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Peers' support tips the scales

Judges', prosecutors' opinions give Greif edge over Grensky

Choosing a judge at election time is always a tough call, because hard facts about where the candidates stand on the issues can be tough to come by. Judicial candidates often feel constrained from directly commenting on issues or cases that one day could come before them, so voters are left to make their decision based on general impressions.

Our impression of the race for the newly created seat on the Jackson County Circuit Court is that voters have two qualified people to choose from. Longtime local lawyer and former legislator Ron Grensky brings considerable experience to the race, and his opponent, Lisa Greif, brings an admirable passion for dealing with the most critical issue facing the community and the courts &

8212; the meth epidemic and its effects on families and children.

The tie-breaker in this race comes from the people who know best what happens &

8212; and what should happen &

8212; in the courts. And that swings our support to Greif, who has received the endorsement of four of the sitting Circuit Court judges in the county and 11 members of the Jackson County District Attorney's Office.

That's a strong statement from a group of people who already work with Greif, and especially strong from the prosecutors, who have argued cases against her for the past eight years.

There's no question that Grensky's edge comes in his experience, where he has 26 years of work as a lawyer and has worked as a judge pro tem in Josephine County. He has an extensive background in mediation, which also could be brought to bear to help relieve the crowded court system. He, too, has support, the most notable of which comes from three retired judges, a Republican legislator and former Republican Congressman Bob Smith. Greif has worked for eight years as a public defender, dealing with the intensity of those criminal cases and the people they affect on a daily basis. She is no bleeding-heart public defender, however, and notes that another former public defender now on the bench, Lorenzo Mejia, has proven to be tough on criminals. Perhaps it comes from years of seeing what the seedy side of life does to people and their kids.

It is particularly notable that Greif has the support of so many prosecutors. They have seen her in action and obviously respect her ability. The same holds true for the four judges, which suggests they think Greif would be a good fit in a Jackson County court system that has built a reputation for innovation and cooperation among judges.

In a race with two capable candidates, those endorsements tip the scales in Greif's favor. We recommend that voters elect Lisa Greif to the Jackson County Circuit Court.

A life well livedThe satisfaction of a job well done is the highest reward for some who give to their community. Such a man was Boyd Gibson: educator, volunteer, veteran and beloved family man. He died Saturday at age 83.

It is easy to list Gibson's accomplishments: teacher, principal, director of elementary education and transportation director for the Medford School District, service on the Planning Commission, defending his country at Pearl Harbor on the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, just to name a few.

To those who had the privilege of knowing him personally, what stood out most was what a genuinely nice man he was. Whatever his role, those who came into contact with him came away impressed and inspired.

Perhaps the biggest challenge of his professional career &

8212; and another testament to his even-handed style &

8212; was when he came out of retirement to redraw school attendance boundaries for the Medford district. Boundary changes are always contentious, and these were no exception, but no one could fault Gibson's work.

As former Mail Tribune reporter JoNel Aleccia wrote in a profile of Gibson in 1997, he drove every bus route, measured every mile.

"If you give me an address, I can tell you just about what bus that student rides," he told her.

We add our thanks for the life of service that Boyd Gibson gave to our children and to the community.

His years of dedication have left improvements for generations to come.