Jayson Jacoby
The Baker City Herald

Closing roads can save money

To the editor:

Much has been written about the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest Travel Management Plan. Most writers see this proposal to close 3,800 miles of road as a terrible thing. But maybe looking at the situation from another perspective would be worthwhile. The proposal would keep open approximately 4,300 miles of road. This is a lot of road!

A forester from the 1940s, Aldo Leopold, said that, "We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect." Closing those thousands of miles of roads to motor vehicles would enhance the water quality by reducing sediment run-off. Closing the roads will provide a place for many species that seem to prefer habitats that don't have traffic.

Closing the roads doesn't prevent most people from continuing to use the roads, on foot, horseback, or bicycle. It merely bans motor vehicles from using those roads. Nobody is preventing anybody from traveling those roads.

As a fiscal conservative, I think it is prudent in these times of historic high deficits, to minimize the money spent on road maintenance. And perhaps, with fewer roads available to motor vehicles, salmon and other creatures being threatened with extinction, will not require so many resources (also known as money) to survive.

Theodore Roosevelt, a Republican president, said it well when he said, "The nation behaves well if it treats the natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation increased, and not impaired, in value."

Kent Coe

La Grande

Take power from the bureaucrats

To the editor:

A week ago Senator Merkley had his town hall meeting and was told in no uncertain terms the local opposition to the Forest Service Travel Management Plan (TMP). I attended one other of his past meetings and most in attendance voiced their disapproval of the Obama Health Plan. So he voted for it. I don't hold out much hope that he will help in opposition to the TMP judging from his past performance.

This past Saturday Senator Wyden was also told by the majority of persons attending his town hall meeting that they were totally opposed to the forest service TMP plan. What is ironic is that Senator Wyden and his fellow senators, both Democrats and Republicans, years ago crafted legislation that created the power given to unelected bureaucrats in the Forest Service, to create unreasonable and irresponsible rule making such as TMP.

If Senator Wyden really wanted to change this awful mess in our forests he would immediately draft legislation to rescind this power that he had originally given to these unelected government employees. Obviously he won't do this!

It is long past the time that our legislators take an intelligent look at all the chaos they have created with respect to forest service policy and management and rescind and correct all the inequities they have created through poor legislation. Perhaps then their approval ratings would climb above the disgusting 14 percent that the polls show.

Gary McManus

Baker City

Time to overturn Citizens United

To the editor:

The Citizens United decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2010 opened the door to unlimited political contributions by corporations and billionaires. Even though money in politics was already creating an enormous conflict of interest, the Court went ahead and invalidated much existing campaign financing regulation. They said that limiting campaign contributions was limiting freedom of speech.

Strangely enough, it's possible that the Court may have actually done us a favor.They've triggered a nationwide, grassroots movement to enact a Constitutional amendment that puts campaign financing regulation squarely in the hands of federal and state legislatures. Overall, 69 percent of Americans are now in favor of overturning Citizens United, according to a recent ABC/Washington Post poll.That's a big majority.

A local group calling itself Concerned Citizens of Baker City has formed to promote awareness of this issue and the possibility of joining together to support a Constitutional amendment. They are sponsoring a public forum on April 26 at 6:30 p.m. at the Library. Details are available at their web site: www.CCBC.US.

An excellent radio program just aired on this subject. It's This American Life, episode No. 461: "Take The Money and Run for Office." It tells how Members of Congress spend a shocking amount of time on fund-raising, even having to call up lobbyists to ask for donations andndash; and how distasteful this is to them. And it reveals how lobbyist campaign contributions and the presence of unlimited "Super PAC" money can influence Congressional action, and describes how this money can be used to shift election results. You can listen to the program at www.thisamericanlife.org.

I urge my fellow readers to listen to this program, visit the CCBC.US web site and other Internet resources, and then attend the forum on April 26. Together, we can learn about this vital issue and define and promote actions to save our democracy.

Marshall McComb

Baker City

Former judge supports Bogart

To the editor:

On May 15 we will be voting for a new Baker County Justice of the Peace. This individual will be "the people's choice for the people's court," a position of great importance to all Baker County residents demanding honesty, good character, integrity, and lots of common sense, a trait seldom seen these days.

