Letters to the Editor for April 25, 2014

Written by Baker City Herald readers April 25, 2014 02:04 pm

Harvey is a fresh voice  for Baker County

We have been Bill Harvey supporters since he filed, but after the forum last Tuesday, our choice has never been more clear, after some issues were brought to light, with which we are uncomfortable. 

1. Mr. Warner stated that he was protecting Baker County from a lawsuit by overturning the unanimous planning commission decision that rejected a wind farm project. What Mr. Warner didn’t make clear in the forum was that the lawsuit threat was created by his office not filing legal paperwork in a timely manner. That is the uncomfortable reality. 

2. Also, Mr. Warner oversaw the altering of a GOP 2nd Amendment resolution to, in his words, “fit Baker County” (as if the 2nd Amendment is different here). His edits excluded the protection of so-called “assault weapons” and “rejection of laws that violate the 2nd Amendment.” Oddly, Gary Dielman had a great deal of input into a GOP resolution, and Mr. Warner felt his changes made the resolution “completely harmless,” according to Mr. Dielman. We think Mr. Dielman meant “completely useless.” We ask: how does affirming an amendment to the Constitution cause harm? The edits removed the intent of the resolution to support the 2nd Amendment. As veterans, this watering down of our founding documents is repellent.

 To the contrary, Bill Harvey is a fresh voice, as well as a successful, job-creating, self-made businessman, with hands-on roots. Bill is invested and committed to the future and growth of the county. Bill Harvey does not see the chairmanship as a career, and believes in selfless service, by promising to only serve two terms. Our county is too small for career politicians. Bill Harvey can face brutal facts, stand for the county’s best interests, and will have a spine, even when it is inconvenient. 

After learning more about Bill, we know he speaks for the majority of the county. Bill is the real deal we can get behind. 

Richard and Candice McKim

Baker City

Warner and Bennett will get my vote

Candidates Fred Warner, Jr., Baker County Commission Chairman and Mark Bennett, County Commission position 2, will get my vote in the upcoming election. As a member of the Baker County Natural Resource Committee representing forestry and the past president of the Baker County Private Woodlands Association, I know firsthand the passion these two commission members have for the natural resources we enjoy in Baker County.   

Fred gives his full attention to the affairs of the county. I have often seen him take personal time to ensure he has done everything possible for the citizens of the county. Working with Fred I have come to appreciate the demands the commission chairman shoulders.

One example of Fred’s work and influence as Commission Chair was the final decision made by the U. S. Forest Service regarding the 28,000-acre Snow Basin project on the south slope of the Wallowa Mountains. This decision will accomplish what most of us want, a more healthy forest and industry jobs.  

Lyle Defrees

Sumpter Valley

Former commissioner supports Warner, Bennett

Experience is the best teacher. We are fortunate to have two experienced Baker County commissioners who are willing to continue to serve. Both Fred Warner and Mark Bennett have gained necessary experience while doing a good job representing and assisting Baker County citizens.

Having served two terms as a commissioner, I can attest to the value of experience. The job is complicated and has a lengthy learning curve. Baker County voters would be wise to retain the current commissioners. Please join me in voting for Fred Warner and Mark Bennett.

Howard Britton

Baker City

Editor’s Note: The author is the father-in-law of Herald editor Jayson Jacoby.

Warner, Bennett have support in Huntington

I got a chuckle from Aletha Bonebrake’s letter in support of Fred Warner.  Things may have been rough between Snake River locals and Fred a few years ago, but I’m pleased to let you know that there are quite a few signs displayed in the Huntington community supporting both Fred and Mark Bennett.

I agree that a cool head and acquired experience like Fred has are needed; posturing by an elected official won’t ever benefit anyone; one person can’t change the system like Mr. Harvey says he will do. 

Maryanne Lovell

Huntington

Harvey will require feds to coordinate with county

It is hard to believe that the Herald’s editorial board would make such a statement without investigating the facts. It said, concerning coordination: “We wish the county had that authority, but we do not believe that’s the case. We’ve seen no compelling evidence that any county has been able to exert anything like veto power over federal agencies when it comes to management public land that belongs to all Americans.”

The Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) requires the Secretary of Interior to include local government officials in federal land use planning process; specifically, to coordinate management actions with the “land use planning and management activities of... local governments.” The Act also requires the Secretary to “assure that consideration is given to” local land use plans and to resolve, to the extent practical, inconsistencies between federal and local plans.

In the National Forest Management Act (NFMA), Congress directed the Forest Service to “coordinate” its land management plans “with the land and resource management planning processes of state and local governments...”

The editorial board should investigate Modoc County, Calif. which has been coordinating for over 25 years when they adopted the old Forest Service plan for grazing livestock. They were threatened by a new plan to close many acres because of protection for bull trout. They did not lose one acre and required the Forest Service’s new plan to be consistent with their plan.

Owyhee County, Idaho, has made major strides against the BLM over shutting down rangeland and travel; then there is Apache County, Ariz., they took the approach that roads will be cleared and overgrown forests will be managed consistent with their plan for sustainable forest products to put citizens back to work and protect them from fire.

These are compelling results worth investigating. We have had 11 years trying to get Fred Warner to require coordination. He has been trying to not rock the boat to keep those federal and state monies coming to Baker County. But this is hurting our sustainable resource industries that Baker County used to rely on. Bill Harvey has the fortitude to require coordination; it is time for new leadership.

