Letters to the Editor for Nov. 23, 2012

Written by Baker City Herald readers November 23, 2012 10:08 am

Don’t drive helicopter company out of county

Again this year and for several years in the past, Columbia Basin Helicopters (CBH) has supported the 4-H youth of the community by purchasing their animals during the annual fair. CBH is a local company that provides many important services such as agricultural work in support of area farmers and ranchers, firefighting, in addition to the employees who make Baker County their homes. CBH has been located in Baker County for over 20 years and would love to spend another 20 years here.

Yet the County Commissioners and the Baker City Planning Department are determined to force the closure of CBH over some undetermined zoning issue. If the County succeeds in this matter CBH will be forced to close its doors here in the county and relocate to another county that will not mind increasing its business development and tax revenues. Just in 2012 alone, CBH has spent $4,895 in property taxes, $16,000 to the Baker County Fair, $500,000 in payroll and over $1 million to the local economy through their support of local businesses.

Dyann Brosnan

Bruce Morrison

Baker City

A wonderful concert by the Baker City Orchestra

A full house greeted Baker City Orchestra, Thursday evening Nov. 15, at the Veterans’ Community Conference Center.  (former Heilner location.)  

For those who missed this initial concert, I hope you have opportunity to hear a future program, by these local talented  musicians. 

How rewarding to see and hear seasoned, mature musicians in company with a blending of young people among them. The ratio of strings, brass and woodwinds was delightful.

These music lovers have practiced diligently since the  beginning of 2012, and their dedication shows.

They display enthusiasm, gusto, and confidence in presenting a varied program. 

Kudos to Conductor Kelly Brickman for providing leadership and inspiration to the group. Baker audience was given a treat for the season! Thank you.

Phyllis Badgley

Baker City

Restore freedom of speech, vote ‘yes’ on recall

Besides the natural beauty of the city and surrounding mountains, one of the reasons we decided to move from the Portland area and retire in Baker City, were the basic American values we found here. Compared to the valley, it was like stepping back in time. We were disturbed when we saw the erosion of these values in the 5J school district issue. We were upset when we saw the curtailment of freedom of speech by the censoring of an elected official and the subsequent demonization of that official in a couple of mailers. It is for this reason that we support the 5J recall measure and hope that the citizens of Baker City do likewise in the December special election.

Democracy is not cheap. Many have paid the ultimate price to preserve our values. Please do not let the small cost of this election sway your vote.

Jon and Julie Sallquist

Baker City

Don’t recall two great school board members

Baker School District 5J has the honor of having Oregon Teacher of the Year Nanette Lehman on its staff. Haines has been named an exceptional school. We have an excellent, award-winning district. So why is there a recall for two outstanding board members?

This recall is not needed. It is a total waste of time and money. Vote “no.”

John and Frances Burgess

Baker City

Burroughs and Henderson should be recalled

As a proponent of good local government, I am compelled to write a plea to the voters of Baker County to please take the time to read the ballot measure to recall 5J School District Directors Burroughs and Henderson.  The above-mentioned subjects of the recall effort have done everything  they can imagine to malign Kyle Knight, for doing the job that he was elected to perform and they have failed to do themselves. 

They have on numerous occasions:

1. Failed to follow their oath of office by violating the First Amendment right of Mr. Knight by ” prohibiting the free exercise thereof: or abridging the freedom of speech…”

2. Violation of open meeting laws by holding separate meetings in groups of two with Walt Wegener, effectively preventing anyone whose opinion differed from theirs, from having a say in the way the School Board runs.

3. Confusing a “censure” with a “censor” and usurping the duties of a duly elected public servant.

4. In the censure session Burroughs has quoted the oath of office incorrectly — “to support and promote the district” it doesn’t say that anywhere in the Oath of Office. Henderson indirectly accused Kyle Knight of being a Marxist/Communist by following Cloward & Piven doctrine of overloading the system. Totally inappropriate.

Time for the schoolyard bullies to admit they have been exposed to the light and do the right thing for all of the people in the 5J District, including employees and students.

Please vote “Yes” on the recall measure.

Peggie Longwell

Baker City

The author is married to Jim Longwell, a member of the Baker School Board.

Adler scholarships aren’t available to all graduates

Most of our small community is aware of the Leo Adler Foundation and all that they support. Indeed, if it were not for the heritage that Leo left us, many of the beauty and arts we enjoy would not be possible. And most of us are also aware that the foundation offers scholarships to graduating seniors of Baker County schools. As the website leoadler.com reads:

“Its purpose is to provide scholarships for continuing education to qualified persons who are graduates of a high school located in Baker County, Oregon and North Powder, Oregon. In addition, the foundation distributes grants to qualified charitable organizations and governmental units providing benefits to the Baker County community.”

But few are aware of a mark against Leo’s name. There is a handful of graduating seniors here in our town that will not be so fortunate as to experience the benevolence of the Leo Adler Foundation. The fact is, a graduating senior from Baker High School heading to EOU may qualify for a scholarship, but a graduate from Harvest Christian Academy heading to the same school will not.

Of course, the foundation is private and can discriminate against whom they wish. Unfortunately in this case, it makes one wonder why there is discrimination. CAT and SAT scores of students at Harvest Christian Academy are on par with the public school system. Their website states: “Harvest Christian Academy is committed both to academic excellence and to raising up confident Christian leaders who will make a lasting impact upon our community.” It sounds like something Leo would have stood behind, an organization that is helping to build our future.

Are Leo’s pockets so shallow that they can’t offer the same support to a small school so involved in our community? Maybe the foundation should ask that one simple question: “What would Leo do?”

Drea Rasmussen

Baker City

Knight wasn’t elected to disrupt school board

Honest differences of opinion are perfectly appropriate in an organization as long as they don’t become the primary focus of the group.

Mr. Knight has obviously decided that conflict and continuing disruptions are his goals as a member of our school board. He has shown an ever-growing disregard for the charge of representing the best interest of our children. Responsible, mature and dedicated members of any team simply don’t behave in a selfish, self-serving manner while continuing to foster personal agendas.

The other members of our school board are honest, dependable and committed volunteers! They don’t deserve the kind of personal attacks this young man continues to foster.

Mr. Knight wasn’t elected to be a disruptive, attention-seeking, and frequently inappropriate representative. He should understand that his job is to be a positive role model for our community, our teachers and most importantly our kids.

These times are challenging enough and our school board has important work to do.

Mike Durgan

Baker City