Letters to the Editor for April 21, 2014

By Baker City Herald readers April 21, 2014 02:26 pm

I’ve worked with Warner, and I’m voting for him

I am writing in support of Fred Warner for Baker County Commission chair. I have had the opportunity to work with Fred in a variety of capacities, as an employer, a fellow elected official, and like all citizens of Baker County, as our highest elected county administrator.

As an employer he leads by example, tirelessly working for the benefit of the community and encouraging other county employees to do the same. He works with an eye toward doing things right the first time, saving time and taxpayers money. And showing those around him what it means to be a “public servant.” 

As an elected official, I’ve seen Fred Warner take a lead role in communication with state and federal officials to improve and protect the lifestyle we appreciate in Baker County. His leadership helped to keep Anthony Lakes Ski Area open, saving jobs and bringing tourist dollars to our community.  He has worked with the city of Baker City to consolidate duplicated services, saving taxpayer dollars and improving efficiency. In his leadership he has not sought to gain recognition for such achievements, but  is always working for the best result.

And lastly, as our county commission chair I appreciate Fred for his open, forthright approach to governing.  In my experience, he has always been responsive to citizen questions.  He and his staff are forthcoming with information about our county government, which is exactly what voters deserve. 

Above all, I know that Fred is committed and experienced and always looking to better the future of our county.  I am glad to be voting for Fred Warner for County Commission chair.

Kim Mosier

Baker City

Vote for Harvey to bring fiscal responsibility

Fred Warner stated at the Republican forum the other night that under his watch the county has a one million dollar surplus.

WHY? Government is NOT supposed to profit from the taxpayers. Government is supposed to break even to balance. Even with a contingency line item for emergencies. What’s next? Another bonus for county employees or elected officials? Surplus county dollars should go back to the taxpayers. This is not something to brag about Mr. Warner.

A vote for Bill Harvey is a vote for fiscal responsibility.

Peggie Longwell

Baker City

Baker County needs new energy; vote for Bill Harvey

This past January the Baker County Commissioners held a work session on BLM’s sage grouse proposal. During the discussion Commissioner Warner said, “We don’t have the power to kick the feds out. We have to work within the system and co-exist.” It seems like Warner has no fight left in him to defend Baker County. We need someone who will at least try to defend what is left of our freedoms.  I sure don’t want to see a Nevada-Bundy Ranch situation happen in Baker County over a public lands issue.

Thomas Jefferson said, “When Government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government there is tyranny.” It is time for some energy and a new approach in Baker County, vote for Bill Harvey.

Shawn Overbay

Baker City

Warner has track record worthy of re-election

We have known and respected Fred Warner Jr. for many years. He has a great track record of serving Baker County as the chair of the County Commission. Fred is a consensus-builder devoted to the people of Eastern Oregon. He should be re-elected. Vote for Fred Warner Jr.

Frances and John Burgess

Baker City

Warner has shown bold leadership in running county

I have been very impressed with how Baker County is managed. We read about strife in the school board and conflict with city government, but our county seems to run smoothly and within budget.

I have been very involved with the county zoning ordinance, especially the transportation standards ordinance, involving driveway standards for new and remodeled homes in the county. This was a long process with many public meetings and vastly differing opinions. Mr. Warner did a very good job of bringing the parties to a workable solution. Watching him calm the atmosphere while keeping everyone focused gave me insight as to why the county runs so effectively.

Four years ago the owners of the Anthony Lakes ski area offered to donate the area to Baker County. Union County was offered first but chose not to accept. Mr. Warner had many public meetings to gauge community support, and meetings with other ski area owners to determine if Anthony Lakes could operate at a profit. It was a very tough decision because Anthony Lakes was approaching 50 years of operation, was an integral part of our Baker County lifestyle but had been losing $150,000 per year for several years. The county accepted the area and Fred named a two-women and three-man board to oversee management. His directive: “Run it like a business.  The county will not subsidize Anthony Lakes.  It has to be self-supportive.”  This was my first time working with Fred. He attended every meeting to make sure that the county’s best interests were served, but he allowed the board to make all decisions. Anthony has run at a profit every year since. It adds $300,000 a year in wages, fills over 800 hotel rooms and puts 150 school kids on the mountain every Friday for two months.  All of this happens in the winter when dollars are hard to come by in Baker County.

If Fred would not have said yes, the owners were going to sell the assets off in pieces and Anthony would have been gone.  It was a bold move; it would have been much safer to say no.

Brent Kerns

Haines

Re-elect Warner, keep county headed in right direction

Fred Warner Jr. is my choice for Baker County Commission Chairman for the following reasons: Everyone talks about tough economic times the past few years, yet Baker County has paid the bills and stayed financially sound. Additionally, we have maintained government services as needed, without increasing taxes. This speaks well for the management by Fred Warner Jr.

Fred has steadily negotiated with the public land management agencies to enhance public use and limit fees on public lands. Fred submitted several documents on public land issues.  These well-written documents become permanent records that cannot be dismissed or ignored like verbal comments.

Other Oregon counties, which also lost their timber base, are not as stable as Baker County.  I think this points to good management. Fred understands the issues of Baker County and strives to motivate people in a positive manner. A vote for Fred Warner Jr. will keep our county headed in the right direction.

Gus Markgraf

Baker City

Harvey will fight to keep our public lands open

I like Fred Warner Jr., he is a nice, friendly guy, but as the chair of our County Commissioners there are several issues in which I feel he has worked against the voters of this county.

The first instance was Move Idaho Power. We had good organization and a lot of public support and I feel we could have moved Idaho Power out of Baker County had we had the support of our commissioners. However, at the second meeting, it became apparent to me that though Fred said he was for the ranchers and wanted to preserve the scenic beauty and livability of our county, what he really wanted was the money Idaho Power would pay the county. Livability sold out for money in the county coffers.

The second issue was the wind farms. In this case our county commissioners delayed any action, forcing the court to decide and thus robbing those of us who opposed wind farms any right of appeal.  It was a calculated political move and speaking of calculated political moves: Why did Fred changed his political party? Although he has a right to change parties, he certainly hasn’t changed his political views and a liberal by any other name is still a liberal. 

I plan to vote for Bill Harvey. He has had experience with county government serving on the planning commission. As a businessman Bill will work to bring economic growth and jobs to our community. I know he cares about livability and will work to preserve the beauty of our county and he will fight to keep our public lands open for us to enjoy. Another thing I appreciate about Bill Harvey is that he is straight up with you. He won’t tell you one thing because he thinks that’s what you want to hear, and then do the opposite. You know where Bill stands. Bill Harvey is a good conservative choice for County Commissioner chair.

Billie McClure

Baker City