Chris Collins
The Baker City Herald

Confused about chip-seal choices

To the editor:

I would like to challenge the City Roadmaster to explain to the taxpayers of Baker City the choices of streets that were recently chip-sealed. With the mounting budget problems the city is facing, how do you justify the apparent waste of money spent on last week's work done on practically brand new streets (D Street in particular)? Our evening walks through our neighborhood take us over streets that have full-width cracks in them that I can stick my fist in, are 3-4 inches deep and have weeds growing up through them. Yet, ever-shortening amounts of money are spent on perfectly good streets while others jar the fillings out of your teeth when you drive a car or ride a bicycle over them.

I would equate this to re-siding three sides of your house (because you could only afford to at the time) and then a year or two later, repainting the new siding, while on the fourth side, the siding is rotting and falling off. You wouldn't do that would you? I understand the concept of preventive maintenance, but not at the cost of the rest of the system being left to disintegrate.

Doug Evans

Baker City

Religion not a litmus test for Supreme Court

To the editor:

I am writing today in response to the Aug. 25 letter by Mr. Kostol. In it, Mr. Kostol suggested that a nominee to the Supreme Court should be (or should not be) a member of a certain faith to qualify for membership on the court. Mr. Kostol writes that "...many of us fear that the next appointee could be a Muslim." Although I am not Islamic, I find this type of statement to be offensive.

Religion is not, and should not be, a determining factor in whether a person is qualified to hold an office. Indeed, the Constitution explicitly prohibits a religious test for any office. People are people, regardless of faith, and judges' opinions are influenced by a wide variety of factors, religion being only one of them. A reasonable, well-qualified Islamic nominee, should one arise, should be confirmed just as readily as any well-qualified Jew, Catholic, or Protestant. A bigot views all people of a certain group as the same, saying that all Oregonians are the same, all African Americas are the same, all Catholics are the same, etc. Mr. Kostol seems to feel that all Muslims are the same.

Mr. Kostol wrote that the court now has a religious makeup of three Jews and six Catholics. History has made it apparent that these justices do not form an opinion based solely on their religious affiliations. If this were true, all Supreme Court decisions would be decided by a majority of six to three. In the global battle against terrorism, we should not view ourselves as being a part of some sort of clash of cultures or religious crusade against a group of people. Rather, we should focus on thwarting the small minority inside the Islamic faith which has decided to use violence to achieve their goals. Division, especially along religious lines, has historically led to conflict. I believe that in the greatest nation on earth, all people should be treated equally, be they Christian, Jewish, Islamic, or of no faith at all.

Elliott Averett

Baker City

Responders glad victim recovering

To the editor:

I'm pleased to know that Jerri Wickert and her family are recovering from their ATV accident near Phillips Reservoir. I must point out one thing. Sumpter was not one of the responding units. The unit near Sumpter that responded to this accident was the Powder River Rural Fire Protection District. We are very proud of our team and feel they deserve credit.

Barbara Taylor

Board chair

Powder River Rural Fire Protection District

We need to address climate change

To the editor:

Fires in Oregon and Idaho, drought in Russia and floods in Pakistan are consistent with the effects of global warming. Extreme weather - temperature increases, increased rainfall in some parts of the world, droughts in other areas - is putting hundreds of thousands of lives and livelihoods at risk all around the world.

Pollution from human activities is warming our climate. The 10 warmest years on record all occurred since 1990. The last decade was the hottest recorded since worldwide record keeping began more than 100 years ago. The period between January and June of 2010 was the warmest six months on record.

A warming climate increases the chance that we will experience extreme weather events such as floods, fires, droughts and intense storms, and ramps up the risk that severe weather events will cause catastrophic damage.

In order to avoid the worst and most devastating impacts of the severe weather events that are consistent with climate change, we must begin to reduce significantly our greenhouse gas emissions. If we don't, we are likely to see even more extreme weather and the consequences it brings.

Bill Whitaker

La Grande

Please make Baker what it once was

To the editor:

Recently my husband and I visited Baker City (for a second time) with the thought of possibly retiring here. I picked up your newspaper and read a letter from Mr. Nelson of Seattle who wrote about a good experience he had while making the same kind of visit. Someone went out of their way to return his car keys.

Then I read what Mr. Harmer had to say about an African-American resident who was attacked and beaten by a gang of punks screaming racial epithets. He wonders why the whole town seems to be averting its gaze. Not even a church group has offered to start a fund to help this young man. The town also seems to be ignoring drug pushing and vandalism. I imagine this town isn't used to this sort of thing going on, so hadn't you all better step up pretty fast to make sure you can keep your town as nice as it has been in the past?

Carol Nylander

Ogden, Utah

Are you ready for some football?

To the editor:

The lights are back on in the stadium, sending beams of bright white onto the freshly groomed and painted autumn grass. Tiny insects gather around the source, sparkling like glitter in the sky. The line is forming at the gate.

Mothers, fathers, family, and friends all line up to cheer on their hometown heroes. The smell of popcorn, coffee, and burning leaves linger in the cool fall air as people find the perfect seat. The crowd gathers and the stadium fills. The student section is alive with activity. Coming and going, going and coming. To them it is more than a football game; it's the weekly social event.

From the far side of the field the crowd sees the players enter the field. Bright purple helmets glimmer like new in the fluorescent light. The crowd stands and cheers on their team even for the pre-game warm up. The community is proud of their Bulldogs and takes every opportunity to show their appreciation. Fans converse as they await kick off. "This is the year," one man says to the other. "They're going all the way to state for sure," he continues. "I heard No. 22 is out with a bad ankle," another says. "The Smith boy has sure bulked up over the summer," is heard from a few rows back. The clock winds down. Adrenaline, nerves, and emotions are felt electrifying the air.

The captains take the field for the coin toss. It's tails. A moment later, anxious young men trot onto the field taking their assigned positions. Seconds seem like hours. The crowd, collectively, holds its breath. The hand of the kicker raises and drops. He runs for the ball, focusing on his target. As leather meets leather, the excitement reaches an explosive level and the crowd bursts into cheers. Football season has arrived. Go Bulldogs.

Rick Nichols

Baker City

No need to fear Muslims in office

To the editor:

This is in response to Mr. Kostol's letter on Aug. 25 in which he bemoaned the possibility of a Muslim being appointed to the Supreme Court. I am not a Muslim, but I find nothing offensive or frightening about the idea of an American Muslim holding any high office in this country, including the presidency.

What I do find offensive and frightening is Mr. Kostol's blatant bigotry. If this is representative of Christian thought in this town, I will also state, with great fervor, thank God I'm not a Christian.

Lindy Cloyd

Baker City

McKenzi is an inspiration

To the editor:

McKenzi Roseborough is an inspiration to people of all ages. She has chosen to serve the needs of others by volunteering her time to perform various services in the community. She is an example to adults and young people alike. Tragically, many teenagers today, all across the country, are choosing to be destructive rather than using their talents and abilities in a positive way. Instead of being criticized while trying to help, McKenzi should have been encouraged.

Thank you for your service, McKenzi. God bless you.

Joanna Mollert

Baker City

You didn't have to steal my plant

To the editor:

I hope the lowlife person who stole my beautiful spider plant in our hanging pot off my front porch on the afternoon of the 24th enjoys it as much as I have for the past eight years.

You should feel real proud of yourself. All you had to do is ask and I would have given you all the starts you wanted, just like I do for many people every summer. That spider was one of my buddies. What goes around, comes around!

David Noah

Baker City