Opinion, Analysis, Discussion
Plan budget to include charity
The News-Review’s Nov. 24 Douglas County Moms column on budgeting by Marla Smart was very timely and inspiring. However, there were a couple of items missing and they are: “giving to church” and “charity.”Learn more »
Forester’s view of park issue
“To ignore the wealth of renewable natural riches and opportunities in our own backyard is to deny the cornerstone of Douglas County’s past and the entrepreneurs who built it. To reject real, active forest management for the benefit of all is to deny the citizens of Douglas County the bright future which they have the right to pursue.” — Debbie Fromdahl, president of Roseburg Area Chamber of Commerce, The News-Review Chamber Corner, Nov. 18.Learn more »
Not surprisingly, one of the state’s most active conservation groups, Oregon Wild, strongly opposes U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden’s Western Oregon timber plan.
While the senator was panned by a good share of the timber industry as too vague and too timid, Oregon Wild recoiled at Wyden agreeing that logging on federal forests should be increased.Learn more »
What does the future hold?
History will record that President Obama and the Democratic party were willing to risk wrecking our country to enable their mandatory socialist scam, ObamaCare. The media reports blamed the Republicans and other parties because they would not risk our system of government, the one they had promised to serve and protect.Learn more »
Halloween is not for them
I really admire the sophomore teen from the Oct. 28 “Truth of Youth” panel who gave her feelings on Halloween celebrations. I, too, did some research and found her comments to be accurate and credible. In my search, I found that Halloween has horrible roots. It has pagan origins and is deeply rooted in ancestor and Satanic worship, witchcraft, and supposedly, contacting spirits of the dead.Learn more »
The Butterfly Effect is a metaphor, which, loosely translated, means the existence of seemingly insignificant moments can alter history and shape destinies. Initially unrecognized, these moments create connections of cause and effect that in retrospect have clearly changed the course of a human life or triggered a momentous event to occur.
In terms of the Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline and Jordon Cove energy project, any decision by the Douglas County Planning Commission to allow the export of natural gas has the potential to devastatingly alter the lives of Douglas County residents, harm our country’s natural resources, and damage our fragile indigenous environment. Granting a Canadian corporation permission to export natural gas to other foreign and competing interests may be perceived as seemingly insignificant. However, it has the very real potential to detrimentally affect the global economic future of the United States in unimaginable ways over the long term.Learn more »
Statistics fly thick and fast at every point on the calendar, picking up speed as an old year wanes and a new one draws nearer. Plenty of them are a source of outrage or chagrin. One that surfaced last week ought to make everybody sit up and ask one question: How could this happen?
The information in question came from a report released Nov. 21 — exactly a week before Thanksgiving — by the Oregon Department of Education. State officials say that about 300 Douglas County students were homeless at some point during the 2012-13 school year. Statewide, that number is 18,165.Learn more »
In its 21st year, the Festival of Lights may be one of our area’s finest achievements.
What began with a $150,000 loan by the Rotary Club of Roseburg has become one of the most spectacular Christmas light displays in the West, featuring more than 500,000 bulbs on nearly 100 eye-popping displays.Learn more »
Disagreement without hatred
My heart aches when I see all the nasty, hateful letters regarding President Obama and ObamaCare. There are bound to be glitches when everything is changing for millions of people. It takes time to get all the details to work right. We need to be patient. President Obama didn’t “lie.” Something unexpected was bound to happen, which he couldn’t foresee.Learn more »
A community is compassionate
As I listened to the comments by the City Council and the mayor of Roseburg, I was horrified and discouraged to have them represent our town. This is not what a community is about and to have the audacity to call upon the homeless as “not desperate enough” to have expensive tents is beyond reprehensible. All of this stems from just requesting support for a safe, drug- and alcohol-free space for a few people to sleep over the winter? This is a very meager request to help give a little stability and safety for someone.Learn more »
Obama agenda questioned
Is the most powerful man on earth incompetent or a liar? President Obama recently claimed he was unaware that the website for his signature health care law was not ready for rollout. This is the most important accomplishment of his administration. Yet he had no idea of the condition of the key component before its debut? Is he inept or lying?Learn more »
Freeman for commissioner
Thanksgiving is a great time to pause and express gratitude to those we love or who have impacted our lives. Sometimes though, there are people who are overlooked. We want to take a moment to express our thanks to someone who works hard for our community — State Rep. Tim Freeman.Learn more »
Restore public access to info
Less than a week after tax bills were sent out to Douglas County property owners — many of which had grossly inflated values — County Assessor Susan Acree ordered the public access terminals to be removed from the assessor’s office after being available for more than 10 years. Acree ordered the removal of the two public access terminals to allegedly ease congestion in the hallway. There were no visitors in the office except myself.Learn more »
Local church is not a cult
Because the Umpqua Unitarian Universalist Church had a psychic fair at the church near Halloween, some folks think we’re a cult. The 3U Church has served the liberal community in Douglas County since 1957.Learn more »
The long-awaited forest management plan has arrived from Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden.
