Congress should look inward before condemning others

I am sick to death of congressional members who attack good people when they have a closetful of dirty linen of their own that they hide from the people and lie their way out of when they get caught!

A few months ago there was a news item in all the papers and on the TV and radio about millions of taxpayer dollars having been paid by congressional members to mistresses and paramours to keep them quiet about their “illicit” relationships. To date, not one person has been identified in this national scandal!

These same people now have the intestinal fortitude to condemn someone with a record of years of public service, drag his name through the mud because of something that cannot be proved, that might have happened 35 or more years ago, when the “suspect” was a teenager, while they hide behind their cloak of hidden identity. This is a clear case of outright cover up and attempted blackmail.

It’s time to clean house, or as President Trump puts it, “time to drain the swamp.”

Alberta Bailey

Baker City

School bond will give kids education they deserve

I have two kids attending school in Baker City. They both have attended Brooklyn Primary (one is still there, the other is at South Baker). Parents who have spent time in or around the school will know what I mean when I say that the overcrowding is obvious. The effort by the school staff and children is amazing. I really appreciate how hard everyone tries to make the current situation work for my kids, but I have no doubt that it has detracted from their education. For example, their schedule has to fit around cafeteria use for lunches and P.E. classes for over 450 students, putting academics at the mercy of coordinating the use of limited spaces.

Each year the labor market gets more demanding. I want our kids to be prepared with the best education and vocational training we can provide. The school bond will provide for adequate space to deliver the education our kids deserve, and the access to vocational training that will set them apart in the job market.

I have heard the history of how we came to this situation, but no excuse can make things better for kids in our schools. Each year we do nothing, they suffer the penalties for overcrowded, outdated and unsafe schools. This November we have the chance to turn it around. Please join me in voting yes for kids, on Measure 1-88.

Charlie Tracy

Baker City

Yes on Measure 106: Spend for schools, not abortions

Personal choice is one thing, but the use of public funding to support personal choice creates a financial burden for all. Through HB 3391, signed into law in 2017, Oregonians currently pay for free, taxpayer-funded abortions for anyone — including undocumented residents.

In 2017, approximately $1.9 million in taxpayer money was spent on more than 3,500 abortions, approximately 10 per day in the state. With limited tax revenues in the state, this money could be much better spent on needed educa tion.

Voting Yes on Measure 106 doesn’t stop anyone from choosing an abortion. People will still be able to have an abortion for any reason they wish, but this personal choice should not be paid for with our tax dollars. Also, Measure 106 allows for funding abortions when needed to protect the mother. Abortions that are medically necessary can still be covered by state-funded healthcare.

Please learn the facts about this important ballot measure and vote Yes on Measure 106.

John Busch

Baker City

We can restore current school buildings with local contractors

I read Grover Mann’s letter in the paper and I agree with him. The 30-year timetable on the school bond is a longtime commitment and once started there is no backing out.

I understand that a large portion of Baker City and County’s population consists of senior citizens who do not have school age children and are most likely retired on a fixed income. As Grover said in his letter, a majority of this group would never see the last payments on this bond.

Another fact is, everyone is going to pay if the bond levy passes whether they benefit from it or not. Those include:

• Renters who will have to pay additional rent to cover the extra tax the owner will be required to pay

• People who homeschool their kids

• People who send their kids to church schools such as the Seventh-day Adventist and Harvest Christian schools

• People who send their kids out of county to schools like North Powder Charter School

• The senior citizens mentioned earlier and couples that don’t have children

• Single homeowners

Since the bond levy is to be paid for by property taxes, I would like to add another thought about those taxes. Several years ago the people of this state voted to limit the raise in property taxes to 3 percent a year. Guess what? Last year our property taxes went up 8 percent. According to the assessor’s office this was legal because houses in the area, comparable to ours, were selling for an amount somewhat above their assessed value. I’m assuming this means that the assessed value of properties are going to go up, thus the property taxes will go up and the school bond add on will increase accordingly.

(Editor’s note: According to Kerry Savage, Baker County assessor, the tax rate for the bond measure, per $1,000 of assessed valuation, would fluctuate based on the assessed value of a property. If the assessed value rises, the rate per $1,000 for the bond repayment probably would drop because the school district would need about the same amount of money each year to repay the bond.)

