Letters to the Editor for Feb. 15, 2012

By Baker City Herald readers February 16, 2012 12:58 pm

Stop the spending, Baker County

To the editor:

A group of elected and unelected persons recently brought in retired Justice Court judge Larry Cole to lead another tax-and-spend parade in hope of resuscitating our once humble, but now bloated bureaucratic monster called Justice Court, now run by a private Oregon Bar licensed attorney. This has to be a first in this county. For obvious reasons this court can no longer be held in esteem and no longer be called the "People's Court" run by a fine ordinary working man like Mr. Cole who held the position for many years. To pay $50,000 to $100,000 annually (plus a slice of each ticket) for two days' work per week is outrageous and immoral.

Mr. Cole has failed to mention his 1992 participation in the Oregon 2020 Project which unanimously foretold the demise of all Justice Courts. Yet he and the others have suddenly rung the crisis bell and have acknowledged the continued downward trend and they now propose half-time employment and full-time expensive life support in vain. The cash cow is dry. There are no traffic tickets — no money — because Baker County people are sitting at home, no longer able to purchase the gas, the car insurance and the DMV service fees. Also, there is no money because the present judge is collecting full pay while off riding a horse competition in Florida, and by law, the only answer for this is a recall.  

Eight years ago the BCH editor advised Baker County to set aside excess revenues to help in the lean years and those lean years have now arrived. It is time to cut costs. In further hindsight, the $126,000 Christmas bonus previously distributed to county employees might now be seen tantamount to a crime against the productive hard-working families who pay the taxes here. 

Most Oregon counties already operate a satisfactory traffic court in the Circuit Court. Why can't we learn from their experience? Contrary to Mr. Cole's claims, local control and remedies remain intact.  And contrary to Mr. Whitnah's statements, the people need no attorney but can speak for themselves and receive friendly attention as usual in these Circuit Courts.

Peggy Iler

Richland

Wind power isn't cheap at all

To the editor:

Wind power gets 88 times more federal electric subsidies per megawatt hour than either coal or gas, yet returns less than 1 percent of our net electric power generation. Coal returns 44.5 percent; gas returns 23.3 percent. In the real business world, wind would belly-up.

The wind industry is a false market (would not be profitable in the real-world market), is supported by feds (with little risk by wind developers using tax dollars), is protected (wind operators get paid even when there is plentiful power from hydro), and is expensive to consumers (energy bills may quadruple).

Economy is the freedom from extravagance or waste. None of us have the same luxury as the government to operate with a balance sheet in the red. Stop wind funding by contacting Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) and Dave Reichert (R-Wash.) to vote no on H.R. Bill 3307. It is time to quit believing that wind is cheap. 

Judy Price

Baker City

Taking care of our economy, locally

To the editor:

Debbie Poe's letter on Feb. 10 appeared to blame elected officials for the lack of manufacturing jobs providing living wages in Baker County. However, as any decent economist will tell you, the government can do very little to stimulate the economy. Since we tout our free market economy we must understand and abide the rules of that economy. That means we as consumers must know what happens to the dollars we spend.

For example, buying cheap beer instead of a growler of local brew ships the majority of your dollars to an international corporation with headquarters overseas instead of producing local brewery/bottling plant jobs. Why buy a muffin mass produced elsewhere and shipped here when you can buy one locally made? From scratch I might add.

Our elected officials are doing their best and we have to understand that our spending habits will undo their efforts every time if we are not careful what we do with our dollars.

Loran Joseph

Baker City