It’s too bad it’s taken almost the entire year since Wyden became chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee before producing a bill, because it doesn’t look favorable for Douglas County. And there’s little time left to reconcile the bill with similar House-passed legislation before Wyden is expected to move on to the Senate Finance Committee next year.Learn more »
Editor’s Note: The bottom of this column was inadvertently cut off when it was originally posted to the website on Dec. 1. It’s now available in its entirety.
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Homelessness hits the news
The Roseburg City Council’s hostility to creating a safe, legal camp space for those without housing has made news across the state, appearing in newspapers in Portland, Eugene, Corvallis, Ashland, Astoria, and Klamath Falls, among other places. The news has even crossed state borders, having been reported in newspapers in Washington, California, and Indiana.Learn more »
Gratitude is a common theme in late November, and its effects can last a lot longer than the tryptophan sedative from today’s turkey.
That’s important, because we as humans have a tendency to fret.Learn more »
I want to wish all my faithful readers, and the ones who disagreed with my liberal intentions through the 12 years I resided in Roseburg, a wonderful Thanksgiving and a very merry holiday season.
Having moved from the West Coast where I spent the last 37 years of my life to a suburb some 35 miles northwest of Chicago, I find it takes a bit of getting used to the bustling life filled with road delays due to construction and heavy traffic. There are many more stores and more restaurants. I almost feel, sometimes, that I never left New York or Los Angeles, two cities I know only too well. Yes, life has changed, but not altogether.Learn more »
Letter: LNG pipeline unlikely to produce any benefits to OregoniansNovember 27, 2013 —
It’s a quality of life issue
Alex Loznak’s Nov. 15 guest column concerning the bad idea of a liquefied natural gas pipeline being rammed down the throats of Oregon citizens was tremendously impressive.
He gets the message from this LNG pipeline fight, in that it is a quality of life matter over a corporate greed matter.
It is also looking like graft is involved, since someone will get rich over this pipeline and it will not be anyone who must give up their land for it. It will also not be Oregon taxpayers who will pay for the infrastructure, who will have to deal with environmental disasters, and who will pay out liability claims.
The consistent argument from the big corporations trying to win the pipeline battle is that Oregon needs the jobs. However, whenever anyone tries to pin them down on what kinds of jobs will be available, what they pay, what qualifications are required, and how long the jobs will be needed, the companies change the number of jobs needed – without listing specific jobs. They have yet to truly answer this critical question. And they seem to forget that this pipeline will eliminate other Oregon jobs. So any job loss could easily be greater than any job gain.
Kudos to Alex Loznak for his involvement in this very important matter that once approved by our elected officials will be hard to put right again. Oregon deserves better than to have our beautiful land scarred by this eyesore and to be taken for suckers.
Letter: Supports background checks, but not mandatory registrationNovember 27, 2013 —
Another view of NRA leadership
I’d like to comment on a Nov. 15 letter concerning the National Rife Association leadership and its stand about universal background checks on gun buyers.
The reason the NRA is vehemently opposed to universal background checks is because gun-haters keep putting in mandatory registration as part of the law. The NRA does not oppose background checks, but has forever opposed registration of guns, which will eventually lead to confiscation. No gun owner wants confiscation. The NRA leadership is only doing its job for the membership that elects them. I called the NRA and asked about background checks. The representative said they group has always supported them.
