Letters for the week of Aug. 7 to Aug. 11

August 10, 2006 11:00 pm

Why no answers?

To the editor:

It is unusual that I write to the editor of the Baker City Herald, but I need assistance from the staff of your newspaper. Many people around Baker County are questioning or reacting to rumors about Mountain Valley Mental Health, Inc. When I find myself involved in conversations where I cannot respond to questions, rumors or criticism, it is disconcerting. After more than 40 years actively engaged in community life, I am interested and curious why I seem unable to uncover the well-kept secrets of MVMH.

Having found no answers after asking highly-respected MVMH board members, inquiring within state government and calling newspapers, I am now asking publicly for a thorough look at the issues.

1. Why was the director of 25 years or more suspended for a number of weeks and then returned to another management position?

2. Where have all the employees gone? By my rough count, many experienced, highly-regarded employees have quit or been asked to leave.

Most folks would just conclude that absolutely nothing is wrong. Others might say, "None of your business, Peggi."

I sincerely hope that nothing is wrong. I want to believe in our volunteer management system. It is one of the things that make this country great.

But what then about the rumors of a high-risk psychiatric clinic to be built in Baker City? I called the state director of mental health, but he did not return my call.

People have a right to be informed if this talk is true. We all need details such as where will it be located, what level of mentally-ill patients will be treated and housed, how will security be planned and managed, and who will manage the staff within such a facility?

Maybe this is all rumor. If not, please ensure that the public can give input before proceeding with any possible plans. Why is this such a secret?

In my opinion, many of the items mentioned are more than worthy of local news coverage. That is the crux of this letter. Will your staff give serious attention to this subject?

Peggi Timm

Baker City

Oversight needed

To the editor:

In reflecting upon the Letter to the Editor written by Alice Lentz July 13 entitled "Mental health services healthy?" along with the Editor's Note, I find that I must respond. My concern is that Mountain Valley Mental Health is a private non-profit clinic funded with our tax dollars and yet is not a quasi-public agency and therefore not subject to the state's public records laws. How do we know our tax dollars are being spent and managed in a prudent manner? I'm wondering if the idea of "private non-profit" funded by tax dollars is a proper way to go. Agencies without oversight are bound to serve their own interests.

Let's get straight to the point: without outside oversight and accountability, who are we really serving?

Janis Burgderfer

Baker City

Bush forced a war

To the editor:

Bush, Cheney and Israelis have now forced a hot war, possibly leading to third world war. Be prepared. Bush bullying Iran and North Korea, with no diplomacy, sounds like he is gearing up for another invasion.

No draft, troops deployed into his war of lies are probably more Democrat soldiers. If war escalates, rich Republican young men may have to forego playboy college serving Uncle Sam. Not all get Cheney deferment.

When Republican politicians harp about Democrats, cut and run, America can remember Bush's National Guard service hiding in Houston. We never heard a peep demanding combat. He wasn't smarter than others. Money talks. Daddy's money bags did the talking. I think he's too arrogant to be intelligent.

Exchanging our civil rights, Patriot Act, telephone-bank snooping for phony synthetic Middle East democracy is ridiculous.

Supreme Court ruled Bush tribunals unconstitutional, violated Geneva accords, Justice Department guidelines torturing Guantanamo war prisoners. Recent Guantanamo suicides, G.I.'s murdering Iraqi people, undoubtedly underlying cause for beheading our soldiers for revenge.

Upsetting is that no prison officers have been court-martialed, only lower-ranking personnel. If they didn't know of mistreatment, they shouldn't have been officers. Defense doesn't hold water they were not aware, we army draftees went where we were told to go, did what we were told to do. Little information was concealed from officers. Had they been prosecuted, the lid would have been blown off Bush's barbaric abuse long ago.

It's easy standing on White House soapbox, ranting and raving, backed by Republican congressional majority, but he's a gutless wonder, appointing himself as world ruler.

Congress could do America a big favor impeaching the cowboy, extinguishing further war threats.

I suppose Bill Schneider was warned not to release any more Bush TV polls. I doubt Bush popularity could break 30 percent. Sure miss them!

