Jayson Jacoby
The Baker City Herald

Don Williams would render honest, impartial decisions

I would like to take this opportunity to show my support for in my opinion the most qualified candidate for the position of Justice of the Peace: Don Williams.

Don has served as a pro-tem Justice of the Peace in the Baker County Justice Court during the past 22 months. He has 28 years experience in civil court practice, law enforcement and corrections. He has beyond question an outstanding knowledge and understanding of the law, what I would consider the most important prerequisite for the position of Justice of the Peace.

I say without reservation, ask anyone who knows Don what they think of his integrity and qualifications for the job, and you will only hear the highest remarks in return. I know of no one that doesn't respect and admire him for his dedication to Baker County and its citizens.

With a judge of Don's qualifications I feel anyone that comes before his bench can be assured of an honest, impartial and just decision based on the two most important issues: the facts and the law.

Bill Ward

Baker City

Our students should be in school 5 days per week

The function, sole purpose, and responsibility of the Baker School District is to educate our children. Instead, its board and administration is mired in controversy, poor fiscal management, and questionable policies. They have build an administrative empire that has refused to rein in expenses, ignored the public, and have lost focus on the kids.

Two years ago they reduced the number of days that the children can attend school by 20 percent in a state that already has the second-shortest school year in the nation. In lieu of allowing our teachers to "educate" our young children (grades 1-3), the district inserted a breakfast period and extended some recesses and meal periods for the four days that they are in school. Unfortunately, that's not a good trade-off and probably a big reason why we recently received dismal results from the Oregon Assessment of Knowledge and Skills tests.

With this miserable economic climate, they have increased the budget of the office of the superintendent by 27 percent and the total technology budget by over $475,000 which is a 125-percent increase over the 2009/10 budget. In addition, the district continues to pay a 50 to 60 percent benefit package to its employees when the Bureau of Labor estimates the national average between 20 and 30 percent. At what point do we start using taxpayer money to educate our children instead of paying outrageous administrative costs, unsustainable technology expenses, and providing benefit plans that many people in our district can't afford themselves.

The patrons of this district deserve better and the children certainly deserve better than what the district is giving them. We have great teachers, principals and staff. Now, let's get the kids back in school - five full days per week, and put the focus back on the children.

Mike Ogan

Baker City