Steve Bogart, a fifth-generation Baker County resident, has served our citizens honorably in excess of 20 years in public service as Baker County Commissioner, Baker County Judge, Baker City Manager, (five other Oregon cities as interim manager), acquiring a broad range of valuable experience at the local government level. This experience is of immeasurable value to the residents of Baker County when voting for our new Justice of the Peace. Steve Bogart has repeatedly demonstrated exceptionally good common sense in all of his public service positions. This experience makes him the best qualified candidate for Baker County Justice of the Peace. There is absolutely no substitute for honorable prior governmental experience.

I had the high honor of serving as your JP from 1988-2007 during which time I had the opportunity to observe Steve Bogart performing his duties at the county government level and later on as the interim Baker City manager. He did his job well, making the decisions required by the position with honor, integrity, fairness, honesty, and exemplifying equal justice under the law to all.

I'm voting for Steve Bogart for Baker County Justice of the Peace. Please join me in casting your ballot for Steve Bogart, "the people's choice for the people's court."

Larry D. Cole


I'm supporting Don Williams for JP

To the editor:

Don Williams is running for the office of Baker County Justice of the Peace and I am endorsing him as a candidate for this position. I have known Don for nearly 15 years. My husband and I have been friends with him for the majority of that time. Don and my husband, Keith, worked on many projects together when Don was the program services manager for Powder River Correctional Facility. Keith has great respect for Don's sincerity and ability to handle difficult situations.

Don is a genuine person with strong convictions. He is fair and honest. Don's integrity is unsurpassable. Don is an extremely knowledgeable person. His experiences throughout his career will be beneficial to his ability to be Justice of the Peace. Don is innovative, compassionate and possesses the gift of common sense.

I urge you to vote on May 15 for the most logical choice for Justice of the Peace: Don Williams.

Marilyn Shollenberger

Baker City

Williams best choice for judge

To the editor:

I have lived and worked in Baker County for over 16 years and during that time I have come to know Don Williams through various work settings. He has proven himself to be a good manager, effective communicator and professional in his approach to the tasks at hand. Most recently I have had several opportunities to observe his work while acting as judge pro-tem in Justice Court. As judge, I have found him to be respectful to the parties involved, thoughtful in weighing the evidence being presented and render fair and sound decisions.

That's why I support Don Williams as candidate for Baker County Justice of the Peace. Please join me in voting for Don in the upcoming election on May 15.

Nick Cooke

Baker City

Our freedom is up for grabs in 2012

To the editor:

Still hearing some still get a tingle when Obama speaks. God help us! A prediction for those who do: If he gets re-elected that tingle might become a full voltage shock when and if you finally wake up to the truth on how he continues to downgrade this country and its position in the world. When he apologizes for its greatness to foreign countries, even its enemies. Apologizing to Muslims while in Muslim countries about Christianity in this country while claiming to be Christian himself. Does that sound right to you?

Bending over for anti-American countries like China and Russia, who are not our friend. ("I can be more flexible after the election.") Must know something we don't. He must believe he's got it made and most of us are still stupid. Sure hope not.

The Constitution, God, your faith, your freedom to choose, all under attack and up for grabs this election year. Not just big government but by unbelievers who would destroy this country because of their own fear of God. One last warning to gun owners and hunters: Obama wants a ban on firearms for home defense. To pass laws eliminating right to carry. Ban manufacture sales and possession of handguns. Look out reloader. Close 90 percent of gun shops in America. Ban rifle ammunition commonly used for hunting and sport shooting. Increase taxes on guns and ammunition by 500 percent. Restore voting rights to five million criminals including those who have been convicted of using a gun to commit a violent crime. Expand the Clinton semi-auto ban to include millions more firearms. Mandate a government-issued license to purchase a firearm. Appoint Supreme and federal judges who share his views on the Second Amendment.

I am also very tired of hearing, "it can't happen here." It can and will if you and yours are too lazy to fight and vote for your own God-given rights and freedom. It's time for true Americans to be heard from!

Richard Fox

Baker City