Page 4A OPINION East Oregonian Thursday, December 28, 2017 Founded October 16, 1875 KATHRYN B. BROWN Publisher DANIEL WATTENBURGER Managing Editor TIM TRAINOR Opinion Page Editor MARISSA WILLIAMS Regional Advertising Director MARCY ROSENBERG Circulation Manager JANNA HEIMGARTNER Business Office Manager MIKE JENSEN Production Manager OTHER VIEWS A big boost for Anthony Lakes prevailed, and earlier this month it won the five-year contract, starting Lest anyone believe it is always in 2018. quixotic to even try to influence This was a gratifying result — but the federal government, we cite not only, or even mainly, because it the case of several Forest Service shows that federal officials can be campgrounds near Baker City. persuaded. Although the lobbying effort in Rather, we’re pleased because this case included some high-profile it’s sensible to award the contract aid — a letter from U.S. Sen. Ron to Anthony Lakes. Moreover, it’s a Wyden, D-Ore. — it decision that gives started as a purely a boost to the local This was a local effort. economy that’s And more in the short gratifying result modest importantly, it term but could be yielded results. more substantial — it shows The story that led farther in the future. that federal to the Forest Service John Wilson, awarding a five-year president of the officials can be Baker County contract to a local company to manage Development persuaded. two campground Corporation, said the complexes dates five-year contract back to December not only will allow the company to 2016. In that month the Forest hire at least six full-time employees, Service awarded the contract to but it will help bolster plans to Aud & Di Campground Services, expand its business model to a truly the Utah firm that had the previous year-round operation. That’s exciting five-year contract for that work. because it could yield tangible But one of the other applicants benefits for other businesses that — the Baker County Development also rely on visitors. Corporation, the nonprofit that The logic of the decision is owns the Anthony Lakes Ski Area almost too obvious — the ski area — appealed the contract award. is literally within sight of two of the That’s when Wyden wrote his letter three campgrounds that make up one to the agency’s chief forester for the of the two complexes in the Forest Pacific Northwest. Service contract. That official rescinded the Although Anthony Lakes has decision and reopened the not managed campgrounds, we’re application process. confident that, having operated a Given a second chance, Anthony chairlift, it’s up to the task of dealing Lakes Mountain Resort LLC with picnic tables and outhouses. Baker City Herald YOUR VIEWS City streets and urban renewal flops in Pendleton Have you taken a drive down Southeast Byers lately? This would be the perfect opportunity to showcase some real urban renewal if the city were to complete the street project with new curbs, sidewalks, and perhaps move utility lines underground — at least make an attempt at some real visible urban renewal to a neighborhood badly in need. Think that will happen anytime soon? Nope, the “movers and shakers” have a bridge to move, a movie theater to restore, and now the old city hall to rebuild. In a display of good will, City Hall, perhaps in the spirit of Christmas and despite having levied a substantial fine on the owners of the old city hall for a violation of the city nuisance ordinance — a fine never collected — has now approved a $33,000 grant for new windows. Didn’t they just defer replacing the windows in the new city hall because of a lack of funding? Anyway, next year City Hall will again hire a consultant to tell us our city streets are still in bad shape. Something we already know. City Hall’s answer is again more taxes, or “maybe there’s a great idea, but I haven’t heard it” was another councilor’s comment. One suggestion was to eliminate the 70/30 formula and only fix top-rated streets, let a computer tell us which ones just like we did before. The 70/30 formula is supposed to guarantee that the utility tax instituted by the council is used to get residential streets the needed repairs. Are we hiring managers that rely so much on computers and consultants that they can’t see the forest for the trees? Rather than let a computer run the street repair program or waste money on consultants telling us something we already know, how about giving common sense a try. Isn’t that the manager’s job? From the picture of Northwest Bailey on the East Oregonian’s front page, a newspaper reporter had no problem finding a street the city continues to ignore. A matter of priorities, fixing streets or moving a bridge, you can guess which is more important to City Hall. Rick Rohde Pendleton Unsigned