Monday, August 25, 2008

“Little Butterflies” and Bad Boys


- “Little Butterflies” of North East Oregon
- Fleecing Baker City (& The Poor Man's House)

Some “Little Butterflies” of North East Oregon

While strolling through a meadow full of flowers or along a portion of a sunlit, muddied path in the woods, you probably have noticed small attractive butterflies of a blue or coppery cast flitting about. They are often seen sipping nectar from flowers or taking up moisture and nutrients from the edges of puddles or streams. They are the “Gossamer Wings” or “little butterflies,” of the family Lycaenidae, in the order Lepidoptera (moths & butterflies), belonging to class Insecta, the insects. They are a bit difficult to get a good view of without close-range binoculars or a good deal of luck and patience, as their wingspans may be as small as 7/8th inch, with few being as wide as 2 inches.

Blue butterflies congregating near lakeshore on Steen’s Mountain

Within the family of little butterflies are found the Metalmarks, the Harvesters, Hairstreaks (hairstreaks and efins), the Coppers, and the Blues. In our neck of the woods, as in North America, the hairstreaks are the most numerous, closely followed by the blues and then the coppers. The others here are far less frequent, with only one metalmark species and no harvesters occurring here.

As in all other butterflies, the little butterflies go through a change called metamorphosis with the life cycle stages from egg, to larva, to pupa, and then the adult butterfly that we may enjoy. The eggs are normally laid on or near the plant that the larvae will use as a food source, which is called the hostplant. The little butterflies use a variety of hostplants, some of which are discussed below with the butterflies that use them. Adults fly at different times of the year, depending on the needs of the species. Besides color and marking pattern, both hostplant and flight time can be useful aids in identification. Unfortunately, as is the case with many living things, identification can be difficult, even when these things are known, and even experts will disagree. Sometimes, god forbid, you even have to scope out the genitalia of individual butterflies to identify the species.

Here are some of Eastern Oregon’s little butterflies I have been able to get close to.


The common name given to hairstreaks, which are often quite beautiful, is due to the streaks of white or brown found on the hindwing, and the fact that males usually have hairlike appendages (tails) on the hindwing as well. One common hairstreak of lower to middle, and even upper elevations, is the Gray Hairstreak (Strymon melinus).
Gray Hairstreak

This butterfly utilizes many different hostplants, and may produce from one to three broods a year, which helps explain its abundance and large geographic range. In Oregon it utilizes loco weed/milk vetch, wild buckwheats, lupines, mallows, various delectable berries, and more. The adult above was photographed sipping nectar from a wild onion (Allium tolmei) in May, from a site in baker County near Pritchard Creek, below its confluence with Lawrence Creek.

Another common local hairstreak is the Western or California Hairstreak (Satyrium Californica).
Western or California Hairstreak

Western Hairstreak is often found sipping nectar from spreading dogbane (Apocynum androsaemifolium), as are the twoabove, during its single flight time. They were photographed west of West Eagle Creek (Union County) in late July of last year at 6000 feet elevation. In Oregon they have been observed from as low as 900 feet and up to 8000 feet in Lake County. The most common hostplant is antelope bitterbrush (Purshia tridentata), although locally it also may use snowbrush ceanothus (Ceanothus velutinus var. velutinus).

Brown Elfin

Elfins and the green hairstreaks (Callophrys affinis), are usually brownish or green butterlies in the hairstreak group that doesn’t have much of a tail. The Brown Elfin (Callophrys augustinus), is one of four elfins found in Baker County.

Brown Elfin

The one above was found with many others on a rocky ridge top in the Monument Rock Wilderness at 6100 feet in mid-May. They fly once a year and the larvae feed on kinnickinnick (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) as well as snowbrush ceanothus.

Green Hairstreak

The Green Hairstreak is often found near windblown ridges and hilltops from 3000 feet to over 9500 feet in Oregon.
Green Hairstreak

This butterfly is found in association with wild buckwheats, their hostplant, two species of which can be found near the ridge above Hoffer and Anthony lakes at 7880 feet in the Elkhorns, where this photo was taken on July 8, 2007. This is a worn specimen, with many green scales missing, but the pattern remains visible. They have one flight per year.


Members of the blue butterfly group are often quite attractive due to the sometimes striking blue upperwings of the males and the dark and sometimes orange spots and bands over a silvery background on the underwings of males and females. Thirteen species have been documented to occur in Baker County, and they are usually associated with loco weeds/milkvetches, wild lupines and buckwheats. I have observed a few different species near Marble Pass in the Elkhorn Mountains west of Baker City.

Melissa (AKA Orange-Margined) Blue males (Plebejus Melissa) are particularly striking.

Mellisa Blue

The photos above were taken just west of Marble Pass, in the Elkhorns, at 7400 feet, on July 20th of this year. Melissa Blues often visit mud and seeps, which is where these were found. Hostplants are usually members of the pea family, and include several loco weeds and milkvetches (Astragalus sp.) as well as alfalfa. Larvae of this blue, and others below, are sometimes tended by ants, as are several species of aphids.

