Chris Collins
The Baker City Herald

Candidates show where they stand on basic issues

As a Baker voter, I believe we need to understand the candidate's position on some basic questions. Here are the results of the Oregon Family Council Voters Guide Candidate Survey.

Candidates were asked to provide a "support" or "oppose" answer, reflecting the kind of response they must ultimately provide as an election official.

Life: Would you support or oppose an Oregon law restricting abortion with exceptions only for rape, incest, and when the life of the mother is at risk? Bill Harvey (Support) Dick Fleming (Support) Mark Bennett (Support) Greg Stackle (Support) Fred Warner (Declined to Answer).

Gambling: Would you support or oppose off-reservation and private casinos? Bill Harvey (Oppose) Dick Fleming (Oppose) Mark Bennett (Oppose) Fred Warner (Declined to Answer) Greg Stackle (Declined to Answer).

Zoning: Do you support or oppose zoning laws allowing governments to prohibit adult businesses from locating near residential neighborhoods, schools, or day care facilities? Bill Harvey (Support) Dick Fleming (Support) Mark Bennett (Support) Fred Warner (Declined to Answer) Greg Stackle (Declined to Answer).

Marriage: Would you support or oppose overturning current law defining marriage as only between one man, one woman? Bill Harvey (Oppose) Dick Fleming (Oppose) Mark Bennett (Oppose) Greg Stackle (Oppose) Fred Warner (Declined to Answer).

Religion: Would you support or oppose including religious exemptions in legislation to prevent restrictions of religious freedom? Bill Harvey (Support) Dick Fleming (Support) Mark Bennett (Support) Fred Warner (Declined to Answer) Greg Stackle (Declined to Answer).

Marijuana: Would you support or oppose marijuana becoming legally available to the general public in Oregon? Bill Harvey (Oppose) Dick Fleming (Oppose) Mark Bennett (Oppose) Greg Stackle (Support) Fred Warner (Declined to Answer).

Education: Would you support or oppose open enrollment in online charter schools in Oregon? Bill Harvey (Support) Dick Fleming (Support) Mark Bennett (Support) Fred Warner (Declined to Answer) Greg Stackle (Declined to Answer).

Taxes: Do you support or oppose the existing law that requires the state to return over-collected taxes to individual taxpayers? Bill Harvey (Support) Dick Fleming (Support) Mark Bennett (Support) Fred Warner (Declined to Answer) Greg Stackle (Declined to Answer)

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Richard Wood

Baker City

Fred has the experience needed by commission chair

I would like to encourage people to vote for Fred Warner Jr. for Baker County Commission Chair. I have known Fred and his family for many years.

The family has been in the livestock business in Baker Valley since 1866. I have dealt with him on both a business and personal basis many times.

He is a solid and hard-working individual. As a former County Judge, I know his almost 12 years in county government have given him the experience, the contacts and the personal relationships with other government officials that are necessary in the political world.

Fred has the persistence and the never-give-up attitude so vital in his role as a County Commissioner. Please join me in voting for Fred Warner Jr. for Baker County Commission Chair.

Ralph Ward

Baker City

Benghazi 'disaster' shows need for leadership changes

There is a lot of static about the disaster at Benghazi. They argue about what caused the attack and who caused it.

There is only one incontrovertible fact about Benghazi. There was an attack. There is no doubt about that fact. The other very obvious fact is that nothing was ever done about it!

What should have been done? There should have been an immediate response, no quibbling about it. This is a no-brainer. The embassy is ours. What to do? This is also a no-brainer. It should have been military. It should have been immediate.

We have several military units stationed nearby. It was said that they were one hour away. Some fighter planes should have been sent and told to go at top speed.

And what to do when they get there? They probably would not have been able to strafe or bomb, but they could make low passes over the site and, if possible, create some sonic booms. This much noise would likely frighten off the attackers or at least slow them down.

There should have been plenty of time for this because the attack went on for hours. Some reinforcements then could have been sent in, even ground troops.

But what happened? The two leaders most responsible did worse than nothing. Obama quickly took off for Las Vegas for a fundraiser. Hilary quickly took off for Australia and stayed for a long time.

These two leaders obtained their leadership positions by talking their way into their jobs. But neither one has ever shown leadership capability and it was totally absent on the Benghazi disaster.

What to do? We need some leadership changes!

Carl Kostol

Baker City

Fred is professional, knowledgeable

As the primary election is thankfully winding down, I have decided to remove myself from my comfort zone and write a statement about why I support Fred Warner Jr. for re-election as Baker County Commission Chairman.

