Letters to the Editor for July 8, 2011

By Baker City Herald Readers July 08, 2011 06:19 pm

Sen. Wyden a good public servant
To the editor:
Public service is an honorable profession. It is also an extremely difficult one, especially if the public servant is an elected official. If he is elected by a majority of 51 percent he is still required to represent the wishes and needs of the 49 percent who disagree with him whatever their reasons might be.
An employee needs to know the basic skills of his job and to please his employer; a doctor needs to know about the human body and mind and help his patient’s health problems as much as possible; a lawyer needs to know about the laws pertaining to his client’s problem and to promote his interests; a politician is expected to know everything about running the government and everything else, and to promote the well being of all the people he represents no matter how much they disagree with each other.
An employee, if dissatisfied, can look for another job; a doctor whose patient thinks he has done harm has the protection of malpractice insurance; a lawyer can refuse to accept a client; an elected public official does not have these options and he needs to be able to withstand being repeatedly maligned, to expect being intensely scrutinized in all his activities past and present, public and private, to be frequently blamed and seldom rewarded, to have the tongue of an angel and the hide of a rhinoceros. How many of us are capable of doing this?
Doctors, lawyers and politicians are mostly good but a few are not. I think Senator Wyden is a good public servant. Let us remember that we hired him with our votes and those who failed to vote helped us to hire him, by not voting for someone else.
Miriam “Gus” Aschim

Council was right on parking spaces
To the editor:
After reading all the articles with regard to supposed public safety issues involving some parking places at the In & Out Drive-In, I finally drove by that business to see for myself what the fuss was about. After seeing for myself what was involved I have to say that I totally agree with the decision by city council. And I might add that I agree with the remarks made by Commissioner Beverly Calder in today’s paper with regard to an editorial written last week by the Herald.
It seems to me that even as a pedestrian, a person has a certain amount of responsibility to be cognizant of what is going on around them, and help prevent accidents as well as a driver of a motor vehicle.  To those commissioners who found that the parking situation at the In & Out was a grave concern for public safety, I would have to ask, how is that any more dangerous to public safety than backing out of a parking spot at Safeway, Albertsons, Bi-Mart, Rite-Aid or any other parking lot in this city. How is it any more hazardous to public safety than the angled parking on some streets in town that almost prevent a motorist from seeing if the intersection is safe to pass through or not.  How about the Ford dealership in town.  Wouldn’t backing out of the parking there into traffic lanes constitute a public safety?
It just seems apparent to me that someone didn’t get “their way” on this and that’s what all the hollering is about. City Council made the right decision. Let’s just leave it at that.
Jim Scott
Baker City

Councilor disagrees on purpose of minutes

To the editor:
Councilor Beverly Calder is wrong about the purpose of minutes of a public meeting. It is apparently her belief that if a speaker is “of order” the minutes must omit whatever statement was made.  That is not so.
Oregon law requires that the minutes “give a true reflection of the matters discussed at the meeting and the views of the participants.” As used in the statute, the word “participants” includes Assistant Public Works Director Gary Van Patten, the gentleman to whom Ms. Calder attributes the “outburst.”
Mr. Van Patten spoke quietly as he always does. (Anyone who knows him would doubt his capacity for outburst.) He did not speak out of order. He spoke usefully and knowledgeably.
Milo Pope
City Councilor
Baker City