Arrowhead Blue

An easily identified and fairly common blue in the Blue Mountains is the Arrowhead Blue (Glaucopsyche piasus).

Arrowhead Blue

Arrowhead Blues always exhibit the pattern seen at left with the white, arrowhead shaped submarginal spots. They have been seen from around 200 feet to over 8,000 feet in Oregon. I found them at the Marble Pass site noted above for Melissa Blue, both on Lupine (Lupinus caudatus) and mud by a seep in July of 2008 and in very late June in 2007. They are uncommon at Marble Pass, but they are more numerous at another population at lower elevation on Fopian Creek in the Malheur Drainage on the Malheur National Forest and elsewhere. Reported hostplants include at least 5 different species of Lupines, including caudatus, and also milkvetch.

Western Square-dotted Blue or Buckwheat Blue

Experts refer to this butterfly by both names listed just above, but I like Buckwheat Blue as it tells me about the hostplant for the species. Most, but not all, experts prefer Western Square-dotted Blue because it informs about both the region where it is found and about the shape of some of the prominent spotting. It is one of the small blues, with a wingspan of only ¾ to 1”. The lower portion of the underwing is usually dusky grey, and the spots are relatively large and squarish. The hostplants are, as one common name suggests, the wild buckwheats, Eriogonum heracleoides and according to one expert, E. flavum, which is common on Elkhorn Ridge.

Western Square-dotted Blue or Buckwheat Blue

This butterfly is commonly found at the Marble Pass site along with a closely related species of the Euphilotes enoptes group, in association with the buckwheat hostplant Eriogonum heracleoides and E. flavum. Upper wings are a fairly dark blue. It’s elevational range is generally between 800 and 7500 feet.

Lupine Blue

Another blue butterfly found near Marble Pass is Lupine Blue (Plebejus lupini ssp. Lutzi) is difficult to distinguish from Acmon Blue, which normally is found at weedier sites to the west at lower elevations. I thought it was Acmon Blue, and relied on the expertise of butterfly expert Paul Epler for this identification. Acmon Blue is reported to be documented in Baker County by one of his former students, Andrew Warren, an Oregon specialist who is at Oregon State University. The two species essentially look the same to the untrained eye.

Lupine Blue

The larvae utilize wild buckwheats, and at this site and elsewhere in Eastern Oregon, the usual hostplant is Eriogonum heracleoides but they also feed on E. sphaerocephalum to the south and possibly E. flavum [Wallowas (& Elkhorns?)]. They fly once a year from July to August, generally at higher elevations than Plebejus acmon.

Boisduval's Blue

Another blue found at the Marble Pass site is Boisduval's Blue (Plebejus icarioides ssp.pembina). It is found throughout Eastern Oregon and is often locally abundant. Large numbers were flying at Pate Lake on Steen’s Mountain in early July of this year.

Boisduval's Blue

This subspecies is commonly found sipping nutrients from muds along small streams and lakeshores, often at high elevations, 7400 to over 9000 feet in the Elkhorns and on Steens Mountain. Depending on elevation--it is found flying from as low as 85 feet to over 9000 feet in Oregon—it flies once annually, from late April to early September, but many observations are from mid-May to mid-July. The two specimens above were photographed in mid-July of this year. Hostplants are various species of Lupines, which is why James A. Scott (Butterflies of North America) refers to it as Lupine Blue.


Coppers, as their name suggests, often exhibit a copper, orange to reddish orange coloration, but are not infrequently yellowish to brown, gray to bright blue above, depending on sex, species, and other factors. There are around 11 species in Oregon with about six to be found in Baker County. The larvae normally feed on plants in the buckwheat family.

Purplish Copper

The Purplish Copper (Lycaena helloides) is a very wide-spread species, found in almost all Oregon counties.

Purplish Copper

The photos above were taken just over the Baker County line along the North Fork Malheur River in Grant County, OR, at 4,850 feet. It probably has two broods per year here, and the hostplants are usually species of Polygonum and Rumex.

Mariposa or Forest Copper

This copper is not as brightly colored as some others, and frequents meadows, bogs, and small streamlets in forest openings.

Mariposa or Forest Copper

The specimens I have photographed (that I have found anyway) are from meadows and small streams in Grant County, although it occurs in Baker County and up into the Wallowas. The Grant County specimens were photographed 6 miles south of Vinegar Hill on July 22, 2007, and at Cougar Meadows, North Fork John Day River, on August 16th of this year. It flies once in Oregon, usually between late June through August. The elevational range is from about 3,000’ feet to 7,600 feet in the Eagle Cap Wilderness. Host plants are Vaccinium myrtillus (whortleberry), and Vaccinium caespitosum (dwarf bilberry), but I’m wondering if it might also be Vaccinium scoparium (grouse whortleberry), here, as extremely qualified botanists had only identified the latter as occurring at Cougar Meadows.

