Spend precious cash here in Brookings
During the holiday season, it is customary to head out of town to purchase gifts for our loved ones. Instead of taking precious dollars to another community, consider the economic benefit of staying home. For every $100 dollars spent locally, $68 comes back in the form of payroll taxes, local jobs, etc. If we shop online: nothing. Small businesses are the life blood of our community - they are generous supporters of virtually every local cause. This holiday season, let's make them our cause. I might suggest a gorgeous hand woven scarf or some handmade pottery at the Brian Scott gallery - around $35, or a gift certificate for a massage or a basket of Aveda products at the newly opened Salon Dolce, or tools from local hardware stores, or music lessons for an adult or child at Stagelights. Let's keep our storefronts open and our community vibrant. If we don't use them, we'll lose them.
Learn more about preserving local economies at www.the350project.net.
Time to demand full disclosure about war
Bradley Manning, a 22-year-old Army intelligence analyst, faces decades in prison for allegedly sharing with the WikiLeaks website a video of a U.S. helicopter attack that killed 11 civilians and wounded two children in Bagdad, Iraq.
The Army covered up the evidence and declared the war crime "justified." Now they claim that exposing the massacre is criminal. The military also suspects Bradley Manning of having shared documentation of similar events in Afghanistan.
In addition to allegedly leaking the "collateral murder" video of the massacre in Bagdad, Manning has also been identified as a "person of interest" regarding the release of 90,000 battlefield reports describing civilian deaths inflicted by occupation forces in Afghanistan, collusion with warlords, corruption, and an unvarnished view of our decade-long war.
If the U.S. government demands to use our tax dollars and our children to fight this war, then we must demand full disclosure of the facts of these wars being fought in our names, no matter how unsettling. We must demand that the government stop the misinformation, and we must honor heroes who fight for transparency.
If Bradley Manning is indeed the source of these materials, the nation owes him gratitude. And if he is not the courageous whistle blower as charged, we demand the government stop using him as a political chess piece. He is expected to be court-martialed in early 2011.
Sell, not destroy, marijuana harvest
Wednesday's paper (Pilot, Nov. 24) announced: "Police Harvest $283 Million in Marijuana."
I would like to suggest that rather than destroying these crops, we should consider selling this bounty to whomever are licensed to sell it legally.
Selling this marijuana would allow the sheriff's department to cover the cost of their sting operations and possibly have some profit that could be used for their budget shortfall, which they had asked the taxpayers to cover during our November election.
I realize, according to the article, there was more than one county involved in these raids that are referred to as SOMMER (Southern Oregon Multi-agency Marijuana Eradication and Reclamation) and cost $600,000. I am not sure where this money came from or what percentage each group may have been responsible for, but it seems to me that somewhere along the line this was ultimately our tax dollars at work.
Our courts allow legal marijuana for medicinal use, so why not sell it at a discounted rate to those who are legally licensed, and possibly help with the county's budget shortfall?
Keep the public better informed
A commissioner once told me, "We do not rule by petition."
Seeing the survey on the Pilot's website, I wondered, why ask readers who have not received information regarding county services how to fund county government? Top vote is to reduce services. Isn't that already happening?
Another planner just left the County Planning Department to work for a city. That leaves the planning director and one support staff employee to do all the mandated paper work. The once-lucrative department, stand alone, is barely standing.
Developers, if there are any, the maybe golf course and small home builders all have to get permits and do planning, by law. It's rumored that one commissioner wants to farm out county planning to the cities. The city of Brookings should be pleased. They would get to do planning and permits for Harbor. Is this the first step to annexation?
How many county employees are there in each department? (One for veteran's services, one for economic development, one planner.) How many hours do they work? Does the county have time clocks or an efficient way to track hours? How many hours do elected officials work? How many hours does the average employee work? If there are less employees, do they get paid extra for overtime? How many are in unions?
It seems to me that the survey would work better if the readers had the information to make informed decisions. Who is keeping them uninformed? Why?
Lucie La Bontandeacute;
Former County Commissioner