Letters to the Editor for April 25, 2012

By Baker City Herald readers April 25, 2012 09:30 am

Duman for Justice of the Peace

To the editor:

I am writing to encourage you to vote for Gail Duman for Justice of the Peace, Baker County. Gail has helped to lead our community as a City Councilor, as a Baker City Budget Committee member, and as the Historic District Design Review Commission Chair. In addition, she has given countless hours of volunteer time and resources to Historic Baker City, to our public schools, and to raising money for the Billie Ruth Bootsma Foundation. Gail is capable of making tough decisions. I know her to be careful, efficient, and fair. Please vote for Gail Duman for Justice of the Peace.

Kata Bulinski

Baker City

Thanks to anonymous helpers

To the editor:

We ladies would like to say a big thank you to the gentlemen who came to our rescue and pulled our car back on the road when the heavy spot of rain obliterated the turn lines on the approach to Pocahontas Road off 10th Street and caused us to go a bit past and we were stuck in the ditch.

We didn’t learn the men’s names but hope they know how their help was appreciated.

Mrs. A.M. Walter

Baker City

Firewood cutting is good for the forest

To the editor:

My father, Charles Colton, was a sheep man who ran sheep in the Wallowa Mountains for many years. He and his brother, George, were only 9 and 11 years old when they were entrusted with two bands of sheep (before child labor laws).

The Indians taught these boys a lot about conservation, one being how to set fires that would sweep through the forest and not harm the trees. This kept the forest floor clean and free of debris. At that time, the early 1900s, the Forest Service had very few supervisors and these people worked with the sheep men and cattlemen. I believe it was called the Taylor Grazing Act that established allotments to the stockman for the range, this seemed to work very well as they were all good conservationists. Then Washington, D.C., thought they knew a lot more about our country than we did, so under their management the fallen trees and debris began to pile up, making a perfect breeding place for bugs and pests and lots of fuel for forest fires.

Now they are trying to close our roads, taking away our way of life, which we citizens of Eastern Oregon enjoy and need for getting firewood and recreation. If a fire gets started now, it will have free reign, as many of the roads will be blocked. We may not have to fight over roads being closed, because there will be no forest left. Quite frankly, I think the Forest Service should welcome the wood gatherers and others like hunters and other visitors to the woods. It would help keep down the criminal activity, like the marijuana growers.

Pat Culley

Baker City

Williams has proven himself

To the editor:

This letter is being written in support of the candidacy of Don Williams for the position of Justice of the Peace for Baker County. I have had the pleasure of knowing Don for a number of years now since he relocated to the Baker area when he accepted the position as director of the Baker County Juvenile Department.

Following this assignment, Don accepted a position as manager for the operations of the local office of Services for Children and Families with the Department of Human Resources. Don performed admirably in both of these positions as the record will certainly attest to. Youth and families in the county were well served during his tenure at the helm of these entities.

Don then took a position as program services manager at the Powder River Correctional Facility where I was working as superintendent. I had the distinct pleasure of working directly with Don for a number of years before he retired from state service and then took a position with New Directions Northwest at the correctional facility as the manager of the alcohol and drug treatment program. As his supervisor while he was at the correctional facility, I can certainly speak directly to Don’s work ethic, commitment to service and quality of performance. It was just outstanding.

Since that time, Don has been serving as one of the interim judges at the Justice Court. Don’s work experience in Baker County over the years coupled with his experience as a Justice Court judge uniquely qualifies him for this position. So, as you go to the polls to elect a new Justice of the Peace, I would urge you to cast your vote for someone who has a variety of experiences in our county and has proven himself over and over again as a public servant ... let’s elect Don Williams.

Dan Johnson

Baker City

Preserve forest access for all users

To the editor:

Last Tuesday the supervisor of the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest withdrew the travel management plan. One of the reasons cited was “a good bit of confusion.”

Who was confused? As the president of a group of concerned citizens, Forest Access for All, we had 6,000+ forest users sign petitions asking the USFS to leave all access to the Wallowa-Whitman open. In talking with many of the petitioners, I heard no confusion from any of them. They foresaw the devastating, long-term effects that forest road closures of any kind would have on their camping, hunting, ATVing, fishing, woodcutting, berry picking, mushrooming and a whole host of other activities. I can see severe economic consequences for the counties also.

There has been an effort by the USFS to use numbers and miles to smokescreen the actual devastation that is slated to take place. We are not particularly concerned about the math on the road closures, we flat don’t want any roads closed, but if that is not possible, we at least want input on the final outcome of the road closures. I suspect that we are being treated like a sick child — open wide, this will taste great!

Another disturbing part of the TMP withdrawal was a statement that private landowners would still have access to their cabins, miners could access their claims, and grazing permit holders would retain access in allotments. How are these individuals going to access their properties? By foot, by horseback, by bicycle? Well, we just don’t know, do we? Furthermore, we are not told.

A group of concerned citizens, myself included, worked long and hard to develop an equitable forest travel plan. Was our plan even considered? Absolutely not! So, is there a hidden agenda here? We are cautiously optimistic that the withdrawal of the TMP is the right thing. We are also prepared to take whatever action we deem necessary to preserve our right for all people, not just a few, to access and use forest land.

Allan Chase

President, Forest Access for All

Union