Blue Copper

In my experience (if memory serves me correctly ;-)), the Blue Copper (Lycaena heteronea) is one of the most frequently encountered coppers in Eastern Oregon. I have photographed it on Steens Mountain, the Middle Fork of the John Day River, and in the Elkhorns. Perhaps it is just easier to get close to, but it seems like I run in to it a lot, usually near water with buckwheat nearby.

Blue Coppers

Initially, one might think it is a blue, due to the bright blue upper wings, but, at least here, the yellowish to whitish lower underwing is almost always nearly clear of any spotting, which helps to identify it in this region (as opposed to the west side of the state). It flies but once a year, usually from mid-May (lower) to September (higher). Hostplants are at least three species of wild buckwheat, Eriogonum heracleoides (parsnipflower buckwheat), E. umbellatum (sulfur-flower buckwheat), and E. compositum (arrowleaf buckwheat).

Notes and Acknowledgements

I have other photographs of a few other species of the “little butterflies,” but I’m just too worn out to continue, and this account will give you a good introduction to what can be found in North Eastern Oregon. Some other photos I have are to difficult for me to identify with certainty (Euphilotes enoptes spotted blue group, for example), and others are not frequently encountered here, and were taken elsewhere.

For the little knowledge I have gained, I am indebted to the help that can be found in butterfly books and for help on difficult species from renowned butterfly expert, Mr. Paul Opler. I have relied on personal communication from Mr. Opler in Colorado, and also Arthur Shapiro in California. Most of the other information about Oregon species that I have used in this blog came from Lepidoptera of North America 6; Butterflies of Oregon; Their Taxonomy, Distribution, and Biology by Andrew D. Warren, of Oregon State University. My favorite source for general information about butterflies, as well as images of many species, is James A. Scott’s Butterflies of North America. The accounts will vary from each other, but recent is usually better. I also use information, including photographs and distributional information, from the Butterflies and Moths of North America web site at . I also have available The Guide to Butterflies of Oregon and Washington by William Neill and Doug Hepburn, and Audubon’s Field Guide to North American Butterflies for some information, and have arcane information available in other old publications as well. It’s a pain in the ass, but I like the butteflies.

Plant info can be found in several good Northwest floras, local lists maintained by the Forest Service, BLM, The Biota of North America Program (BONAP) and by the USDA PLANT database at .


Fleecing Baker City

The other day, a friend brought an interesting Oregonian article about the salaries of public officials to my attention. ( )
It states that Governor Kulongoski should get a raise because he has only made $93,600/yr since he took office in 2001. Same for the Attorney General, who makes $77,200/yr. No doubt Oregon officials deserve some cost of living adjustment raise because they lead the entire state of Oregon, with an estimated 2006 population of around 3.8 million people.

Baker City, however, with a population of around 10,000, just a fraction of a percent of the number of people in all of Oregon, pays its City Manager $96,816/yr, over $3,000/yr more than the Governor. Since Steve Brocato became City Manager, some of his staff, Planning Director, Assistant City Manager (new position), Police Chief, Fire Chief and Finance Director, were granted pay increases to bring their yearly salaries to over $70,000/yr, close to the Oregon Attorney General’s $77,000/yr. Three employees, the assistant City Manager/Community Development Director Jennifer Watkins, and the Police and Fire Chiefs make almost $74,200/yr., just $3,000 less than the State’s Attorney General. Brocato’s new Planning Director actually makes more than the Attorney General. Wow! Pretty sweet. These people must really be something!

And what has Baker City gotten for its money? Well, the new regime, perhaps at the urging of wealthy elites eager to profit from growth and “development,” have begun a campaign to straighten many of us out and make Baker City acceptable to potential new residents with more money and finer urban sensibilities. So much for the “Premier Rural Experience” motto--“Out with the old, in with the new” is apparently replacing it. The lifestyles of long-time lower income residents must change to accommodate the values and ambitions of weathier, often much more recent arrivals, who have joined forces with the anal retentive dreams of some longer term Bakerites who identify with the town’s urbane core. As “revenue patrol person” Shannon Regan noted in Wednesday’s Herald article on the ordinance jihad, “it’s really about economic development.” At a minimum, the citizens have been given a kinder, gentler police state that tends to target lower income people, as well as a political vendetta with attendant example setting and selective enforcement against at least one opposing Council member. The message to those capable of thinking for themselves and who are also prone to defending their interests and those of ALL residents, is, of course, the ever-popular “resistance is futile.”

I’m not talking about obvious health and safety issues, as they must be addressed. I’m talking about situations that are more related to value judgments concerning how the way one person or family lives, which is often due to their economic circumstance and the way they were brought up. (Despite popular myths, people’s lifestyles and participation in our alleged “democracy” are closely associated with economic circumstance, social environment and inherent abilities and skills.) Sometimes people have rational disagreements with seemingly arbitrary ordinances. An example of the latter is the ordinance requirement to have grass cut at 10 inches or less. There are many good reasons not to cut grass—it saves water, helps root growth, reseeds itself, the chickens like to eat it, etc. Some people like to jump on the riding mower twice a week to keep it short. Fine, if you like to water a lot, purchase gas for your mower, don’t have better things to do with available time, etc., but there is nothing inherently bad about tall grass as long as it is kept green so as to prevent fire hazard.

