The Curry Coastal Pilot

Keeping River Clean

What a surprise to see all the flak about vehicles driving across the Chetco (River).

It seems to me in a county that depends so much on tourism (especially on salmon and steelhead fishing and the money it brings to our failing economy) that we would pull together and do all we can to protect these fish.

The folks complaining about their "rights" being taken away (oh, sigh) are not seeing the big picture andndash; they only see their desire for their own entertainment.

Who has the "need" to drive across the Chetco, polluting with automotive grease and other toxins? Sure, it's a right-of-way, but that was put in place many years ago, with fewer people and a lot more salmonids. This is now, not then.

So, if you care at all about the welfare of the salmonids, our economy, and the rights of others who want a clean river, please listen up:

If you want to get to the other side andndash; try the Chetco Bridge. Or paddle. Or haul yourselves out of your bucket seats and swim!

Mim Lagoe


More common sense

Alas, poor Yvonne Maitland, for you know not of what you speak.

You are called to task for your written words, then deny them.

1. You called the public ignorant of the facts and fear mongers. Name calling sounds juvenile.

2. Restrictions are necessary for the common good. Socialist rhetoric to the majority.

3. Heavy equipment in the river. Equipment that is used with leases from the state and employ about 250 residents.

4. Chetco River supports recreation. Recreation is not the same for everyone. Imagine if salmon fishing was the ONLY recreation for everyone?

5. Rights afforded to the People of Curry County. Correction, granted to the people.

6. Rivers are for family time. Families have different activities for family time, not just splashing in the water.

I don't ignore documentation of "30 vehicles a day," but I do question it. Is the count every day, weekends, holidays; when does it start and end?

I don't feel that I know more than the scientists that you love to quote, but I, and, I believe, the majority of our citizens, have a lot more common sense. Many scientists have their own agendas, if it isn't broke, break it, then create a "solution" to keep their jobs and their bureaucracy funded. Studies can be skewed and many environmental studies have been proven wrong.

Dianna Blazo


Inaccuracies abound

These comments are regarding the Dec. 26, 2012, Pilot article titled "County, union enter negotiations." The number and severity of inaccuracies in the article is appalling. Reported statements of individuals also leave the reader asking, "They didn't really say that, did they?"

According to Greg Empson who was initially present at the Dec. 19, 2012, meeting, there were about 10 women associated with the union in the commissioners' meeting room. He and Pilot staff Jane Stebbins were the only members of the public present. Empson was bluntly asked by the apparent union spokesperson who he was, to which he responded "a taxpayer." The spokesperson made it clear he was not welcome nor was the press.

Stebbins wrongly states that in labor negotiations, "Either side can object to opening the meeting to the public, at which point, state law says, it can be closed." ORS 192.660(3) (4) states otherwise.

Stebbins incorrectly states the current labor agreement last modified in 2008 expires every June and had rolled over for four years because neither side chose to enter into negotiations. The 2008 agreement was for three years.

Stebbins ends the article with, "Other meetings are scheduled into the new year; some, notably labor negotiations, will be closed to the public and media." This statement is false. Negotiations between the county and union may not be closed to the media period.

Members of the media should not just accept as truth whatever they are told. While this is not an indictment that all are journalists, they would be well served to follow the first item listed in the Society of Professional Journalists 2012 Code of Ethics following the preamble: "Journalists should be honest, fair and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information."

Thomas Huxley


Neutralizing Fear

I'm old enough (85) to remember President Franklin Roosevelt saying to the nation via radio during the Great Depression: "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."

Of course, at that time the economy was at rock bottom. We were fearful of not finding a job, we were fearful of not having food to eat, fearful of not having a home to live in.

Fear was rampant then and has become rampant again, this time the fear is the fear of being killed by a gun of one kind or another: pistols, rifles, revolvers, assault rifles, etc.

Many have rushed out to the gun stores and guns shows to stock up on arms. This is being done by law-abiding citizens thinking being armed with a gun will protect them from the criminal element. However, I ask: where does the criminal element come from?

A criminal is a former law-abiding citizen. Thus, more murders will occur because more former law-abiding citizens now have guns with which perform criminal acts, whether thievery or murder.

Today, President Barack Obama has put forth a plan to neutralize our fear of guns within our civilian population. I believe he has a good plan and I support it.

Art Moore


What felons do

Here we go again! Another convicted felon, Garth Allen Eckhoff (Curry Pilot Jan. 11, 2013 pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Sentence you ask?

