Thursday, May 15, 2014

Capital Press | GMO campaign mailers focus on public safety funds

Capital Press | GMO campaign mailers focus on public safety funds:

The campaign against a measure that would ban GMO crops in tiny Josephine County, Ore., has sparked a debate over how a ban would impact public safety funding.

A well-financed campaign aimed at defeating a proposed ban on genetically modified crops in Josephine County is targeting voters concerned about crime. The campaign has sent out mailers depicting a masked burglar and a hooded gunman — unlikely images when the main issue in the campaign is agriculture.

A campaign spokesman said the mailers are justified because enforcing a ban would divert funding away from county law enforcement.

Classic scare tactics, counter those seeking the ban.

“Our measure will have absolutely nothing to do with crime in Josephine County,” said Mary Middleton, a chief petitioner for Measure 17-58, which would ban GMOs in Josephine County. “We project enforcement costs to be negligible to nothing.”

The mailer campaign is vexing not only for opponents of GMO but also for supporters of the actual public safety funding measure on the same May 20 ballot. Measure 17-59 is a proposed tax to fund the county jail and Juvenile Justice Center.

Fahey, the jail levy proponent, chided the campaign responsible for the mailers.

“It would be nice if they would be interested in finding a true solution to public safety,” Fahey said. “If they want to help us with public safety, it would be nice if they used their money and efforts for a true solution, not using us as a ploy for their political purposes.”

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