Baker City herald. (Baker City, Or.) 1990-current, October 18, 2019, Page 4, Image 4

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    FRIDAY, OCTOBER 18, 2019
Baker City, Oregon
4A
Write a letter
news@bakercityherald.com
OUR VIEW
GOP: Find
way to win
elections
Two efforts to recall Gov. Kate Brown stalled Monday, send-
ing the clear message that while many voters are dissatisfi ed
with her performance she isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Both efforts failed by substantial margins.
There are a lot of things that make the state’s recall system
important — in fact, crucial in some respects — but this lat-
est recall effort was a waste of time.
A lot of voters in Oregon don’t like Brown. They don’t like
her policies or her political philosophy. Especially east of the
Cascades, the governor’s popularity isn’t as high in some
areas as she or her supporters would like.
In other sections of the state, the governor doesn’t face that
problem and her policies are considered sound.
Our political system is designed where fractures in public
opinion are common and rarely does a politician gain the
kind of widespread popularity they seek.
The recall system in Oregon is needed, but it should be uti-
lized only in the most serious circumstances. Simply disliking
the governor isn’t really suffi cient ground to launch a recall
effort. We concede anyone can be recalled for any reason, but
that should not be a blank check to settle political grudges.
The recall tool is a necessary one, but it should be reserved
for those who abuse their offi ce, commit crimes or blatant
breaches in ethics.
If one does not like the current chief executive of the state
or the nation there is already a process instilled into our
system to change it. It’s called elections.
Republican party leaders, especially, should have stepped
into the recall effort and squashed it. Not because it was
wrong — we’ve already conceded recalls are sometimes nec-
essary — but because it was a waste of time.
If Republicans really want to change leadership in Oregon,
they should work hard to fi nd a candidate that can beat a
Democrat for the governor’s slot.
That isn’t as easy as it would seem — just review the last
two elections for proof — but it needs to be a priority.
There also remains a host of serious political issues impact-
ing our state right now that deserve the undivided attention
of GOP leaders. Spending time and effort on a failed recall
effort isn’t a viable method for the future.
We in Eastern Oregon don’t live in a vacuum. Generally,
the region is a conservative stronghold. But other portions of
the state lean in a different political direction. We may believe
our conservative values are paramount, but we — and the
Republican Party — must convince the rest of the state.
Wasting time on a recall effort isn’t going to get us there.
Unsigned editorials are the opinion of the Baker City Herald.
Columns, letters and cartoons on this page express the opinions of
the authors and not necessarily that of the Baker City Herald.
OTHER VIEWS
Editorial from Bloomberg News:
Do economic sanctions serve U.S. policy
objectives? An important new report from
the Government Accountability Office
raises the question, but supplies an un-
satisfactory answer: Although the depart-
ments of Treasury, State and Commerce
all pay close attention to the impact of
specific sanctions on their targets, there’s
no reliable way to assess whether — or
even to what extent — broader objectives
are being served.
Gauging the success of sanctions
isn’t an exact science. Officials may, for
instance, be able to tell when a targeted
bank has ceased to enable money trans-
fers to a rogue regime, but if the regime
finds other ways to get cash, then the
goal hasn’t been reached. On the other
hand, if a regime continues to finance
terrorism despite being denied access to
formal banking channels, that doesn’t
automatically represent a failure — after
all, perhaps it could’ve done much more
harm if it was unrestrained.
All the same, there are ways to improve
the chances that sanctions are effective.
The first is a clear articulation of goals,
which has not been the strongest suit of
President Donald Trump’s administra-
tion. To cite the most obvious example,
it’s hard to tell whether the sanctions
Trump has imposed on Iran are designed
to curtail its nuclear program, discourage
its other menacing behavior or overthrow
its regime. The GAO found that “evolving
foreign-policy goals” — an elegant piece of
bureaucratic politesse — make it harder
for officials to tell if sanctions are working.
