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Oregon takes a pretty free and easy approach to recall elections. It doesn’t establish criteria, as some states do, as to what an election official must have done to justify dismissal from office. Disagree with a county commissioner? Turn him out.

Klamath County Commissioners Jim Bellet and Tom Mallams were the objects of a recall attempt, but the effort failed to get the signatures needed by last week’s deadline. An attempt earlier in the year to recall Commissioner Dennis Linthicum also failed.

Linthicum’s four-year term is up in 2015. Bellet and Mallams were elected last year and their terms end in 2017.

We’ve had major differences with the commissioners. We thought their approach to relations with other organizations and individuals was ham-handed and that they seriously mishandled transfer of the county’s mental health department to a non-profit organization, but didn’t think those met what we think should be the standards for a recall election.

As for their stand against the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement, commissioners had made their feelings known in advance and were elected on that basis.

Recall attempts have been fairly common in Klamath County. There were two attempts this year, and commission members who preceded the current board also were recall targets, though there hasn’t been a successful recall since 1996.

Even an attempt at a recall is an enormously disruptive and distracting process. It should be reserved for the worst situations, such as when a public official actually breaks the law.

Washington State, for example, requires that those asking for recall show that a public official has committed “some act or acts of malfeasance or misfeasance while in office, or who has violated his oath of office.”

“Malfeasance” is committing a clearly illegal act and “misfeasance” is committing a legal act in an improper manner.

California’s recall law is similar to Oregon’s and both mostly deal with mechanics of the petition and elections, such as the deadlines and signatures required, rather than the reasons for it.

The law should reflect the seriousness of the process. Washington’s law sets a good example for Oregon and California.


Job well done

by airport group

Several local organizations deserve thanks for their efforts to put Klamath Falls on the map for travelers in a way that will help local people and businesses.

The group has been approved for a $135,000 federal grant to promote the Klamath Falls Airport. That’s big money and will help the airport to improve passenger traffic, with particular attention to the San Francisco and Portland regions. Both are a direct flight away from the Klamath Falls airport, which makes travel pretty quick and easy.

There’s more to it than that, though. The traffic creates federal help in the way of funds that maintain the airport, which serves commercial services, such FedEx and UPS, and also is home to the Air National Guard. It’s estimated the airport has an impact of $85 million annually on the regional economy.

So this is really good news. It’s aimed primarily at tourism, but spins off benefits in other areas that improve the economy.

Besides helping the airport increase tourism in the local area to the attention of travelers. Some of those people may come the first time as tourists, but return as business people after they see Klamath County’s potential.

There’s a lot to be said for that.

The team that pulled together on the project included representatives from the city of Klamath Falls, Klamath County, airport executive office, Klamath County Chamber of Commerce and Discover Klamath.

Job well done.