Barreto, educators talk troublesome issues

State Rep. Greg Barreto, right, and former La Grande School District Superintendent Larry Glaze listen to input from educators and school board members in 2015.

A tip of the hat to regional Republican lawmaker Rep. Greg Barreto. The Cove House of Representatives lawmaker announced he will not seek re-election in 2020.

Barreto said during a recent interview that he is a firm believer in a citizen legislature and that politics shouldn’t become a profession. Barreto, who will have served three terms, appears ready to step back and let someone else from the region run for his House seat.

Barreto deserves a great deal of credit for performing his duty as a citizen-lawmaker, serving his district and then moving on.

While we don’t agree with term limits, we do not believe that elected slots in the state Senate and the House should become lifelong positions that stretch for decades.

Barreto performed his public service. He gave back to his community. Now he believes it is time to move out of the way.

Good for him.

A tip of the hat to Blue Mountain Community College for finding an innovative way to help students with their textbook costs.

The college announced recently it saved students $1.1 million since 2015 by encouraging faculty to use open education resources, or learning material that is in the public domain or under open licensing pacts.

It is a low-cost, effective way to slash student spending and, at the same time, provide a viable platform for people to secure a higher education.

A quarter of all courses at the college now utilize the open source method.

A kick in the pants to the parties involved in the apparent stalemate to stop all of those who have labored for so long and come up so short on resolving the proposed 293-mile Hemingway-to-Boardman power transmission line.

After years of public meetings, debates and studies, two La Grande groups filed lawsuits in federal court to block the venture, which is slated to run through Umatilla, Morrow, Union and Baker counties.

The project is going through a review by Oregon Department of Energy and the power line is a linchpin for Idaho Power’s plans to meet future power needs.

We don’t begrudge the two La Grande groups for filing the lawsuits. That is their right. What we find disappointing is that after this long and so many years the two sides remain so far apart in terms of a workable compromise.

Chalk up another win for the lawyers on this one. Surely, we can do better than this.

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(1) comment

Irene Gilbert

The reason there is such a disparity between Idaho Power and those objecting to this transmission line is because Idaho Power has refused to face the reality of the current electric market and the fact that the line is not needed. Every time their justification for the transmission line is proven to be prefabricated, they have come up with a new justification. The only consistent thing is that Idaho Power wants to make money on the backs of ratepayers. For example: They took noise measurement just over 200 feet from a railroad and then used those results to apply to 63 other residents not near a railroad line. They have consistently stated that they are partners with Bonneville Power and PacifiCorp on this project when the only "partnership that exists at present is an agreement that these groups would share the costs off attempting to get a cite certificate. The other utilities have made no formal commitment to participate in building the transmission line. They claim that they have shown a "need" for the line with no documentation and no information regarding those they claim will be paying for 75% of the transmission line. They have refused to implement in their plans county input regarding the needed actions to protect the public from forest fires, invasive weeds, impacts on public services such as police, etc. Idaho Power has chosen to run the line over private property to the tune of over 80% of the line in two counties which have 50% public lands. I believe this has a lot to do with the fact that they must honor federal threatened and endangered species laws on public lands, but Oregon Department of Energy refuses to honor those laws. The only people notified by Idaho Power of this line were the ones living 500 feet from the transmission line even though even with their phony noise studies that do not identify everyone exceeding the DEQ noise standards, there are people living 1/2 mile from the transmission line that will have noise levels higher than the Department of Environmental Quality maximum standards. The Oregon Department of Energy has proposed allowing an exemption to allow these noise levels even though many of those impacted have no idea they will have this level of noise, or that an exemption is planned. They will not be aware unless the line is actually built and then all appeal rights will have expired. Enough said. The issues could and do fill hundreds of pages, but absent the involvement of people such as STOP B2H, Idaho Power would be stomping on the rights and resources of this state with no transparency or information regarding the real impacts or manipulations and fake information being provided by the company. I encourage people to support the STOP B2H Coalllition as they fight to protect Oregon from the destruction planned by this For Profit out of State Utility.

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