Jayson Jacoby
The Baker City Herald

Worried about extending authority of executive branch

Concerning the guest editorial from Bend of July 15 about the unconstitutionality of Obama's decision to extend the employer's compliance with the employee insurance from 2014 to 2015. It is a valid point because the executive branch does not have authority to change a law passed by the legislative branch. Unfortunately for those opposed to Obamacare, the Health Care Bill contains a provision giving authority to the Secretary to make whatever decisions of an administrative nature necessary to facilitate the gathering of information for the implementation of the bill.

My thought immediately turned to the Secretary's authority to require each citizen to have a microchip embedded containing all their health information. If these were ever required, I would take it as a mark of the beast described in Revelation, and would die rather than have it implanted. But it is no stretch of this law to allow the executive branch to set back a time limit. As the saying goes, the devil is in the details.

This present issue of unconstitutionality might well be used to raise the issue of requiring each proposed bill to be read aloud before being voted on in both houses as the founding fathers required for a good reason.

Suzanne Kahle

Baker City

Sen. Merkley is one reason to be proud of Oregon

Exchanging emails recently about politics in our stateswith my cousin made me very glad I was living in Oregon, not Ohio! I suggested he might want to move to Oregon - not very likely since he is assistant district attorney in Licking County, Ohio.

Jeff Merkley is one reason to be proud to be an Oregonian.The Oregonian described the session when Merkley was Speaker of the Oregon Senate "as the most productive in a generation."

He has continued to use his savvy, focused approach in the U.S. Senate - using common sense solutions to solve problems and to create opportunities. He has attracted national attention as he leads the fight to fix the Senate rules and to end the silent filibuster.

2014 - when Merkley has to run again - will be here before we know it!

Maryalys Urey

Baker City

Minimum wage laws can harm teenagers

In a recent letter to the editor, one of our local professional Democrats expressed concern about income inequality. This is ironic, as one of the policies Democrats have strongly supported over the years is the direct cause of great income inequality, one particularly burdensome to blacks - minimum wage laws.

Noted economist Walter E. Williams, himself a black man, explains how this works. There are some basic work skills which are necessary for success in any job: 1) Show up for work on time every day; 2) do the work you're paid to do to the best of your ability; and 3) show respect to your supervisor, your fellow workers, and to the general public. Teenagers tend not to have these basic skills yet, especially black teenagers raised in the chaos of our inner city ghettos.

Now these basic skills are best learned on the job. But given a choice between two people, one of whom has those basic job skills and one who does not, employers will naturally hire the former person. However, if employers could offer the latter person a job at a reduced salary, they often would hire that person, but they are forbidden by law to do so. So these supposedly beneficial laws actually freeze black teenagers out of the job market. Every time the minimum wage is jacked up, black teenage unemployment significantly increases. Teenage blacks who never do learn the basic job skills become adults who are virtually unemployable. For this reason, Nobel laureate economist Milton Friedman called minimum wage laws the most anti-black laws on the books.

Now these laws were passed and continue to have broad support for the best of intentions, but as the old saying goes, "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions." Defenders of minimum wage laws state that it is almost impossible for someone to survive who works at that wage. True, but we're not talking about breadwinners here, rather teenagers living at home, looking for their first job, but who are priced out of the job market by minimum wage laws.

Pete Sundin

Baker City

Astounded paper would publish personal attack

Holy cow! I am just plain astounded that you would publish a letter to the editor with such blatant ad hominem attacks on another person as you did with the letter from Gary Dielman. I've worked for newspapers in the past and I believe you owe Jerry Boyd an apology. Hopefully this was just something that slipped through.

Kay Stark

Richland, Wash.

Ison House deal was beyond HBC board's control

Had I been "asleep at the wheel" while on the board of HBC, I might feel some responsibility for what happened last winter. My version is that I was in the back seat of a defective car with the gas pedal stuck and the steering wheel encased in cement.

Sometimes, opinions offered as "facts" add to the confusion rather than clear the air.

Claim: "HBC and VAOI were not the only entities involved, as ... the Ison House was going up for bid ..." Could have been, but never was. No competitors were involved. The property was donated to HBC for the nominal sum of $1. Give credit to Kate Dimon.

Claim: "VAOI was willing to put up $40,000 for the bid, HBC was willing to put up $0." That statement is confused. There was no bid process. The money was not about "bidding."The board wasn't asked and didn't refuse to raise or give money. Could HBC have found funding to pay the simple closing costs without VAOI? Yes, and quickly. Adequate restoration funding maybe less quickly, but I believe we could have done it.

Claim: "VAOI and HBC decided to partner from the beginning." No, actually, the VAOI partnership proposal wasn't brought to the HBC board for approval until the January 2013 board meeting. Before that, individual board members had few details and didn't know the proposed partnership would affect ownership. Kate's rationale for the proposal was that VAOI would cover half the cost of restoration, "up to" $40,000 for materials and services. The board tabled the partnership proposal because of the property transfer issue. Verbal commitments had been made without authority between Kate and VAOI. Kate later signed a deed, also without authority. The partnership proposal was approved by the board after that.

In my opinion, the HBC board's failing was to try to make everything "nice" and approve, after the fact, what Kate had done. Give credit to each where credit is due.

Whether the property division was a "shrewd" or "very bad" business deal seems to be a matter of opinion. Take your pick.

Clair Button

Former HBC board member

Baker City