Additionally, as hinted at previously, helping people is likely more productive and sensible than threatening them. Over in Prairie City, in Grant County, the town would allocate money to purchase paint and supplies that volunteers used to help the less fortunate, if they wanted, and only if they wanted, the help. They also organized a trash/junk recycle week when they arranged to have a recycler come and pick up all kinds of stuff that residents could take to a site on city property. If residents couldn’t take the material themselves, volunteers would arrange to pick it up.

There are better ways to do business than instituting a kinder, gentler police state, and Baker City, in the interests of all its citizens, should try them.

From "Poor Man's House" by Patty Griffin

. . . .
Nothing is louder to god's ears than a poor mans sorrow
Daddy is poor today and he will be poor tomorrow

Hey that's the poor man's house
Everybody get a look at the poor man's house
Everywhere they went before must have turned them out
And now they're living in a poor man's house

. . ..

Hey that's the poor man's house
Those kids are living in a poor man's house
They walk to school with the soles of their shoes worn out
And come home in the evening to the poor man's house

What are you chopping that wood for
Why are you growing that corn
Mama's sewing a brand new shirt and
You're wearing the one that's torn
I guess it's for some one else’s kid who wasn't born
In a poor man's house

Hey take a look at that house
Everybody we're living in a poor man's house
Seems like everywhere we go they find us out
Find out that we've been living in a poor man's house

The Unwelcome Guest
Woodie Guthrie (as performed by Billy Bragg & Wilco)

To the rich man's bright lodges I ride in this wind
On my good horse I call you my shiny Black Bess
To the playhouse of fortune to take the bright silver
And gold you have taken from somebody else

As we go riding in the damp foggy midnight
You snort, my good pony, and you give me your best
For you know, and I know, good horse, 'mongst the rich ones
How oftimes we go there an unwelcome guest

I've never took food from the widows and orphans
And never a hard working man I oppressed
So take your pace easy, for home soon like lightning
We soon will be riding, my shiny Black Bess

No fat rich man's pony can e'er overtake you
And there's not a rider from the east to the west
Could hold you a light in this dark mist and midnight
When the potbellied thieves chase their unwelcome guest

I don't know, good horse, as we trot in this dark here
if robbing the rich is for worse or for best
They take it by stealing and lying and gambling
And I take it my way, my shiny Black Bess

I treat horses good and I'm friendly to strangers
I ride and your running makes my guns talk the best
And the rangers and deputies are hired by the rich man
To catch me and hang me, my shining Black Bess

Yes, they'll catch me napping one day and they'll kill me
And then I'll be gone but that won't be my end
For my guns and my saddle will always be filled
By unwelcome travelers, and other brave men

And they'll take the money and spread it out equal
Just like the Bible and the prophets suggest
But the men that go riding to help these poor workers
The rich will cut down like an unwelcome guest

WORDS: Woody Guthrie 1940 - MUSIC: Billy Bragg

Oregonian Article on Pay for State Officials
Oregon officials should get raise, commission says
Posted by Dave Hogan August 20, 2008 21:00PM
SALEM -- Oregon judges and legislators should receive a pay raise next year to bring their compensation in line with counterparts in other states, an 11-member commission said Wednesday.
. . . .
The commission is doing Oregon's first detailed review of elected officials' salaries in years. The pay increases would take effect next year if finalized by the commission this fall and then approved by the 2009 Legislature.
The biggest increase would go to Attorney General Hardy Myers' successor. Myers is not running for re-election, but the $77,200 salary for his office could go up more than $40,000 next year, a 54 percent increase.
Lawmakers' salaries would get a substantial increase, at least by percentage, under the commission's proposal. But because they currently are paid $19,884 a year -- low among elected officials at the state level -- the nearly 27 percent raise would bring their salary only to $25,200. . . . .

The compensation commission will hold a public hearing Sept. 18 in Salem on the proposed pay increases, then meet Oct. 1 to make its final recommendations. The hearing site will be posted on the commission's Web site,, when it's confirmed. . . . .

The commission members have . . . combed through piles of statistics comparing Oregon's salaries with compensation for officials in other states.
They learned, for instance, that Kulongoski has not had a pay increase since he took office at the beginning of 2001, and few states pay their governor less than the $93,600 Oregon pays its elected leader. The commission is calling for him to receive $130,000 a year."
. . . .

