Letters to the Editor for Dec. 7, 2012

By Baker City Herald readers December 07, 2012 08:38 am

Weigh the facts before voting on school board recall

This is the last weekend for fellow parents and taxpayers in the 5J School District to turn in their recall ballots. On a local election such as this, every single “yes” vote will count. 

Emotions are running high on both sides, and voters have likely read more opinions and seen more ads than they ever cared to. It would be easy to throw up one’s hands in confusion, but I hope each voter will instead take their ballot into a quiet room alone and set all those opinions and emotions aside. 

The clearest vote will be cast after simply weighing the facts in the ballot statements and then reading the statements of justification below them on the ballot. I’ve, of course,  voted “yes” on this very important recall. Tuesday is the deadline.

Kerry McQuisten

Baker City

The author is the chief petitioner in the recall campaign.

School district is doing well; vote ‘no’ on the recall

Having been public school teachers for over 30 years in both Oregon and California, we are very aware of how things operate in the public school system. As we pointed out in a previous letter, this whole recall situation is wrong and based on wrong issues. Mrs. Burroughs and Mr. Henderson both have outstanding credentials as educated professionals to serve in this capacity. Their goal is to provide the best education possible for the students of the 5J school district. Current school ratings plus a balanced financial status indicate that they have been accomplishing this goal.

In addition, we would like to comment on the ongoing debate regarding the legality of Mr. Knight’s press leak. While his supporters proclaim his innocence, Mr. Knight has not made that claim. He maintains that he had every right to release the information about the investigation. He stated that it was his “First Amendment right” to leak the superintendent’s email. In The Oregonian, he said “When it has to do with the taxpayers’ money, it’s not confidential.” Hardly the “I didn’t do it” we hear from the recall backers. Oregon Legislature has deemed that certain information is to be kept confidential. Mr. Knight’s “Freedom of Speech” does not supersede Oregon Revised Statute 192.660 or 332.061 in regards to what school boards discuss in confidential executive session. If Mr. Knight doesn’t like the laws, he is free to lobby Salem to change them. What he is not free to do is to decide which laws he will follow and which he will not.

Vote “no” on this unnecessary and wrongful recall.

Alden Keith Taylor

Nancy Ann Taylor

Haines

Recalls are bad for Baker County; vote ‘no’

I have been curious as to how the two newspapers in Baker City might endorse this upcoming school board election. No word yet. 

In this current recall election, two school board members are being recalled for alleged wrongdoing against another school board member. There has been lots of noise made by a few people with grandiose charges and even a lawsuit.

This does sound familiar. In the 2009 Baker City Council recall effort the Baker City Herald endorsed the “no on recall” position by saying,  “We understand the voter attraction to recall.  It’s direct democracy — voters addressing their grievances against elected officials. Yet by voting “yes” on this recall, voters will actually weaken their electoral muscles even when they are flexing them,”  since replacements are appointees until the next election.

In the same election The Record Courier also endorsed “no on recall.” They wrote,  “Recalls should be reserved for those who have done something illegal, immoral, grossly incompetent or in some way violated the voters trust.” 

I understand this recall effort to be very similar to the failed 2009 effort, with no serious wrongdoing but hurt feelings and lots of noise.

A resounding “no on recall” vote will help send the message that recall elections are bad for Baker County.  Vote “no” on the recall.

Ed Moses

Baker City

Recall time, money better spent on education

As a Baker County taxpayer and voter, I am concerned over Kyle Knight’s attitude toward the disclosure of confidential information. He seems to believe that, when it has to do with taxpayer money, it isn’t confidential. Mr. Knight is surely mistaken on this point. Just because a person is employed by a school district does not mean that they forfeit their legal rights. Personnel investigations, and the resulting disciplinary actions, are subject to definite laws. In fact, public sector employees are often better protected than their private sector counterparts. This is covered under “public employees due process rights.”

I understand that Mr. Knight was twice given the chance to re-affirm his oath and promise to abide by policies regarding the dispensing of confidential information. Twice he refused. Instead, he has chosen to put this community through a recall election. Recalls are by their very nature divisive in small communities and they are also very expensive. How much better it would have been had the time, effort and money been used for the education of 5J students instead of this unnecessary and expensive recall election.

Please join me in voting “no” on this recall.

Nelda Marshall

Haines

Why so important to keep information from public?

I don’t know the subjects of the 5J recall effort, but I’m thankful I don’t have children attending school in the middle of so much corruption. 

Here’s what I’m getting from this. Lynne Burroughs and Mark Henderson censured Knight on the claim that they somehow were protecting the schools from the illegal acts he committed. The problem is, it’s come to light that he didn’t do anything illegal and all this liability they talk about never existed. They removed an elected official’s access to financial and other information for no reason, which begs the question: Why don’t these two want Knight to have access to information? The logical explanation is that he’d share it with the public. What don’t they want the public to know? What are they so desperate to hide that they’d spend a good ten grand in campaign propaganda over their volunteer positions? Don’t people wonder?

I imagine if they lose this recall, we’ll all find out. If they’re kept in office, no one ever will.

Will Godes

Baker City