U.S. judges toss Net porn-filter law; local libraries find balance

To Deschutes Public Library System Director Michael Gaston, it almost seemed that federal judges in Philadelphia had been looking over local shoulders when they wrote an opinion issued Friday, striking down a federal law requiring libraries to shield minors from pornographic or “harmful” material on the Internet.

“It’s almost like they are talking about us,” Gaston said – not in the court’s finding that the filtering software mandated by the “Children’s Internet Protection Act” blocks access, in the ruling’s words, “to substantial amounts of constitutionally protected speech whose suppression serves no legitimate government interest,” but in what it said next:

“Moreover, less restrictive alternatives exist that further the government’s legitimate interest in preventing the dissemination of obscenity, child pornography, and material harmful to minors, and in preventing patrons from being unwillingly exposed to patently offensive, sexually explicit content,” the court found (the full ruling can be found at http://www.paed.uscourts.gov/documents/opinions/02D0415P.HTM ).

“To prevent patrons from accessing visual depictions that are obscene and child pornography, public libraries may enforce Internet use policies that make clear to patrons that the library’s Internet terminals may not be used to access illegal speech,” the court said. “Libraries may then impose penalties on patrons who violate these policies, ranging from a warning to notification of law enforcement, in the appropriate case.”

“Less restrictive alternatives to filtering that further libraries’ interest in preventing minors from exposure to visual depictions that are harmful to minors include requiring parental consent to or presence during unfiltered access, or restricting minors’ unfiltered access to terminals within view of library staff,” the appeals court held. “Finally, optional filtering, privacy screens, recessed monitors, and placement of unfiltered Internet terminals outside of sight-lines provide less restrictive alternatives for libraries to prevent patrons from being unwillingly exposed to sexually explicit content on the Internet.”

Almost two years ago, and not without quite a bit of pre-decision controversy, the Deschutes Public Library System (http://www.dpls.lib.or.us) went to a system that requires library patrons to register to access the libraries’ Internet stations, except those designated in the younger children’s area of the largest, Bend library, where content is always filtered. For older children, a form must be signed by parents which outlines the options and allows them to choose filtered or unfiltered access for their child.

Deschutes libraries followed legal advice for `least restrictive, legal alternative’

“All along, that was the legal advice we got, to use the least restrictive, legal alternative,” Gaston said. “Filters are offered as a choice for families to use for their own children, Internet training courses, enforcement of Internet use policies, placement of terminals – it (the ruling) is like a list of things we do in our policy.”

Back in the fall of 2000, as the new policy went into effect, Gaston noted that the software is unpredictable and often blocks valuable, pertinent information, while not always blocking sexually graphic material. “Our goal is to provide a safe and healthy environment for our patrons,” Gaston said at the time. And there haven’t been headlines or major issues in the media about local libraries ever since.

“They (the court) are saying that public libraries are a public forum, and as such, we have to be careful about exercising control,” the library director said Friday said. “We have to have valid reasons, that we have to defend, for restricting free speech. And as the court cases are getting more clear, we took care of the problem with the least restrictive method.”

“You shouldn’t have to go into a public library and see sexually explicit material that’s easily visible on (computer) screens,” Gaston said, adding that the so-called “tap on the shoulder” policy used by many libraries has worked – and fit in with policies that predate the Internet.

“If you walked into the Bend library, stood on a table with a bunch of Playboy centerfolds and said, `Look here! Look here!’ there’s no question, we would have tossed you,” he said. “There’s nothing in our policies to say we can’t stop sexual harassment.”

Director says library Net-use complaints `so rare,’ he can’t remember last one

The local libraries’ policy may not be perfect, but “it comes close,” Gaston said. “It’s defused the problem. It’s so rare that I get a complaint, I can’t remember the last one I had.”

Gaston cited two reasons for that: “One, when a kid has to get a parent to sign off on (their Internet access), that tells the kid there are consequences. If a child is having behavior problems, I see no problem in requiring filtered access.”

Along with what type of Internet access, the log-on system was set up to limit access in another way: the clock. There are about 70 Internet terminals in the five system branches, and there’s always more demand than available PCs, so the use is limited to one-hour periods.

The other reason cited by Gaston has more to do with human nature and psychology than library reality.

“I think, when you log on, you think that people are monitoring you – (and) we’re not,” Gaston assured.

“We would not have changed our policy, no matter what the (court) decision was, because it’s working so well, and reduced our workload” as well, he added.

