Day: December 12, 2014

Good fences make good neighbors

By RHONDA RICH You may ask after reading the article in last week’s Keizertimes, (Council clears buffer in KRP plan, Dec. 5), why is there so much talk about the “good neighbor buffer” at Keizer Rapids Park? I would like to clarify the reason for the request from the West Keizer Neighborhood Association in regards to the 2014 amendments to the Keizer Rapids Park master plan. The “good neighbor buffer” was one of the agreed upon amenities to add to the KRP master plan in 2006. It was even considered a “common given” along with a boat ramp, canoe camp, trail system and conservation easement to incorporate into the park. Hundreds of citizens were involved with a charette process to determine the best design for the new regional park.  Park architects created six plans, all of which included a 75-100 foot area in the 120 acre park adjacent to the existing neighboring properties along the eastern boundary. The buffer was to consist of greenery, trees and shrubs that would add to the natural beauty of the park.  It would screen off a view of chain link fence and the backside of houses and buildings.  Park users could walk along the pathway and feel like they were in a semi-wooded area and not next to a housing development.  The buffer would enhance the experience of the walkers, runners and bikers...

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The responsibility of the majority

“The minority is always aware of who they are in the presence of the majority.” – Mat Johnson I was at a writer’s conference in Seattle earlier this year when Johnson, an author, imparted that bit of wisdom upon a room packed full of writers seeking a deeper understanding of how to treat those who don’t look like us on the page. Throughout the weekend, I found myself gravitating to panels and lectures that tackled hard topics like minority representation or how those of us without military backgrounds might write meaningfully about war, but that single line from Johnson is the one that rings in my ears over and over. It reverberates louder with each unarmed black man and boy we lose to bullets loosed from the guns of those sworn to protect and serve. Last week, a columnist for this paper suggested that riots in Ferguson – over the lack of indictment in the death of Michael Brown – warranted a response of lethal force. While it is likely true that the fires and destruction of property were the result of a few bad actors, they were surrounded by friends and loved ones who were seeking a higher level of justice. How many of them would have been caught in the crossfire? How many of their lives were worth the relatively few burned cars and broken windows? Brown...

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Whose recipe for American greatness?

Entertainment happened for me the other day while reading letters to the editor from another newspaper. The letter writer was, perhaps facetiously, commenting that his best advice to the Democratic party on what their proper candidate for president should be is that he or she “should love the Constitution, the free enterprise system, traditional family values, a powerful and effective military, small government, local control of education, Horatio Alger and overall American greatness.” The U.S. Constitution was written by 55 male delegates, 39 of whom signed it. It presents itself in seven articles and 10 amendments known as the Bill of Rights.  The  Constitution is and always has been a living document, meaning that it has been and continues to be interpreted. It does not matter which political party is dominant anywhere throughout the federal system, including which party’s standard bearer occupies the White House because, unless we give up the Constitution for some other guiding document, its current form directs the nation.  Regardless of party affiliation, the president must have an affection for the Constitution, if not love it. The United States does not practice a free enterprise system and it’s highly unlikely, maybe impossible, that a Democrat or Republican could write an executive order to establish a free enterprise system since nothing in existence now resembles such a economic design here.  Anyone with any knowledge of modern day corporate charities, government subsidies, tax breaks and federal regulations  knows that’s not the case and it’s a...

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