The letter writer said he’s a lifelong gun owner, progressive Democrat, supports his president, and supports the main views of the membership, but not the leadership of the NRA. I’m a 40-year member of the NRA. We members vote the leadership into office.
Guest column: Gratitude might lead Roseburg to become an exquisite townNovember 27, 2013 —
Two things happened to get me to write this op-ed. First, a good Portland friend passed through our city of Roseburg filled with the thrill of the beauty that is part of our topography.
Secondly, I was standing in line to pick up a prescription and a word hit me: “exquisite.” As an artist, I find paintings and beauty are well in the realm of creating the fullness of this human experience.
What, I ask, can Roseburg ever find in itself to become an exquisite town? What would that even be or entail? That is what Thanksgiving can be for our citizens.
Gratitude for what is good and just is a step to getting our fair city to a transformative environment. At Thanksgiving we take a breath and give ourselves to the gratitude of our lives. With that, there is plenty for Roseburg to be grateful for.
For instance, have we noticed the gradual change to our downtown? How about all those expensive new cars being driven in our town, a town where wealth hasn’t been part of our identity?
We have large chain stores finding their places in our mall. These executives put their stores here for a reason. They know our demographics like the back of their hands. They wouldn’t have built their stores unless the money is here in our population to purchase the goods they sell.
However, money isn’t part of exquisiteness, beauty is. And where beauty corresponds with a deep intent to be better, we’re thrown into the height of what humans can be — a place of love, kindness and charity.
Without a doubt, we have these aspects to our population.
Of course, we have a lot to do to get to where we are a supportive community for all citizens. Once again, we can be grateful for the mere aspect of a desire toward this ideal.
I’m not seeking utopia, which of course has been proven disastrous for our evolution as humans. Real beauty is as much the dying tree amongst the grove of thriving trees. The fact is, that dying tree is respected for what it offered to nature when it was alive.
We talk of economic diversity, programs to help the poor become an integral part of our economic base. There was a joke I found online about being poor. It goes like this: You know you are poor when the SWAT team ends up at your neighbor’s house. That is reality for the poor: drugs, alcoholism, violence and lack of education.
When I attended Roseburg High School several of my classmates ended up at Ivy League schools. For our small town we had excellent, dedicated teachers. This was before the loss of tax money to fund our schools.
How sad that art or physical education had to be cut because of budgetary restraints.
My son was at my home and noticed how I had all his art up on the wall. (I’m a typical mother who can’t give away my child’s early years). He said, “I was good at art. It is too bad they had to quit letting us have art.”
Art is part of exquisiteness. A painting is as good as the person who views it. If she isn’t engaged in the piece, the art is just something to match furniture.
Our arts center is great in bringing art to its citizens. Kudos. We can be grateful for this. This puts us in the path of an even deeper sense for us, in propagating a wonderful natural part of our human nature, that of feeling beauty and knowing beauty.
There you go, my Portland friend, finding our city absolutely beautiful.
Happy Thanksgiving for and to Roseburg and Douglas County.
Lorelei O’Connor is a painter and poet who has a degree in finance from the University of Oregon and did graduate studies at Marylhurst University. She graduated from Roseburg High School in the mid-1970s and recently returned to the area. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Other voices: Enforce tobacco laws to reduce illegal smokingNovember 27, 2013 —
Fifteen percent of 11th graders in Lane County are smokers. Eighteen percent of adults smoke. Those figures strongly suggest that most smokers become addicted before it’s legal for them to buy tobacco. That points to a simple strategy for reducing smoking’s terrible toll: Enforce the law.
Enforcing tobacco laws may seem like a roundabout way of reducing fetal and infant mortality, but in fact the connection is direct. Twenty percent of premature births in Lane County are connected to tobacco use. Seventeen percent of pregnant women in Lane County are smokers, and most of them started before they could legally buy cigarettes. Enforcing the law would curtail underage smoking, which would reduce infant mortality.
That’s only one of many connections between underage smoking and public health. Tobacco is linked to seven times as many deaths in Lane County each year as alcohol, and 35 times as many as illegal drugs. If that many people were dying every year because of heroin or cocaine, the county would declare a state of emergency. But people are dying every day of cancer or heart disease caused by tobacco — a product to which most users became addicted before they could purchase it legally.
