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Pay attention to those sign rules


Yes, they are constitutional, and campaigns should comply with them

Complaints about campaign signs seem to sprout as quickly as the signs themselves at election time. The ordinances regulating political signs are confusing because they vary from town to town, but the final responsibility for complying rests with the candidates.

The question of whether those ordinances are constitutional is also complicated. The answer is, most likely, yes.

The First Amendment to the Constitution states, in part, that Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech ... . Exactly what those words mean has been subject to interpretation by the Supreme Court ever since they were adopted.

The court has consistently held that governments may place reasonable limits on speech in the interest of the greater public good. So-called time, place and manner restrictions have been upheld, as long as they treat all types of speech and all viewpoints equally, and as long as other opportunities for free expression are available.

That means that Medford's ordinance requiring a permit for and limiting the size of political signs on commercial property is constitutional, as long as the same restrictions apply to commercial signs and to any other type of sign, regardless of the point of view being expressed.

In 1984, the Supreme Court ruled that the city of Los Angeles did not violate the First Amendment when its public works employees removed a candidate's signs from utility pole support wires. The court noted that the ordinance prohibiting signs on poles applied equally to all types of signs, and further that other forms of speech were readily available to the candidate's supporters.

— Rules restricting where, when or how political signs may be placed in private front yards are also constitutional, as long as the rules apply equally to for sale or for rent signs and to any other type. If the rules don't apply equally, they could be vulnerable to a constitutional challenge.

But until some candidate or supporter makes that challenge and a court overturns those ordinances, they are enforceable. Candidates should be familiar with them, and they should see to it that their campaign workers and supporters are playing by the rules.

Allegation alarming

If it's true that Jackson County jail personnel strip-searched a number of women in plain view of male prisoners, the jail's policies need an immediate and serious overhaul.

A dozen women have said they intend to sue the county on grounds that corrections deputies inspected the female inmates while some male inmates looked on.

American Civil Liberties Union attorneys said the search was held to shame the women. The ACLU said the women were made to bend over while female guards examined their genitals and buttocks with a flashlight. Male guards also looked on, the ACLU attorneys said. More than 20 female inmates were involved in the search for a contraband razor blade.

The county has every right to take steps preventing dangerous contraband from entering the jail. But if these allegations are true, jail staff have crossed the line between strict security and unacceptable humiliation.Vote for C.W. Smith

I am a proponent of C.W. Smith because I admire his style of leadership. He understands the problem, finds a sensible solution and works diligently to put plans in motion. Smith tells the truth and gives his opinion without concern for what people will think.

At this point, we need a strong leader as Jackson County commissioner who will tell us what we need to know and stick to what is right. We cannot have wishy-washy, slow-moving government in times like these. We need C.W. Smith, who is not afraid to make a stand and is committed to making sure the commissioners' office provides efficient and timely responses.

For the sake of the community, I encourage Democrats and Republicans alike to vote for C.W. Smith. We need his many years of experience with community safety and business/fiscal management. ' Sherry Colby, Medford

Think, then vote

Geez, all these letters whose writers despise our president, George W. Bush. How divided we've become.

After the election of four years ago, China shot down one of our planes; tense times. First test.

Got some pet bills through Congress and Senate. Perfect for all people? No. Would yours be perfect? No.

Picked many judges, Senate says no to many. Kerry said his picks have to pass litmus test. If W did that, the howl from the liberals would be deafening.

After 10-plus years and 17 U.N. resolutions to Iraq, intelligence from Russia, England and the United States and others had the same evidence against Iraq. Great leaders, Kennedy, Kerry, Clinton, Shumer, as well as Cheney spoke of the same information.

We were attacked, remember? Lost almost 3,000 people and two large buildings, remember? Remember? One anti-gun, one not. One consistent, one not. Think, then vote. ' Larry Baines, Medford

Appalled by complaints

What's wrong with the world when the sound of children's laughter and play has become reason for complaints?

I was appalled that certain Jacksonville residents are even turning sprinklers on cars in order to deter Doc Griffin park visitors! Who do they think they are?

Everyone knows that Jacksonville is a tourist town with many visitors, especially during summer when Britt is packing in tons of people. So, of course the park is going to fill up too.

Also, Jacksonville is not just for retirees; many young families are moving in and the park brings a nice meeting place for moms and families. I hope the resident that declined to give her name with the comment about naked babies running around does sell her house. Hopefully she won't buy near a school playground or day-care center! ' N. Jacobsen, Medford

Residents can save homes

The Mail Tribune rightly calls for evacuation plans in wildland-urban interface neighborhoods where fire can threaten lives and homes (Plan for the worst, Aug. 31).

Interface residents can save their homes from burning, even if they must evacuate. Homes that do not ignite do not burn.

Research by the Fire Sciences Lab in Missoula, Mont., shows that homes and their surroundings within 100-200 feet determine home ignition potential. We also know that fire is an intrinsic natural process of local ecosystems.

Together, this understanding argues for residential compatibility with wildland fire rather than dangerous and reactive attempts to prevent fire encroachment into neighborhoods.

For more information, check out ' Jay Lininger, Ashland

The real ones

I agree with Ms. Putnam's letter condemning the use of BLM money to support feral horses. These animals need to be managed. That means thinned, culled or slaughtered if necessary, not simply allowed to grow old and diseased in some sanctuary.

As a hunter, I know the importance of maintaining a healthy population of any animal. As a taxpayer, I can think of plenty more valuable uses for our money.

And while we're talking about wasting tax money, a radio show recently reported that women enlisted in the military can get free breast augmentation surgeries (a.k.a. boob jobs.) Again as a taxpayer, but also as a man, I'm torn between admiration and outrage. I can certainly appreciate the results, but why should I have to foot the bill?