He is not honest, cannot be trusted, a warmonger, let the history books record record his corrupt governing. Lies, denial, cover-up, fear tactics. Bush couldn't tell the truth if his life depended on it! Keeping an open society in secrecy behind closed doors are the policies of a two-bit dictator.

Ron Chaney

Baker City

Write thank you notes to buyers

To the editor:

The Baker County Fair 4-H/FFA auction is something we have supported for the last few years. The smiles, hugs, handshakes and thank you notes that we have received over the years has made it a rewarding experience. It is that time that you do not receive a thank you that you wonder if the sale participants truly appreciate your support. It is unfortunate that the few minutes that it takes to write a thank you note on something as simple as notebook paper often isn't done.

Sale participants, the buyers are there to support you and recognize your hard work. They are there to provide that so desired financial reward. Take the time to write that thank you. If you see the buyer of your animal, shake their hand and show your appreciation.

It takes an incredible amount of time and effort to organize an event such as the Baker County Fair. Thank you to all of you. You do an awesome job.

Steve and Brigitee Ritch

Baker City

Roadless areas are key for wildlife

To the editor:

There's been a lot of talk lately about Oregon's roadless national forests and why these places are important for all the folks that live in the Portland area. I think it's time we add in a perspective that speaks to those of us who live outside of the big metropolitan center.

For folks who like to hunt, fish and backpack, the question doesn't just land on the quantity of access, but also with quality of access. If we want to maintain quality outdoor experiences in this state, we owe it to ourselves to conserve the backcountry values of the 1.96 million acres of roadless national forests that are currently being debated in Oregon.

These places make up just 12 percent of Oregon's 16.7 million acres of National Forest land, yet provide the most important bighorn, elk, and deer habitat, plus the most productive salmon, steelhead, and trout waters in the state.

It has been repeatedly shown that backcountry areas provide necessary habitat security for big game animals like elk, mule deer, and bighorn sheep. We can't have roads over every ridge and across every mountain if we want to continue to have quality hunting and fishing in Oregon. Critters need places to hide and existing roadless areas, both large and small, are where they are able to do this best.

For example, the Murderers Creek backcountry near the Strawberry Mountains and Lord Flat in the Wallowa Mountains provide extremely important winter range and migration to some of eastern Oregon's largest deer and elk herds as well as outstanding hunting opportunities.

Fortunately, President Bush's administration has provided a mechanism for governors to petition to protect our backcountry.

Sportsmen can go to http://governor.oregon.gov/ and comment directly to support Governor Kulongoski's petition.

Whether you enjoy hunting, angling and backpacking — or just appreciate knowing these places still exist — we all benefit from Oregon's 1.96 million roadless acres. Besides, considering the road maintenance backlog on Oregon's 70,000 miles of existing forest service roads is $664 million, it doesn't make a lot of sense to build new roads when we can't even afford the ones we have.

John Webster

Silverton

Chaney is right

To the editor:

Ron Chaney is my favorite local letter-to-the-editor writer.Chaney's letters, in their pithy, machine gun, rat-a-tat-tat style, deliver a relentlessly consistent anti-Bush, anti-Iraq War message.In this regard Chaney and columnist Charlie Reese are soul-mates.From the very beginning they, and over half of our fellow citizens, have been against the U. S. invasion of Iraq and continuing presence there.

Now the other half of the country, including Congress, which voted almost unanimously in support of Bush's War, is beginning to see the wisdom in the first President Bush's withdrawal from Iraq after having driven the Iraqi army out of Kuwait during Operation Desert Storm.

The other half of the country is beginning to see that Bush, in attempting to impose democracy on a country with no democratic traditions, has gotten this country, and more specifically its valiant military troops, mired down in a completely predictable civil war in Iraq, with the result that international polls show that Bush is the most hated man in the world and the United States considered the most dangerous country.

The most visible sign of swelling anti-Iraq War sentiment is Sen. Lieberman's defeat Tuesday in the Connecticut Democratic primary.