Yet the laws against underage smoking are enforced lightly. In sting operations conducted by the state police, 16-year-olds succeed in attempts to buy cigarettes 20 percent of the time in Oregon. The average success rate in 34 other states is 10 percent.
It’s relatively easy for young people to buy cigarettes in Oregon because selling them is a low-risk proposition. The state fine is $100, no matter how many violations occur. The state levies fines against individual clerks, not the stores that train and employ them.
Lane County public health officials are contemplating proposing a county license for tobacco retailers, with the revenue being used to pay for an enforcement program.
A robust state enforcement program — supported by license revenues, tobacco taxes or both — would be preferable to a county program. But the state’s efforts to combat underage smoking are manifestly inadequate.
The owners of retail outlets where illegal tobacco sales occur should face some sanction — lazy or overworked clerks may be to blame in some cases, but their employers are the ones who must adopt strict policies. Fines should escalate with each repeat violation. Chronic violations should result in the loss of a retailer’s license to sell tobacco.
The cost of licenses, compliance and fines would fall upon retailers, who would warn of increases in their prices. Any increase should be reflected in the price of tobacco, rather than being spread across all products. Improved enforcement and higher prices would be a powerful combination; ready availability of tobacco at an affordable price are the conditions that allow many teenagers to acquire the habit.
The county licensing idea is a long way from taking shape. But the target of a licensing program is one that deserves to be squarely in the county’s sights. Underage smoking lies at the root of the county’s worst and most preventable health problems — and it’s already illegal.
The Associated Press provided access to this editorial.
Pledge to address climate changeNovember 26, 2013 —
Thanksgiving: It is a time when we gather with family and friends to share feelings of gratitude for that which we have been blessed. But we also reflect upon those who are struggling to sustain themselves — the poor who cannot put food on their table for themselves and their children.
We know that this is a holiday on which we give thanks but are also thankful for giving. It is with a generosity of spirit that religious and community organizations come together to distribute food to make sure that dinner plates and stomachs are not empty during this holiday.
So for a caring community such as ours, it must give us pause when we read the recently released report on the impacts of global warming by the International Panel on Climate Change.
Representing the consensus of 191 countries, the IPCC draft report stated what climate change will mean for our food production and especially its effect on the poor. During each decade of this century, our global food production could drop as much as 2 percent.
What makes matters worse is that demand for food could increase up to 14 percent each decade. As a result of this widening gap, food shortages will occur and prices will rise. In fact this trend is already happening. Food price increases in recent years have been tied, in part, to climate change-related extreme heat waves.
The most tragic part is that the poor will bear the burden of climate change.
The report stated the most vulnerable are the tropical countries with already high poverty rates. Increased famine will hit poor countries because of temperature and rain changes.
And when the global average temperature reaches 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit higher than it is now, the worldwide income will begin to fall. The report summarized its findings this way:
“Throughout the 21st century, climate change impacts will slow down economic growth and poverty reduction, erode food security and trigger new poverty traps, particularly in urban areas ... (It) will exacerbate poverty in low and middle income countries and create new pockets of poverty in upper middle to high income countries ...”
Even our basic shelter needs will be threatened due to increased flooding as a result of a projected sea level rise of up to 3 feet by century’s end. But there is hope: Our children.
In October, 1,000 students and children across our community created artwork on 16-inch cardboard tiles expressing what they can do about climate change. These tiles were laid out on the courthouse lawn in the design of a 90-foot-long steelhead, symbolizing our love for Douglas County. This was followed by inspiring speeches led by high school students.
For the IPCC has made clear what they are facing:
It is 95 to 100 percent certain that human-caused global warming is occurring
To keep our planet livable, we can burn no more than one-third of our remaining fossil fuel supply. At the present rate, we will do this by 2040 — the prime of our children’s lives.
But our generation can take a stand now:
We can support replacing dirty fossil fuel plants with clean, renewable energy.
We can oppose plans to export coal, oil and liquid natural gas from northwest ports.
We can say “no” to the Keystone pipeline that would transport dirty oil from Canada.
Thomas Stocker, co-chair of the IPCC, called climate change “The greatest challenge of our time. It threatens our planet, our only home.”
