Three Races That Really, Really, Really Matter: Public Transportation, Blue Skies and the return of the Ass-Clown.
Typically, mid-term elections don’t have a lot of fanfare. Especially without a marquee prizefight like the presidential race, voters are less likely to vote. However, this ballot has several local races and measures whose outcomes promise big changes—in terms of public transportation, environmental protection and education, and each of these races and measure could not be any more stark in terms of the choices.
Position 4, Rogue Valley Transportation District board: Stan Littrell
This race almost seems scripted by the producers of “Saturday Night Live” it is so absurd, with some cruel overtones.
Stan Littrell is a decade-plus transit board veteran, Medford resident and, salient to the matter of public transportation, blind. He doesn’t drive and relies on public transportation. He understands the critical need that public transportation provides for elderly to go shopping, for cash-poor students to get to their college classes and work towards their careers and for persons like Littrell to get around.
Simply stated: Littrell is qualified and deserves to remain on the board. More so, his challenger is a crank and unqualified.
Littrell is running against Natalie Richie from Ashland, who explains in the voter pamphlet that she—and no one in her family—have “ever stepped foot on an RVTD bus.” Not unlike the crank spouting her mouth at the end of the bar, her theory seems to boil down to, if she don’t use it, why does she have to pay for it?
That is a childish grasp of a functioning society, and simply cruel and selfishness to the tenth degree. How public services—like transportation, roads, police—are paid for is basic Civics 101 and Kindness 102: As part of being a citizen, we pay taxes for social services like maintaining roads, keeping firefighters employed, and teachers paid, even if we don’t do one of those activities. For example, I pay a boatload of taxes for B-2 Bombers that I will never be able to fly myself.
Rogue Valley Transportation District is and should continue to provide critical services for those in the community that need them. Vote Littrell and, take a hike, Richie.
Medford School Board: Jeffrey Kinsella
In the November elections, the Messenger sent basic questions to city council candidates. One candidate, Curt Ankerberg volleyed back a series of irate emails to us, peppered with name calling like “ass-clown” and then continued to punch at us—and me personally—over the course of a few weeks. It was silly, if it weren’t so disturbing. And, it is part of a pattern of behavior for Ankerberg.
In 2010, the Jackson County clerk filed a complaint with the sheriff’s office against Ankerberg after a confrontation over a clerical matter that left employees there feeling threatened and, in 2013, Ankerberg verbally assaulted another candidate during the Mail Tribune endorsement interview.
Beyond his unpleasant personality—which doesn’t bode well as a team-player—Ankerberg also has scant experience. He has run for public office eight prior times—and lost each time—and he only lists “tutor” as his experience.
Stacked against his opponent, this seems like another joke; however, it isn’t and his opponent deserves your vote. Imminently qualified, Jeffrey Kinsella taught for nearly a decade in LA before moving to Medford and teaching both at the middle and elementary school levels for another two decades. Now retired, he has continued to be involved with the school district, volunteering on the district’s budget committee.
The Medford School District has had two solid years of improvement and deserves the opportunity for level-headed, kind and knowledgeable leadership to continue those trends. Vote Kinsella.
Measure 6-162 (Coos County): YES!
Sure, this is a nuclear option (sorry for the WHAT) and, yes, Coos County is outside our distribution and editorial jurisdiction, but this matter is important to southern Oregon—and for the sanctity of local interests over global multinationals’ profits, and for the sake of the environment and private land ownership alike.
Measure 6-162 is a bold idea: At the heart of the proposal is the idea to make the transportation of “fossil fuel” through Coos County illegal (excluding that for residential, commercial or industrial on-site uses). Essentially, the petitioners want to shut down the possibility of the LNG Pipeline, a proposal to insert a 330-mile pipe across the southwestern quadrant of Oregon to drawn gas to a port and ship it towards China, presumably. Twice before, the LNG pipeline has been denied permits by a federal agency, but after Donald Trump’s election, the company trying to build the pipeline saw an opportunity.
While Measure 6-162 may be far-reaching, there is something incredibly admirable and bold about the proposal.
The Messenger supports this ballot measure, but not necessarily because it offers an important, if not overly simplified, catalyst for sustainable energy. We support the ballot measure because we oppose the LNG Pipeline—and believe that opposition to the pipeline should appeal to a wide spectrum of political attitudes and philosophies.
Like private property rights? The pipeline will cut across dozens of private land, not to mention rivers and streams and parks.
Against global warming? The pipeline has potential to be one of the greatest contributors of greenhouse gases in Oregon.
Heck, even if you voted for Trump because you want to make America great again, you should be chanted your opposition to the pipeline as well. The pipeline is owned by and will profit a Canadian company. Although the White House has lined up behind the pipeline, the profits and money will be exported. Yes, some jobs may be created, but mostly temporary and nothing much better than working at a Dutch Bros’ coffee stand. Heck, don’t believe that this isn’t a fight for a multinational corporation to profit from exploiting a small community? The Canadian corporation proposing the pipeline has poured some $300,000+ into marketing to defeat the ballot measure (about 30-fold the amount being spent to support the idea).
Help David beat Goliath! Encourage friends, families and even your enemies in Coos County to vote YES, which is voting “no” to the LNG Pipeline.