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Letters, April 18

Powers vs. rights

The president, the members of Congress and the media are complicit in one thing: They often talk about the “rights” attached to the presidency, the Congress or subsidiary agencies to do this or that.

However, the Constitution is clear: None of them have any “rights” whatsoever; they have specific “powers” only. The distinction between powers and rights is crucial to the intent of our nation’s foundational document: Only the citizenry, individually or acting in concert, have rights.

The divisions of government have powers to legislate, adjudicate, or execute law, along with an obligation to protect and preserve the rights of citizens. Their powers are intended to be “balanced” to keep any branch of government from gaining an undue excess which might infringe upon citizens rights. This is why the Bill of Rights was added to the Constitution before it could be ratified.

Additionally, there is no reference to “state’s rights” in the Constitution; only to their powers. Unspecified powers which may not have been clearly identified in 1789 as granted to the federal government are reserved to the states — or to the people. Let’s all quit referring to governmental “rights”; they don’t exist.

Gary R. Collins


Editorial misguided

The “Other View” in Saturday’s paper fails to make sense, and does not add to the safety or usability of Oregon’s roadways and bikeways.

After repeating “stop signs mean stop,” the editorial admits that the phrase is not true in Idaho, where the bicyclist is responsible for “slowing to a safe speed.” Although Idaho has a good bicycling safety record, it says Oregon should not make this change. Not logical. This law, it says, would “create unpredictability,” but it would really just acknowledge the obvious: Many riders do not come to a complete stop at stop signs or flashing red lights.

It’s really beside the point. What’s predictable is that few people in Medford will be willing to travel by bicycle until more safe, continuous routes to meaningful destinations are built. Too many of this town’s bike lanes start and end abruptly. Getting on your 10-mph, pedal-powered machine and merging into a “sharrow” lane with cars traveling at 30 just doesn’t work. Try bicycling from a home near South Medford High to Winco or the U.S. Cellular ballfields. Medford does not need opinions from Bend; it should instead get serious about serving its own citizens and their transportation needs.

Richard Strahm


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