GIVE JACKSON SECOND CHANCE TO IMPROVE

August 10, 2001 12:00 am

Some people would like to have Portland School Board member Derry Jacksons head on a platter. But from our perspective, way out here in Eastern Oregon, people are jumping the gun in calling for him to resign or be recalled.

No question, Jackson was downright insensitive and careless when he made disparaging remarks about Jewish people last month to The Oregonian. Jackson said Jews run the country and the school board, at times to the detriment of African-American students.

The statement is a glittering generality. It is such a sweeping view of Jewish people and their conduct that it is patently ridiculous. It unfairly singles out Jews for ridicule.

Jacksons remarks upset his colleagues on the school board and angered many others in Portland. Some want him out of office now.

A state law prohibits a recall of Jackson until early next year because he was elected in March and is fairly new on the board. Maybe that law was designed for freshman officials like Jackson to protect them from themselves.

The fact is Jackson has apologized twice for his remarks. On July 25 he said he was sorry for any statements that may have been construed as divisive. He was more pointed in an apology he made Tuesday. I apologize for maligning Jewish people with generalities and an inference of unfairness, he said. Jackson said he is committed to being an advocate of all children.

Baseball players are given three strikes before they are called out. The residents of Portland do not have to be that generous with Jackson, but they should give him two strikes. He has swung at the ball once and missed miserably. If Jackson strikes with his tongue again or shows hes incapable of working in a respectful way with all people, he should be called out.

For now, his apology should be accepted. But Jacksons attitude and actions should be monitored carefully in coming weeks to see if they match up with his words of remorse.

KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN

The Oregon Department of Forestry has made it official. The forest and range fire season is upon us, and precautions are necessary to prevent a major blaze.

Open burning is prohibited on state and private land, campfires are only allowed in designated campgrounds and smoking is prohibited except while inside a vehicle on an improved road. Other restrictions also apply as listed in an article on Page 1A Wednesday.

The heat of the past few days has made our forests tinder dry. Residents of Northeast Oregon must do all they can to prevent fires. They also should keep their eyes trained on the hills around them, looking for smoke. A man-made or lightning-caused fire should be reported to authorities as quickly as possible.