Ison House acquisition is about more than just dollars and cents
This letter is in response to editorial published by the Baker City Herald on July 10. As the recently elected president of HBC, it is my responsibility to defend the reputation of this 30-year-old volunteer organization.
The Ison House is not an asset held by Historic Baker City Inc. (HBC). It is an asset of Historic Baker City Charitable Fund, LTD. Article II of the corporation states in part the following: The corporation is a public benefit corporation and is organized for the charitable purpose of supporting the preservation of historic buildings in Baker City, Oregon and promoting and enhancing the National Historic District in Baker City, Oregon; soliciting, receiving, holding, investing and administering contributions made to the corporation to carry out its purpose; entering into contracts with public and private entities to carry out its purpose; engaging in any lawful activity, none of which is for profit. In accordance with the charitable fund's stated mission, it is clearly directed to enter into contracts with public and private entities to carry out its purpose. Moreover, the fund is to engage in activity, "none of which is for profit." We cannot think of a more deserving non-profit organization to partner with than one that serves our veterans. As a partner in the project, the VAOI also shares the costs of any future remodeling, maintenance, security, and/or operational expenses. Although the present board was not involved in the initial contract, we take our contractual obligations very seriously - and will honor them.
This story isn't just about dollars and cents, it's about job creation, building social capital, and managerial skills for future historic preservation and restoration projects as part of a long term economic development plan.My Opinion: The armchair quarterbacks on the other side of this debate never play the game. They take no initiative, assume no risk, incur no injuries, hold no liability, and shoulder no responsibility. We are proud of the initiative that was taken to acquire the Ison House by both the previous board, the current board, and by the executive director, Kate Dimon.
President, Historic Baker City Inc.
HBC should strive to maintain its high reputation
I was shocked to read Wednesday's editorial! Bank of America agreed to sell the Ison House to HBC for $1, VAOI does not have a right to half this property.
This is only one of a list of issues that has, in the past year or more, been dragging down a fantastic organization that has thrived for over 25 years. As a former business owner in downtown Baker City I personally had been involved with Historic Baker City, Inc. (HBC) for over 10 years. In that time we have seen ups and downs within the organization, but through it all HBC has survived.
We are recognized on a state and national level as a "Performing Main Street," an honor that takes hard work by the HBC program director and the dedicated board of directors. All of Baker City should be proud of this!
I would encourage the current board of directors to pay attention to the importance of maintaining our recognition with the state, and the continuing support to downtown businesses. HBC must maintain a secure source of funding and the board of directors have the responsibility to make sure that happens. The board must also be sure to maintain a good relationship with the city through the city's liaison on your board and honoring the contract between you. And lastly, by guiding the actions of the downtown director in carrying out your goals and objectives each year.
I want to continue to support HBC, but I also want transparency. If the board of directors is choosing to take a different path, I urge you to let us know what that is immediately.
Documentary examines decline of the middle class
A FRONTLINE video documentary titled "Two American Families" aired July 11 on OPB. It's a program of vital importance, because it puts a compelling human face on the devastation caused by growing U.S. economic inequality. It offers a unique, visual record of the resultant decline of the American middle class by following the struggles of two typical families over the past 20 years. I urge all of my fellow readers to view it and then take meaningful action. It is available at: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/two-american-families/
Award-winning journalist Bill Moyers, the producer of the program, says that this is "the defining story of my career, because it's the defining story of what's happened in this country in the last 30 years." The American Dream has been turned on its head. Hard work and dedication no longer hold the promise of a better life for us and for our children.
Off-shoring and automation have eliminated good-paying, family-wage jobs, while output has actually doubled. The profits from this greatly improved productivity have flowed to the top one percent, who pay extremely low taxes, who actively work to shred the social safety net, and who call themselves "job creators." On his or her own, even the most determined among us cannot fight a headwind like this.
Automation offers us escape from mind-numbing, repetitive human toil and drudgery. But, as a nation, we've failed to adopt policies that respond to resultant job elimination, fewer work hours, and stagnating or declining wages. We're condemning increasing millions of us to economic insecurity and lost hope of a decent retirement.
Please watch FRONTLINE's powerful "Two American Families." It's time for vigorous national dialogue and debate and for all of us to work together and with Congress to replace harmful national policies and reinstate the American Dream.