It’s time to act to reduce the threat of pit bulls

I guess I’m getting old and am easily confused. A couple of weeks ago I was driving over to my mother’s house in South Baker and saw a man walking his dogs, or maybe more accurately, being pulled down the street by three pit bulls. At the time I thought that “here is a situation that is not going to end well.” The fact that my sister often walks that street with her 3-year-old granddaughter was a concern.

In the meantime the press has covered the death by a cougar of the woman on Mount Hood and the previous death of a man in Washington by a cougar and the woman in California is mentioned often. There was more on cougars in the Sept. 14 Baker City Herald, front page and in color. The second page on the top, black and white, is a story about Mitchelle Dean Segerdahl being killed by a couple of his six pit bulls. It seems that a couple of the dogs were dead from fighting each other and evidently the rest were “euthanized” by the police. Did that mean that they were shot because trying to capture them and take them to the pound was too dangerous?

I’m not a fan of cougars in town or near human habitation especially if there are children around but what gets me is that one cougar death on the other side of the state seems to generate a lot of press and now we have had our second pit bull death in Baker City. The odds of being killed by a pit bull far exceed any probability of being killed by a cougar or bear. I know, the usual outcry if you say it is time we do away with dangerous dogs will bring about the usual “it’s just how they are raised” stuff, but it’s not hard to find statistics that prove that the pit bull is a genetic time bomb waiting to go off. It’s time for city government to get on with getting this menace out of town and the county commission should do the same with the rural parts of the county.

Steve Culley

Baker City

Many reasons to vote No on the school bond measure

It has been heartening to read the recent batch of commonsense letters urging a no vote on the school bond. It was particularly pleasing to read that a no vote isn’t a vote against kids. The yes for kids slogan is just a spurious ploy that attempts to shame people into voting for an unnecessary and grandiose building plan. Here are some reasons for voting against it:

• Many can’t afford it. 14 percent of all households or about 2,400 people in Baker County live below the poverty level. We can’t afford to buy lattes or eat out so we don’t have extra money to put in a jar for the school district. This measure threatens low-income property owners, and even renters to some degree, by taking money we don’t have when we already have difficulty keeping our heads above water.

• Small businesses will suffer as discretionary income for everyone else shrinks due to bond payments.

• The board acted irresponsibly by selling Churchill School in 2007. It just sat there as it became apparent that classroom space was needed, but they didn’t buy it back. Instead, Kevin Cassidy, bond committee member Bonebrake, and a former member of the board when the school was sold, Ginger Savage, gleefully celebrated it being taken over by commercial interests, who purchased it for $194,104. That’s almost $11,000 less than the district had originally sold it for.

• Voters are being asked to approve a $48 million school bond when the Facilities Master Planning Committee thought that “the most urgent needs for building improvements” were estimated to cost about $26.7 million.

• Cost overruns are almost inevitable, and when they occur, they will be back for more to finish projects. According to the Oregon School Boards Association and others, cost overruns have plagued recent district building projects from Hermiston to Portland, and all down the coast to San Diego.

• Teacher effectiveness, socio-economic status, safe and supportive home environments, class size and student intellectual resources are far more important factors affecting student achievement than the age of buildings.

For more information see

Christopher Christie

Baker City

Yes vote for school bond part of our community legacy

We are voting yes for kids because we want a part of our legacy to read “They supported our children’s children’s children’s quality of education.” We thank those family members who passed the school bond in 1948 for their foresight in providing improved schools for our learning, but things have changed over the past 70+ years and the needs of our current and future youngsters are not being met by those facilities. If we don’t act now, when will those changing needs be acknowledged? Granted, increased taxes will impact our current lifestyle but the support for our future generations will be of significant value to our community.

What will your legacy be? Please vote yes for kids.

Hal and Doni (Colton) Huntington

Baker City