Cheers and jeers

Cheers — to Massachusetts Senate candidates Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren for telling third-party advocacy groups to stay out of their hotly contested race. Brown, a Republican and the incumbent, and Warren, a Democrat, have agreed that if a third-party "super PAC" spends money supporting one of them, the candidate benefiting from the advertising must donate half the value of that assistance on a charity of the other candidate's choice.

The two made what they call "The People's Pledge" in response to soaring spending resulting from the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision allowing unlimited political donations by unions and corporations as long as the advocacy is not coordinated with the candidates campaign.

Jeers — to Oregon candidates Suzanne Bonamici and Rob Cornilles, vying for the open 1st District congressional seat, for standing by while outside groups spend large sums of money on their behalf. While it's true the candidates have no control over third-party expenditures — super PACs are not allowed to coordinate with the campaigns they support — Bonamici and Cornilles could have come up with a pact similar to Brown's and Warren's in Massachusetts.

Cheers — to the Rogue Valley Transportation District, which has proposed adding Saturday service and later daily runs to accommodate students attending evening classes at Southern Oregon University in Ashland and in Medford. Expanding service would help out students on tight budgets by allowing them to leave their cars at home, and ease parking problems as well.

Cheers — to Jackson County Commissioner Don Skundrick, who will hold a series of town hall meetings around the county, starting at 6:30 p.m Tuesday, Jan. 31, at the Shady Cove library, 22477 Highway 62. Open communication between citizens and elected officials is crucial if government is to work properly, and county officials in particular do much of their work a long distance from many of the people they represent. This outreach is a good-faith effort to address that.

Cheers — to four local artisan food and beverage companies for hauling in national Good Food Awards recently in San Francisco. Gary West Meats and Lillie Belle Farms, both of Jacksonville, and Noble Coffee and Cascade Peak Spirits, both of Ashland, were winners. Statewide, Oregon companies took 11 awards in seven of eight categories.

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