Letters to the Editor for Feb. 27, 2013

By Baker City Herald readers February 27, 2013 09:52 am

Now we know what’s killing all the honeybees

Now we know, at least, what is killing them. All across America honeybees are dying. They are down about 90 percent. And Albert Einstein, more famed for other things, several years ago said that when honeybees go extinct we will soon follow.

For a number of years their declining numbers remained a mystery. Viruses, fungal infections, pesticides and even signals from cell phone towers were investigated. All inconclusively. But now we know positively, and specifically. (In These Times magazine, March issue, has the article I cite here.)

It is neonicotinoid (neonics, for short) pesticides that are exterminating them and other primary pollinators. You would think this discovery, by means of which we can know how to save ourselves from extinction, might be front page news, but it isn’t.

These neonics, which are systemic pesticides chemically related to nicotine, are applied to seeds (of corn, sugar beets, soybeans, wheat, sunflowers and many other crops). Being systemic means the treated crops then carry the neonics not on, but in their pollen and nectar and, indeed, in every fiber of each plant. This neonic stuff is deadly poison to honeybees as well as other bugs. If it is so toxic to bugs it surely can’t be healthy for humans. And it’s in all the corn syrup and other corn products that we consume in almost all our store-bought food. Poisoned corn syrup sweetens all those soft drinks we drink instead of plain water. Could it be that our kids who have so many allergies these days are allergic not to the corn products but to the poison in the corn products?

One-hundred and forty-three million acres, in the U.S. alone, are planted with these treated seeds each year so it’s no wonder the bees are being exterminated. Germany, where the Bayer company which makes this stuff is located, prohibits its use there. And also France, which evidently appreciates what honeybees mean to us. But here in the USA the EPA, which was created to protect us, has granted an unconditional permit for its use here, and continues to vigorously defend its sale and use.

Dan Martin

Baker City

Let’s build on our local history, not erase it

Having read with interest the recent letters of Phyllis Badgley and Joyce Badgley Hunsaker, I want to add my voice of support to their voices of concern regarding the proposed name change of our airport.

Our first/early settlers and businesspeople in this valley continue to be due the honor and respect of having their names not removed, but remembered and even taught in local history classes. Time should not diminish their memory and contributions. History is to be built upon, not replaced.

The Baldock Slough is named for my great-grand-grandfather, William Henry Baldock. Though the Baldock name has died out, there are hundreds of us who live and work here still, who are direct descendants of those brave, sacrificing, and original homesteaders. Their legacy lives on, and their contribution continues to filter into our lives yet today, 150 years later.

Campbell Street is named for my great-great-great-uncle, John Jackson Campbell. There was a move several years ago to rename Campbell Street to Adler Boulevard. I will forever be grateful to the late Baker City historian, Pearl Jones, for her wise, strong and successful intervention to save the name of Campbell Street.

Remembering is important. Let’s not erase the past to honor the present. There are many other options.

Linda Wunder Wall

Baker City

Why did GOP senators vote against this bill?

In the recent vote on U.S. Senate Bill 1925, to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, the bill passed 68-31. Some 14 Republican senators joined the Democratic senators to pass this bill. However, 31 Republican senators voted against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act of 1994. Here is a list of senators who voted against the bill:

Barrasso, R-Wyo.; Blunt, R-Mo.; Boozman, R-Ark.; Burr, R-N.C.; Chambliss, R-Ga.; Coburn, R-Okla.; Cochran, R-Texas; Cornyn, R-Texas; DeMint, R-S.C.; Enzi, R-Wyo.; Graham, R-S.C.; Grassley, R-Iowa; Hatch, R-Utah; Inhofe, R-Okla.; Isakson, R-Ga.; Johanns, R-Neb.; Johnson, R-Wis.; Kyl, R-Ariz.; Lee, R-Utah; Lugar, R-Ind.; McConnell, R-Ken.; Moran, R-Kan.; Paul, R-Ky.; Risch, R-Idaho; Roberts, R-Kan.; Rubio, R-Fla.; Sessions, R-Ala.; Shelby, R-Ala.; Thune, R-S.D.; Toomey, R-Pa.; Wicker, R-Miss.

Ladies, be careful who you vote for!

Bruce Raffety

Baker City

Where are our representatives on travel management?

Over the last year I have actively pursued local and state representatives of Northeastern Oregon on the matter of Travel Management. Wallowa County has been exceptional in returning correspondence. Very little to no correspondence has come from anyone else.

Baker County Commissioner Fred Warner Jr. attempted on two occasions to answer, but quickly faded away, with one exchange from Tim Kerns’ wife over his work email and no correspondence back from Carl Stiff at all. Mark Davidson wrote a very short response April of 2012 that they were working on the issue, but no response since, with nothing from the other two. And, well Grant County just flat out does not respond.

Our state representatives have been all but derelict in their duties from what I can see. I do have to give Rep. Cliff Bentz some recognition as I do know he contacted Ms. Schwalbach on the matter in the summer of 2012, but that’s about all I’ve heard. Neither Mr. Ferrioli, Smith, Nelson nor Jensen have returned any emails in the matter and seem to be intentionally avoiding the discussion with the public.

What are they doing? Where is the voice of our representatives in the matter? Representing from a desk is non-representation, plain and simple. We need men and a woman willing to do the hard work of contacting forest leadership to ask what is going on, and then report to the public on a regular basis.

Representatives, where are you and what are you doing to protect our individual liberties? As one Forest Service employee told me last summer, people shouldn’t be so selfish about travel management; you can’t always have what you want. She’s right, we can’t, but we do expect to keep our God-given rights to Life, Liberty (freedom), and Happiness.

John D. George

Bates