Dave Hogan:

Comments on Article

Marvinlee says...
I would attend the September 18 meeting, but I suspect that a pay raise is already a done deal, as occurred with last year's special session. Ours is not to reason why, but to pay. When passed, the higher pay will then serve as fodder for some other state's politicians to say that they are falling behind and must catch up.
Posted on 08/20/08 at 9:43PM
pentol says...
I'm going to get together with my co-workers and vote for pay raise since the company next door pays more... Oh wait, our company won't let us do that. The only way we can do that is if we use someone else's money such as using (/stealing) taxpayers' money.
"Oregon judges and legislators should receive a pay raise next year to bring their compensation in line with counterparts in other states..." My response: if the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, then they are welcomed to apply for jobs outside of Oregon.
Posted on 08/21/08 at 7:50AM
easternorgal says...
Just what they are asking for a raise is more than my wages for an entire year. There is something radically wrong with this picture. Are they really so blind they cannot see?
Posted on 08/21/08 at 10:25AM
bumper49 says...
Isn't low pay the real reason Oregon is sometimes scraping the bottom of the barrel for statewide candidates? The above fiscally responisble folks are probably as shocked as I at the poor quality of Republicans running for statewide office. And from the above comments, some people believe that even with advanced education and experience, and private sector jobs that pay six-figure incomes, there are enough people out there that want to give up their lives and their income to work for such a supportive constituency.
Attorney's just out of law school start at $95k at the big law firms in downtown Portland. Just think what someone like Hardy Myers could command.
But as AG of our great state we're willing to pay him $77k. Wow.
Why don't the above commenters give up their jobs and run for public office?
Posted on 08/21/08 at 12:59PM
bumper49 says...
Isn't low pay the real reason Oregon is sometimes scraping the bottom of the barrel for statewide candidates? The above fiscally responisble folks are probably as shocked as I at the poor quality of Republicans running for statewide office. And from the above comments, some people believe that even with advanced education and experience, and private sector jobs that pay six-figure incomes, there are enough people out there that want to give up their lives and their income to work for such a supportive constituency.
Attorney's just out of law school start at $95k at the big law firms in downtown Portland. Just think what someone like Hardy Myers could command.
But as AG of our great state we're willing to pay him $77k. Wow.
Why don't the above commenters give up their jobs and run for public office?
Posted on 08/21/08 at 12:59PM
EMM1 says...
Speaking of the representatives and senators...This job takes a few months every two years. They get a stipend every day in session, plus they get office expenses. Seems like they make pretty good money for part-time work. What other jobs can get a double digit pay raise in one year? Just remember this come election time.
Posted on 08/21/08 at 1:31PM

Friday, August 8, 2008

Summer Sunflowers

In This Issue:
- Summer Sunflowers
- Justice Quotes
- Contrived Complaints Concerning Calder
- Ordinance Jihad / Mandatory garbage pickup
- City Manager's Resume

[This a "final" version published on Monday, August 11, 2008.]

Sunflowers in Baker City Gardens; west Baker above, south Baker below.

From about mid-July to the first fall freeze, you can see a diverse array of sunflowers among the hollyhocks and vegetables in some Baker City gardens. To me, sunflowers are as an important part of summer as a patch of corn, a green tomato, wasted apricots, firewood cutting, huckleberry picking, or a wildflower walk in the woods. Even though sunflowers are fairly susceptible to frost, they will still come up naturally in Baker City gardens from last year’s seed fall, and provide a month or more of cheer.

Here is a small collection of sunflowers from my unruly weed patch of a garden:

Besides providing a good deal of color to a summer landscape, sunflowers are also appreciated by many local birds. Goldfinches and other seed-eaters, as well as the more omnivorous red-winged blackbirds, eagerly seek out their oil and protein rich seeds. (Oh, and they like dandelions too!) It is amusing and satisfying to watch the goldfinches feed their nagging youngsters with sunflower seeds from my garden.

Adult Male (above) and Juvenile (below) Goldfinches Snacking on Sunflower Seeds

Along with blueberries, cranberries and pecans, sunflowers are one of the few native North American plants used for food around the world. As early as 8,000 year ago the Native Americans were utilizing and domesticating our native sunflowers and their relatives in the Aster family (AKA Sunflower family) of plants. They were used for food and oil, medical preparations, and dyes for fabric, face paint, and other things.

Other Sunflower Relatives (& East Oregon wildflowers) in Aster family
that were used by Native Americans:
arrowleaf balsamroot (above) and Hooker's balsamroot (below).

After early Americans and explorers took the seeds back to the “old world,” the plants were used as ornamentals. Slowly, the sunflower gained importance as a food crop—most importantly in Russia, where decades of improvement resulted in disease resistant plants with seeds that were high in oil content. These were re-introduced back into the U.S. 1966, and became the basis for American commercial production.

Verticillium Wilt
The type of Verticillium wilt that affects sunflowers is a fungal disease that also affects many vegetables and ornamentals, including tomatoes, peppers, potatoes and dahlias. It is caused by the fungus Verticillium dahliae, which is fairly common in domesticated garden soils, as is its close relative Verticillium albo-atrum. If it is not already in your garden, it can gain a foot hold by bringing in infected soils or plants. Verticillium first attacks the roots and then plugs up the water and nutritional transport system, while at the same time producing toxins, both of which normally cause a progressive wilting and collapse of leaves up the stems. This may kill the plant and invariably causes reduced yields.

Verticillium Wilt just beginning, left, and more advanced, below.

