GUEST OPINION: More, longer letters to the editor, by Steve Culley
By STEVE CULLEY
I've been reading the local paper for around 40 years. In that time editors have come and gone. Sometimes things get better in one area and worse in others as management changes. Although this editor has done some positive things like adding opinions from a broader range of sources. I think that there is room for improvement.
In this day and age of rising world conflicts, mass illegal immigration and the coming conflicts over that, the collapse of health care, the scandals in Washington, D.C., Oregon's ongoing land-use war, the continued sellout of America by corporate interests and many other issues, the local press should play a role in giving voice to the people.
There are some policies, like not being allowed to bring business to the carpet, for instance, satellite TV providers and their lousy response to complaints, mainly because you talk to someone in India or who knows where. Are local CPA's outsourcing your tax returns to a foreign country? Could we complain if that is true?
How about your car insurance? Should we be allowed to complain about local businesses that do business overseas?
There should be a new goal at the paper. Every day we should have at least one letter to the editor.
May I suggest that you have a policy of allowing anyone who would take the time to write to get in, mostly unedited, if no one else has written, or if the subject matter is new. Thank you notes and religious opinions should have a separate area other than the editorial page.
I suggest a "bill watch" section in the paper. I really want to know how Senators Smith and Wyden voted on immigration and I will vote accordingly. How did Tom Butler and Ted Ferrioli vote on land use issues? In other words, I want to know if my representatives are representing me.
I would like a heads-up before my politicians arrive in town.Right now we often find out they came in and talked to their cronies, collected some bucks, and left after leaving a press release-type quote. This should be front page.
National media is urban-centered and The Oregonian, which has the resources to actually do investigative reporting, is what I call a Big Blue newspaper. Trying to get a rural opinion in there when it comes to land use, cougars, wolves, guns and immigration is a rare event. The Oregonian editorial board gives me the impression that they all just arrived from New York City last week.
With the local press, the dailies need to change to give voice to the man on the street as often as possible. The weeklies, like The Chieftain and Blue Mountain Eagle, have a much larger part of their paper devoted to local opinion, whereas papers like the Ontario Argus Observer really don't.
Your disclaimer should not be bigger than the letters. It makes me think that there is actually room for more opinions. First come, first printed, if no one else has bothered to write in.
New subject matter: not Ron Chaney saying the same things over and over again.
Richard Fox should get in when he talks about guns but his religion letters should go on the religion page. If I decide to give the Catholic church hell about encouraging illegal immigration, that should be an editorial page letter.
If a citizen gets fed up with the non-campaign while the hopefuls wait to see which way the wind is blowing so as not to say anything controversial and wants to smoke them out or force them to answer questions, this should be encouraged.
Editorial pages are political, not politically correct. You print opinions and should own them.
People writing in should own them too. You can disclaim what they write but should allow it without editing relevant information.
Small town media should be more than a cottage industry designed to provide jobs for those who work there.
As a close observer of American politics for most of my life I have come to believe that real change starts at the grassroots level and local papers are the vehicle for that.
You are actually the spear point in the fight to maintain good government and freedom. Let's keep it sharp.
You don't even have to consider printing this. Just start thinking about some changes. If you do, it'll make some politicians damned nervous.