Fourteen months in prison, four years parole and fined $2,190. He also pleaded guilty to two counts of burglary for which he was sentenced to 18 months probation and fined $1,000. No prison time and the sentences are to run concurrently -andndash;not consecutively.

And we wonder what is wrong with our criminal justice system.

More felons on the street with firearms, great! These felons deserve much more time in prison. Federal courts sentence these cases to years in prison, not months.

At a time when our national debate is about guns, does this type of sentencing make sense to anyone? The main reason a felon is in possession of a firearm is to shoot someone. I hope it isn't me or you, or our brave law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line to apprehend these felons.

Just think of the work involved by law enforcement: identifying the criminal, tracking them down, apprehending them, jail time, court time and all on our tax dollars.

With good time, he will be out of prison in no time and back on the street doing what felons do, robbing, cheating and burglarizing homes and businesses. Oh yeah, and probably armed with another firearm.

We all need to speak up!

William Douglas


Editor's Note:

The Pilot received more than three dozen letters in response to Curry County Sheriff John Bishop's public forum on Wednesday. We cannot publish all the letters because of space limitations. Here is a sampling of letters reflecting the many different opinions.

Too high a price

I'd like to take just a moment to commend and thank Sheriff John Bishop for his open letter to President Obama concerning our Second Amendment gun rights.

John's high visibility stand on this issue bears witness to his leadership qualities, his bravery and his faithful loyalty to the oath he's taken to defend the Constitution. John obviously understands that the Second Amendment is a right, not a wish, not a "need, not a privilege, but a right. I'd also like to thank the Linn County Sheriff, Mr. Mueller for writing a similar letter to Vice President Biden.

The anti-gun propaganda on TV for the last month has constantly appealed to our emotional sadness and pandered to our fears rather than assessing these tragic events using logic and reason. Don't be fooled by the emotional appeal ... use your head.

Giving up our Constitutional rights is too high a price to pay for false security.

Lance Badger


a personal thanks

I'd like to extend a personal thanks to Sheriff John Bishop (Public Forum, Jan. 16, 2013) for his willingness to stand up for our Constitution and refuse to abide by any laws concerning gun control that violate the Second Amendment. Too many people in positions of authority simply march lock-step to activist politicians.

On the same subject, I thought Mr. Azar (Letters, Jan. 16, 2013) might like a quick refresher course on the Second Amendment. He stated that while citizens have a right to possess military weapons, ... "state governments have the right to incapacitate these arms until an attack ... appears imminent." Where did that notion come from? It certainly wasn't the Second Amendment.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in District of Columbia v. Heller, "The Second Amendment protects an individual's right to possess a firearm connected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home."

In Heller (2008) and McDonald (2010) the U.S. Supreme Court ruled, "... the militia is composed of members who supply their own arms and ammunition. This is generally recognized as the method by which U.S. militias have historically been armed." Any law-abiding citizen with a legal firearm is therefore, by definition, part of a "militia" and to restrict possession of that firearm by the government is contrary to the Second Amendment.

Mike Wiley


nice letter, but ...

Sheriff Bishop, nice letter, but you were not elected to decide what is Constitutional, nor are you qualified to do so.

Besides, where was this passion when the cell phone laws changed in 2010? Surely that violates some free speech rights, and makes criminals out of ordinary citizens.

Seems like you are picking and choosing, and ignoring the possibility that some changes make sense.

You would demonstrate better judgement to wait and see what law changes are proposed before announcing to the world that you intend to make your own rules.

Rob Harvey



The sheriff of Curry County is elected and paid to enforce the laws of the land, not to interpret them.

Judicial interpretation is the job of state and federal court justices, selected by duly elected state and federal legislators.

The sheriff of Curry County is elected and paid to enforce all laws that are made by duly elected legislators, not to choose which laws, based on personal belief or bias, he will selectively enforce.

The sheriff of Curry County is elected and sworn to protect all citizens of Curry County, not just those with whom he may share beliefs and/or biases.

The sheriff of Curry County should promote and support law and order, not anarchy.

Harry Freiberg


he defends, protects

I am a firm believer in the Constitution; this includes the Second Amendment.

I applaud and honor Sheriff Bishop for his stance on the Constitution and the Second Amendment. I wish to thank Sheriff Bishop in expressing this commitment to defend and protect the citizens of Curry County and the Constitution in his letter to the president of the United States. It takes courage and a commitment to affirm your beliefs publicly and stand for what is right.