But I share the optimism of Chris Field, who headed the IPCC’s report on food.
“The reason I’m not depressed is because I see the difference between a world in which we don’t do anything and a world in which we try hard to get our arms around the problem.”
So in this Thanksgiving holiday season, let us commit to sharing what we have with those in need. And let us pledge to ourselves and to each other we will indeed address this problem of climate change and leave to our children a world for which they can be thankful.
Stuart Liebowitz is a board member of the Douglas County Global Warming Coalition. He has been a Roseburg resident for 30 years and can be reached at 541-672-9819.
Editorial: Roseburg council wasn’t being cruel when it nixed campNovember 26, 2013 —
The Roseburg City Council was right to turn down Occupy Roseburg’s request to set up a homeless camp. It will save the city of someday having to dismantle a homeless camp.
Keep in mind, though, councilors didn’t turn their backs on the neediest. Rather, they recognized the folly of a camp. The next step will be to find practical ways of helping the homeless.
Occupy Roseburg asked the city for property, portable toilets and trash cans. The camp would have purportedly been self-policing.
The camp presented an obvious problem: Where would it be welcome? The answer: Probably nowhere.
There was a deeper problem, though.
The need for a camp didn’t seem to be based on the proposition that the homeless have no place to go; it was based on the idea that some homeless people didn’t like the available options.
The options demand staying sober and following rules. Well, that’s how society works. At the minimum, we have to be on time and not get drunk at lunch. The homeless camp seemed to be a request to let some people operate outside the norms. It wasn’t a plea to help the neediest; it was plea to leave them alone.
For any place or organization to function and not descend into chaos, there needs to be structure and authority. A self-governing homeless camp didn’t sound promising. It didn’t sound particularly safe or sanitary for its inhabitants, either.
It also didn’t sound like anything that would lead to Roseburg having fewer homeless people in the long run.
The City Council made clear at its Nov. 18 meeting that it will not sanction a homeless camp. But the most interesting thing that came out of the discussion is that councilors are sensitive to the plight of the homeless. There’s too much poverty, mental illness and social disintegration not to be concerned. The council just didn’t think a camp was the answer.
Roseburg residents have proven their generosity over and over. There is, undoubtedly, popular support for alleviating suffering by the homeless.
Maybe the city could help shelter the homeless on nights that are cold or wet or both. Volunteers open a warming center in a Roseburg church on nights when the temperature is expected to drop to 30 degrees or below. The shelter has to set limits because its resources are limited. But that leaves many crummy nights that the shelter won’t be open.
Many private groups, some with the aid of government, have long sought to feed, clothe and shelter the homeless. The problem, however, is intractable. Progress will require a spirit of cooperation, not occupation.
Letter: Agreement needed on purpose and function of forestsNovember 25, 2013 —
Reason for Federal land
In the Publisher’s Notebook article “Listen to a woman explain why we need to manage our forests” (The News-Review, Nov. 10), we see once more why we get nowhere in resolving the questions concerning the management of federal lands.
Ms. Karen Jones-McCann throws up “straw man” arguments and refutes them. The conservationists in Oregon do not “suggest that loggers love killing trees” and few if any conservationists desire to “stop the harvesting of trees” on federal lands, much less on private lands.
Such “very one-sided emotional stance[s]” exist only in Ms. Jones-McCann’s mind.
The issue that many have with Ms. Jones-McCann and some other timber industry spokespersons is not about killing trees or what “trees were created for.” The issue is whether we are to manage our federal forests as forests or as resource-based timber production tree farms to the exclusion of other forest values.
We can debate the science. We can debate the facts. But so long as we disagree concerning the basic purpose and function of federal lands, we will be unable to reach compromise.
Finally, it is the conservation movement that speaks for the vast majority of “voiceless people” in this nation (the owners of these federal forest lands) when we say clear-cutting and conversion of the federal forests to commercial tree farms is a thing of the past, for we really do believe that “Mother Nature” does know what she was doing.
Daniel C. Robertson
Letter: Gay rights issues: who should judge?November 25, 2013 —
Perspective on gay rights
In a recent letter to the editor, the writer decried efforts to overthrow Measure 36, Oregon’s ban on gay marriage. He described this pursuit as a violation of the Constitutional rights of the voters of Oregon.
