Letters to the Editor for April 17, 2013

By Baker City Herald readers April 17, 2013 09:27 am

The value of media attending executive sessions

The editorial that appeared in the April 12 issue, “Secrecy from Salem,” makes a reference to the presence of media members at executive sessions of public meetings — “who normally are allowed to attend executive sessions to gain valuable background for reporting...”

I believe this is not wholly accurate, and your readers should know just a little more.

A media member at such meetings may not share with other persons what they have heard, or report it.

They can, however, if they are aware of the law and have the confidence to speak up, may call to the chairperson’s attention, any subject matter which the session’s discussion has moved into that does not fit the specific Oregon Revised Statute for which the executive session was called. (Executive sessions cite an ORS when they are announced, and board discussions should not veer from that specific topic.)

Having the media present, even if nothing can be reported, is a safeguard for the public, in that respect. 

In my opinion, the principal “valuable background” that a member of the media can gain over repeated observances of such closed sessions is often simply this — an eye on how dedicated a board is to functioning properly, or not, and the degree of respect the chairperson commands, or does not, in reining in the board when an executive discussion either ventures off course, or otherwise gets out of hand.

Your public interest in talking up various state legislation that is being considered, is appreciated.

Linda Bergeron

Halfway

Protect the innocence of children

I have a serious subject to discuss with anyone who will listen and to given honest consideration.

To be a good parent is a challenge, and the most important part are your children. They need to be protected from evil and any cinema films that are allowed in their fragile young minds.

I rent movies and in many instances would know within a few minutes that I indeed would not watch them. I hope the young parents feel the same and not let a child’s innocence be damaged. For them, like we were, they are very formative and delicate years. Give them the chance to be innocent and still learn the good values of this life. What they eat is who they are, and what they watch on the screen will stick in the brain, and makes them who they will be or not be. Give the little people every positive chance and you, as a responsible person, will reap the rewards for the rest of your lives — theirs and yours. If you don’t care... who will?

Be a leader, not a follower.

Jim Smeraglio

Baker City