Jayson Jacoby
The Baker City Herald

Benghazi failure leaves black mark on U.S. leadership

Currently the news on the disaster at Benghazi is mostly involved with chronic windbags arguing about what caused this disaster. The blame shifts from an anti-Muslim mob about a movie to an organized terrorist group. This has involved a great deal of rhetoric but fails to answer a key question in my mind. What was done to save these people at the embassy?

It was a no-brainer. Something would have to be done very quickly but it appears to me that nothing was ever done. Why not? One leader turned off the TV, went to bed and left town the next day. Anther important leader did the same but left the country the next day. The fact is that help was nearby but no one ordered them to help.

The US had forces on two bases that were one hour away from Benghazi by air. What could have been done? Fighters should have been standing by ready in such a volatile area. Jet fighters could have been scrambled and sent to Benghazi at top speed. They could have been ordered to begin harassing the threatening mob at low level, even producing some sonic booms, and looking for targets of opportunity. I believe such action could very well have slowed the mob and even could have turned them away long enough for more air support to arrive and even for some troops to arrive by air.

To have done nothing is completely inexcusable and constitutes a huge black mark on American leadership and their leadership ability.

Carl Kostol

Baker City

City should use sidewalk fees for ... sidewalks

In regards to the question of the Baker City sidewalk fees: As a homeowner and resident I do not mind the small amount paid. After walking around town, it is most apparent that the sidewalks in general very much need de-weeding and repair. Please use the sidewalk maintenance fees for that purpose. It is important both for safety and appearance.

Terry Galland

Baker City

We had a great time at Regional Theatre music revue

Wow! The "Here's To Broadway" musical revue we experienced on Friday was a real treat. The Eastern Oregon Regional Theatre performance was heartwarming and authentic. The new mini auditorium, now upstairs in Basche-Sage Place, is still a delicious, up close and personal experience. A big thank you to all involved. Well done! We had a blast and went away with a song in our hearts and on our lips!

Jack and Susan Hatfield


Travel Plan is done; but a bigger forest plan still coming

The Forest Service's Travel Management Plan in the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest has become a red herring. In reality the plan is dead in the water. Unlawful. It'd be on the ground right now if it had been within the law to carry out such a plan. As proposed the plan violated private property rights and constitutional law. Violated county law too, not that the commissioners respected local law and instead signed a cooperative agreement limiting local government involvement to that of a secondary agency working under the lead agency Forest Service. Red herring.

Still the TMP gains all kinds of media coverage and ongoing attention. All this hullabaloo while the granddaddy of federal forest management plans, the Blue Mountain Forest Plan revision, plugs along under the radar. The TMP is old news other than one question and that is an accounting. How much has the agency spent on the TMP in the Wallowa-Whitman? It's my opinion that the Forest Service threw the TMP out first to see where the agency would run into problems in the travel/access portion of the new forest plan revision. The agency experts had to know that whatever TMP it came up with had to tier to the guiding forest plan, in this case the 1990 Wallowa-Whitman Forest Plan. Anyone familiar with the way the TMP came out can see that the Forest Service's preferred plan did not tier to the user-friendly 1990 Forest Plan and in fact proposed a new "closed unless designated open policy," which in effect would have enacted a blanket closure of the forest roads with a process of designating open roads to follow. Unlawful.

It's important to follow the revision of the new Blue Mountain Forest Plan and to ask county commissioners, Forest Service officials, and the newspaper to start sharing the progress on the plan. One more thing to remember: Your county commissioners signed another cooperative agreement for the Blue Mountain Forest Plan Revision along with 10 other Blue Mountain region counties, which combines all 11 counties into one subordinate cooperating agency working under the lead agency Forest Service.

Brian Addison

Baker City

Teens' 'Fugitive' game that got out of hand

On Saturday, May 11, at about 8:45 p.m., my property was overrun by what I believe were teenagers. A couple of vehicles were involved, but the intruders were on foot.

I first noticed them in the street in front my home ... and then I observed them running along the property perimeter toward by backyard. Finally they jumped the front fence to access my backyard.

At least five of them ran around in my backyard until they finally climbed the 6-foot wooden fence and hightailed it out of there.

I called the Baker City Police. All in all, it was a very unsettling experience and both the front and back fences sustained damage. Had my garden been planted already or my flower beds full of young plants - these intruders would have surely trampled them into oblivion. As it turned out, the blooming perennials were pretty badly trampled.

Since May 11, I have learned that this event is a game called "Fugitive" and apparently, according to the police, it happens every year. On the surface, it sounds like a really fun game - except for the criminal mischief resulting in property damage, trespassing, and the involuntary adrenalin rush - all of which occurred without provocation from my perspective.

So here I am now ... left with the property damage. My understanding is that this game is not supposed to include trespassing or damaging somebody's property. I think that maybe the participants found themselves so caught up in the whole thing, no pun intended, that they became intrusive without really meaning to be intrusive. I forgive them the scare and the damage so long as it doesn't happen again.

That being said, I wish our community could find a way to safely support this activity ... a way in which the participants could have fun but not damage property or otherwise frighten anybody. I remember what it was like to be a kid, although it was several decades ago. Had I known about the game, I probably would have enjoyed it myself.

Elizabeth Bordeaux

Baker City