City Council should let the Public Safety Fee end

The Baker City Council and budget committee should keep their word to the citizens of Baker. The following are excerpts from the City Council meeting on June 13, 2017, when the Council passed the Public Safety Fee.

I stated at that meeting “once the fee went into effect it would never end, and that the fee would in fact increase over time, and that the voters should be allowed to decide the matter.”

Jeanie Dexter (the city’s finance director) said “this safety fee has a three-year sunset.”

Councilor Loran Joseph (now mayor) said “it was not his intention to need the fee for the 2018-19 budget.”

Councilor Adam Nilsson stated “this fee was extremely scrutinized so it was very much a temporary option.”

Mayor Mike Downing (now councilor) said “he agreed with councilors Joseph and Nilsson and stated this fee was only a temporary solution as they had strongly analyzed its effect.”

Councilor Jim Thomas stated that “he agreed with councilor Nilsson that he did not want to have to utilize the fee at all during the 2018-19 budget.”

Mayor Downing also stated “I agree with the citizens that it was not ideal but given the timing of the state requirements for passing a budget, it was the solution to the problem for this year.”

Lastly we have Dexter stating, “one reason (for the budget deficit) was due to the PERS increase as required by the state of Oregon.”

Now we all know exactly what the real public safety emergency is. Four of the seven councilors said that the fee is a temporary solution to an “emergency” as declared by the City Council to put the fee into effect in July 2017.

The City Council now has a year left to find a permanent funding solution for its current budget deficit. Or let the voters approve a funding option to keep staffing at the same level in 2020.

The City Council needs to let the Public Safety Fee expire as promised and reinstate the sidewalk fee

Kevin Luckini

Baker City

Baker City should continue to prohibit pot sales

Absolutely no! Baker City should not reconsider and allow the selling of marijuana. Baker County, sadly, already has two dope towns, Huntington and Sumpter. Adding Baker City to the dope-selling list would be a decision in the wrong direction. We should never make it easier to do the wrong thing and using dope is decidedly the wrong thing. Just because a majority of voters in Oregon stupidly passed dope legalization, that doesn’t mean we have to follow and work toward our own demise. I haven’t heard the numbers for Baker County but, when I lived in Deschutes County 10 years ago, 85% of crimes were directly related to methamphetamine alone. And it was illegal! Now there are those who want to make it easier to obtain drugs! Is this just the drug users who want this or is this insanity spreading?

Acknowledging that I live outside the city, I still consider Baker City my hometown and want it to be a place I’m proud of, not a sleazy place that will do anything for tax money. If it’s only about the money, are Tombstonesque saloons with full gambling, drunken brawls, and upstairs whorehouses the next consideration? Come on, people, we can be better than this. And we shouldn’t be so desperate for tax revenue that we are willing to destroy the soul of our home to get it. Saying that because we have liquor for sale we should also allow dope is no logic. That’s saying that the problems caused by alcohol aren’t bad enough and we need to add more drunk driving, abuse, theft, and other crimes from dope. Addiction of any type is a problem, a sickness, and people who suffer from addiction need help, not an easier path to feed their addiction.

Furthermore, let’s not kid ourselves that marijuana is harmless. Just ask any professional who works in the addiction field and you will find that isn’t the case. Marijuana is addicting, a gateway drug, a contributor to schizophrenia and worsening psychosis. I encourage everyone to do their own research regarding the dangers of marijuana. The costs to our community would far, far, outweigh the tax benefits.

Jim Carnahan

Baker City

Ashamed of America’s separation of families

I just heard about another child dying in the care and custody of the United States of America, the nation I have always been so proud of, for its good struggle toward total human rights. Now, I am ashamed of us. Our government is kidnapping children from their parents. They call it child separation, but they have no plan for reuniting them with their parents, in these former great United States.

According to what we know, which isn’t much because it is a huge government cover-up, these children are captured as if they were wild animals, and shipped to “facilities,” which no one can enter, or obtain information about the children and how they are being treated. Not even members of Congress can enter these facilities. They are not family homes. They are not likely summer camp. They are probably more like orphanages, run by private contractors, who may or may not have had any kind of training or background checks. We are hearing bits and pieces of this horror, this evil. Six deaths that we know of, because proper care was not provided. Infants are reportedly not getting any love or care except from the older children because the “adults” are not allowed to touch them.

These are human beings, just like you and me. How can we treat them this way? How can we, or they, justify it? Maybe it’s because they see immigrants as “the others,” as less than human, criminals, gang members, hordes of nonwhite people who are coming to invade us. Really?

There are now thousands of children, some not even old enough to speak, ripped from the arms of loving parents to be stuck in cages with hundreds of other children, lying on cement floors with a thin foil blanket and no idea why they are there, or how decent human beings can do this to them.

I am appalled! I am outraged!

And now, as said by someone on the news, “there is a permanent scar on my heart” for the lost children and all of the people who love them and want them back. Who are we?

Shirley McLin

Baker City

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