Harvey wasted money on self-serving trip to D.C.

The irony of the Herald’s guest editorial, “More Secrecy in Salem,” on July 2 screams out to Baker County residents.

If you substitute County Commission Chair Bill Harvey’s name for Governor Brown in the opening paragraph, the story is much the same. True, the issue is different, but Mr. Harvey’s habit of making decisions without consulting the other commissioners is wrong. The fact that his actions cost the county many thousands of dollars is egregious.

Mr. Harvey’s failure to discuss his two recent trips to Washington with the other commissioners was irresponsible, displaying his lack of leadership. The Herald’s article on his latest trip was short on substantive information. The Herald missed the fact that he never consulted with the other commissioners before the trip. (Editor’s note: The other commissioners, Mark Bennett and Bruce Nichols, were aware of Harvey’s trip before he left.) How can Harvey say he represented the county when he chose not to let the other commissioners weigh in? The cost was thousands of dollars with no value to our county; he took a personal trip at taxpayer expense to bolster his campaign. There is zero justification for spending that kind of money. Had he worked for my company, he would have been fired on the spot and charged with theft.

Mr. Harvey calls himself a conservative. Someone who wastes taxpayers’ dollars like he does is anything but conservative. He made the arrangements privately, without consulting the other commissioners, putting his personal agenda ahead of county needs. For him to say he represented Baker County is simply not honest.

Honesty and leadership are not Mr. Harvey’s strong suits.

Rick Meis

Halfway

I’m supporting McLeod-Skinner for Congress

The citizens of Oregon’s CD2 deserve a U.S. representative who cares about and acts in our best interests.

Greg Walden has been our representative for almost 20 years. He may have been attentive in the beginning, but he no longer listens to our district. In 2017 he helped craft HR 1628 which would have reduced Affordable Care Act health benefits and taken coverage away from 24 million Americans. He voted for this legislation even though it was not supported by the majority of Americans, offered no reasonable healthcare alternatives, and would have eliminated coverage for 165,000 of his constituents.

Representative Walden is proud of his role in passing legislation in June 2018 to address our country’s opioid epidemic. In Oregon alone, 506 people died from opioid overdoses in 2016. Addressing this health crisis is vital, but why did it take so long for this legislation to be passed? Why is it a piecemeal approach to a complex problem and why is its funding so stingy compared to the programs he is working to eliminate? Why has Walden accepted $367,700 in campaign contributions from the pharmaceutical industry in the 2017-18 election cycle? These decisions and delayed actions show that Walden does not act in our best interests.

Jamie McLeod-Skinner is running to be our new CD2 representative. She supports affordable and accessible healthcare for all. She believes that our healthcare system has a big role to play in resolving the ongoing opiate addiction crisis, which was largely created by irresponsible practices by drug companies. She will push for needed reforms and funds to prevent addiction and treat its victims. And she has pledged not to accept any campaign contributions from the pharmaceutical industry.

Walden has had 20 years to show that he cares about us. His recent actions demonstrate that this is not the case. McLeod-Skinner has a lifelong commitment to public service, practical work experience and a proven track record in an elected position. Her actions show that she cares and will work hard as an ad vocate for our district. Vote for McLeod-Skinner for Congress in November.

Gretchen Stadler

Baker City

Merkley’s newfound concern for immigrant children

I read with interest your guest editorial of June 29 titled “Merkley blasts rule he helped create.” It seems that this is not his only strange behavior. Recently Senator Merkley visited the border to protest children removed from their parents. I assume his travel expenses were paid for by us taxpayers. My question to Senator Merkley is quite simple. Did you visit the border to protest children being removed from their parents during the Bush and Obama administrations? A simple yes or no would suffice.

Gary McManus

Baker City

Spend money to fix existing schools, not to build new

Remember when the then-new city manager stuck us with a “sidewalk” tax and nobody seemed to complain? This year the city dropped that tax and raised it for their “we can’t stay within our budget” tax. They must have found a loophole in the “no taxation without representation” law. Those two taxes seem pretty small — but that new school tax is huge. At least we get to vote on that one!

The last time the school board decided we needed a new school the propaganda was intense. So that new people would move to our town. The kids won’t have to climb stairs all day. New businesses will start up here. Old schools are outdated and ugly. We can bus children so they won’t have to walk to school. Etc. Etc. However, when all was said and done, Baker didn’t have enough students to warrant grant money for a new school anyway. This time around the school board purchased property before presenting their plans or funds. Their reasons are still the same — and so are mine. We already have four beautiful, structurally sound, vintage schools (oops... three, you sold Churchill) that can be brought back to code. Refurbishing historic buildings is popular now — just look at our Main Street and other restored buildings around town. North Baker, Central Building and the Helen Stack schools were made at a time when they were built to last, brick by brick and stone by stone. Brooklyn and South Baker were built “modern” at their times using less durable materials. They will be long gone way before the older schools start to crumble.

How proud the city and students would be in their newly refurbished vintage schools. Not to mention that it would be more in step with our historic frontier town’s image. The rejected schools could be sold for funds.

Grant money is deceptive, so available and seemingly free. Not true! It will cost us all way more than they think or plan for. So if we, the hardworking citizens of Baker City, can be frugal and make due with what we have shouldn’t the school board and the city be also? Spend money to improve the existing buildings.

Patti Hanley

Baker City

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