Verticillium wilt is difficult to control even with fumigation, and V. dahliae is known to survive for up to 14 years in the soil, even without host plants present. Plants like tomatoes seem to require up to 24 hours in saturated soils to become seriously infected, so proper control of watering should reduce incidence of the disease. Purchasing resistant varieties of seed and plants, when available, is a wise choice for those using Verticillium infected soils.

Sclerotina Wilt
Another serious disease and economic problem associated with sunflowers is Sclerotina wilt, which is caused by a fungus in the soil (Sclerotinia sclerotiorum). Head rot and middle stem rot are also caused by this fungus. Sclerotina attacks the roots and the transport systems in the lower portion of the plant first, which normally causes a progressive wilting and collapse of leaves down the stems. In less than a week, the entire plant can shrivel up and die.

Sclerotina Wilt is a serious problem for farmers of sunflowers as entire fields can be wiped out in a brief period of time, and because the fungus is difficult to get rid of once it infests the soil. A problem for gardeners, is that Sclerotina, like Verticillium, can also affect other food crops like peas, dry beans and potatoes, and that weeds can serve as unaffected hosts which retain and/or spread both diseases. Sclerotina can be introduced to your garden from infected soil, seed potatoes, and sunflower seeds carrying the fungus from infected fields, and from windborne spores originating in nearby infected fields or other areas. Both Sclerotina and Verticillium wilt are enhanced by ample moisture, which can result when sunflowers are planted near heavy water users like corn, or simply by over-watering sunflowers. They should be removed from the garden as soon as symptoms occur, and ultimately burned. Keeping susceptible plants, including weeds, out of the garden area for several years will help reduce its reappearance in the future. You can still plant sunflowers in other uninfected areas, being careful not to over-water, and changing locations yearly.

Justice Quotes
From Information Clearing House :

"Where might is master, justice is servant": Proverb
"It is sheer folly to expect justice from the unprincipled": Proverb
"Much law, but little justice": Proverb
"Justice is itself the great standing policy of civil society; and any eminent departure from it, under any circumstances, lies under the suspicion of being no policy at all": Edmund Burke
We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people: Martin Luther King Jr.
"Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity": Martin Luther King, Jr.

Contrived Complaints Concerning Calder

In a continuation of the city’s new enforcement Jihad and campaign against Councilor Calder, officer Shannon Regan, wife of officer Michael Regan, cited Calder on July 31st for riding on the sidewalk downtown.

Section 55 of Ordinance 2893 reads:
Riding on Sidewalks.
No person shall ride a bicycle upon any sidewalk in the area located as follows: beginning at the northwest corner of First and Auburn, thence east to the centerline of Resort, thence north to the north line of Church, thence west to the east line of Main Street, thence north to the south line of Baker, thence west to the west line of Main Street, thence south to the north line of Broadway, thence west to the west line of First Street, thence south to the point of beginning. Riding bicycles is also prohibited in the Post Office Square Park. (As amended by Ord. No. 3009 adopted 1-22-91)

Calder was cited where everyone knows she usually rides on the sidewalk, in a portion of the last block of her regular bicycle trip to work during a time of day when there are few pedestrians about. She has indicated that she yields when they are encountered and often stops to visit with them. She also said that despite the report in the August 1st Herald article, which states that Lt. Brian Harvey indicated that “Warnings were issued last summer,” she has not received a warning for riding her bike on the sidewalk downtown. Another rider she knows WAS issued a warning, instead of being ticketed, just the week before.

Despite the City Manager's contention that there are only a few people with "issues," several people on the west side have expressed discontent about the current situation. Here are two more:

“They should have given her a warning first, not cite her when she’s been using the route for years. They are trying to make her quit—like they did that other gal.”

Concerning the city citing Calder and giving out wrong way parking tickets where it isn’t a real safety issue, another said: “This whole thing is a crock of shit! . . . . It’s all about revenues [and] revenue patrolmen.” This person also complained, to paraphrase, that cars are being broken into and gas is being siphoned out of cars at night, but the cops aren’t out here, they are busy citing people about petty stuff and furthering their political vendettas. Why aren’t they putting these extra personnel on night shift where they are needed? There is a concern that they are also ignoring other problems like adequate street lights, street maintenance, the constant blaring of train horns at night, and that City police don’t seem to be friendly like the Sheriffs are. “How often do the city police wave back compared to the Sheriffs personnel? The Sheriff’s people always wave back.”

Calder maintains that the campaign against her goes back to September 27 of last year when she was threatened with a citation for parking her bike on the sidewalk, near the curb, in front of City Hall. This is where in the past, even city employees, and other visitors like myself, have parked. City Hall is outside of the area where riding on sidewalks is prohibited.

Ord 2893 Section 6 Reads:
“No person shall park a bicycle upon a street or upon a sidewalk except in a rack to support the bicycle or against a building or at the curb, in such a manner as to afford the least obstruction to pedestrian traffic.”

