsibility is just as necessary for a school system as it is for the individual family.

For fiscal responsibility my choice for Position 3 is Mike Ogan with over 25 years of financial experience. Rich McKim with his expertise with military finances and discipline is the best one for Position 4. They are both fiscally conservative, have children in the Baker schools andhave personal interests in the quality of education of their children. Your best choices for the Baker 5J School Board positions are Ogan Position 3 and McKim Position 4 - new faces working for the next generation of BHS graduates.

James Longwell

Baker City

Vote as a parent, not a party

If the upcoming school board election is incredibly important, and if nothing is more important than the education of our children, then why does the Baker County Republican Central Committee feel the need to endorse candidates in a nonpartisan election?

A candidate's political affiliation alone does not make him or her more or less qualified to serve on a school board, in the same way that race, gender, and marital status have no bearing on that individual's ability to even run for a school board position. There's already enough divisiveness in local politics, so to see it being promoted in a school board election is both troublesome and irritating.

I was under the impression that all of the candidates in this election were running as concerned parents, not as empowered politicians. Now I have to wonder if voting for two of the candidates could be falsely perceived as voting in support of advancing the Tea Party's agenda in school board discussions and decisions.

Or if neither of their preferred candidates are elected, should the other candidates expect to be recalled or publicly ridiculed for not sharing a "conservative mindset" or embracing "conservative values," as has happened in the past? Of course, it is my hope that voters will ignore a candidate's political preference and endorsement by a political party and cast their votes based on a candidate's ability to serve on the school board in a collaborative and professional manner, keeping the best interest of our school district's students, teachers, and staff in mind at all times.

Attempting to sway voters by convincing them that stemming "the liberal tide" is what's at stake in this school board election is simply foolish and irresponsible. Moving forward in an efficient manner can't be done by leaning too far to the left or the right.

Let's be adults when it comes to our political differences, but let our votes speak for our children in this particular election. Vote as a parent, not as a party.

John Quintela

Baker City

Let's organize garden tours

I have been gardening for a couple of years and enjoy making projects.

I noticed that over the past few years that I have become interested in this pastime that Baker has a lot to do with gardening, like farmers market and community gardens. I spoke to a woman who said Baker used to have garden/lawn tours around here for people to admire others' creative ideas and I was just wondering if there is a way we could get it back up and running.

I've seen countless homes with amazing gardens and lawns. I am willing to volunteer my time to get this going to help me get ideas and the right people to contact. Anyone interested could contact me at bcutshall19@gmail.com . I would love too see this happen.

Billy Cutshall

Baker City

No place for party politics

It has been a tradition to keep party politics out of school board business and school board elections because the way to get the best outcome for the students is to leave party politics at the door and get to work on solving problems.

Unfortunately, that tradition has been ignored by a group of angry, negative, poorly informed extremists who first gave us Kyle Knight, then the divisive recall election, and now have politicized this school board election. These extremists are, in fact, now the leaders of the Baker County Republican Central Committee and are supporting Mike Ogan and Rich McKim in this election.

It is a cynical attempt to accomplish what the recall election did not: Give the extremists a three-to-two majority on the school board so they can further their agenda. This group has used distortion, half-truths and outright lies in their campaign to convince the public that the quality of education in Baker 5J is declining, that teachers and administrators are paid too much, that the move to a four-day school is depriving students of teacher/student hours, and that the District is poorly managed.

The truth is: In standardized tests 5J students perform better than most students in the state of Oregon, salary surveys show conclusively that teachers and administrators in the 5J District are among the lowest paid in the State, a simple count of teaching hours shows that the four-day week has more than the previous five-day week, and yearly independent audits of the District's finances find the District financially sound despite the funding limitations caused by the recession and continued declining enrollment over the last two decades.

For extremists, ideology always trumps facts. They live in a negative dream world. Baker's children deserve better. Certainly there are things that need to be improved at 5J. We need positive, qualified members on the school board to drive that improvement, not extremists. Please join me in voting for Kevin Cassidy and Rosemary Abell.

N.R. Munn

Baker City

Stop the smear campaign

Why do local extreme leftists Marshall McComb, former Democrat chair Suzanne Moses and former councilman Gary Dielman who was recalled, still insist on writing negative letters to the editor attacking conservative members of our community? I've seen at least four letters from each of these two over the months repeating the same theme: some sinister force or national group is busy trying to dismantle public schools. I think it became crystal clear after the recall attempt, which they can't seem to stop dragging up, that this claim in their letters was pure fiction.

In reality, Moses and Dielman are just members of the Democratic Central Committee, who to me, appear to be doing nothing but fear-mongering to scare people away from very qualified candidates toward their more liberal candidates.Their problem overall is clearly stated in that they don't care for conservative candidates or values. They don't care for local Republicans. In fact, they go into conspiracy-theory mode every time a member of the community dares to promote good old-fashioned family values. Do these people even have children in the school? No. They don't.

I will be voting for conservative candidates Rich McKim and Mike Ogan. I want candidates in place who do have children in the school system and have managerial and business acumen. These candidates are not just members of the community. They're your neighbors. They're parents who care about their children - much like everyone else the McComb, Dielman, and Moses letters target. Don't let negative fear-mongering sway your vote away from these two candidates who would bring a wealth of common sense, experience and caring to our school board. Stop the negative smear campaign. Vote for Rich and Mike!

Sean Gilsdorf

Baker City

Moses' letter was inaccurate

Our thanks to the Baker City Herald for allowing a response for the purpose of correcting the factual inaccuracies included in Democratic Central Committee precinct committeewoman Suzanne Moses' letter to the editor last Friday.

1) I have been an elected Republican PCP in Baker County for over 35 years. I did not come into the committee last fall to "take it over." Over the years I have served in several officer positions and as County campaign chair for many Republican candidates, including President Ronald Reagan and Congressman Greg Walden. I am conservative and proud of it!

2) Kerry McQuisten served as an elected PCP during her college years here in Baker County and was once a member of the National Federation of Republican women.

3) Neither Kerry nor I have ever been a member of a tea party organization.

4) There are six, not four members of the BCRCC Executive Committee as Ms. Moses stated. None of the six are members of a Tea Party organization. We are simply Republicans.

5) The Republican Party does embrace conservatives from all walks of life, including tea party members, independents and others. We welcome conservative Democrats ... once they re-register Republican!

6) All our Central Committee officers were elected last November by the full contingent of elected PCPs in Baker County. We were actually voted into office by the "lifelong Republicans" Moses claims are dismayed at our "takeover."

In true liberal fashion, these Democrats (Dielman, McComb and Moses) are more intent on slinging mud in their letters than dealing with the issues of the 5J School District. Change begins at home and with grassroots campaigns here in Baker County. For you in the 5J School District, research the facts before you vote. Don't listen to a very vocal political party intent on keeping the 5J school board "blue" at all cost. Vote for what's best for the school system and the kids.

Suzan Ellis Jones