Jayson Jacoby
The Baker City Herald

Protect our public schools from conservative campaign

Are our public schools in danger once again? I'm concerned that the current 5J School Board election could produce the result that last December's failed 5J recall could not.

How else am I to interpret the enthusiastic endorsements of Mike Ogan and Rich McKim by recall leader Kerry McQuisten and recall treasurer Suzan Ellis Jones which appeared in our local papers even before the ballots arrived? What else explains the integrated ticket of Ogan and McKim, featuring shared campaign literature and companion yard signs?

McQuisten stated, "We need to elect both, not just one of these candidates, in order to see a substantial change at 5J." What does she mean? Could it be she knows that existing board member Kyle Knight, plus Ogan, and McKim would form a majority of three on the five-member school board? Is that why Knight distributed the Ogan and McKim yard signs in my neighborhood?

It's important to understand that the recall and Kyle Knight are associated with and supported by the Tea Party, Americans for Prosperity, and the Western Liberty Network (WLN), which has proclaimed its intention to "take charge" of Baker County. According to their web site, the Western Liberty Network in January gave to "...Kyle Knight, elected to the Baker City School Board after taking WLN training, an award for overcoming adversity while in office...."

Americans for Prosperity is funded by arch-conservative billionaire David H. Koch who advocates privatization of our schools.

Last year's experience offered ample demonstration of the divisive and reckless acts of those seeking to undermine our schools and the best interests of our community in pursuit of their ideological agenda.

Our award-winning schools are among our most valuable assets to attract and retain energetic young families in Baker Valley. The recognition of our model schools and our Oregon Teacher of the Year are testimony to their quality and their contribution to a promising future for us all. Let us be sure to protect that heritage.

Marshall McComb

Baker City

5J candidates ask for a positive campaign

We collectively wondered who would become negative first. Mr. Dielman wins the prize. The six candidates all agreed any two of us would be a positive move, and that the bickering must stop. Life seems pleasant among the six of us candidates.

Recent letters suffered from flaws in critical thinking. They take a fact, such that as we are conservative, add several guesses, false info, and have invented an entire scary story. What if two candidates were seen eating downtown together last week? Would that be more controversy? No.

Neither McComb, Moses, nor Dielman decided to ask us about any of their fiction. They have resorted to fear, inventing stories to scare people. We're wondering if someone will play the "gender card" next, saying we're unqualified because we're male. (But wouldn't that be sexist?)

Perhaps some folks were listening to the quiet heckling from the back of the AAUW forum.

We got our introduction to robust thinking from Mrs. Dielman in the early '80s. Thankfully it stuck.

Sooo, to clarify:

1: We still hope to earn endorsement from others of any political stripe in this non-partisan race. This is about educating kids for a tough world out there. We are about unity of effort for the students. We owe allegiance to the public, and no organization. All six candidates have endorsements. It's (mostly) positive opinion from citizens supporting their candidate.

2: Some want people to panic over a "3-2 majority." The board has one now. Big deal. Again, this is a non-partisan race. The 10 percent on both ends must stop trying to control the 80 percent of us in the middle.

3: We graduated from, had, and still have kids in the 5J system. We are running for a seat to improve it in challenging times.

Thank you, and keep it positive.

Mike Ogan

Richard McKim

Both writers are candidates for the Baker School Board. Ogan is running for Position 3, McKim for Position 4.

After researching, Ogan and McKim are my choices

I would like to respond to our longstanding liberal, Suzanne Moses, on her Friday letter to the editor. I couldn't imagine anyone being as bad as she said Mike Ogan and Rich McKim were, and running for the school board. Oh dear! So I did some checking into the background of both Ogan and McKim.

I would like to thank you, Suzanne, you really opened my eyes. I am sure glad I didn't cast my ballot yet. After vetting all of the people running for the school board, Ogan and McKim are my picks by far. If it wasn't for you, Suzanne, I would have voted for Rosemary Abell and Kevin Cassidy. Oh the shame of it all, what a mistake that would have been.

Now I am voting for strong, conservative, very principled candidates, with strong financial backgrounds, dedicated to turning a very negative atmosphere into a positive, can-do leadership. No backroom deals with these two boys, no sir, we need to deal with the positives and round-file the negatives.

Even though we cut one school day a week, and laid of 25 teachers, we have increased our per student cost $1,300 per child. Didn't I hear that the administrators got a raise?

In the past seven years our math performance has steadily dropped by 14 percent. The 5J District has problems that need a strong leadership, this is why I am voting for Mike Ogan and Rich McKim. Check 'em out and vote for leadership and strength.

Chuck Chase

Baker City

Brass quintet put on quite a show for Baker audience

Baker Community Concerts presented a big hit to an appreciative audience Friday night at the high school auditorium. The Presidio Brass, five of the best horn players one could ever hope to hear, presented a dynamic program of classics and jazz on a variety of brass instruments. Kudos to the tubist-pianist who also is the sole arranger responsible for making music written for symphony orchestra, string quartet, opera, jazz, or science fiction movies fit the instrumentation of this small group of five horns.

On another note, the 14th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition will be held in Fort Worth, Texas, May 21-June 9. The good news is that one does not have to go to Fort Worth to attend.

It will be available via: e-mail (e-notes@cliburn.org,) live webcast, Facebook, and Twitter. This is a musical phenomenon to enjoy and appreciate.

Mardelle Ebell

Baker City