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Doublespeak on parade

The Park Service's ham-handed attempt to conceal cuts is arrogant

Question: When is a budget cut not a budget cut?

Answer: When it's a service level adjustment.

This glittering example of government doublespeak is brought to you courtesy of the National Park Service. Even as the federal agency embarks on a joint effort with the travel industry to boost visits to national parks this summer, it is advising park superintendents to cut the very services that make such visits enjoyable.

A memo sent to park superintendents in the Northeast suggested cuts include closing the visitor center on federal holidays, closing the park on Sundays and Mondays and eliminating all ranger-guided tours.

Even more troubling, the memo advised superintendents to conceal the cuts as much as possible, and warned them against using the word cut in interviews with reporters.

We will need to be sure that adjustments are taken from as many areas as is possible so that it won't cause public or political controversy, the memo said. If you think that some of your specific plans will cause a public or political controversy, (we) need to know which ones are likely to end up in the media or result in a congressional inquiry.

— It went on to say that Deputy Director Randy Jones suggested that if you feel you must inform the public through a press release on this year's hours or days of operation for example, that you state what the park's plans are and not to directly indicate that 'this is a cut' in comparison to last year's operation. If you are personally pressed by the media in an interview, we all agreed to use the terminology of 'service level adjustment' due to fiscal constraints as a means of describing what actions we are taking.

That's how a cut ceases to be a cut.

What is most mind-boggling about all of this is the apparent assumption by Park Service officials that they could actually get away with it ' that no one would leak the memo, and that national parks could be closed on federal holidays without complaints from the public. The arrogance is stunning.

No parking

If you're one of those people who use handicapped parking spaces without a permit, you should be aware that there are stiff penalties in Oregon for doing so.

People who park without a blue placard risk a &

36;360 fine. Altering someone else's permit carries a fine of &


Illegal use of handicapped parking adds to the problem of a lack of such parking by reducing the number of spaces available. How would you like to be a disabled person who was forced to drive around the Costco parking lot for 15 minutes before finding a handicapped spot?

Sometimes there isn't a space and I have to go home, one handicapped person told the Mail Tribune.

The number of people with handicapped parking permits is increasing as more seniors move to Southern Oregon and as technology lets people live longer and remain more mobile. So the problem will only get worse.

If you're tempted to take a handicapped spot illegally, even for a minute or two, think again. People with disabilities have enough obstacles without having to compete for parking with those who are able-bodied but lazy.