Children’s library PCs have mandatory blocking, for practical reasons

The ruling was expedited so it would come out in time for about 5,000 public libraries that receive federal “e-rate” funding to subsidize their Net connections. Under the struck-down act called CIPA – which the federal government is expected to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court – libraries were required to decide whether to install filters by July 1, or forgo funding for the coming fiscal year.

Gaston said the Deschutes system didn’t get any “e-rate” funds this year, but might receive $14,000 to $16,000 next year. But he noted, “That’s out of a $6 million” budget. “We installed a system that cost us $30,000, $40,000 to make it work, so there’s no way we are going to turn around and quit using it for that small amount of money.”

The library official said Bend is the only library large enough to have terminals dedicated to young children, and that the reason those sites are permanently filtered is as practical as philosophical: “It wasn’t logical to ask a young child to remember their bar code number and PIN number to log in. It just wasn’t practical to apply the parent choice thing. We felt we had to make filters available to the very young children.”

For older children, the form parents must fill out explains the issue and “tells parents, `It’s your choice,’” Gaston said. “If you have any concern about your children’s behavior, you might want to go filtered, but he or she might not get access to the sites they need to. But if you have confidence in your child, it leaves it up to them (the parents). If I had a child with a lot of behavior problems I might put them on the filter, but if they were in high school on the honor roll, I’d have no problems at all” with unfiltered access.

“If I walk through the library and see a young child is on a pornographic site, I’d have absolutely no problem logging off that terminal, taking them aside and talking with them about what’s appropriate and non-appropriate in a public setting,” Gaston said, adding that the problem happens “extremely rarely.”

“I have no more problem doing that then if a child was sliding down a banister and threatening to fall off the banister,” he said. “If a child is doing something not safe for them or unhealthy, I’m going to intervene. But what we don’t want to do is thought control.”

’The last thing we want to do in America is censor controversial speech’

In researching filter software, Gaston said they asked the manufacturers what’s on their banned-site lists. “They won’t tell you – it’s a corporate secret,” he said. “They may have a problem with homosexuals. It’s people taking control, nameless corporations – who knows who’s in the back room, making these decisions? That’s the scary part.”

“Whether it’s based on specific sites or keyword searching, a lot of controversial speech is being censored” by software filters, Gaston said. “And the last thing we want to do in America is censor controversial speech. The whole idea of democracy … is to have unpopular points of view expressed.”

So what else is going on at the libraries, which have been almost completely quiet, in terms of media controversy, since becoming independent, with their own taxpayer funding source, three years ago? Things just keep getting busier, Gaston said, as the circulation has grown from 700,000 items three years ago to 1.2 million this year. And that’s a happy bucking of a national trend.

“Most libraries’ circulation is flat the last five years,” Gaston said. “We have made dramatic improvements in service the last four years. The biggest challenge is growth in usage, and we don’t see that stopping.”

“We cannot anticipate being able to add staff at the rate library usage is increasing,” he said, so “a lot of the focus over the next year or two is going to be on automating” some parts of the system. Indeed, Bend library users already are trying out a new device that allows someone to check out their own books, tapes or other materials. Gaston said that is “going to go big time” in all the branches soon.

“The new equipment is wonderful,” he said – not just in freeing up staff members’ time for helping patrons, but in reducing repetitive-motion injuries at the checkout line.

Library system may partner with schools for Eastside branch targeting young adults

While there’s been some squabbling in Sisters over when and where to put a new, larger branch building, there’s also discussion in Bend about the need, sooner rather than later, for a second city branch, likely on the city’s Eastside. And it may have it’s own unique twist or two.

“We’re in the process of forming a joint study committee with the Bend-La Pine School District on an Eastside (branch),” Gaston said. “I’ve been talking with (Superintendent) Doug Nelson. We want to focus on young adults – the hardest group in terms of literacy, literature and a love of reading is older teens. We want to design a branch library that’s a magnet with older teens. We’re talking a year or two (out).”

But as for Friday’s court ruling on Internet filters, Gaston called it “completely consistent with legal opinions” the libraries based their policy on.

About half of the nation’s public libraries use Internet filters, according to a recent survey. Of those, almost all filter children’s terminals, while about half also filter adult PCs.

This marks the third time the Philadelphia court has rejected an effort by Congress to shield children from Internet porn.

There’s little doubt that lawmakers will keep trying, but Gaston imagined another scenario: “They might just wake up one day and find out that the local library boards are taking care of it – as they should be.”