It is interesting how often those who argue against gay marriage insist their cause is a political one. Nope. It’s religious, pure and simple. These people believe they have a conduit directly to God and that they know exactly what’s best, not only for themselves, but for all people on Earth. I anticipate a rude awakening for some when Jesus returns. When they least expect it, they will get a vigorous tap on the shoulder.
“Why did you treat your brothers and sisters with such scorn?” Jesus is likely to ask. “Judgment and vengeance belong to the Lord, not to you!” He will heave a weary sigh and conclude, “It’s the Lake of Fire for you, Bubba.”
Scott D. Mendelson
Letter: America needs strong, moral leadershipNovember 25, 2013 —
Fix government, restore hope
Recent news media survey polls show 60 percent or higher felt this is what’s wrong with Washington, D.C.:
1. We are sick of Washington, D.C., being so dysfunctional.
2. So much corruption in Washington, D.C.
3. Just throw them all out of office, even my congressman.
4. They are dishonest and lie to the American people.
5. They are self-centered, only look out for themselves and their party; couldn’t care less for the needs of the people they serve.
The current circumstances in Washington, D.C., make the following connection obvious to understand. Satan’s ultimate goal is to undermine all of God’s authority and bring the world to a state of lawlessness. For generations, Satan sought to subvert the authority of national governments. His most effective weapons of destruction have been corruption, self-serving, dishonesty, immorality and greed. The president, the leader of the free world, has taken actions that appear to be pathetic. With the recent government shutdown and deadlocks over increasing the debt ceiling and the budget, some type of compromise was likely. Then it’s business as usual. I see no hope. Washington, D.C., remains hopelessly corrupt and dysfunctional.
The world as we know it is on a crash course with the scriptural reality called the tribulation, a time that will give new meaning to the word “chaos.”
Editorial: Reductions in D-Bug project are disappointingNovember 24, 2013 —
The ongoing opposition to the D-Bug Hazard Reduction Timber Sale near Diamond and Lemolo lakes is disappointing.
Nearly a decade ago, the Forest Service initiated the sale to rid the forest of dead and dying trees that had been infested with the aggressive mountain pine beetle.
The agency devised a landscape-scale effort in hopes of preventing a wildfire of grand proportions that would threaten the resorts, summer homes and visitors to the recreation areas — locations that draw hundreds of thousands of visitors per year.
The plan was to offer some commercial logging so the revenues could help pay for non-commercial thinning. That allowed the project to fit into the Forest Service’s dwindling budget while also meeting the goals of opening up the forest. The goal was to slow the movement of the pine beetles and flames.
Environmental groups objected, so the Forest Service scaled back the project from 10,000 acres to about 8,600 acres.
The reduction still didn’t satisfy opponents, who criticized the harvest size and location as well as the roads and trails that would be used by loggers. At the same time, critics used the proximity of beautiful Crater Lake and their wilderness proposal to gain supporters.
Under threat of litigation, the D-Bug project was reduced again, dropping down to about 5,800 acres.
With slightly less than 1,000 acres left to thin, the project continues to divide those who care about the forest and recreation areas.
Preservationists don’t want a logging road to be built, despite assurances from the Forest Service that it would be temporary. They also oppose the removal of any large, older trees, whose sales could offset the cost of thinning in other areas.
We can’t help but wonder if these folks look at the science and ponder the possibilities.
Most of the trees in the area are 80 to 100 years old. A Forest Service entomologist has said the beetle infestation is typical for that age of trees. Scientists know there was a similar outbreak at Diamond Lake between 1900 and 1920. Today’s trees likely sprouted after fires at that time.
Now, the dead trees are perfect tinder for a severe wildfire that could rage for miles, trapping visitors who have just two evacuation routes from the forest resorts.
We agree that the beauty of Diamond and Lemolo lakes and the surrounding forests are treasures. But we can’t take the chance they will go up in flames, when there’s a plan for managing the forests.
It’s possible that the overall project has become so diluted that there won’t be enough fuel breaks to slow the flames when lightning strikes.
We’ll know that we supported the effort to save our forest, the summer homes and visitors. Will those who opposed D-Bug at every turn feel good about their stance when wildfire breaks out?