Cheers and jeers

Cheers — to a one-year extension of federal timber payments that managed to survive conference committee negotiations Wednesday between the House and Senate. Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden added a provision to the Senate transportation bill allocating $350 million to 700 counties in 41 states. Oregon counties, some of which have slashed key public services and emptied jails, stand to get $100 million if the bill passes on Friday.

Cheers — to a $200,000 grant to the Britt Festivals — the largest gift in the festivals' history — that will help replace the Table Rock Cafe stage near the concession area. The gift, from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, is contingent upon Britt securing the rest of the $850,000 needed to complete the project.

Jeers — to the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling Monday that a Montana law limiting corporate campaign contributions didn't involve spending that corrupted the democratic process. The Montana Supreme Court had ruled the state law was constitutional despite the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling permitting unlimited independent spending by corporations and unions.

The Citizens United decision included language that said independent expenditures might be limited if evidence showed they corrupted the democratic process or appeared to corrupt it.

In 1912, Montana voters imposed limits on spending because mining interests — the so-called "Copper Kings — were blatantly buying political offices. In its ruling upholding that law, the Montana Supreme Court found evidence that corporate interests continue today to try to get around disclosure requirements and influence elections.

On Monday, a 5-4 majority of the Supreme Court ruled the Montana law unconstitutional anyway.

Cheers — to South Medford High School graduate Bobbi Reierson, who heard a presentation in her environmental studies class last year from Oregon Stewardship, a Medford group that gets kids involved in environmental work, and decided she wanted to help. Several students from South and from St. Mary's joined her in pulling up blackberries along Bear Creek, working to rehabilitate the stream bank.

Cheers — to a Medford Police Department program that enlists selected juvenile offenders in cleaning up gang graffiti. The youths, who are incarcerated in the Juvenile Justice Center, get a chance to spend some time outside, and the work counts toward the community service hours they must complete as part of their sentences.

Share This Story