Bend Memorial Clinic named Commute Options Employer of Year

An important part of Commute Options Week is the presentation of the Employer of the Year Award. This partnership between the Bend Chamber of Commerce, ODOT and Commute Options is in its seventh year.

This year, the recipient of the award is Bend Memorial Clinic. The public is invited to the reception of this award that will be held on Tuesday, June 4 at 9 a.m. in the doctor’s lounge of Bend Memorial Clinic. Bruce Warner, Oregon Department of Transportation State Director, will be the guest speaker.
BMC, with over 550 employees has been involved in the program for five years. Their year round trip reduction incentive program consists of a quarterly incentive program. This program places participants into a quarterly drawing. For every five roundtrips the employee made, their name is put into the drawing and an award is given. Bend Memorial Clinics’ Commute Option program has seen a significant increase in participants this past quarter with the new incentive program. With the establishment of the program, they have also added designated carpool parking spaces. The interaction amongst staff in coordinating carpools has been very positive.
This past year, they have averaged 5% of staff participation (increasing to 8% during Commute Options Week).
Bend Memorial Clinic is dedicated to being a good corporate citizen by promoting clean air and employee wellness with the Commute Options Program (http://www.commuteoptions.org).

Rep. Walden backs bill to limit federal land purchases

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Congressman Greg Walden (R-OR) has cosponsored a bill in Congress to limit the expansion of federal land holdings in the West and increase the authority of many local governments to approve or reject new federal land acquisitions.

The Good Neighbor Act of 2002 (HR 3962) would establish new guidelines for federal agencies such as the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management to acquire additional acreage in counties where the federal government owns more than 50 percent of the land. HR 3962 would prohibit any federal agency from acquiring land in such counties unless the government disposes of land located in the same county and having a fair market value equal to at least 97 percent of the land being acquired. The measure would also prohibit the acquisition of land by a federal agency if the sale will result in 66 percent or more of the total acreage in a county being owned by the government unless the sale is approved by the county.

“More than half of the land in Oregon is owned and managed by the federal government, and in some counties, more than 75 percent of the land has been removed from the local tax rolls,” said Walden. “That makes it very difficult to fund schools and provide local services. Beyond that, it seems to me that before the federal government tries to gobble up more and more private property, some major efforts should be made to take better care of the lands it already controls. The legislation I’m cosponsoring would give local governments more say in any new federal acquisitions in states like ours. It’s time that people who live in the West – and not just bureaucrats back East – have more control over their own land.”
Roughly 56 percent of the State of Oregon is controlled by the federal government. Among the counties of central, southern and eastern Oregon that make up the 2nd District, Baker, Deschutes, Grant, Harney, Hood River, Klamath, Lake, Malheur, and Wallowa counties are all 50 percent or more federally owned.
Walden, a member of the House Western Caucus, has consistently voiced concern over the acquisition of additional federal land while poor land management practices by the federal agencies persist. The cosponsorship of HR 3962 follows several legislative efforts Walden has made to control the growth of federal land ownership in states with high percentages of land owned by the government.
During consideration of the Conservation and Reinvestment Act (HR 701) in 2000, Walden offered an amendment on the House floor to require that the federal government, when acquiring land in a state in which 50 percent or more of the land is federally owned, must either dispose of an equal amount of land or obtain the approval of the state legislature before acquiring additional land. Despite support for the Walden amendment among lawmakers representing Western states, the measure failed by a vote of 157 to 266. HR 701 was not passed by the U.S. Senate and did not become law. However, the bill was reintroduced in 2001 to the House Committee on Resources, of which Walden is a member. During consideration of the measure at the committee level, Walden again offered a “no-net-gain” amendment, which failed by a tie vote of 12 to 12.

http://www.walden.house.gov/

Congressman Walden represents the Second Congressional District of Oregon, which includes 20 counties in southern, central and eastern Oregon. He is a member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce as well as the Committee on Resources.

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Bradbury to give Demo response to Bush’s weekly radio talk

Portland, OR) – Oregon Secretary of State and U.S. Senate candidate Bill Bradbury will deliver the Democratic response to President Bush’s weekly radio address this Saturday, June 1.

Bill is thrilled to have this honor bestowed upon him, and will speak to the people of the United States about the high costs of prescription drugs.

Bill will describe his experience traveling by bus with a group of senior citizens to Canada this past Thursday, where the group purchased prescription drugs at a much lower price than they would cost in the United States. “It’s shameful that American retirees have to go to these lengths to find a reasonable price for the medications that keep them alive,” says Bill.