editorials are the opinion of the East Oregonian editorial board of publisher Kathryn Brown, managing editor Daniel Wattenburger, and opinion page editor Tim Trainor. Other columns, letters and cartoons on this page express the opinions of the authors and not necessarily that of the East Oregonian. OTHER VIEWS The year not to defer dreams F rom my window in Brooklyn New York embrace its waterfront over Heights, I’ve watched the Staten the years. Right beneath my window Island ferry come and go for more a lawn has been taking shape this year than two years now, a big orange boat on Pier 3, Brooklyn Bridge Park’s last crisscrossing the water. That’s when pier to be converted, and set to open in I’m home, which is not much. 2018. It will include a labyrinth. At night, I hear the foghorn, a The ferry’s a commuter service, reassuring sound, fading slowly like of course. But at this time of year, it’s memories. On the road, in yet another full of tourists gasping at the sunlight Roger hotel room where my hand can’t locate falling on the serried towers of lower Cohen by instinct the light switch, I imagine Manhattan, on the Statue of Liberty, Comment that sound sometimes. It makes me on the derricks, like gangling metal smile. Home is little things, the clunk dinosaurs, of New Jersey. New towers of the door closing on your world. go up, yet to acquire, or having half-acquired, There’s a lot going on out my window: their gleaming outer coats of armor. How joggers on the boardwalk, barges plowing the handsome the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge is! East River, choppers landing on the prow of The boat crosses to Trump country, but its Manhattan, planes nosing brief passage evokes the down into Newark Airport, centuries of American hope cars on the first traffic-free invested in this city, seen by stretch of FDR Drive where so many immigrants for the hope surges only to collide first time from this expanse with reality at a bottleneck. of water. Here, suffering, The view always reminds famine and the endless me of a children’s picture gyre of Old-World conflict book. Yes, my love, that’s a were set aside, or at least helicopter. cushioned by New-World I don’t look out on all possibility. that enough. Water is life, a At this low point for the mirror one day, a maelstrom United States, when truth the next. Do I live in itself is mocked from on New York or camp in it? high, that liberating message Sometimes I wonder. I resent is worth recalling. Certainly, the inevitable question: How long are you in no naturalized American, as I am, who has town for? Forever, I feel like saying. That’s witnessed the rites of passage of people drawn right, the farthest I’m going for the next six by hope from every corner of the earth to the months is the convenience store on Montague. rights and responsibilities of citizenship, can be Home’s important. Belonging is important, indifferent to it. right there behind love in terms of human I made the journey to Staten Island — needs. Watching an old movie on your couch is beyond Montague, I know. We can’t always important. live up to our word. But we must keep trying. That’s what holidays are for. I watched Avoid a high moral tone. Pay attention to “Shampoo,” a minor Hal Ashby masterpiece. detail. Wander aimlessly. Know, with Cavafy, “You never stop moving,” Jill (Goldie Hawn) what “these Ithacas mean.” Believe in, and tells her feckless hairdresser boyfriend, George provide for, the children who will inherit this (Warren Beatty). “You never go anywhere.” earth. Yes, darling, that’s a boat. And that’s a The movie’s set on the eve of Nixon’s labyrinth. 1968 election. A TV blares in the background. The night I took the Staten Island ferry, I There’s Nixon. He says the American flag went to a party. Each of us, after eating well, won’t be “a doormat.” He says “the great was asked to read or recount something close objective” of his administration will be to to the heart. One guest read Langston Hughes’ “bring the American people together.” “Harlem”: That which is new under the sun is meager. What happens to a dream deferred? Funny, Nixon’s not looking so bad these days, Does it dry uplike a raisin in the sun?Or compared with the orange apparition in the fester like a sore —And then run?Does it stink White House. like rotten meat?Or crust and sugar over —like Speaking of orange, I figured, what the a syrupy sweet? heck, I’m paying, like every New Yorker, for Maybe it just sagslike a heavy load. the free Staten Island ferry service. I gaze at Or does it explode? the boat, imagine it, and it goes to a mysterious In 2018, take the time, dear reader, to gaze place where the Great Leader triumphed in the at the familiar, board the ferry to nowhere — presidential