In addition to clarifying its objectives,
the U.S. should always seek to coordinate
with other countries when imposing
sanctions. The report notes that such
measures tend to be more effective when
“implemented through international
organizations.” As obvious as this seems,
the Trump administration frequently
makes no effort to get its allies on board.
America’s sheer economic clout makes
its unilateral sanctions as effective as
international ones, but regimes are more
likely to mend their ways when faced
with multinational approbation. Making
appropriate exemptions for humanitar-
ian goods and services, meanwhile, could
both ameliorate the pain for civilians and
ensure wider international support.
Finally, the Trump administration
could improve the effectiveness of sanc-
tions by conducting periodic reviews to
judge if its goals are being achieved and
presenting progress reports to Congress
and the public. That would help it coordi-
nate policy across the executive branch,
sharpen its focus and encourage broader
support for its objectives.
This is all the more important because
Trump has imposed sanctions with more
enthusiasm than any of his predecessors.
One analysis shows almost 1,500 individ-
uals, companies and institutions are now
on the Treasury’s sanctions list. In 2018
alone, Trump added more than 700 — or
50% more than had ever been added in a
single year. On Friday, the administration
threatened Turkey with “very power-
ful sanctions” over its offensive in Syria.
Whether it plans to act on the threat
remains to be seen — but the readiness
to invoke it reflects the fact that the tra-
ditional tools for transnational problem-
solving are losing their edge. Diplomatic
solutions are harder to achieve when
rogue states have more power to resist
American coercion, not least because they
can rely on other powerful actors, such
as China and Russia, to overlook their
roguishness. Military solutions have been
discredited by spectacular failures in
Afghanistan and Iraq.
Sanctions can be a good alternative to
futile diplomacy and violent conflict: They
can impose a penalty for bad behavior,
quickly and with relatively little cost to
the U.S. But, as with war and diplomacy,
they should be employed with care and
forethought, as the GAO report illus-
trates. It should be required reading in
the White House.
Early cold snap pulls curtain on ash tree’s show
The record-shattering October
chill, even as it was pilfering my
bank account to keep the furnace
stoked with kilowatt-hours, was
stealing into my yard and ruining
the riot of color I’ve come to expect.
I believe I am entitled to be a
trifl e annoyed about this.
The usual autumn explosion
of eye-watering yellow that is our
ash tree serves as that venerable
canopy’s most illustrious contribu-
tion to the place.
(Although not its most comfort-
ing — the shade it casts on a torrid
August afternoon earns that honor.)
There is no sight I relish more
than sunlight bursting through
the yellowing leaves in the late
afternoon of a clear October day, an
especially fetching combination of
colors and textures.
This year I noticed, along about
the middle of September, that on a
few minor limbs the ash leaves had
already taken on their autumnal
tinge. This whetted my appetite for
the show to come.
Except then, on a blustery day
late last week, I stepped outside
and heard a curious sound. It was a
low rustling of the sort you some-
times hear in the deep woods when
a deer, as yet unseen, is slinking
through the foliage.
I realized, though, that this
noise was coming from above, and
specifi cally from the southwest
corner of our lot where the ash tree
dominates.
I looked up and noticed, for the
fi rst time, that the tree had shed a
JAYSON
JACOBY
considerable percentage of its
leaves.
More conspicuous, though, was
the color of the leaves scattered
about the grass, which was still a
lush green.
The leaves were a dusty gray-
green not dramatically different
from the shade of the lawn, which
I suspect is why I hadn’t noticed
them before.
I walked through this scrim of
leaves and the source of the noise
was immediately obvious. The
leaves were as crispy as corn fl akes,
and as desiccated. Even a gentle
breeze set in motion the leaves still
hanging above, creating a cacopho-
ny of scraping not so different I sup-
pose, in principle if not in melody,
from the way a cricket produces its
chirping song.
I’m no arborist but it seemed
obvious to me what had happened.
