City manager fails to consider citizen concerns

Taken from a letter to our City Council regarding the council meeting of Aug. 28, 2018:

I hope the exchanges you witnessed revealed one of the major problems the city faces. The city manager and other staff are operating under the illusion that they are in charge, the citizens are irrelevant and you, the city council, are merely a tool to help them attain their ends.

The Council, representing the entire community, employs Mr. Warner as city manager. He receives a salary $100,000 plus substantial benefits. He manages day-to-day operations, serving as the council’s interface with all the other city employees and advising council as needed. On Aug. 27, Penny and I met with Mr. Warner to discuss the lack of the reading of the previous meeting’s minutes. Mr. Warner agreed this was a problem.

The next evening, the Aug. 28 meeting, Julie Smith, HR manager/city recorder, was mentioned by us as failing to make the council meeting minutes available in a timely fashion for several months running. At the meetings she is busy typing away. It would seem she is taking the minutes at that moment. Therefore the information should be available the next day. Her recent $10,000 raise in pay gives her an estimated additional $417.00 per council meeting (based on 24 meetings per year). Unfortunately, the work product is not available weeks or longer after the meetings. This issue should be addressed expeditiously.

Mr. Warner told you all we had to say was “garbage.” The rest of his invective was lost to us and we departed. Many feel there is a pattern of your failing to take seriously the concerns of citizens. An individual came to you regarding a large scale marijuana grow in his neighborhood. None of you seemed to think his issue was a priority.

I hope to see greater attendance at the meetings from the community at large. When they do arrive, it would be advantageous if you to listened to them.

Raymond G. Rienks

Baker City

Approving school bond will benefit entire community

I no longer have any children or grandchildren in the Baker 5J School District, but I still plan to vote yes on Measure 1-88. While new buildings may not directly impact my day-to-day activities, the benefits of updating our facilities will have indirect impacts on everyone in our community. With the aging population in Baker County, the ability to attract and retain young professionals is of great importance. If we want to continue accessing high quality healthcare in town rather than having to drive hours to seek care, we need to have school facilities that we can proudly show to potential new citizens. We need lab techs, nurses, radiology technicians, physicians, dentists, physical and occupational therapists, surgical assistants and all the other young medical staff finishing their own educations who want to move to a place like Baker City to raise their families. Please consider the importance of this bond and the impact its outcome will have on our future as a healthy community. I urge you to join me this fall in voting yes for kids.

Gloria Schott

Baker City

Feeling taxed enough already, no on school bond

Are you fed up with striking teachers? Tax increases for schools when we were sold the lie “the lottery will solve all the school issues”? Where is that money going?

Why are teachers using the guise, “For the kids” when it’s all about more money in their pockets? We have one of the worst school systems in the U.S. and a high failure rate so why would we reward that? Cops and firefighters are barred from striking, I think teachers should be added to that category. They always pull this just before school starts to hold families hostage. And our governor has decided that homeless folks, most of which are homeless by choice, need new housing at the tune of $370 million. Really? I promise you if you build it, they will come. In 25 years of dealing with the homeless, I’ve found most have addictions, or are wanted criminals or pedophiles. Very few homeless are families. We have way too many programs to assist people with free everything. Food, medical, dental and housing. While my medical insurance tripled under President Obama’s botched medical reform, the homeless and illegals just got free care at my expense. Now I hear there are two measures that are meant to raise my taxes again, 103 and 1-88. Say No to these money-grabbing liberals. They spend our hard-earned money as if we had it growing in our yards on trees. It doesn’t. I’m taxed enough already and I’m sick of taxpayer-funded medical, abortions, food and housing. It’s time we vote these free-spending idiots out of office. I see way too many “Oregon Trail” cards purchasing crap on my dime. You want to raise taxes, tax junk food and liquor and double the tax on cigarettes. All those items merely increase our medical costs each year anyway and our nation is far too obese and diabetic.

My two cents.

Thomas Wilcoxson

Baker City