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Dems should keep Winmill

Trying to replace him would smell of backroom politics

Jackson County Democrats say-- rumors to the contrary &

8212; they have no plans to replace one of their nominees for a county commissioners' spot. We hope that's true and we hope that the nominee, Tom Winmill, will stay in the race. Otherwise, an ugly set of circumstances will confront everyone involved on that side of the ballot.

To recap: Incumbent Commissioner Jack Walker is seeking his fourth term on the Board of Commissioners. Walker has been re-elected with relative ease and no mainstream Democrat with name familiarity stepped forward to challenge him. That opened the door for Carl Worden, a conservative Christian and founder of the Southern Oregon Militia, to change his party affiliation to Democratic and run against Walker.

Local Democrats were aghast and recruited Winmill, a political neophyte, to run for the seat. Winmill easily beat Worden in the May 16 primary, but his rather limited effort raised questions over whether he intended to stay in the race.

Winmill did little to quash the rumor when he said in a Friday story in the Mail Tribune that he would step aside if the Democrats had "a better candidate."

Worden calls that a bait-and-switch tactic. To us, it sounds more as if Winmill is a placeholder &

8212; if a stronger candidate comes along and Winmill withdraws, the Democratic Central Committee could appoint that candidate to run in November. That would be a mistake. Whether the Democratic leadership likes it or not &

8212; and they definitely do not &

8212; Worden is a registered Democrat and finished second in the primary. If Winmill withdraws, Worden should be the nominee. To do otherwise would smell of the sort of backroom politics that has given political parties a bad name.

Again, leaders of the Jackson County Democrats say there is no plan to replace Winmill, so it's unfair to criticize them for something they haven't done. Let's just hope they don't do it.

Meanwhile, Jack Walker's chances of winning a fourth term in office are looking pretty darn good, regardless of who shows up in November.

Doing somethingStop Oregon Litter and Vandalism's volunteers are people who step up to change the landscape by donating their time and energy to improving environments that most of us look at and say, "Somebody should do something about that."

Recently, Medford's Bear Creek was the beneficiary of SOLV's "Down by the Riverside" approach to making a difference. Boosted by a group of volunteers willing to do something about it, a siege began to cleanup the creek and its banks. This was just one project SOLV spearheads using 18,000 volunteers working on 360 sites in Oregon and southwestern Washington.

Braving where others fear to tread &

8212; including some of the foul-smelling transient camps along the waterway &

8212; men, women and children gathered trash and pulled encroaching weeds to prevent undesired take-overs by plants such as purple loosestrife.

SOLV and its volunteers deserve a pat on the back for doing a job that benefits the community. Maybe next year, more of us will join in the effort, so that when we pass by that familiar spot, we can say, "Look, somebody did do something about that."