election. A cleansing end-of-year and do not, at risk of an explosion, defer your wind was gusting. I boarded the ferry, not to go dreams. anywhere, just to be transported. ■ Some cities waste the water on which they Roger Cohen, an Op-Ed columnist for the are set. London used to. Rome still does. Paris International New York Times, writes about is the aqueous gold standard. I’ve watched international affairs and diplomacy. In 2018, take the time to gaze at the familiar, board the ferry to nowhere, and do not defer your dreams. LETTERS POLICY The East Oregonian welcomes original letters of 400 words or less on public issues and public policies for publication in the newspaper and on our website. The newspaper reserves the right to withhold letters that address concerns about individual services and products or letters that infringe on the rights of private citizens. Submitted letters must be signed by the author and include the city of residence and a daytime phone number. The phone number will not be published. Unsigned letters will not be published. Send letters to managing editor Daniel Wattenburger, 211 S.E. Byers Ave. Pendleton, OR 97801 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. OTHER VIEWS Learning to identify and combat ‘fake news’ The (Eugene) Register-Guard A student-developed online plug-in idea, Open Mind, offers some hope in the war against “fake news.” Because one person’s definition of fake news can differ wildly with another’s, of course, don’t expect this to be a quick fix that will appease folks on both sides of the political spectrum. And because any such tool inevitably will be built with human bias of some sort, it’s bound to come with flaws. Still, it’s an intriguing counter to the increasingly annoying — and dangerous — trend of made-up news being passed off as the real thing. Developed recently in a 36-hour “hackathon” at Yale University, the Open Mind plug-in — a software component that adds a specific feature to an existing program — is designed to be something of a smoke alarm to alert a user if he or she enters a web site known to disseminate fake news. What’s more, it can alert readers if a story shared on social media is fake or biased. been reading stories from only one side of But it doesn’t stop there. It’s designed the political spectrum. to not only warn readers of fake-news “The solution is to develop a kind of danger, but to point them toward alternative auto-immune system,” said Alex Cui, an viewpoints. Designed as an extension for Google’s undergraduate at the California Institute of Chrome browser, Technology and one it uses existing of the four students on “sentiment analysis the Open Mind team. The idea is to get technology” — a As it is, there’s people out of their process to discern little overlap in the emotional tone the news sources habit of associating behind a series of that liberals and words. It can gain an conservatives use on social media only understanding of the regularly, and trust. with people who share Forty-seven percent attitudes, opinions and emotions expressed “consistent their viewpoints, and of of — to identify subjects conservatives” get and political slants. If the bulk of their reading biased news Open Mind discerns a news from Fox decidedly anti-Trump skewered to their beliefs. News, according to a piece, the software 2014 Pew Research could suggest to Center study; half of the reader stories on the president with an “consistent liberals” get their news from a alternative viewpoint. combination of NPR, CNN, MSNBC and Finally, over time, the software can build The New York Times. a data base that shows whether the user has Among the ideas of Open Mind is to get people out of their habit of associating on social media only with people who share their viewpoints and of reading biased news skewered toward their beliefs. “Social media sites grow bubbles,” said Michael Lopez- Brau, a doctoral student at Yale and member of the Open Mind team. “They’ve allowed us to silo people off at a distance.” Ironically, one of the biggest challenges developers will confront as they create this plug-in is not allowing their own biases to skew the program. And once it’s built, the challenge will be to get the people who need it most to use it. As with Apple’s app aimed at getting people to not text and drive, it works only for those who agree to use it. Often, pride coerces those who need broader vision to not look beyond their familiar world views. That said, bravo to the students for their imaginative thinking — and with the 36-hour-clock ticking no less. What’s as impressive as their ability to think on their feet is their tackling two problems as serious as anything America has faced in a long time: narrow-mindedness and truth.