Letters to the Editor
Drug Training for All!
I was 55 when I moved to Crooked Creek, 10 miles north of Lakeview, 9 years ago. Lakeview is the first pervasive drug area that I knowingly lived in. Not to single Lakeview out, attorneys and professionals tell me this is normal for a small town with Oregon being a cartel state and Portland the heroin capital of the USA. Oregon is not the only cartel state, by far.
Because I opened an illegal medical marijuana club, Lakeview Med Club, it was mandatory that I participate in a 90-day drug rehabilitation program. This was required even though I was a legal Oregon Medical Marijuana Program patient, already quit pot, have no history of doing drugs, and druggies do not generally go to drug rehab.
I really enjoyed my drug education. The drug rehab counselors were very nice and geared my rehab to learning about drugs, so that I could help others. It sure opened my eyes. I learned things like meth triggers 1061 Nano grams of dopamine, and it is almost impossible for meth heads to quit. Also, the rituals associated with drug use are difficult to stop.
I was aghast when I learned how little money was pumped into drug education/rehab. Instead, we spend too much on interdiction and prisons. The USA has 800,000 prisoners for smoking pot at a cost of $30,000 per year per prisoner, plus all the hundreds of thousands of prisoners for other drugs.
Not only is the USA a world leader in the number of prisoners, we have 5 times the prisoners as most civilized countries. Most of the prisoners are incarcerated due to doing drugs. Not all drug addicts commit other crimes.
I feel strongly that if people could feel and know what drug addicts are going through, we would change our legal system, and get drug addicts the help they need. Stop the unnecessary emotional trauma to drug addicts and families while saving tons of money.
Drug education for all!!
Bradford A. Augustine
Lakeview Med Club (closed)
I appreciate the compliments that Jo Caffrey gave to me in her recent letter, but need to address some misconceptions about judicial retirement benefits.
I believe it is a benefit — not a burden — to Oregonians to allow state judges to get a modest increase in retirement benefits by continuing to work after retirement. The legislature set the rules — judges have a mandatory retirement age, our salaries are set in statute and only changed once every 10 years or so, we do not get cost-of-living adjustments, and our retirement benefits are capped — we cannot increase our retirement benefits in the same ways as other public employees. We do not get full benefits if we retire early.
By doing what is known as “Plan B” service, I get a modest increase in my retirement benefits and partial payment of medical benefits for a limited time. The cost of having a permanent judge doing this amount of work is about $126,000. There are fewer than 200 state judges in Oregon, to handle about 600,000 cases filed every year. If retired judges are not available to do this work, taxpayers either need to pay a full-time judge, or it will just take longer and longer to have disputes decided.
In my experience, when people want their day in court they want it now, and retired judges help make that happen. I am not complaining about my situation. I chose to be a judge, and it was a very challenging and rewarding job. But I don’t think that anybody is being taken advantage of by me getting a modest increase in my benefits for doing additional work after retirement.
Lane W. Simpson
Senior Circuit Court Judge ProTem
Lake County, Oregon
Pray for the Town
We should all be praying for the Town of Lakeview in the weeks to come! Our town officials have made some decisions in the last few days that we as a Church believe will harm our community. We live and work in such a wonderful town and we the Faith Center, its staff, and congregation are blessed to call it home. The richness of its history and the kindness of its people make Lakeview more than a place to live, they make it a genuine community.
Sometimes it saddens us to see the national direction that Washington D.C. is taking us, however sadness turns to sorrow when our local government acts with the same cowardice, short sightedness, and cruelty as Washington.
Legality + liability + policy sometimes equals a moral and ethical shortfall. Sometimes the “rights” of a government office and what “is right” are dynamically different. The expectations we have as citizens are that the people we put in offices of authority would not be there to protect their own posteriors but ours, the people they submit to.
Rev. Kirk R. Quinlivan II