Limiting the rights of law-abiding citizens to possess firearms has never stopped any criminal from using firearms to commit any crime. When you look at the cities and states that have the most restrictive gun laws they have the highest crime rate involving guns.

I do not want any further restrictions on my right to possess firearms or their components.

Ronald J. Lindley


dear john, goodbye

Dear John, I'm sorry to have to say goodbye like this, to see you leave Curry County after 24 years of service, but your stealth appointment to the United States Supreme Court will require you to vacate the office of sheriff of Curry County and relocate to Washington, D.C.

Unfortunately, your decision to speak out on the constitutionality of matters which will undoubtedly come before the Court means that you will have to recuse yourself from any decision upon those matters. The legal system established by the U.S. Constitution presumes that any law or regulation created by an entity established under that Constitution is, ipso facto, constitutional unless declared otherwise by the Supreme Court. The enforcement of questionable laws or regulations may be stayed, but only by a Federal court, until their constitutionality has been decided.

It's fortunate that you will no longer be sheriff, should any of these potential laws be passed, because only a majority of the Justices on the U.S. Supreme Court has the authority to determine which laws are not constitutional. An individual, as you are well aware, has the option to break or obey laws. Peace officers have the right to a private opinion but that is all it is, a private opinion.

Peace officers have no business publicly advocating the disobedience of laws or regulations created in a manner established by our Constitution. A peace officer's sworn duty is to uphold the entire Constitution, NOT just the bits and pieces with which they agree.

Michael Pitts-Campbell


enthusiastic support

I enthusiastically support the sheriff's position on any kind of gun ban.

Clifford J.Weeks


dissolve and regain

Thank you, Sheriff Bishop, for your position on the weapons ban!

They have taken away our forests, the tax base that could be generated, many forest related jobs, our funds for necessary law-enforcement and now they want to take away our ability to defend ourselves.

It's time to stop this cycle and try to retrieve what was once ours. When one party breaks the agreement, it is time to dissolve it, and regain proper interest in what is at stake.

Philip K. Cox

deputy, Orange County Sheriff's Department, (retired)

Linda Cox


bad guys get guns

I am supporting John Bishop's letter to the Pilot regarding his letter to President Obama on weapon issues.

The president is taking away the rights of the law abiding citizens and giving the criminals more rights!

I am from out side of Chicago, Ill. No matter what gun laws they put in place the bad guys will still get their weapons. That has been a proven fact!

What happened in Connecticut was tragic! My deepest sympathies and prayers go out to the families!

The only thing that I can say for those who understand no explanation is needed. For those who do not understand no explanation is possible.

God Bless America, home of the brave, land of the free!

Sam Vitale


to bishop's credit

I write to express my support for Sheriff John Bishop in light of his courageous letter to President Barack Obama.

It is clear to all who really know the work of the sheriff that he has dedicated himself to protecting and serving the people of Curry County for more than 24 years, and that he views the recent, sudden and reactionary responses of many politicians as threatening to the freedoms of law abiding citizens, specifically those who live in Curry County.

I am in agreement with the sheriff, and look forward to letters similar to his directed to the president from all 36 Oregon sheriffs. It is to Sheriff Bishop's credit that he was among the first to extend himself in this way, and to risk the enmity of many who are offended by any view but their own.

Bruce Cockerham


willing to break law

Sheriff Bishop, it's too bad you jumped into the fray over gun rights before you even heard what President Obama was going to propose. It's also too bad you decided to broadcast to our citizenry that you are willing to break the law if it's a law you do not like! That is a fine example to our citizens, especially our young people!

I have always had the utmost respect for our law enforcement, local, state and federal. Your statement certainly has not impressed me as far as being confident that our local law enforcement can be counted on to follow the law, all laws, not just the ones you agree with!

Also, it is highly unlikely that any law that is deemed unconstitutional by our Supreme Court can ever take effect. Or do you discount their authority also? Since when do you or any of us get to pick and choose which laws to obey?

There are laws I also do not like, but if I break a law, guess what, I will be arrested. Does this hold true for you also? Hopefully, I can count on fair treatment by the local authorities. But what assurances do I have that a law enforcement officer in my county who is willing to break the law, any law, will make sure I get a fair day in court?

I wonder what prompted you to write that letter? Is this just political posturing? What segment of our citizenry were you trying to impress?

Joyce Rodgers