The Herald & News is at it again. On June 1st, their front page article titled, "Jail levy: City, yes; county, no" the paper "reports" on the break down of the jail levy failing and points the finger squarely at rural idiots.
The paper printed quotes from the Klamath Falls mayor and other city officials, but must be shy on phone numbers for comments from those who live in Chiloquin, Bonanza or Merrill. The story does nothing to explain why voters voted the way they did, just to point subtly the finger at rural residents in the county for the reason the levy failed (and at the same time assign blame). So, to do the work the H&N should've done, I'll explain why voters turned down the levy in rural areas of the county.
The main reason is cost vs. benefit. If you live in Klamath Falls and see crime in your neighborhood, the natural inclination is to vote for more safety and security. Your rent or property tax is not likely to increase too much, so the benefit of more police and space for criminals outweighs the cost. However, if you live on a ranch with 1,000 acres, and have several pieces of industrial equipment to manage the land and livestock, your answer is apt to be far different. Besides the significantly larger expense to your farming operation in taxes, you will not see a great benefit. Crime isn't as big a part of your life when compared to the person who lives in Klamath Falls.
There is a reasonable solution to all of this. If Klamath Falls city and suburb residents really want more jail space, they should tax themselves and provide for this need. If it is a major problem in the city, then the city should fix it and not expect the Langell Valley rancher to help fund this need.
In addition, the H&N is using one of its old tricks of stirring up controversy and conflict. Only politicians and political analysts are interested in details of ballot measure's success or failure. If they understand why something passed or didn't, they can more effectively campaign for a similar issue next time. The average Klamath Joe didn't really care beyond, did it pass or not. Just like their story about Public Employee Wages the Herald & News is more interested in creating distain between people groups (rich vs. poor or urban vs. rural) in order to sell more papers and stay relevant.
It's time the H&N stopped printing news stories with a particular bias or slant (usually liberal) and started reporting the news in a more even handed way. We are smart citizens. Given the facts, we can come to our own conclusions.