We appreciate state Sen. Ted Ferrioli's dogged defense of matters important to many constituents in his district, which includes Baker County.
But in a recent tussle over legal protection for wolves in Oregon, Ferrioli, the Senate Minority Leader, should have heeded his own advice.
The impetus for this minor imbroglio is a bill, pending in the
Legislature, that would remove wolves from the state's endangered
Ferrioli, who's from John Day, supports the bill. We suspect a majority of voters in his district agree with him.
But at least one South African singer who lives in Greece (could there
be more than one?), Louise du Toit, does not agree with Ferrioli.
She sent Ferrioli an e-mail opposing the wolf bill.
Excerpts from Ferrioli's e-mail response to du Toit include:
andbull; "You are delusional if you believe U.S. elected officials will bow to activist pressure from outside our borders."
andbull; "By the way, perhaps I should be writing to EU (European Union)
ministers to stop bailing out Greece. Clearly it has become a haven for
morons. Go away!"
andbull; "Let your friends, family and fellow Europeans in their thousands write passionate emails. We will ignore them."
Trouble is, Ted, you didn't ignore du Toit.
You sent her an e-mail which, though honest and forthright, contained thoughts best left unsaid.
To his credit, Ferrioli, the day after his e-mail was published in The
Oregonian, issued a statement expressing "my sincere apology to the
citizens of Greek extraction wherever they may reside."
We sympathize, albeit slightly, with Ferrioli in his annoyance with du Toit's e-mail.
He argues that Europeans "don't have a dog in this fight."
Certainly they don't have a legal stake - wolves are a public resource
that belong to all Americans, but not to residents of other countries.
Ferrioli has no obligation, as an elected official, to try to represent foreigners.
But he is obliged to represent the people who live in his district.
Although neither Grant nor Baker County is a haven for wolf lovers, we
have no doubt that some among Ferrioli's constituents, in both
counties, share du Toit's concern about protection for the animals.
By lambasting the singer, Ferrioli tacitly belittles those constituents' views.
We understand that his e-mail was not in response to one of those
constituents. But that doesn't excuse his overreaction or his lack of
Chances are, of course, that Ferrioli will show a bit more restraint
the next time his inbox is crammed with pro-wolf pleas from across the
If only he had done so in this case, no one, except fans of South
African singers living in Greece, would likely recognize the name
Louise du Toit today.