Bill contrasts President Bush’s plan, which he says would exclude 94 percent of seniors, with his own plan, the highlight of which is a Medicare prescription drug benefit. “Medicare is a solemn contract, a promise made to Americans that their country will not abandon them in their golden years. Keeping that promise means updating the program,” Bill states. “We must act on this issue.”

Bill Bradbury, Oregon Secretary of State, is challenging incumbent Senator Gordon Smith for his Senate seat this November. The race is expected to be one of the closest contests in the country, and the fact that Bill has been selected to deliver this response is evidence of the importance that the Democratic Party places on this race, and the confidence it has in Bill’s candidacy.

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RADIO ADDRESS CAN BE HEARD SATURDAY, JUNE 1, ON KEX-(1190 AM)

Kim Baldwin
Communications Director
Bradbury for US Senate
Phone: 503.232.3113
Cell# 202.271.5695
http://www.bradbury2002.com

Credit union president/CEO completes training

(Bend, Ore.) – Bill Anderson, president and CEO of Mid Oregon Federal Credit Union, has completed the second of a three-part professional development program offered by the Credit Union Executive Society’s CEO Institute.

This three-week session, held during April at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., focused on organizational effectiveness. Other sessions cover strategic planning and strategic leadership development.

The institute’s Center for Graduate Studies offers the program over a three-year period. The program combines the facilities, faculties and educational resources of three of the world’s top business schools – the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, Cornell’s Johnson Graduate School of Management and the University of Virginia’s Darden Graduate School of Business Administration.

Anderson has been president and CEO of Mid Oregon Federal Credit Union since 1994.

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Newport/12th next city police pedestrian operation Monday

The Bend Police Department will conduct the third in a series of seven special pedestrian safety enforcement operations from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM on Monday, June 3.

The operation will take place at the intersection and crosswalk of Newport and 12th Street. During the last pedestrian safety operation held at Galveston and Columbia, 38 citations for violations of pedestrian safety laws were issued, along with 16 warnings and ten unrelated citations.

Signs will be posted at this location one day in advance, notifying motorists of the campaign. Each pedestrian safety operation will involve a plainclothes officer posing as a pedestrian at a targeted problem crosswalk or intersection. Motorists violating pedestrian safety laws will be pulled over and given a warning or citation with fines of up to $175.00. “These operations are funded by a federal grant awarded by ODOT to the Bend Police Department. The focus is to educate the public about pedestrian rights, which will hopefully result in motorists’ heightened awareness and therefore fewer motor vehicle/pedestrian accidents,” states Bend Police Captain Matt Fine.

Informational brochures on this program, including pedestrian safety laws, are available at the Bend Police Department in both English and Spanish translations. For more information please contact Captain Matt Fine at 541/388-5550.

Bend Senior Center offering many classes, activities

BEND SENIOR CENTER
1600 SE Reed Market Road
Bend, Oregon 97702 388-1133

TRIP INFORMATION
-ASK AT THE FRONT DESK

BRAZILIAN EMBROIDERY
June 26 @ 1 PM $45 FOR 3 MEETINGS

CREATE YOUR OWN CARDS
June 11 @ 9 AM $12 FOR THE CLASS

PARK AND RECREATION CLASSES

LIGHT WEIGHTS (MONDAY/WEDNESDAY)
June 3 @ 1:30 PM $20 PER SESSION

WALK YOUR WAY TO FITNESS (TUESDAY/THURSDAY)
June 4 @ 10:30 AM $20 PER SESSION

LINE DANCE (MONDAYS)
June 3 @ 9:30 AM $10 FOR June SESSIONS

YOGA (TUESDAY/THURSDAY)
June 4 @ 4:30 PM $30 PER SESSION

FOR MORE INFORMATION ASK AT THE FRONT DESK!

Sheriff’s office, Forest Service plan ATV/cycle clinic in La Pine

On Tuesday, June 4, members of the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Forest Service will be holding a FREE ATV and Off Road Motorcycle Awareness Clinic at the La Pine Middle School. This clinic is open to ALL MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC.

The clinic will run from 3:30 p.m. until 5:00 p.m.

Information will be provided relating to the safe operation of all-terrain and off-road vehicles. Those in attendance will receive information on the rules and regulations regarding the safe and legal operation of these recreational machines. Maps of legal riding areas also will be provided.

Persons in attendance will be eligible to receive prizes that include gift certificates, riding gloves, goggles and FOX caps.

Parents, please plan to send your kids to this clinic so that they can learn to operate safely and responsibly. Parents are also encouraged to attend.

