Letters to the Editor for Aug. 24, 2011

By Baker City Herald Readers August 24, 2011 09:25 pm

Look back for brighter future
To the editor:
I’m writing to applaud and second your confidence in American ingenuity to solve our major problems (your op-ed on “Political Ambivalence,” Aug. 12). In my experience, we can achieve excellent results if we challenge ourselves to spend the time and effort to arrive at solutions which meet everyone’s needs. We are that good!
And I believe that government is the best vehicle for this. Your op-ed seems to suggest that freedom and government are opposites. But my experience tells me otherwise. What I’ve seen is that the opposite of government by the people is government by an oligarchy of the wealthy and powerful — basically, what we have today — where the rules are set by an elite few with little accountability or concern for the common good.
When I was born, Franklin D. Roosevelt was president. The country was still recovering from the Great Depression, which had been triggered by unregulated speculation and extreme inequality of wealth. Under Roosevelt, the top marginal income tax rate rose to 80 percent, resulting in relative equality. The top rate increased to 90 percent in the 1950s under Republican Dwight Eisenhower, and middle-class prosperity surged. The wealthy were unhappy, but the economy thrived. Government was on our side.
But, now we’ve come full circle. Starting with Reagan, the scales began tipping. Reagan fired the air traffic controllers, and the race to the bottom began. Good-paying jobs were automated, shipped offshore, and de-unionized. Corporations were de-regulated. Middle-class wages stagnated. Almost all new profits flowed to the politically influential top elite who enjoyed ever-lower tax rates, while continuing to claw back our remaining protections. Unregulated multinational corporations brought us ever more devastating economic recessions and environmental disasters. We went from one-earner households with savings accounts, to two-income households (if you can find work) burdened by debt.
I’m not a bit ambivalent about government and politics. Our collective genius can still make things right. We can reverse the wreckage of the past 30 years and give future generations a decent shot at a fulfilling life. I’ve been there and seen it happen. Let’s join together and do it again.
Marshall McComb
Baker City


I do support burying utilities
To the editor:
Please refer to the Baker City Herald newspaper article of Wednesday, Aug. 17, “Officials discuss possible Resort Street project.” I am misquoted in this article.
The fact is, as a Resort Street property owner, I am in favor of forming an LID and burying the utilities on Resort Street, even if the price is substantially higher than the hoped for $71.50 per linear foot.
Bob Haynes
Baker City


Loved the tennis, and the town
To the editor:
Baker City is a wonderful place to visit. Since the summer of 1998 I have been coming here mainly to play tennis in tournaments on the grass courts. This is an unique and enjoyable experience. Everywhere one goes the people are friendly and accommodating — those who run the tournaments, the players and our supporters, at the motels, restaurants, museums, sight seeing or shopping.
The historic buildings are magnificent — I stayed an extra night so I could attend St. Francis De Sales Cathedral on Sunday — what an awesome, inspirational edifice. I was told that the First Presbyterian church is also beautiful. (Yes, I know that there are a few shabby looking homes but most are well-kept and the older ones are a sight to behold.)
The Saturday tournament was a successful fund raiser for breast cancer. Thanks to those folks who put it together and to those who participated. Also, I see in your Visitors Guide that you give directions to the hard courts at the high school. One can find hard courts most anywhere.  Nothing was said about the grass courts — Baker City is the home of the only grass courts in the western United States!
Our thanks to the original owners Sandy and Borden Granger, George Burns of SAGA (Save the Grass Courts Association) and to the present owner Don McClure. I’ll be back next month for more tournament play on the grass courts.
Betty Yaden
Kennewick, Wash.