Joking aside, I'm truly disgusted by a political system that allows its own citizens ' especially children ' to go without food, shelter, education, and medical attention, yet throws billions away to save wild horses and donkeys, increase a GI's bust size, and rebuild a country that would nuke us all to hell if they could.

Maybe our biggest problems aren't frivolous surgeries and feral horses, but the real boobs and jackasses in Washington. ' Jack Connor, Central Point

Imagine my shock

Shame on P.J. Krueger of Jacksonville. In a letter to the editor Aug. 27 he stated, Imagine my shock when they turned out to be mostly American: some from California, (maybe that explains some of it) ... referring to people who didn't stand up during the playing of the national anthem.

I was born in Japan, lived in St. Louis, Mo.; San Jose, Calif.; Chicago; New York City and currently Central Point. I have always assumed that Americans were free to move and live anywhere in America.

While I love living here in this beautiful state I am saddened by something I have felt here. If you're from another state you're not welcome. God help you if you're from California or the dreaded Ashland.

So ' Krueger is a respectful American angry at another American for not honoring the country's national anthem. If the letter represents the feelings of a respectful American, then I don't want to be one.

I am so relieved that Krueger was not conspicuously trying to be rude. ' Beth Baker, Central Point

The Great Divider

George W. Bush has earned a well-deserved title ' The Great Divider. As a sitting president he has managed to split our nation right down the middle.

The polls say it is too close to call. Worldwide, he has a solid majority ' 80 percent of the countries of the world strongly disagree with our political agenda and hate George W. Bush. We sure don't need Act II from the Great Divider. ' Don Basey, Eagle Point

Wildlife is so annoying

Recently I decided to hike in Prescott Park. I hadn't been up Hillcrest in a while.

I was pleased to see all of the improvements being made there. The new housing tracts are so attractive. I'm glad that the wildlife is now displaced in preference for more building.

Wildlife is so annoying. I'm glad that the developers decided to remove mature trees and native growth, favoring replanting with non-native plants requiring more maintenance and water.

Worried about drought and erosion? The developers will just further manipulate the environment to take care of residents' needs.

I'm glad that no plans were made for more neighborhood parks or walking trails. There's certainly no money to be made from healthy, natural spaces.

I sure hope that someday I'm successful enough to pay the ridiculous price of a high-end tract home so that I can have my neighbors close enough to look in their windows from mine. A true measure of success!

Let's close Prescott Park, make it private land and build to the top of Roxy Ann. Making sure zoning allows for a drive-through coffee stand and fast food restaurant, because this valley needs more of those.

Recognize sarcasm when you see it? ' Gen Putnam, Medford

Ignore the lies

It's a shame that George W. Bush and some fellow Republicans believe the only way he and other Republicans can become elected is by lying.

Lies were told about Republican Sen. John McCain in the 2000 presidential primary. Lies were told about Democratic Sen. Max Cleland in the 2002 senatorial election, and now lies are being told about presidential candidate John Kerry and other Vietnam veterans. Republican Sen. Joseph McCarthy used similar tactics to introduce doubt and fear in the 1950s.

Ignore the lies and carefully consider all of the issues. Read both the Republican and Democratic party platforms. These represent the plans that each candidate has for our country for the next four years.

Evaluate President George W. Bush's performance and accountability during the past four years as all corporate world managers are graded. Ohio Republican Ed Tovey gives his evaluation at ' Kathy Fennell, Medford

Do the real story

Will the MT stop at nothing to get Kerry elected? With the crisis in the Sudan and the meth crisis in the valley, you lead with Kerry yard signs? In Ashland, Republicans dare not put a Bush bumper sticker on their car for fear that the car will get keyed or spray-painted or worse.

And of course it's those mean-spirited Republicans taking the yard signs. Couldn't possibly be Nader supporters. Next the MT will tell us it's the Swift Boat Vets sneaking in the dead of night.

Want to do the real story on Kerry? Report the national and regional polls showing how badly he is slipping. Or report how his campaign is unraveling. ' Bill Bartlett, Ashland

Vote the charlatans out

Enron, Adelphia, Tyco, WorldCom, the work of a few bad apples. Sept. 11 and no WMD found in Iraq, bad intelligence. The abuse at Abu Ghraib, a few sadistic guards. Nasty negative ads, somebody else's work.

See a pattern here? It's called leadership by Republicans. Since when did getting someone to do your dirty work constitute leadership?

Republican disinformation and dirty tricks are meant to demoralize and induce apathy and indifference in the electorate. Why? Because they can count on their loyal followers.

My dad, a Republican and Marine, often told me There are no bad soldiers, only bad leaders. I see no moral high ground in sending our men to die based on bad intelligence. I see no leadership in dodging responsibility. If you have only an ounce of scruples and any morals at all, you will vote these charlatans out of office. Let your conscience decide. ' Tom Espinosa, Medford

The crucial difference

Regarding Catherine Johansson's Letter, Bring them home, of Aug. 27:

In equating Praise God we have a praying president, and Praise Allah, defeat the infidels, she misses the crucial difference between the God the president prays to and the terrorists' Allah.

To begin with, the phrase is not, defeat the infidels, it is death to the infidels. No quarter is given to non-worshippers of Allah. In contrast, the God our president worships says to every person on the planet, I have come that you may have life, and may have it abundantly. He can offer spiritual liberty free of cost to every human being on earth because he, himself, paid the price.

Civil liberty, however, is costly and is paid for in human blood. This has been the case in America; this is being the case in Iraq. Only cynicism would reduce their struggle to merely a presidential vendetta. ' Sally Kundis, Medford