The previous few frigid nights
had in effect frost-dried the ash
leaves before they could reveal, in
the absence of green chlorophyll,
the yellow pigment so pleasing to
my eye.
The temperature had plunged
into the teens on three straight
nights — Oct. 10-12 — setting a
record on the fi rst two of those days
at 15 and 16 degrees, respectively.
My research (which consisted, as
so much else does these days when
the matter is of no great impor-
tance, of a brief Google search)
turned up the not-terribly-interest-
ing and also tongue-twisting fact
that the particular pigments at play
are xanthophylls.
(Each of the other colors that
makes fall foliage so attractive has
its own multisyllabic source.)
The realization that I would be
deprived of the ash tree’s annual
display disappointed me to a great-
er extent, I think, than I would
have imagined had I thought about
it hypothetically.
Those glistening yellow leaves,
and the yearly task of raking them
into pungent piles, marks the
gentle passage of time as memora-
bly, and reliably, as sweeping snow
from the stoop or nearly dislocat-
ing my shoulder trying to coax the
lawnmower into fi ring after its long
hibernation in the cold shed.
The early hard freeze seems not
to have had such a dramatic effect
on our willows, the other prodigious
leaf producers, so perhaps we will
not be completely bereft.
But to me the slender willow
leaves are a poor substitute for the
robust ash leaves, which accumu-
late in a proper fashion, hiding the
dormant grass as thoroughly as a
heavy fall of snow.
I’ve noticed, since my discourag-
ing interval in the yard, that the
trio of frigid mornings similarly
affected a number of other trees
around town.
But fortunately many seem to
have emerged with their xantho-
phylls and other pigments intact.
I have seen many weeping
birches, which I must concede can
put my ash in the shade, so to
speak, that are near the height of
their yellow glory.
Quite a few maples also seem to
have endured the arctic onslaught.
This is soothing, but not com-
pletely satisfying.
I am left to wait for my ash to
complete what this year is the grim
process of shedding its leaves, and
for the fi rst snow to come along and
dress up the drab branches that for
one autumn never shined at all.
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I wish no ill to the mountain
goats that hang around Twin
Lakes high in the Elkhorns.
But when I learned recently
about how one of these animals
came to its demise I couldn’t sup-
press the thought that this particu-
lar goat got what was coming to it.
The Elkhorns are home to the
largest mountain goat population
in Oregon, and Twin Lakes, a pair
of tarns in a glacier-carved valley
on the west side of the range, is the
goats’ favorite place to congregate.
Because the goats are rarely
hunted — the state sells just eight
tags annually for goat hunts in
the Elkhorns — they are far less
skittish in the presence of humans
than other large mammals such as
deer and elk.
They are as a result far more
annoying.
I’ve camped overnight a few
times at Twin Lakes and, in com-
mon with many other backpackers,
I had to frequently dissuade goats,
with varying degrees of success, to
quit nosing around the tent.
Wildlife biologists from the
Oregon Department of Fish and
Wildlife’s (ODFW) Baker City
offi ce have told me they receive
occasional complaints from people
about the persistent goats, and
their nonchalance around people. I
understand their concern — adult
mountain goats of both genders
are equipped with a pair of sharp
horns capable of infl icting grievous
damage.
Just recently Justin Primus,
assistant district biologist at the
ODFW offi ce, told me that an
Oregon State Police wildlife offi cer,
investigating the report of a dead
goat at Twin Lakes, found that the
animal had choked to death on a
nylon stuff sack for a backpacking
tent.
This is unfortunate, but not
surprising.
From what I’ve seen of the
goats, their tastes aren’t especially
specifi c. The animals appeared to be
as inclined to nibble tender alpine
grass as the less palatable concoc-
tions of our chemistry labs. And
gluttony, as history shows, tends to
come to a bad end.
Jayson Jacoby is editor
of the Baker City Herald.