What can you do?
The Trump administration’s Environmental Protection Agency, under Scott Pruitt, has lodged 48 cases against polluters in its first year and assessed $30 million in penalties. This performance falls well below the numbers for presidents Obama and Clinton. Even George Bush, in his first year, lodged 112 cases and assessed $50 million in fines.
So who is Pruitt protecting? Not you and me and not the environment. There is a long history of dying eagles, burning rivers and coal miners suffering from black lung disease that the Trump administration is ignoring.
Instead, Pruitt is cozying up with companies that create pollutants that harm the environment, including wildlife and humans.
Not surprisingly, this record fits the administration’s denial of climate change and its argument that regulations hurt the economy. But it is more accurate to view regulations as protective mechanisms that create a standard for what counts as clean air, clean water and a healthy climate. And it is better public policy to encourage enterprises in both the private and public sectors that address these concerns. The boom in solar energy for homes and businesses here in the valley is one good example.
What can you do to help?
Amendment has limits
An academic question: Would banning the manufacture and distribution of the caliber ammunition commonly used in assault-style weapons violate the Second Amendment? I’m hardly a constitutional scholar, but I don’t think so.
Two significant operative words in the amendment are “keep” and “bear.” Nowhere does the word “use” appear. Neither does “firearm,” although that is almost always assumed.
Where, when and how an “arm” can be used as a weapon, from baseball bat to firearm, is governed by federal and state laws and adjudicated by the appropriate courts. Self-defense is justified, but the validity of such a claim can be challenged in a court of law. And you can’t go hunting any time of year with any weapon you choose and kill any game animal you see. At least not legally. The Second Amendment provides no coverage in either case.
I don’t advocate such a ban or believe it would be effective if imposed. I ask the question because the Second Amendment is always raised with any discussion of revising gun laws. It’s very simply written, and often very broadly interpreted. But even Justice Scalia agreed there could be limitations.
CTE programs needed
During my years with SOREDI through meetings with area businesses I learned of the need for broader career and technical training.
A recent Economist magazine article declared the USA faces a certificate rather than a degree deficit in meeting its workforce needs. With a majority of current and future jobs with our area businesses needing completion of a career or technical degree, we need more students ready for and completing CTE programs.
As a board member for Rogue Community College, we are investing in new facilities at our campuses across the region to broaden and expand RCC’s career and technical programs. Area high schools are also launching programs to offer their students opportunities to explore career and technical pathways to employment through CTE certificates.
I am pleased to see that Brian Shumate, Medford schools superintendent, is urging new investments in career and technical education options. A proven best practice is to align education and CTE programs offered in high schools with those similar programs offered by community colleges and universities. The Medford School District investments will encourage students to explore and consider continuing their education and training in high-wage career and technical employment opportunities within our region.
Ron Fox, RCC board member, former SOREDI executive director
I am the “uncle” to many of my friends’ kids and I often get asked to give The Talk to their kids, and no, it isn’t the one about sex, thank you, but voting, since I was the one that made them realize it was also their duty to do.
So the other day I was asked to talk to a friend’s twins and son who were 18 and 17. So I get them together and got the “Oh God, why me” look when they found out what and why. I asked what Dad had said and after shaking my head I said this: “Politics is not easy to know or understand, but I can break it down to this. Democrats have a more Star Trek look of the future that has mankind coming together from all its bickering and form a more stable, healthy society. The Republicans’ view is more like Star Wars, where the infighting is encouraged and society stays divided by everything from race and sex to income levels. The choice is yours in what future you want to live in, a stormtrooper in an empire or captain for a federation.”
Guess which party they chose and support?
Rent getting too high?
Are you a renter and think your landlord is just being greedy for raising your rent? Here’s the real reason why.
Even though you don’t own property, you get nailed with a rent increase every time you vote for a property tax increase. If you voted to fund the bloated library, you voted for a rent increase. The same happened when you voted a property tax increase to expand RVTD, and you’ll get a whopper of a rent increase if you vote for the proposed $100 million jail!
We landlords don’t want to raise your rent, especially if you are responsible and reliable renters. We value you, and we don’t want to lose you. But when the county sends us a new property tax bill that already has a built-in 3 percent annual increase, plus an added whatever for what the voters approved, well, they voted for a rent increase on you. Think about that next time you vote.
It is simple math, so don’t expect us to absorb it all by ourselves. We have to pass it on to you.
No more bunk
No more bunk from George Will, please. In his March 8 column, after bemoaning Trump’s behavior and erratic trade babble, he found a way to blame Democrats and progressives, accusing them of causing “enlarged executive power.” In fact, it is a Republican-sponsored Trump who has grossly violated the norms of executive power.
Will’s message: Be very afraid, very afraid, if Democrats win in the mid-terms. Afraid? No! Hopeful, yes, that someone somehow can rein in this demagogue and restore a sense of normalcy to our country while Republicans, the majority in both houses, cowards all, let this mayhem continue.