In what she termed “a creative use of the English language” Chief Lohner told her his interpretation was that “I had to use a rack if one is available, if not a rack, then I had to lean my bike against a building and if there is no rack or bldg, then I can park at the curb.” All three of the new city power triumvirate—Petry, Brocato, and Lohner—have been involved in “creative” and very subjective interpretations of certain sections of the ordinance in question. Brocato has indicated to some that for his obviously flawed interpretation concerning the “dots” fiasco he is relying on the interpretation of City Attorney Van Thiel, but as of last week, these opinions had not been made available officially to the entire City Council. This has some questioning whether, after summarily firing the previous City Attorney, Brocato is trying to use the present one as his, or at least the Triumverate’s personal attorney.

The following is picture she took which shows how Calder was parked last year. Note the lack of a bike rack.

I checked around City Hall last week for bike racks that would help serve bike riders and could not find one at the front entrance, although there appeared to be one way around back near the stairs down to the basement. When I took my bike to the new police department building to get a license for it (a relatively painless and so far, free, process that is required by city ordinance), I couldn't find a bike rack there either.

Baker City Hall last week—Note there still is no bike rack for cyclists along or near the entrance.

If you believe that the Triumvirate is not capable of retribution against those who question their policies, just remember what is happening, and has happened, to those who have opposed them in the past.

We currently see what is happening to Calder, an outspoken and articulate opponent of the Triumvirate’s spending policies, including the inflated cost of the new police building, and who has opposed Brocato’s summary firing of the former city planner. Remember what happened to Vickie Valenzuela when she asked too many questions about the City Manager’s policies? After she sat on the floor due to her health issues, Brocato asked her to leave and Petry tried to make her look like a hippy crackpot in the local press. Brian Addison was fired from the Courier not long after raising questions about 4th Amendment rights in relation to police department behavior, and after Chief Lohner visited the Record Courier office to complain to Debby Schoeningh about Brian’s coverage of the police department. (Debby Schoeningh declined to comment about the reasons for Brian’s firing when I enquired.)
Welcome to Miner's Jubilee!
The picture above is of two vehicles which were parked the wrong way on "F" St. at Grove St. after families came in to go down to the rodeo during Miner's Jubilee. Those are not "Welcome To Baker City" notes on the windshields, they are parking tickets. Probably spent more money than they intended on that trip. Can't ease-up even for a moment during a Jihad!

The Wider Ordinance Jihad

In future editions, I will be covering the developing Ordinance Jihad by our elites and money hungry city bureaucracies against working people and the poor. It had a feeble start last year but sputtered to a brief halt over winter and while Officer Shannon Regan was on maternity leave. The new offensive was announced by Chief Lohner in his July 10 column in the Record Courier, in which he says he is transmitting the views of our expensive ($6,666 per month [almost $80,00/yr & Brocato gets around $96,000/yr or so] vs. MacKenzie's monthly salary of $5,171) new Planning Director, Donald Chance, about what he sees as “poor property maintenance”.

A primary concern seems to be that when people are not maintaining their homes and property, those that are able to do so, won’t see their property values increase as fast as they might otherwise, and that new people may be unwilling to move into the community, and that people will be less willing to invest. Perhaps he should have said he is worried about “property maintenance by the poor,” because it really is all about money and class values that favor the rich and increasing their wealth. That’s what some of the law is about anyway, isn’t it—just rigging things to favor the well off, and kicking the poor people out of sight? It really isn’t that new people aren’t coming to Baker City—I moved from Prairie City into an old existing home here in 2004—it is apparently just that many who find affordable housing here aren’t rich and/or ambitious enough. The economic elites seem to want a rural gentrification project (not electrification project!) whereby the poor and low income are simply forced out by oppressive ordinances and increasing taxes. Too many of us like Baker City the way it is--that seems to be what the business elites, new and old, people like Brocato, Petry, Schumacher (and Bryan?), don’t like. How many times have I heard business people complain about the current labor force that is available in Baker City? Councilor Schumacher even mentioned it when running for Council. How many times have I heard them say they need new people here? Do they mean a more malleable laborer with a fresh perspective and a little more desperate--something like illegal aliens maybe? But I digress....

Do low income people not maintain their houses because of criminal or defective minds, or is it just possible that they can’t frigging afford it? Perhaps, in addition, they just don’t share the shiny, bright, spic and span, middle or upper class values, or maybe they just don't know how to fix things? You want to see your property values improve? Help your neighbors, don’t criminalize poverty! Like I mentioned last year, this ordinance Jihad has all the earmarks of a war on the poor.

Now Brocato, who has almost dictatorial powers as long as four Councilors support him (the Charter needs to be changed), is asking the Council to take a look at Seaside, Oregon's mandatory garbage pick-up ordinance! A part of that contract reads: "The owner and/or occupant of any dwelling or business shall subscribe to and pay for service rendered to the dwelling or business." and "All solid waste disposal shall be performed by the franchisee [i.e., monopoly holder].... The person in control of any residential property occupied within the city shall provide for collection and disposal of solid waste from any such structure." (emphasis added) Let's see, the city has granted a monopoly for trash pick up, and now they are considering forcing every home owner to pay that monopoly every month? No matter if you have made other arrangements, like putting your garbage in a friend's half empty container (that's what I do as I have a small bag each week)? What kind of government would consider forcing you to contribute to a private business monopoly, when you can make other arrangements to get rid of your garbage?

