East Oregonian : E.O. (Pendleton, OR) 1888-current, December 28, 2017, Page Page 4A, Image 4

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    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 editor@eastoregonian.com.
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.