If you have not already filled out your ballot, please consider voting for Bruce Harrell for Position 3 on the Ashland City Council. Bruce might be a little strong-willed, but he is a fighter, and he always brings his A game to the job at hand.

If you have not already filled out your ballot, please consider voting for Bruce Harrell for Position 3 on the Ashland City Council. Bruce might be a little strong-willed, but he is a fighter, and he always brings his A game to the job at hand.

I've known Harrell for over 20 years and have always admired that his intentions are consistently clear, realistic and generally moderate. He is neither a right- nor left-winger but flies his own true course. Bruce Harrell says what he means and means what he says, and Ashland would be very well served to have his presence on our six-person City Council. Thank you for your vote. — Randy Dolinger, Ashland

The Republican-inspired military incursions into Iraq and Afghanistan have cost our nation over $1.5 trillion and the lives of over 6,000 Americans. (Iraq: $800 billion—Afghanistan: $570 billion to date, with the meter running at $190 million per day).

To compound the stupidity, Dubya then rewarded his wealthy backers with a tax cut that has diverted some $960 billion from the IRS back into the pockets of those who need it least. In their constant griping about "over-spending," Republicans always target the budgets of social programs, never an out-of-control military budget. (We spend more than the rest of the world combined).

Romney recently criticized the president for not being "more firm" in his dealings with the Arab nations. Do these words presage another Republican war? Or will he flip-flop on this issue as he has flipped and dissembled on every other issue? — Bob Warren, Medford

I am a new member of the budget committee, surprised to learn that the city's budget expenses had historically exceeded yearly income.

Jeff Bellah and Carolyn Bartell worked hard to produce a balanced budget, using the fiscal responsibility mandatory for a small city in difficult economic times. The city's commitment to urban renewal and the construction of the new interchange will create a number of financial challenges in the near future, some of them unexpected. Growth is desirable, but we cannot afford to achieve this goal by spending more than we take in and running up debts, left to be paid by those who come after us.

Jeff Bellah and the Bartells are committed fiscal conservatives who will find innovative, intelligent and thoughtful ways to help Phoenix grow without running up indefensible debts. Join me in voting for Bellah and Bartell. — Annegret Topel, Phoenix

I am giving John Stromberg the nod for the next four years. Mayor Stromberg approaches his governing responsibilities with such enthusiasm and vitality that I have to endorse his bid.

This election will define and shape our community's success. I now realize that my biggest criticism of the mayor is that he has been too considerate, and is willing to listen patiently to all opinions and consider all of our citizens' input.

I now realize that this is a fine attribute and not a fault. I think we are going to see Ashland choosing a shift in direction in this election, and we will see some new cooperation and clarity from the City Council. With these coming changes, it will be a wise choice to stay the course and retain the groundwork and relationships that the mayor has developed over the last four years. I think we will be well served by Mayor Stromberg serving another four years. — John Fields, Ashland

I am writing in support of Jackie Agee for the Ashland City Council. As a major donor to the Southern Oregon Humane Society, I was able to observe Jackie's performance as development director, and was extremely impressed with her innovation, work ethic, understanding of the issues and outreach to the community.

These qualities, as well as her ability to work well with other council members, will be of great benefit to Ashland over the next four years. Four years ago I supported the incumbent, and have been extremely disappointed with both her performance and her ability to absorb and analyze information.

Jackie Agee on the City Council will be a strong step in the right direction. — Neil Sechan, Ashland

For all of you who think the estate tax should be upheld because it doesn't affect you, only that wretched 2 percent, think again.

How old are you? What is the value of your house today, and what will it be when you retire? Do you have a 401(k) retirement plan? How about savings and/or checking accounts? What is the value of your estate? Add it up as of now, and then what it will be when you retire. You will be surprised how much you have to leave your children/heirs.

Now, you worked hard all your life for that estate and the government says you and your heirs don't deserve it. Your "estate" encompasses everything you own. If you feel the state deserves it more than you or your heirs do, then, by all means, vote to uphold the estate tax. Just go on believing that it pertains to just that greedy 2 percent. — Pat Butler, Medford

My nephew in the Marines has completed three combat deployments already. Along the way, he has lost buddies, including a childhood friend who followed him into the Marines.

Much has been written about the Citizens United decision, and how much the millionaires and billionaires are pouring into this election in an attempt to buy it. Not so much has been written about the hard-earned dollars that our active-duty military are donating — often from the tight budgets of young families.

But from the boots in the field to the brass at the Pentagon, their contributions are breaking almost two-to-one for President Barack Obama. Please think about that. We trust President Obama to use force only as needed — and to use it wisely. In our household, we will be voting to re-elect the president. — Alberto Enriquez, Medford

I'm supporting Dr. Knute Buehler for secretary of state to bring Oregon back together from our hyper-partisan political system. As a native Oregonian, Knute remembers Oregon when our leaders actually worked together, solving problems without bickering.

To decrease that level of government partisanship, Dr. Buehler has proposed three government reforms. He'll advocate for campaign reform, eliminating special interests, getting "big money" out of our politics, so no one's beholden. Every 10 years politicians are allowed to choose their voters, which creates "safer," and more extreme districts. Dr. Buehler will work toward stopping this gerrymandering of our legislative districts. He also wants to include all people in our primary elections, which would instantly enfranchise almost 600,000 voters from the sidelines.

Oregon's big problems can only be solved when people work together. Trust your vote to Knute Buehler as our secretary of state and help him put the power back in the hands of the people. — Jack V. Dernedde, Medford

Here are some common sense words for today:

1. You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.

2. You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.

3. You cannot help the poor man by destroying the rich.

4. You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.

5. You cannot build character and courage by taking away man's initiative and independence.

6. You cannot help small men by tearing down big men.

7. You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.

8. You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income.

9. You cannot establish security on borrowed money.

10 You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they will not do for themselves.

The liberals oppositely follow a course which punishes, restricts and chokes initiative. Let's give Obama a change of address this November. — Bob Rolls, Medford