Perhaps all this is related to the removal of the old city motto about Baker City being "the Premier Rural Experience" from the city's web home page. That "Premier Rural Experience" may put off some potential rich people from west of here or the cities back east, or even some of the Council and our new city staff hires, so maybe they are dumping the rural experience too. What do Brocato and Chance care, they have their wonderful homes in the country outside the city limits. Hopefully someone will take the time to show Steve how to use his tractor!

From what I've read in the Herald, the new Planning Director, Chance, has an appreciation for B. F. Skinner's understanding of human behavior, and is supposed to agree somewhat with Calder's view, that the punitive approach is a poor way to change people's behavior. Time will tell.

City Manager's Resume

Despite the gushing accolades about corporate experience from several of the City Manager's supporters when he was picked for the top job, some things may not have been mentioned (at least by the Council or the local media).

New York Times, February 23, 1997

"Morgan Stanley's Clunker of An Offering

Attention, Dean Witter customers (and amateur investors everywhere who are clamoring to get into new stock offerings): Morgan Stanley does indeed have a track record of doing some of the hottest deals on Wall Street, deals that you may be able to buy into once it merges with Dean Witter. But keep in mind that even Morgan Stanley, the investment banker to the corporate stars, underwrites the occasional stinker. Like the Cronos Group, which it brought public just over a year ago.

Cronos, based in Luxembourg, manages fleets of shipping containers. The company may be best known here as a sponsor of more than $400 million in limited partnerships investing in containers.

But Cronos just made history by becoming the first major company whose outside auditors found what they thought was illegal activity -- and reported it to the Securities and Exchange Commission as required by the Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.

From a Securities and Exchange Commission filing found at :
"Stephen J. Brocato. From June 1, 1997 through March 31, 1999, Mr. Brocato served as President of Cronos Containers Limited ("CCL"), a United Kingdom corporation and one of the Company's primary operating subsidiaries. To terminate his employment agreement, the Company paid Mr. Brocato L209,525 (U.S. $328,954) in salary and expense reimbursements."

From the May1999 issue of "World Cargo News:"

"Cull at Cronos

Hard on the heels of the "resignation" of president Steve Brocato, a number of other Cronos Container executives have lost their jobs as part of new chairman and CEO Dennis Tietz's US$5-6 mill SG&A reduction plan...

There is also this concerning a Securities and Exchange Commission action against the company and its Chairman, who led the company during most of the time Steve Brocato worked there, in "Business Wire:"

November 16 1999: The Company has consented to the entry of an administrative cease and desist order, entered and published by the SEC on this date. Without admitting or denying the findings set forth by the SEC in the order, the Company has agreed to cease and desist from committing or causing any violation or future violation of Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, Sections 10(b), 13(a), and 13(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and certain rules promulgated by the SEC thereunder. The Company has further agreed to designate an agent for service of process and to cooperate with the Commission and its Staff in any judicial proceeding related to the order and in any administrative proceeding instituted by the Commission against former officers or directors of the Company.>>

August 11, 2000: href=""

Dennis J. Tietz, Chairman and CEO of Cronos, in commenting upon the SEC's enforcement action against Mr. Palatin, stated: "Mr. Palatin was removed as CEO of the Company in May 1998, and Cronos has been operating under new management since April of 1999. We are vigorously pursuing Mr. Palatin for the amounts he owes the Company. We recovered $5.3 million of his indebtedness in June of 1999 and have obtained a judgment for the balance of $6.6 million. We fully cooperated with the SEC in its investigation of the Company, and resolved that investigation as to the Company last November. We are not named in the SEC's enforcement action against Mr. Palatin."

Cronos also reports that, under the business plan new management adopted in April of last year, the Company has focused its efforts on reducing expenses, increasing container utilization, reestablishing banking and financing relationships, reinforcing third-party container owner confidence, restoring employee morale, and increasing profitability. Cronos announced that its net income for the second quarter of 2000 was $868,000, including $89,000 of investment gains, compared to a net loss of $103,000 for the second quarter of 1999. Net income for the first six months of this year was $3.7 million, including investment gains of $3.2 million, compared to a net loss of $196,000 for the first six months of 1999. Mr. Tietz added, "Our efforts to improve the financial performance of the Company have produced positive results. Management is pleased that Cronos has returned to profitability, and we remain focused on enhancing shareholder value."

When I asked Steve Brocato about the issues raised by some of these articles, he declined to comment on the questions I asked him, other than to say "Have a ball with that one!" My intent here is, of course, to ask questions and inform people, as I get my fun doing more pleasant things.

Billy Bragg and Wilco-- "The Unwelcome Guest"
By Woodie Guthrie