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Let 'em serve


If 18-year-olds can vote and goto war, they can surely run for office

Oregon 18-year-olds can vote, serve in the military and smoke. But they can't serve in the Legislature.

Ballot Measure 17 would amend the state Constitution to reduce the minimum age requirement for legislative service from 21 to 18. We see no reason not to approve it.

While we all may know an 18-year-old or two we'd rather not see making laws, we've probably met a few 48-year-olds we'd place in the same category.

There was a time, of course, when the voting age was 21, so it only made sense to place the same age limit on legislators. But it makes little sense to us to say 18-year-olds can vote but can't run for office.

The measure has earned the support of a number of former governors, as well as Secretary of state Bill Bradbury. It was spearheaded by Jake Oken-Berg, a young Portland man who ran for mayor of that city at the age of 20. He spent almost no money, but came in second with 27 percent of the vote.

And therein lies the answer to any skeptics who fear a state Capitol teeming with teen-agers. Oken-Berg made a nice showing, but he didn't come close to winning. And he notes that the youngest lawmakers now serving in Salem are in their late 20s.

It's the principle of the thing.

Erase ugly words

When Oregon adopted its Constitution in 1857, in contained a clause stating that, while blacks already living here could stay, no others could come, reside, or be within the state, or hold any real estate.

Although it hasn't been enforced in recent memory, that clause and others like it remain in the Oregon Constitution. Ballot Measure 14, referred to the voters by the 2001 Legislature, would expunge such offensive clauses from the document.

We are confident that voters will overwhelmingly approve the measure on Nov. 5.

When that happens, Oregon will join such states as New Mexico, Kansas and Wyoming in removing racially discriminatory wording from their state constitutions. Also ahead of Oregon are South Carolina and Alabama, which have already removed bans on interracial marriage.

Such language does not belong in the state's guiding document, and we should remove it before any more time goes by.

Smashing pumpkins

A Central Point-area farmer has built a medieval catapult and will let you smash pumpkins with the device for &

36;4 a throw.

Sure, it sounds crazy, but it really isn't ' entirely.

Half the proceeds will go to Dogs for the Deaf, an organization that trains dogs to assist the hearing-impaired.

Those who want to have some fun ' and make a donation at the same time ' can visit Robert McWilliams' Ffoshelyg Parc Farm at the intersection of Ross and Hanley roads each Saturday and Sunday before Halloween and hurl some pumpkins.

Sounds like fun to us. And it's a good deal for Dogs for the Deaf as well.