Come, learn and have some fun.

For further information, please call either Mary Fleischmann or Deputy Kevin Williams at 536-1758 or 388-6655.

Tickets selling fast for 62nd annual Sisters Rodeo

Sisters, Ore. – Plans are well under way and tickets are selling fast for the 62nd annual Sisters PRCA Rodeo scheduled for June 7, 8 and 9.

Another year of Sunday afternoon finals and new entertainment will make this year’s rodeo outstanding, according to Cathy Williams of the Sisters Rodeo Association.

For the second year, winners from the first three performances will advance to a true championship finals at the Sunday afternoon performance, according to Williams. “That performance will be televised nationally later on the TNN Network,” she explained. John S. Payne, “The One Arm Bandit,” a popular rodeo act who has performed throughout the United States, Canada and Europe, will be the featured entertainment this year.

“The Sisters PRCA Rodeo is part of the road to the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association’s National Finals Rodeo at Las Vegas in December,” Williams added. Total purses will be more than $120,000. Queen Tawny Morris, formerly of John Day and now of Prineville, will reign over the weekend event, including the Saturday morning Sisters Rodeo parade.

Tickets are selling fast for the four performances. Tickets are available at the rodeo office at 220 SW Cascade Street in Sisters or by calling (541) 549-0121 in Central Oregon or (800) 827-7522 out of the area.
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Sunriver ramps up new district, may cross-train police, firefighters

Who, what, when, where, why and how? The Sunriver Owners Association Board of Directors had been asking those questions and researching answers for months, even before Sunriver residents overwhelmingly approved the proposed service district.

“If the district passes, it will be a good time to look at different ways of running our system,” SROA Board President Shirley Mildes said at a meeting 10 days before the ballots were counted May 21.

As it turned out, the vote was 725 in favor of the proposal to only 286 opposed, close to a 3-to-1 ratio.

In April, four SROA officials took a field trip to Grants Pass to study that small city’s police and fire department operations, which are combined in a public safety department. Police and firefighters are cross-trained so the departments can assist each other. Police officers respond to medical emergencies; firefighters assist at crime scenes and with traffic control. The consolidation saves Grants Pass about $400,000 annually.

“The biggest long-term benefit to the community is that it satisfies the 2-in, 2-out requirement,” said Sunriver Police Chief Mike Kennedy. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires two outside firefighters backing up two firefighters inside a burning structure in case the firefighters inside require assistance if the building comes crashing down.

At current staffing levels, the Sunriver Fire Department needs to hire more full-time staff to meet the 2-in, 2-out requirement. Sending in a police officer trained to basic firefighter status satisfies the OSHA requirement and saves money. At the SRPD’s current staffing level, with two officers on duty 24 hours a day, “one of the police officers could jump on a fire truck and put out a fire, leaving one officer to respond to police business. If it was ever going to work, it would work in Sunriver, and now is the time to try it,” Kennedy said.

Transition can’t be quick or easy, as rules must be followed

The SROA Board of Directors previously assigned itself a number of transition tasks that must be accomplished quickly, once voters agreed to formation of the service district.

Dave Setzer, Randy Egertson and Jim Wilson were appointed to the District Budget Committee for the first year. Shirley Mildes, Mike Brannan, Jim Kreiss, Doug Seator and Barbara Wade were assigned to a citizens committee to interview the ten candidates who applied for the Sunriver Service District Managing Board, and to recommend five to join two SROA board members on the managing board. The SROA board was to then select three.

The managing board candidates were Glen Bending, Penny Bennington, Al Braemer, Michael Heaton, Dan Ritter, John Simmons, Bill Starks, Richard Tyler, Jim Walsh and Richard Gibson.

From an operational perspective, the transition will not be quick or easy. All of SROA’s safety personnel have to be terminated and re-apply for their jobs in an open hiring process standard to public agencies. The jobs might attract applications from far and wide. There is a “Rule of Ten” that would permit SROA to hire any of the top ten candidates for any position, giving previous employees realistic chances of being rehired.

The Sunriver Police Department was down two officers and waiting on election results to hire replacements and eight bike patrol officers who are normally hired and trained before Memorial Day weekend. SROA has interviews and psychological profiles of its current police staff on record, potentially smoothing their rehire.

There’s been some uncertainty whether the complicated and time consuming firefighter hiring process can be completed in the six weeks between the election and the first of July when the district will begin operation.

Clearly, there is a huge amount of red tape and paperwork involved in starting up the district.