Guy Michael

Baker City

Warner weakened gun rights resolution

Fred Warner lied at the Republican forum. When asked why he watered down the Baker County Republican’s 2nd Amendment resolution with the input from liberal Democrats Gary Dielman and Marshall McComb, he said they did not influence his drafting of the resolution. But copies of the Dec. 3, 2013, Dielman email and the draft resolution Warner presented in County Commission session prove this to be untrue.  

Gary Dielman said in this email, “You might want, at the very least, to delete the word ‘draconian’ from the last clause as being too undignified a word to use in a legal document.”   The draft resolution did have this word in the last clause before the final changes. Dielman went on to say, “But go ahead, if you must, and pass the resolution. It’s completely harmless.”

The Baker Republicans’ resolution had been completely gutted and made “harmless.”  These documents are of record.   Nice to have in writing how useless and meaningless the county’s resolution is, by the liberal Democrats in the area.  Mr. Warner, now say you didn’t gut the Baker County Republicans’ resolution on the 2nd Amendment.

Cindy Frazier

Baker City

School board member disappointed with Warner

As an elected official I have had the pleasure of dealing with many government officials over the years. Frankly, I’m disappointed with Fred Warner’s performance and behavior. I’m disappointed with the fact that he rarely shows up to meetings throughout the county, disappointed with the fact that he’s rarely accessible and disappointed on what he has accomplished in 11 years as County Chair.

Fred Warner’s record as a school board member concerns me the most, but explains more about his judgment and character. While he was serving on the board Warner voted on employee contract extensions and labor contracts for members of his immediate family, including closed deliberations in executive session. (regular board meeting minutes Tuesday, March 12, 2002, Action I. Action from Executive Session) (Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2001, Action F.5) I personally find this to be inappropriate and shows a complete lack of ethical character on Warner’s part. Fred Warner should have abstained and not participated in union labor negotiations when his immediate family members were involved.

 I also question why Fred Warner was the only board member to vote “no” on challenging a union unfair labor practice to the state by asking the Employee Relations Board to hear the case. (Board Minutes Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2001, I. Action from executive session) What board member would not want to challenge an unfair labor dispute? Why did Fred Warner stand with the teachers union as a board member? 

Warner’s long tenure has made the county and school district more reliant on state and federal funds, which are unreliable. What happens when the grants stop coming? Or when the funding is cut? Warner has kept his hand under our chin to prevent us from drowning, but not to lift our heads out of the water. Baker County deserves better and our schools deserve better.

It’s time for some fresh faces with new ideas and perspectives in Baker County. The Founders never expected anyone to make a “career” out of public service and Fred Warner is no exception.

It’s time for a change.

Elect both Bill Harvey and Dick Fleming.

Kyle Knight

Baker City

Warner has reputation as a consensus builder

I recently became acquainted with Tim Josi who is the commission chair from Tillamook County. He almost immediately shared with me his respect and admiration for Fred Warner.

I learned that Fred’s quiet leadership style and his willingness to passionately advocate for Baker County’s interests has made a positive impact on his constituents throughout the state.

Fred’s track record of addressing common issues, particularly natural resources, has earned him a reputation as an effective consensus builder.

Now is not the time to sidetrack the foundation of quality leadership in our county government.

Mike Durgan

Baker City

Young family proud           to support Warner

As Baker natives who have returned home to raise our young family, we are deeply invested in the quality and livability of our community. We want leadership that is relevant and focused. Baker County Commissioner Chair Fred Warner has proven that he takes a fiscally conservative approach with community-centered leadership, and is 100 percent committed to the people and priorities of Baker County. 

Our family has spent several winters enjoying our time at Anthony Lakes ski resort. We know we have Fred, in large part, to thank for our experiences. Fred’s actions not only preserved this special gem our community offers, but led the way for some crucial changes that has made Anthony Lakes one of the most affordable and family-friendly ski resorts in the Pacific Northwest. 

A community is shaped by the decisions and actions of its local government, and with Fred’s leadership, Baker County is a place we are proud to call home. Please join us in supporting Fred Warner for Baker County Commissioner Chair. 

Jake and Katy Collier

Baker City

Warner, Bennett know how to run the county

In the May primary election for Baker County commission seats, voters should keep the goal in the forefront — to elect the people most qualified to do the job — the whole job. While natural resources and forest access are huge issues for our county, the Republican primary isn’t a referendum on federal policy or national party politics.  Indeed, our primary will have little impact on either one.

The election results will, however, impact our health department, our roads, our public safety, and a host of services that affect the lives of local residents on a daily basis.   The keys to making all of that come together include knowledge, experience, and the ability to work with local, state, and federal officials.

Fred Warner and Mark Bennett have both worked for Baker County for years, and both have shown a real commitment to their jobs. Both have rural Baker County backgrounds, proven ability, and a deep understanding of county issues. They also have firsthand knowledge of the complex federal and state bureaucracies that must be navigated, not dismissed.

The Eastern Oregon response to the proposed forest transportation plan was an impressive grassroots political movement, and the efforts to bring balance to federal land use need to continue. However, commissioners need to also balance their efforts in order to manage a comprehensive county government. Fred Warner and Mark Bennett have shown their ability to do that.

Mark and Patty Bogart

Baker City