Won't come back to Baker City? Good

April 14, 2008 12:00 am

To the editor:

Regarding Marylee Norick's April 8 letter: My husband and I found your letter to be extremely ignorant, offensive, and arrogant. Your oversimplified assessment concluded that our neighborhoods are filled with "street after street with yards of trash, old furniture, and wrecked cars" and you summarized that Baker City "is not a place that we could consider moving to, telling our friends about or even visiting again."

We find it highly ironic that you live in a city with the highest median household income ($74,000) and one of the lowest poverty rates (9 percent in Santa Clara County) in the U.S. Please compare these figures to the rural poverty of Baker County, where the median income is $32,500 and the poverty rate is 18.9 percent.

Is it starting to make sense from your affluent perspective why certain residents in Baker City can't afford to tow their disabled vehicles off their residence or discard old furniture into the junkyard? If it isn't clear, read the works of Robert Reich, Michael Harrington, Howard Zinn, Jonathon Kozol, and Michael Parenti. These authors will provide you with a thorough understanding of the complexities of poverty in America.

You write that San Jose is a "clean" place to live. Do you ever drive in the comfort of your luxury vehicle to some of the dirtier (aka poorer) areas of San Jose? Despite what you imply, they do exist. I'm just guessing that you don't enter those neighborhoods of your city.

I am surprised that you have traveled to several continents and not experienced the "shock" of refuse that is the result of poverty. In our international travels, we have found that poverty exists everywhere. Perhaps we do not travel to the same places as you, or perhaps we have a difference in understanding of the socioeconomic impact that poverty can have on a place, even a place of beauty.

We are hopeful that you will honor your statement that you, your husband and your friends will never visit Baker City again. Your attitude and ignorance is worse than any visual blight that could scar our town.

Heather and Pat Heriza