Public defense agency
Your August 16-17 issues describe the Chief Justice of Oregon’s efforts to generate legislative action to provide criminal defendants with prompt and efficient representation. The current private attorney contract system has failed.
In 1964, I was a trial attorney in the District Attorney’s office in Santa Clara County, California. That county solved the problem by creating a public defender agency parallel to the district attorney’s agency.
The public defender hired staff, including attorneys, investigators, paralegals, secretaries, etc. The efficiencies were spectacular. For example, one attorney would manage a prosecution schedule rather than 10 or more private attorneys.
The current crop of contract lawyers would make good candidates for a public defense system and provide more money.
John M. Moore
Don’t ban natural gas
A recent article rightly pointed out that America’s “quickest and cheapest” way to protect the climate is to incentivize oil and gas producers to capture methane leaks and emissions rather than ban their use or restrict new innovative investments in infrastructure.
President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act included many key components that will help reduce emissions in a smart way by making investments in incentives rather than unrealistic mandates.
Unfortunately, some cities and states are considering policies that ban natural gas, our most affordable and reliable home energy resource. Natural gas is 50% cleaner than coal and is found in abundance here in North America. And our local Medford businesses are investing in reducing emissions by combining renewable natural gas and hydrogen, which are even cleaner. If they are threatened with not being able to sell their product anymore, they will have little incentive to make investments in new green technologies.
Carl Pope, former president of the Sierra Club, got it right in his piece in the Mail Tribune: “To really protect the climate, Biden must tighten methane limits.” We should be incentivizing our local natural gas suppliers to buy fuel from producers who limit methane emissions within their operations, not ban natural gas.