Cheers and jeers

Cheers — to the city of Medford for finally bringing its fireworks ordinance into line with reality. The City Council earlier this month made it legal to use the "safe and sane" fireworks permitted under Oregon law within the city limits. The previous ban on all fireworks was routinely ignored year after year by the good citizens of Medford, to the point that enforcing it was simply impossible and, if we may say so, just a little silly.

Of course, Oregon state law is hardly permissive. Anything that flies through the air or explodes is illegal. That means Roman candles, bottle rockets, firecrackers, M-80s ... you get the picture. And everyone should be aware that even the legal varieties can touch off nasty fires, especially in juniper bushes and other dry shrubs. So be careful out there, and have a garden hose or two charged and ready.

Jeers — to American voters, especially those in California, where the state's very economic survival was on the line in the May 19 election. Turnout was about 25 percent. In Jackson County, where school board seats were on the ballot, it was even worse at less than 19 percent.

Meanwhile, the season finale of "American Idol" May 20 drew more than 100 million votes from viewers who apparently cared more about choosing between Adam Lambert and Kris Allen than about participating in their own government. Of course, the show's producers actively encourage viewers to vote early and often, which is strictly illegal in real elections. But it's a sad commentary all the same.

Cheers — to the volunteers with the Medford Emblem Club and Kiwanis Club, who once again lined Main Street in downtown Medford with flags on Memorial Day. After noting two years ago that few flags were evident on Medford's streets, the volunteers raised money and put in their own hard work to hoist 72 flags and create a star-spangled appearance for the street. They hope to expand their efforts to include more of Main Street, as well as Riverside, Oakdale and Eighth. If you want to help out, send donations to Rhonda Bohall, Medford Kiwanis Club, P.O. Box 912, Jacksonville, OR 97530.

Jeers — to the idea floated during Ashland School District budget talks of instituting a "pay-to-play" policy for school athletics and other extracurricular activities. All school districts are struggling with huge budget cuts. But in Ashland, district voters repeatedly have agreed to tax themselves extra specifically to fund student activities. When the tax was last up for renewal in 2007, supporters warned that defeating the levy could mean a return to pay-to-play policies. Voters might be just a little upset if pay-to-play comes back anyway.

Share This Story