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Critics stoop to making a scene

Editorials

Protesters at a Mount Ashland Association meeting hurt their cause

Opponents of the Mount Ashland ski area expansion did themselves and their cause no favors Monday night when they disrupted a meeting of the Mount Ashland Association with a bit of political theater.

Anyone who remained undecided about the wisdom of the ski area expansion would now be justified in writing off critics of the plan as a fringe group of malcontents who don't know how to behave in public.

Expressing thoughtful concerns about plans for the use of public land is one thing. Disrupting an orderly meeting in an intimidating fashion is something else again.

Opponents of the expansion have had ample opportunity to object to what they believe is an ill-advised project that will damage the Ashland watershed and harm sensitive plant species. And those who did not participate in Monday night's spectacle were afforded plenty of time during the meeting to question board members and express their opposition to the expansion plans.

That apparently isn't enough for the protesters.

— We're tired of being ignored, one protester told a Mail Tribune reporter after the demonstration.

They haven't been ignored. They've been listened to and listened to and listened to. They've succeeded in delaying the project for years with appeals and litigation. The Forest Service has spent a tremendous amount of time incorporating criticisms of the expansion into the environmental impact statement for the project.

The protesters' problem isn't that they've been ignored. It's that not everyone agrees with them.

That's the way decisions like this get made. Supporters and opponents present their cases. One side wins and the other side loses.

These folks won't take no for an answer. And on Monday, they crossed a line. One board member who spoke to the Mail Tribune Tuesday reported feeling physically threatened by the stick-wielding protesters. One protester vowed that there will be resistance to the expansion, and it could continue.

We're not sure what he meant by that. He declined to elaborate.

The Mount Ashland Association typically opens its meetings to the public once a year. We wouldn't blame them if they thought twice about doing it again.

Hard to understand

Employees of a White City company lost their tools in a burglary Sunday night. But it wasn't just a burglary.

Intruders at American Appliance Recyclers Inc. took just about everything, from hand tools and fire extinguishers to large electronic equipment and a Special Olympics trailer. But what they didn't take, they vandalized.

Many of the tools taken belonged to the company's workers, who purchased them with their wages. Six of the workers are mentally disabled.

It's hard to fathom the motivation for a crime such as this. Tools can be sold for cash, but why destroy what you can't carry off?

The company's general manager called the incident a crime against the entire community. We concur. The community should respond, both by helping police arrest those responsible and by helping the workers replace the tools of their trade.