Letters to the Editor for Nov. 21, 2012

By Baker City Herald readers November 21, 2012 08:47 am

Thanks to all who helped; vote yes on the recall

With the school board recall election set for Dec. 11, I’d like to send a huge thank you out to the over 30 circulators who helped gather signatures, the more than 1,000 5J patrons who signed our petitions, and the hundreds more who’ve told us they’re ready to vote for the recall even though they weren’t in a position to sign the petition.

Ballots will hit mailboxes Nov. 23 and 24. This recall is about the right of local voters to choose whether Mark Henderson and Lynne Burroughs remain in office, and whether they should continue to be allowed to affect the environment in which our children are educated. Please read the statements on the ballot outlining our reasons demanding their recall, and read their statements of justification carefully. You’ll notice their statements deflect 5J patrons away from the issues at hand – they don’t address them.

Burroughs and Henderson have left quite a path of destruction in their wake. They’ve subjected the District to legal liability by wrongfully punishing another elected Board member. They disenfranchised the 1,600 of us who voted for him when they stripped him of the information and duties that we, the voters, intended him to have. They distributed multiple mailings filled with lies to thousands of households, and are now the defendants in a defamation of character suit as a result. They ignored the intent of public meetings law and the desire of the community to have a transparent local government when they started meeting in subcommittees of two to the exclusion of the public and other elected Board members. They, of course, blame Kyle Knight for their actions. And in spite of the recent PR spin launched by the District, 5J school report card scores have actually decreased in the past year. Superintendent Wegener, of course, blames the test.

My children deserve better leadership examples than this. So do yours. It’s time we have school board members who take responsibility, follow the law and focus on education. Please remember to vote YES on the recall.

Kerry McQuisten

Baker City

The author is the chief petitioner in the recall campaign.

Predictions about climate disaster sound sketchy

Last April, 49 former NASA scientists and astronauts chided that agency for going overboard on the issue of catastrophic global warming. They said that its “advocacy of an extreme position, prior to a thorough study of the possible overwhelming impact of natural climate drivers, is inappropriate. “ They expressed fears that such actions might lead to “damage to the exemplary reputation of NASA, NASA’s current or former employees, and even the reputation of science itself.”

In 2008, Al Gore claimed that those who disagree with him on this subject are “almost like the ones who believe the moon landing was staged on a movie lot in Arizona and those who believe the world is flat.” However, one of those who co-signed the above strongly worded letter was Harrison Schmidt, both a Harvard geologist and the last man to stand on the surface of our moon and see the round ball of our earth in the lunar sky. Not exactly a flat-earther!

The claim that 98 percent of scientists agree that global warming is human caused and will lead inevitably to catastrophe is as spurious as the famous ‘hockey stick’ graph which claimed to show the climate of our planet was unchanged for the past millennium, spiking upward only in its final decade. The above-mentioned scientists can tell you that over the centuries, the climate of our planet is constantly changing, warming up and then cooling again.

During the 20th century, the average temperature of the earth did raise about 1 degree; that is settled science. The claim that global warming will threaten human existence is science fiction. There have been centuries-long periods in human history when the earth was significantly warmer than it is today. None of the calamities predicted for a warmer earth happened. Indeed, historians call these warm eras “climactic optimums,” when the earth’s climate was most favorable for mankind.

If you’re going to predict what a warmer earth will be like, perhaps you’d best consult with those who know what it was like in the past before going out on a limb. 

Pete Sundin

Baker City

Justice of the Peace Williams thanks voters

Dear Residents of Baker County:

I wish to thank you for expressing your confidence in me and my abilities, by electing me to serve as your Justice of the Peace. For those who didn’t vote for me, I wish to thank you for participating in this great exercise of democracy, and promise to serve you well. I count it a privilege to be elected to this position and welcome your suggestions on how we, as court staff, can improve the services of the Baker County Justice Court. I also thank Steve Bogart, for running a strong and honorable campaign; something that for some jurisdictions, seems to be a rarity in this election cycle.

During the campaign, I visited with hundreds of you in your homes, and in the shops and workplaces of our Baker County communities. I have heard of the financial struggles of many of you who are unemployed, or own small business are having, and I also heard of your love for our community. You spoke of the importance to be treated with fairness and transparency in the court room. I committed to all of you to keep my promise in running that kind of a court room, and I will do so.

The major social concern I heard from all but a few, was the proposed road closures in our public lands. Again I promised, as a private citizen, I will continue my efforts, in voicing our desire to keep all existing road access to our national lands open to all citizens. The outcome of further USFS and BLM road closures will greatly impact the recreational, mining, and logging opportunities for residents of Baker County, and will in turn have a devastating impact upon tourism and the viability of our business communities. I am confident if we the citizens, and our elected city, county, state and federal representatives all take a determined stand on this issue, we can prevail.

Again, thanks to all of you who supported me in this campaign, by writing letters, posting signs, and speaking to your friends and colleagues regarding my character and abilities, to do the job to which you elected me. Please feel free to bring to me any concerns or suggestions you may have regarding the Justice Court, and I will give them careful consideration.

Don Williams

Baker City

School board recall a waste of time, talent, money

It is a tragedy. The attempt to recall two Baker 5J School Board members is a gross waste of time, talent and taxpayer money. It is a blight on Baker City. Why would any intelligent, civic-minded person want to be on the school board if this is the kind of treatment they receive?

Lynne Burroughs has given and continues to give so much to this community to make it a better place to live. She knows what it takes to teach in a classroom and the problems our school district faces every day. We need her dedication and expertise on the school board.

Please support Lynne. Vote “no” on the recall.

Barbara Prowell

Baker City

Discussion a better option than recalling officials

Recall is an expensive, divisive public activity that ultimately discourages interested people from running for public office.

Recall should be for serious misconduct of a public official, such as embezzlement, felonious or criminal acts, etc.

If you, a patron, disagree with an act or position of a public official, call them for discussion, go to meetings and present your position. Disagreement should lead to conversation with both parties talking and listening.

I encourage people to vote “no” on the recall.

Robert McKim

Baker City

The author is a past member, and chairman, of the Baker School Board.