Letters in the Editor's Mailbag
Byline: The Register-Guard
Foster care numbers signal trouble
As many of our national politicians devolve into sounding like caffeinated blue jays, clogging our skies with their dysfunction while trying to get elected, let's not be swayed by their divisive shrieks, their spewing proposals based in the fog of their prejudices and not in reality.
Lane County is mired in one sad reality that will take much honest work to correct. There are more children in foster care here, in proportion to the population, than in any other Oregon county.
If fact, Lane County ranks in the top 10 percent nationally of U.S. counties in the number of kids removed from unsafe homes and placed in foster care. Add the recent police reports that there are 40 gangs operating here and it becomes clear that more preventive action is much needed.
How can we avoid the chaos this trend is leading to? A beefed-up police gangs-prevention unit is needed. Education occurs best in class sizes below 22 students. Prevention and treatment models call for more sex education and parenting classes in middle and high school while increasing the number of caseworkers protecting abused kids.
Due to funding cutbacks, Lane County caseworkers are now carrying near- double caseloads, with many needy kids falling through the cracks. More revenue is needed. Those of us patriots who can pay more in taxes should do so, and contribute more to the organizations working on these problems.
As for the shrieking politicians calling for more cutbacks? Let's retire those birdbrains on Election Day.
Charles F. Thielman
Marriage should know no bounds
I have begun studying human services at Lane Community College and it has really opened my eyes to people who live alternative lives to mine.
The gay marriage argument is alive and well in Oregon. Basics Rights Oregon has been showing TV commercials in favor of same-sex marriage. Eventually, people of the same sex will be allowed to marry; it's just a matter of when. The current laws on marriage benefit only man-woman relationships, basically disregarding any nontraditional adult love relationships
Whether or not you agree with nontraditional relationships, this fact remains: We love who we love. It doesn't matter if the adult is male, female, straight, gay or something in between. Why can't we marry whomever we want?
I believe deeply that marriage shows the world, and each other, that an adult is completely devoted to another adult and that the vow is forever. I also believe that equality is just that - equality for everyone.
The right to marry should be available to every adult. In the United States, we value freedom. But how can we truly be free if we discriminate and disallow the freedom of others just because we don't agree with how they choose to be free?
Stakeholder talks needed on dams
The editorial "Another dam bites the dust" (Oct. 25) says the lower Snake River dams are not likely to be removed soon because the government is spending "many millions on sophisticated fish-passage systems." But that's the iceberg's tip for exactly why they will be removed.
Each dam removal I'm familiar with has happened when its owner realized keeping it would cost more than removing it. The American people who own the lower Snake dams have spent many millions of dollars to keep the dams, with many more millions to come. And the federal government has provided no clear road map for getting Snake River salmon and steelhead off the endangered species list. That means the spending can't stop.
U.S. District Judge James Redden, in ruling the federal Columbia-Snake salmon plan illegal, ordered a new examination of lower Snake dam removal. I hope The Register-Guard agrees that an independent accounting of the dams' costs and benefits should be part of that examination. …