Jayson Jacoby
The Baker City Herald

Ison House deal is no mistake

By David Dimon

Editor's note: The author is the husband of HBC program director Kate Dimon.

This letter is in response to the Baker City Herald editorial "HBC's deal a bad one." I am not affiliated with either Historic Baker City, Inc., or with Veteran Advocates of Ore-Ida, but I am very familiar with both entities. I am writing this letter because I have detailed knowledge of how the Ison House deal went down. I am not afraid to step on any toes or feel the need to remain politically correct.

I feel that it would have proven advantageous to the editor to perform due diligence and actually communicate with the parties involved, instead of relying on a brief phone call from Clair Button. A modicum of journalistic integrity would have required some fact-checking before printing this editorial. Why hasn't anyone from the newspaper even contacted VAOI about the Ison House deal?

FACT:The $1 purchase price for the Ison House from Bank of America wasachieved well into the bid process. That's right, this process started with cash bidding.

HBC and VAOI were not the only entities involved, as Bank of America stated in the newspaper that they were closing the Baker City branch office and that the Ison House was going up for bid. Anyone could have joined in. Outside ofVAOI and HBC, interest from the community and other entities was virtually nonexistent. VAOI was willing to put up $40,000 for the bid, HBC was willing to put up $0. Deciding to work together with VAOI was a very shrewd business decision, and the partnership has proven very beneficial for the citizens and the veterans in Baker City.

andbull; FACT:VAOI and HBC decided to partner from the beginning. VAOI did not swoop in at the last minute to steal 50 percent of the Ison House just for the measly sum of half the closing costs.

andbull; FACT: There was no "winning the lottery" involved here. A tremendous amount of work by HBC director Kate Dimon and by VAOI resulted in a sizable donation from Bank of America. I guess that greed has blinded the editor to the fact that HBC just received the largest donation in its history. $160,000 not good enough?

We want it all! Reminds me of the story of The Little Red Hen: no one is willing to help work, but boy, everyone is willing to reap the benefits andhellip; Oh, and next time, work harder little red hen, we're hungry! No, you are doing it wrong little red hen!

FACT: Bank of America required zero leakage of information to the press about the Ison House deal prior to the deal closing. Any leakage whatsoever would have resulted in immediate termination of the deal.

FACT:Clair Button has been waging a personal vendetta against Kate Dimon and VAOI for the last six months. This fact is incontrovertible. When asked just exactly what he wanted, he has admitted in public, "I want her gone." He has done everything in his power to undermine HBC, including having this editorial published. I guess that remaining asleep at the wheel during his tenure as a non-elected board member of HBC allows him to tirelessly wage war over an issue that ended in a result that displeased King Clair.

So, here we have a house that is in disrepair and would never come close to selling for $200,000, let alone $320,000. The people of Baker City have an opportunity to join in and add value to a property that will benefit all in the city.

So far, help has not been forthcoming, except from VAOI and the local veterans.Was it a mistake to allocate 50 percent of the Ison House to VAOI? Yes, it was. VAOI should have received 100 percent of the Ison House. Put THAT in your pipe and smoke it, dear editor and Clair Button!

If Americans don't speak up, they could lose liberty

Recently my friend, Jane, asked me why I had stopped writing letters to the editor. I told her that things were too disheartening. Or some other lame excuse. Then I recalled the words of the Irish statesman, Edmund Burke: "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." Maybe if I voice my opinion, I hoped, others will begin to react.

Such an avalanche of scandals we've witnessed: Fast and Furious. The debacle at Benghazi. The mass killings at Sandy Hook. The James Rosen investigation; including his parents. The IRS targeting various political groups and contributors. The NSA collecting data on citizens.

The latest is most serious, the revelation that the NSA has been involved in data mining the activities of individuals and groups by collecting records of their telephone and Internet communications and erecting a gigantic structure in Utah to house the information. The response of NSA officials has been that no privacy rights have been violated in this collection of data. Coincidentally, I have read rumors that Mosques, themselves potential jihadist training centers, have been excluded from such data mining. This collection of spy data, if it hasn't already, can be used to deprive US citizens of the liberty guaranteed by our Constitution.

Wake up Americans! None of these scandals seems to have much importance as a single entity, but when you look at the aggregate, something should cause a light to go on. Fast and Furious: unfettered Legal System. Department of State: accountable to whom? Sandy Hook: laws restricting individuals' Second Amendment rights. James Rosen case: violations of privacy and freedom of the press? IRS targeting: failure to abide by standards of impartiality. NSA data mining: violation of Fourth Amendment rights of citizens.

The combination could mean that creeping Socialism is gaining traction and is beginning to walk. Write to or call your Congresspersons and Senators. Tell them that you are concerned, if you are, about the deterioration of your rights and freedoms; your very Liberty. Or . . . do nothing and lose.

Robert Heriza

Baker City