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Local editorials

Strikers don't help their cause Jackson County's offer to help vulnerable clients wasn't anti-union

The frustration of striking Josephine County workers over their employer's last contract offer is understandable. Picketing the Jackson County courthouse and spreading misinformation is not.

A handful of Josephine County strikers gathered along Oakdale Avenue Monday, carrying signs accusing Jackson County officials of sending workers to cross their picket lines in Grants Pass. The problem was, it wasn't true. And even if it had been, Jackson County's intent had nothing to do with the labor dispute and everything to do with humanitarian concern.

Jackson County Health and Human Services Director Hank Collins called Josephine County officials Monday and offered to send a couple of people to make sure mentally ill and developmentally disabled patients were adequately cared for. The request was declined because Josephine County health officials said they could manage for the time being.

None of the offered workers are union members.

That didn't stop union organizers from capitalizing on what they saw as an attack on their right to strike.

Lon Holston, regional field representative for the Association of State, County and Municipal Employees, said Jackson County was wasting assets. If Holston thinks that kind of grandstanding will win workers any support, he's wasting his breath.

— Josephine County workers have every right to belong to a union and to strike when they feel they have no other choice. They even have the right to make unfounded accusations on the street corner.

But after Monday's stunt, they shouldn't be surprised if no one believes them.

Maybe it takes a town The recent story about Rogue River imposing fines ' as much as &

36;1,000 ' on the parents of errant skateboarders makes one ponder who should be minding the store. Are teens, no matter what age, responsible for their actions? Perhaps it is the town's or school's responsibility to keep kids on the right track. Maybe parents want law enforcement to step up and take charge.

What happened to the notion that children are not mature or experienced enough to plow through life without the guidance of their parents? Do we simply hold our breath and hope no child gets hit by a car or has a crash that results in serious injury?

The trend by an increasing number of parents to abdicate keeping tabs on their children because of busy jobs, single-parent households or lack of child care is a concern. When faced with admitting wrongdoing, fingers seem to point outward.

Teaching young people to think maturely and take responsibility for their actions requires involved parents. It's not always easy, but if infractions like ignoring a town ordinance, vandalism or breaking curfew are not addressed, a higher authority will surely step in and start taking over the job ' or at least levy a fine on those who aren't paying attention.

Guiding our youth to maturity should be a team effort, with parents signing on as coaches while they draw support from family members, neighbors, schools, churches and towns (including law enforcement agencies).

We support Rogue River's attempt to address a problem before a major incident occurs. But it would be better to have parental involvement at the ground level ' knowing where a child is and what he or she is doing.