I think Baker City prides itself in the old historic buildings that have been restored and are in use today. I think we as a community should feel the same way about restoring our school buildings. This is my recommendation and I agree with Grover on how the restoration and upgrading should be done by local people and contractors.

Dick Culley

Baker City

Encouraged by signs supporting McLeod-Skinner for Congress

I’ve just returned from a road trip, meandering across the beautiful and vast country of Oregon’s District 2. I am thrilled by how many “Jamie McLeod-Skinner for Congress” signs I’ve seen posted!

No wonder — Greg Walden has ceased to listen to the voices of rural Oregonians, and no longer has our interests at heart. He has been in Washington too long. He no longer offers town hall meetings to regular folks like us — he only appears at fancy fundraising dinners and on glossy billboards.

Greg’s voting record shows he has forgotten our values.

His votes against the support of our U.S. military veterans and their families are disturbing. He headed the bill to abolish affordable health care, apparently not caring that 1 in 5 of his constituents would lose health care coverage as a result. Greg fails to recognize that half of his constituents live at or below poverty level, and 14 percent are unemployed, so his tax-cut schemes for the wealthy don’t help us.

Jamie McLeod-Skinner’s donors do not include corporate interests, but real rural Oregonians like us. She has traversed our state and put 40,000 miles on her Jeep, meeting and listening to us. She is dedicated to public service.

Jamie recognizes that we need to serve our veterans as they have served us. She is committed to accessible health care, water for our ranching and farming families, and providing tuition-free college or trade school in exchange for voluntary public service. Walden persists in fueling divisiveness, but Jamie McLeod-Skinner believes in “people before party.” Good ideas can come from both sides of the aisle. “Government needs to know when to help out, and when to get out of the way.”

Finally, we have a candidate who is truly one of us: Jamie McLeod-Skinner for Congress. Jamie has earned my vote.

I encourage you to check out her website: to learn more.

Kata Bulinski

Baker City

Nichols has proven himself best choice for commission chairman

I am writing this letter in support of Bruce Nichols for Baker County Commission Chair. In the years I have known Bruce I have found him to be honest, fair and of high integrity. I believe he is the strongest choice for the County Commission Chair. In the last two years as a County Commissioner, Bruce has proven himself to be one who will question and work to ensure that the citizens are receiving the best value and representation from their local government when dealing with their partners on the state and federal level.

I know Bruce will be committed to maintaining Baker County’s friendly and supportive environment where small businesses can continue to grow or be welcomed to relocate here.

Baker County is not the only county with issues with state and federal agencies, most all other western states and counties are fighting the same fight. Bruce has the personality and experience to coordinate with the other counties as well as state and federal Legislators to make a stronger voice on the issues.

Please join me in voting for Bruce Nichols, Baker County Commission Chair.

Mitch Southwick

Baker City

People shouldn’t be condemned based on a single witness

We commonly think of the ninth of the Ten Commandments as:

“Thou shalt not lie.”

What it actually says is:

Exodus 20:16 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”

Much “false witness bearing” has been going on, without consequences for the ones found to be bearing false witness.

How can we put a stop to all these baseless sexual misconduct accusations that are freely flying around? Why are we condemning alleged perpetrators on the testimony of just one witness? The facts should be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses for each alleged incident.

If a malicious witness comes forward and accuses someone of a crime, then both the accuser and the accused should be closely questioned. If the accuser is found to be lying, she/he should receive the punishment intended for the accused. There should be punishment for bearing false witness. Those watching would be deterred from doing the same.

This timeless biblical principle is found in Deuteronomy 19:15-20:

“Never convict anyone of a crime on the testimony of just one witness. The facts of the case must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. If a malicious witness comes forward and accuses someone of a crime, then both the accuser and accused must appear before the priests and judges who are on duty before the Lord. They must be closely questioned, and if the accuser is found to be lying, the accuser will receive the punishment intended for the accused. In this way, you will cleanse such evil from among you. Those who hear about it will be afraid to do such an evil thing again.”

(New Living Translation)

Mary Andersen

Baker City