Cheers and jeers

Cheers — to Richard Hay, for more than half a century of beautiful and inspiring set designs at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Hay remembers selling fireworks on a Medford street corner to make ends meet after his college roommate, Bill Patton, invited him to the valley to help hang lights at the fledgling theater company. The Rogue Valley is fortunate that Hay stayed despite the humble beginnings and lack of pay. He went on to play a major role in designing all three of the festival's stages along with sets for more than 220 productions. Southern Oregon's cultural landscape is the richer for his years of creativity.

Jeers — to a publicity campaign apparently designed to whip conservatives into a frenzy over a supposed attempt to reintroduce the Fairness Doctrine — an obsolete regulation that required broadcasters to present a balance of political viewpoints. Because conservative talk shows dominate the cable market, some liberals have expressed a desire to see more balance — but that doesn't mean anyone is seriously proposing a return to the controversial doctrine. President Obama said through a spokesman on Wednesday that he opposes a return to the Fairness Doctrine, a position he also expressed during the campaign.

In any case, the Fairness Doctrine makes little sense in an era of hundreds of cable channels and satellite transmission of signals. The premise behind the original rule was that broadcast frequencies, owned by the public, were limited and therefore the public had an interest in setting standards for their use. The limitation no longer applies.

Cheers — to Jackson County sheriff's deputies who ended a standoff with an intoxicated, armed man in Shady Cove without injury to the man or to officers. Too often, such situations result in an exchange of gunfire, and sometimes in death or serious injury. Well done.

Jeers — to the federal government, which has proved once again that the best intentions don't always mean the best laws. New regulations against lead in children's toys have resulted in small off-road motorcycles being barred from the market. Most motor vehicles use parts containing lead in concentrations high enough to fall under the new regulations, although the only way for a child to ingest lead from a dirt bike would be to chew on its parts. The industry is seeking an exemption to the new rules, but meanwhile dealers must pull all such vehicles off showroom floors.

Cheers — to the community outpouring after three sweet gum trees planted by Central Point Elementary School students were cut down in an apparent act of vandalism. The city's Public Works Department offered to help replant, four nurseries offered to donate trees, a retired teacher made a cash donation and two tree projects involved the students in their work.

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