Health care should be available to all

I just learned that my niece, her husband and two small children have no health insurance. They earn too much to qualify for child assistance in their state and not enough to pay for coverage.

I don’t know what a stress burden this is for them, but I know it adds stress on me. On everyone. When the day comes they need unplanned medical care, they will zip through their savings, then impose on the medical care system, aid organizations and likely friends and relatives to help them. We can all help them and millions of other Americans in advance by supporting Improved Medicare for All.

I believe health care is part of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, that it should be available to all Americans and in the long run will save us a lot of money. Most of the rest of the world has figured this out and is leaving us bleeding on the side of the road in our own short-sighted neglect. There is good information from the medical community at

Sheriff shouldn’t be campaigning

The League of Women Voters recently hosted a public meeting about Douglas County’s local government options that drew 100-plus people. Two speakers from Lane County — a retired county manager and a practicing attorney who also teaches local government law at the University of Oregon School of Law — explained key provisions of the proposed Home Rule Charter and invited audience members to write questions, on cards, before the break.

During the break, I helped sort the cards, putting similar questions together. The question asked most often concerned Sheriff John Hanlin’s consent to use his photo — in uniform — on signs and literature opposing the charter. Clearly, his decision to use his office this way hit a nerve. Legally, public officials are prohibited from politicking while on the job. Since the photo shows our sheriff in his uniform during the day, in front of our courthouse, it raises the suspicion that this policy was violated. Regardless of whether Sheriff Hanlin violated the policy or not, I am more concerned about the headline he allowed his photo to be used with: “Stop Extreme Environmentalists.”

“Stop Extreme Environmentalists”? Really? Home Rule has nothing to do with environmental policies, extreme or otherwise. Our speakers explained that there are two forms of local government in Oregon: “General Law” and “Home Rule.” The city of Roseburg already uses Home Rule.

Under Home Rule, elected city councilors or county commissioners typically hire a professional manager — someone with a degree in public administration — to ensure that work is performed efficiently and legally, in a way that inspires public confidence.

Perhaps if Sheriff Hanlin had had the benefit of a professional manager, he would have been advised against this kind of ugly politicking, which engenders fear, borders on lying, insults his neighbors, and tarnishes his good reputation.

Be grateful for timber industry

Definition of an environmental extremist. According to the American Heritage Dictionary of the American Language, an extremist is a person or group that would resort to extreme or radical measures to further their agenda.

For example, let’s say you belong to an organization that supports locking up the federal timberlands because of the Endangered Species Act. This results in a hazardous buildup of fuels which feed catastrophic fires every summer for more than two decades. This burns up the habitat, the poor little animals that you’re trying to preserve and turns millions of board feet of timber into smoke, ashes and carbon dioxide. This has been happening every summer for at least a couple of decades, and it gets worse every year.

In the face of such graphic evidence, how can anyone state that there aren’t any “extreme” environmentalists in Douglas County? In my opinion, the Douglas Timber Operators and mill owners who provide jobs should be complimented, not criticized. Have we forgotten all of the good causes the Ford Family Foundation has supported and the library they helped fund? They have donated money to help defeat Home Rule because they believe they have an agenda to make timber jobs even scarcer. They want to keep the mills open and their workers on the jobs.

I simply can’t believe the unknown authors of this measure that was crafted behind closed doors with no public notice or input have invested all this time and effort because they love us so much. I’m almost certain they have an unstated and closely guarded agenda.

Call me old fashioned if you must, but I will be voting “no” on Measure 10-159 come Nov. 7. Thanks for paying attention.

Nita Nettleton


Sandra Huffstutter


Norman Neal


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