After completing my 36-year career at the Baker County Road Department and working for six different county judges/commission chairs, I believe I have a good knowledge of the complex tasks required of the commission chair position.

It is my opinion that Fred has done an excellent job taking on these tasks in a professional, knowledgeable manner.

The re-election of Fred Warner will allow him the ability to continue to guide and work with his fellow commissioners, providing Baker County with a local government that is service-oriented, responsive, fiscally solvent, and working toward utilization of our natural resources.

Maintaining our rural heritage and everything that makes our county such a special place in the world is of utmost importance to him.

Please join me in voting for Fred Warner Jr. for Baker County Commission Chair.

Ken Helgerson

Baker City

No leadership change needed in Baker County Commission

We read the letters suggesting a change is needed in Baker County leadership. Why?

Since elected, Fred Warner has made sure our budgets are balanced. He has consolidated staff. Under his leadership, County departments run well and are extremely professional. He has had many successes on natural resource issues. He has not spent our tax dollars on no-win lawsuits. With Fred, we already have a strong and respected leader out front on state and federal issues that impact Baker County.

Fred Warner has done what a good Baker County Chair does - he has been an excellent manager of all the county's business. Why would we change that?

We understand frustration with state and federal leaders. But to support change just for the sake of change is wrong. And in the case of the County Chair's race, we believe the change could set us back.

We are Republicans who voted for Fred because he gets the job done. That is why we are again proud to support Fred Warner Jr. for County Chair.

Ralph and Myrna Morgan

Bowen Valley

Martha Jane Spratling


Editorial should have acknowledged both sides

In your May 7 editorial, you point out that recently the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 that sectarian prayer at government meetings is constitutional. You quote from Justice Anthony Kennedy's majority opinion.

You end your editorial with the hope that locally the "topic remains in the background."

Well, I would not be coming out of the background with this letter, if your editorial had quoted Justice Elena Kagan, who wrote the minority opinion. Justice Kagan wrote:

"When the citizens of this country approach their government, they do so only as Americans, not as members of one faith or another. And that means that even in a partly legislative body, they should not confront government-sponsored worship that divides them along religious lines."

Considering how close the Court's opinion was, an editorial acknowledging the other side of the argument would have been appropriate and expected.

Gary Dielman

Baker City

Fred is the candidate who can take this county forward

This is no time to change the county administrative officer. Fred Warner has created a professional group of employees who strive to give first-class service. The workforce is lean, but extremely productive and responsive to the public.

Fred has already shown the way on keeping roads open. His work on RS 2477 law has proven that the USFS respects the procedure as demonstrated by the opening of the road on Dooley Mountain, and the statement in the newspaper that the Powder River road to Cracker Creek would stay open. The Oregon Supreme Court also agreed, and established the Conner Creek road as an RS 2477 road.

Fred is perhaps one of the most talented and intelligent managers I've ever had the pleasure to work with. He is capable of keeping a number of "balls in the air" that are ongoing county projects or concerns. Fred not only is knowledgeable in natural resources issues, but has a full grasp of all of the other responsibilities of county governance.

Fred's approach of using solid fact and not burning bridges has made solid progress for Baker County. Fred builds coalitions, he does not destroy them.

His opponents' slogans of taking the county in a different direction reminds me of the "hope and change" promises of a different political leader.

Fred Warner Jr. is the candidate who can solve our problems and take this County forward. I urge you to join with me and vote for Fred Warner Jr. for Baker County Chair.

Tim L. Kerns


Baker County will continue to thrive with Warner

Fred Warner does not build houses! Fred Warner builds relationships and coordinates with all entitles of government effectively!

Education and years of experience give him the wisdom and knowledge to lead successfully. Success breeds stability.

We have experienced a stable county government with a balanced budget these past 12 years. Serving on several committees with Fred has given me the ability to directly work with him. Baker County will continue to thrive with Fred Warner as County Chair.

PROVEN over the years to serve with:

1. AMAZING leadership.

2. OUTSTANDING integrity.

3. RESPECT for all people of Baker County.

4. COMMITMENT to the success, health and well-being of Baker County and residents.

5. LOYAL and HONEST leadership abilities to balance the budget for 12 years!

Thank you Fred for your unwavering and continued successful service to Baker county.

I'm honored to give my full support for another term to Fred Warner Jr. for Baker County Chair.

Carole Webb

Baker City