The cost of the Iraq War is staggering, adding to an unprecedented national debt accumulated entirely during the Bush administration. In 2003, the average monthly war expenditures in Iraq were about $4 billion; in 2004 we spent $5 billion a month; in 2005 $6 billion; and today $8 billion. If the U. S. had been spending that money on homeland security, we might actually have something that lives up to the name.

And, as if the U. S. has not made itself enough of a target for Muslim rage world-wide, Bush condones Israel's indiscriminant slaughter of Lebanese civilians and destruction of much of that country's infrastructure, using its U. S.-supplied overwhelming military might.

Bush and Congress should have listened to the majority of U. S. citizens and universal world opinion. Future historians may point to U. S. actions in the Middle East as having triggered World War III.

Gary Dielman

Baker City

Enforce the existing laws

To the editor:

The new police chief has big plans for Baker City, but I'm a bit confused.

We have a leash law, so dogs can't run loose. We also have an ordinance against dogs in the park.

Rude behavior should get people kicked out of public areas whether it comes from kids or adults. Profanity and loud music fall into the rude behavior category. Foul language might be free speech, but speak it elsewhere! Turn music down or wear headphones. Concerts and street dances are a problem when it sounds like they're in my back yard instead of across town! Buying a permit from the city doesn't mean we all want to hear it up close and personal!

Illegal weapons are already illegal. Unsafe actions may be dangerous and stupid, but not necessarily illegal. It isn't illegal to be stupid or rude. If it was, they would lock up a bunch of us.

Alcoholic beverages are already regulated. The park is not a campground, so homeless people should be removed. Littering is against the law already.

Just enforcing the current laws will solve 99.99 percent of our problems without looking for problems that don't exist. If there are real problems that need to be corrected, then propose a new law to the City Council.

Crosswalk safety, speed limits, seat belt laws and every other law pertains to all of us including those in law enforcement. Drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians all have to obey the rules of the road, believe it or not. Stop signs mean stop, not a slow roll through.

Crosswalks are for people walking, even if they have a bike. Ride bicycles with the normal flow of traffic even in a bike lane. Walk on the sidewalk not down the middle of the street. Parking spaces are for parking, not a turning lane for impatient people.

And yes I am feeling cranky!

Jim Thomas

Baker City

Cargo condos for all

To the editor:

There was a news story on Lou Dobbs Tonight that I think really defines the way America is going. As most people know, the United States runs a trade deficit. It has since the first trade agreement was signed over 30 years ago. Since NAFTA was passed, we have run a $3.5 trillion deficit with those trading partners. But China is the real story. Chinese goods come in ocean containers. This year we will add another $200 billion to that near $1 trillion deficit and supply money to China so they can supply missiles to Iran, so Iran can supply missiles to Syria, so Syria can supply them to Hezbollah in Lebanon, so we can supply F-16s and Apache helicopters to Israel and drive up the cost of oil because China is industrializing because of Wal-Mart. Then we can rebuild Lebanon. Oh, well, we got the bucks because we saved it by shopping at Wal-Mart. We do need $2 billion a day of foreign investment to finance the deficits with, though.

The news story I mentioned said that for every five of those cargo containers that come into this country, only one goes back to China. They are being piled so high that in some cities sundown comes an hour earlier. They are plentiful, so some architects have begun designing condos out of them. They don't look that bad, but I think the awnings should be blue tarps. That way they would reflect the new plebian/poor/rednecks culture the elites think we are, instead of the middle class we used to be.

Personally, I think those blue tarps should have crossed rifles on them, just to remind our globalist friends who seem hellbent on selling America to the highest bidder that things change — either by ballot or bullet. It might make a good flag.

Those cargo condos are especially good for Oregon, the state that has zoned 97 percent of the land outside of an urban growth boundary as open space, 160 acres for farm and 320 for land a cow can't survive on. Your children and grandchildren have a bright urban future because of artificially high land prices, but the new condos will make a nice view for the newly arrived rich from other states to look down on from their ridgetop castles. We got to build up, not out. City life for all, no ponies for the kids. Cargo condos are the wave of the future.

Steve Culley

Baker City