The May 5 article, "The high cost of Measure 11," is a wake-up call for Oregon to steer away from the kind of runaway prison system that's swallowing up California's budget. In Oregon, increased prison spending comes at the expense of local public safety programs that are proven to cut crime and protect citizens.
Josephine County is among the hardest hit by this imbalance. In addition to our county going unpatrolled for hours every day, resources for the supervision of high-risk offenders have been reduced by 25 percent. In the meantime, the prison population is rising with the bulk of new inmates serving time for nonviolent crimes. These resources should be redirected to local law enforcement, supervision and treatment services, so we can be proactive in protecting our citizens by changing offenders' behavior before they take up a costly prison bed.
House Bill 3194 would bring balance back to public safety spending by injecting $40 million into local communities. Right now, Josephine County Community Corrections receives zero county funding to support programs that supervise offenders on probation and parole as state dollars increasingly shift to prison operations. We need those resources to better protect our community. I urge state legislators to pass HB 3194. — Abe Huntley, Josephine County Community Corrections director
The goal of tea party Republicans, stated by Grover Norquist, is to reduce the size of government, making it small enough to drown in a bathtub. The resulting deregulated economy is free to pursue profit without regard to consequences. Two recent events show what happens when these goals are realized.
A building under construction in Bangladesh collapsed, leaving hundreds of people dead, injured or missing. The government of Bangladesh, which is small enough to drown in a bathtub, had no power to insure that minimum building standards were met. In Texas, where business is booming, a fertilizer plant exploded, killing several first responders and destroying a nearby nursing home and an apartment. Texas' state government may not be small enough to drown in a bathtub, but it does not meddle in the regulatory process.
The free-market economy proposed by the tea party comes with no commitment to protect workers, our communities or the environment. How many times do we have to witness events such as those in Bangladesh and Texas, or the BP oil spill in the Gulf, or mining accidents before we connect cause and effect? — Bill Sherwood, Phoenix
As I entered Eagle Point recently, taking the South Royal Street entrance from Highway 62, I could not believe the amount of old cars, trailers that look like they haven't moved in 40 years, trash piles and garbage, and old houses that needed to be demolished. The Oasis was the nicest building for blocks and blocks.
What is going on here? Doesn't the city of Eagle Point have any pride in the appearance of the city? The Fourth of July parade is coming soon; please people, clean it up! — Michael Palmer, Medford