Democracy worked at gun discussion
Democracy was working at its best on Jan. 16 at the Medford Library when a discussion was convened of pro- and anti-gun control Rogue Valley residents.
Because it has been such an emotional and difficult conversation, it has been hard to engage people with differing opinions. This forum was different. It was facilitated by two skillful mediators who guided the conversation to the level of underlying concerns on both sides. I learned so much new information and about the deep concerns held by both sides.
I left knowing democracy is very much alive and well when people are guided to have real conversations rather than shouting matches that do not allow for honest exchange of ideas and respectful listening. I wish there had been some members of Congress in the group.
In conclusion, we were asked, "What's next?" The majority of people present want to have more conversations where facts and concerns can be heard and explored and for more people to have these opportunities. It is such a relief to know civil discourse is still possible in this verbally violent culture we often see.
This conversation was sponsored by a nonprofit organization called Re-uniting America. For more information about future plans and conversations, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Winters is a poor boss
Regarding Sheriff Mike Winters and his Second Amendment rights: Has it yet been mentioned that he obviously has absolutely no regard for the people working for him? Who does he think would be the most likely folks to "face down" an assault weapon? Law enforcement, of course!
I sure wouldn't want to work for a guy like this, and I wouldn't blame all of his deputies for seeking out new and better opportunities elsewhere.
Sheriff's stance distorts meaning
Jackson County Sheriff Mike Winters has sadly joined many who distort the meaning of the Second Amendment, the "right to bear arms."
He would have us believe that the amendment allows for anarchy in gun ownership; anyone can own any gun they choose. He says he will not help enforce any new federal law that may restrict the ownership or ammunition capacity of semiautomatic firearms.
The Second Amendment consists of 27 words. The lead-in words are, "A well regulated militia ..." The founders clearly signaled that "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed," but would be regulated.
That is why ownership of automatic firearms, such as machine guns, is prohibited, a federal regulatory restriction that Sheriff Winters probably supports. The sheriff cannot have it both ways; to choose the firearms regulations he favors and ignore the rest. He is sworn to uphold the law and if, after the Newtown tragedy, gun regulations are tightened, he must serve the entire community.
Sheriffs should do their jobs
Correct me if I am wrong, but isn't it a sheriff's job to enforce the law of the land? The Linn and Josephine County sheriffs have taken it upon themselves to refuse to enforce the proposed possible new gun control laws that would eliminate 30-cartridge magazines, ban assault weapons and close the gun show loophole.
If these folks wanted to be judges rather than sheriffs, then they took the wrong career path. We hired them to enforce sane laws, not to pick and choose what they perceive is "constitutionally correct."
Privatization means higher rates
In 2012 Ashland residents had a garbage rate increase over 7.5 percent, and then an 8 percent rate increase in January 2013. When will we ever learn? We have been running an experiment with privatization and deregulation for over 30 years.
The results have always been the same. When a public service is turned over to a corporation, whether a hospital, electric power or garbage pickup, rates go up, workers lose jobs and the top brass give themselves a hefty raise. Simply, the CEOs get millions of dollars for doing what civil service employees do for less.
Recology is a privately held company so we won't even know what the "compensation" is for the people at the top.