Use your vote wisely

While the country talks about Romney's criticism of the 47 percent of the population who do not pay income taxes, we should remember another statistic: less than half the voters in Jackson County voted in last May's primary election.

We have excellent candidates for office in this county. Jeff Scroggin, candidate for county commissioner, is chief of staff to state Sen. Alan Bates. He knows how to work the political process to be an effective leader in this county.

Joyce Segers, candidate for Congress, 2nd District, has years of experience as a business woman and a deep personal awareness of the needs of veterans and all who need health care. She will represent us in Washington, unhampered by any other time-consuming political positions.

These candidates need our votes as they will show concern for all of us, the 47 percent as well as those more fortunate. — Anne Diller, Medford

Who are the 47 percent?

We may agree or disagree about the meaning of Romney's fundraising statements, but have we thought about who is included in the "47 percent" of those nasty non-income tax payers? Here is a list of people who could be included:

1. The very poor who could be mentally or physically handicapped.

2. The young who work part-time to attend college or pursue other careers.

3. The elderly who have no retirement income except Social Security.

4. The people who work for minimum wage trying to support a family.

5. The wealthy who can hide their income in the Cayman Islands.

6. The criminals who get money by illegal means and do not have W2s.

7. The people who refuse to pay income taxes.

8. Large corporations such as GE, which paid no income taxes.

9. Large oil companies that receive more subsidies than they pay in income taxes. — Ron Steffani, Ashland

Mercury occurs naturally

In response to Janet Eck's letter ("Could it be China?" Sept. 24), the mercury in Emigrant Lake in all likelihood is not a result of wind currents from China.

There are several plausible causes for the contamination, those being:

1. The coal seam(s) that run the length of the east side of the valley on which the Ashland Coal Mine was located about two miles north of Emigrant Lake.

2. From processing of gold ore at the historic Barron Mine on the west fork of Sampson Creek, which feeds into the lake.

3. As a result of naturally occurring cinnabar (mercury ore) that is found in numerous locations around Ashland, especially in the watershed and east facing slopes that feed the lake.

Just because she is not aware of the coal in the drainage or the fact that there are naturally occurring minerals that produce mercury does not mean they are not there. I lean heavily towards explanation No. 3 myself, as I have collected cinnabar within sight of the lake. — Philip Roberts, Medford

Fein shares the load

Scott Fein is a qualified professional who is currently serving as acting county surveyor. He doesn't resemble a politician in any way. We are fortunate that he is willing to run for that office.

The most important thing to know about Scott, other than his professionalism and absolute integrity, is that he is willing to share the work load with his very small staff. If elected, we will see him out and about wearing an orange vest and carrying a transit. This is the only way to get the work done. We can't afford a surveyor who is only an administrator.

I urge you to elect Scott Fein. — Diarmuid McGuire, Ashland

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