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Editorials

The Legislature needs to keep faith with voters' instructions in 2000

As school districts drop days from the calendar and look at cutting staff to get through next year, Oregon lawmakers have conveniently forgotten to finish a little task the voters ordered them to do back in 2000.

Voters approved Ballot Measure 1, an amendment to the state Constitution, in November 2000. The measure instructed the Legislature to fund public education to the Quality Education Model adopted by the state and, if it was unable to do so, to produce a report to the voters explaining why.

Needless to say, state education funding has never reached the level required to meet the Quality Education Model. Far from it.

That was a given, of course, once budget problems emerged last year. No one seriously expected the Legislature to find &

36;6.4 billion for schools in a time of declining state revenue.

But that second requirement ' the report to voters ' should have been a simple matter.

One could argue that a report telling voters what they already know ' that there is not enough money in state coffers to provide true quality education ' is a purely academic exercise and therefore a waste of time. We disagree.

Academic it may be, but it's the law. Legislators don't have a choice.

It's also good politics.

Growing numbers of voters have said loud and clear that they have no confidence in their legislators and that the Legislature's performance in dealing with the budget shortfall has been pathetic.

Given those attitudes, how smart is it for lawmakers to avoid preparing a three-page report to those voters?

It won't solve the school funding crisis. It also won't restore public confidence in the Legislature.

But not writing the report can only further erode what little confidence remains.

The Legislature should stop stalling and do what it's been ordered to do. They don't call it public service for nothing.

Bravo, Britt

Southern Oregon has lots of drawing cards ' Crater Lake, the Mount Ashland ski area and the Rogue River are but a few. But one has gained more and more prominence as the years have passed ' the Britt Music Festivals.

The organizers of the festivals have done a great job with this year's lineup. Highlights of the 2003 season include Ringo Star, Julio Iglesias and Garrison Keillor.

The concerts feature the likes of The Moody Blues, Hootie and the Blowfish, the Yellowjackets, Dave Brubeck, Etta James, Robert Cray, Lyle Lovett, Vince Gill, James Brown, Suzanne Vega, Taj Mahal, Old and In the Gray, Chip Davis, Mannheim Steamroller, the Smothers Brothers, Manhattan Transfer, Joe Cocker and the Doobie Brothers.

With the big names on the bill, Britt has limited members to four reserved tickets for a number of shows this year. That step addresses one of the biggest complaints from the public in recent years ' that nonmembers can't get tickets to the biggest acts.

Top ticket prices are up again this year ' another perennial complaint ' but that's largely outside the control of festival organizers. Entertainers charge what the market will bear, and if Britt refused the top-priced acts, those acts wouldn't be here.

All in all, Southern Oregon is lucky to have a music festival like Britt. Not many communities this size can say the same.

Britt deserves the support of the community. It's a class act.