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Byline: The Register-Guard

U.S. military is no threat to states

Bob Strelow presented a great history of the Second Amendment at the time it was written (letter, March 22). But times change, and so do interpretations of the Constitution. Our Constitution is not just four pages of handwritten text on parchment; it is supplemented by thousands of pages of subsequent laws and court decisions.

When the Second Amendment was written, we were 13 separate independent nations joining together. Some, like Delaware, were very small. Many were concerned that a strong central government could muster a militia and easily conquer the smaller colonies. They passed the Second Amendment to make sure that each state could maintain its own militia "to protect themselves against tyranny from the government."

We had nearly 80 years of peace until the Civil War. Then the national army defeated the South. Following that war a new law was passed protecting all states from the threat of U.S. military might. It was called the Posse Comitatus Act. It prohibits the U.S. military from operating in any state except under very specific circumstances.

That was recently an issue when President George W. Bush and then President Obama ordered troops to the Mexican border. They were extremely limited in what they could do because of the Posse Comitatus Act.

The fears when the colonists enacted the Second Amendment no longer exist. The Posse Comitatus Act and numerous other laws protect the states from intervention by government troops. The threat to any state from our army is no longer an issue.



Employee pay must be addressed

A March 21 article reported that an unnamed company was interested in locating in Lane County with a payroll of more 225 employees ("County woos mystery company"). The Lane County commissioners proposed a $1,000 payment to the company for each employee they hire as long as the salary equals or exceeds the average annual county salary of $37,000.

Other recent articles have cited the average salary package (pay, health care and pension costs) of the city of Eugene and Lane County at approximately $99,000 per employee. That doesn't include additional assessments by the Public Employees Retirement System to shore up its pension fund, a result of outrageous commitments made to PERS in the past, particularly to Tier 1 employees.

Now we're being asked to approve ballot measures by both the city and the county to shore up their deficit budgets.

Does anyone see the lunacy in that? Do we really need highly paid public employees doing routine maintenance such as mowing grass and cleaning up parks? Do our government officials consider those to be highly skilled jobs? I believe many of the tasks performed by public employees could be outsourced to private companies whose employees are willing to work for much less money.

Until the issue of the size of public pay-and-benefits packages is addressed, my vote on the proposed ballot measures is going to be "no."



More guns don't mean more suicide

All too often The Register-Guard leaves out vital information in its editorial columns to promote a certain agenda. One that struck me as promoting a blatantly biased conclusion was the lead piece in the March 24 Commentary section, headlined "Include suicide in gun debate."

The fifth paragraph began by saying, "The lethality of guns and easy access to them are major contributors to this public health problem," which points to the logical conclusion that fewer guns means fewer suicides. The problem is, that it isn't backed up by real world information.

The Small Arms Survey put out by the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland, found that the United States ranks No. 1 in gun ownership, with 89 per 100 residents in 2010, which is almost double the number in the next country on the list, Yemen.

One would conclude from the comment in the March 24 column that the United States would also rank No. 1 in suicides. However, according to a survey by the World Health Organization, we rank 34th - behind 33 countries that have much more stringent gun control laws or outright bans on private gun ownership. The countries where suicide is more common than in the United States include China, Cuba, Russia, France and Japan.

The March 24 column also stated several times that guns are responsible for two-thirds of all suicides in the United States, yet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists the number at about 50 percent.


Myrtle Point

Forget scheduling, focus on budget

Eugene School District Superintendent Sheldon Berman instituted 3x5 class schedules in the previous two school districts in which he served, with mixed reviews. One of his first actions after taking over as superintendent of the Eugene district, which has suffered from repeated and drastic funding cuts since 1990, was to install 3x5 schedules in our high schools.

The 3x5 schedule diminishes the strength of the teacher-student relationship by fragmenting the coursework and teaching into trimesters. There's no guarantee that a student who starts with one teacher in a course's first trimester will continue with that teacher in the second trimester. Then that course is over and a new course begins in the third trimester.

In the semester system a student is with the same teacher throughout the school year, in core courses.

The mixed reviews of the 3x5 class schedule has become a source of much angst at a time when our school district faces a drastic cut of $10 million. The majority of people understand the 3x5 system doesn't provide any meaningful positive change. I ask that the Eugene School Board and the superintendent postpone indefinitely the implementation of 3x5 schedules and apply our precious resources toward solving the real issue of devastating budget cuts. Such a questionable schedule shouldn't be imposed for questionable reasons.

Eugene has a unique school system and a top-down mentality doesn't harness the creativity and goodwill from shareholders to provide the best educational experience we can for our children.



Tap developers to cover shortfall

Mayor Kitty Piercy's March 17 column bordered on misguided to disingenuous ("Eugene cares, and that's why city fee is needed"). I have no doubt the mayor truly believes what she says, but it's disconnected from reality.

The mayor claims the city needs to collect a monthly fee to close a $6 million budget shortfall. However, it appears the budget shortfall has been created by decisions the city has made. Let's examine the largesse it has planned to dole out over the last two years:

$13 million in tax breaks to Core Campus and Capstone Collegiate Communities for student housing.

$15 million for a new City Hall.

$2 million for a skate park (with $500,000 from private sources).

The city has chosen to spend nearly $30 million and then has the gall to ask its citizens to cough up $6 million more. Citizens can reasonably conclude that we're paying for the overly generous tax breaks to Core Campus and Capstone doled out by the City Council.

The logical thing to do is for the city to ask Core Campus and Capstone to renegotiate the tax break amounts to $7 million from $13 million, thereby closing the projected budget shortfall. If the two corporations desire to be part of the community, they should shoulder the sacrifice, not the citizens of Eugene.

Until city officials get a clue and a dose of reality, citizens will continue to vote down taxes and fees.


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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Date:Mar 29, 2013
Previous Article:Of Franky and the Fourth.

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