Time to stop talking, already

Usually the talk-before-action approach to government makes sense. Know your information, share it with the people, all that.

But it's possible to talk a problem to death. That's where Medford's City Council seems to be headed on the question of whether it should put a 6-cent-per-$1,000 levy on an upcoming ballot so the Central Library can be open 16 more hours every week.

Should it? Shouldn't it? Should it? Talk, talk, talk, talk, talk.

A reluctant-to-get-involved council has been talking about this little tax proposal for months and certainly can't be faulted at this point for not airing the issue publicly. It has talked about it in at least a half dozen council meetings, including a public hearing this month. It is talking about it through the end of the month in a phone survey of residents.

More than enough, already: We say send it on to voters to decide.

And what will Medford's voters do with this measure, which would raise property taxes all of about $10 a year for the typical Medford house? Already the no-new-taxes crowd has raised the issue of multiple failed library levies here, although it's worth noting this one would ask for less than a tenth of the amount of tax increase sought in previous requests.

If the city is going to put more energy into talking about this proposal, maybe it should go toward clarifying that.

It also still needs to determine whether it makes the most sense for this measure to appear on the May ballot or November's.

Each has its pluses, but we suspect a fairer test would be on November's, when the measure would not face Oregon's "double majority" requirement that more than 50 percent of voters turn in ballots and more than 50 percent of those vote "yes."

That's a tough hill to climb for any money measure, including reasonable ones. And so far this measure appears to be that: a small increase for a large gain.

Maybe voters will agree, maybe they won't. Either way, it's time to give them a chance to say.

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