Don't destroy Measure 50

So the League of Oregon Cities wants to destroy the protections of Measure 50. Sure, rather than rein in runaway costs, cities, counties and districts could continue to accommodate public employee wage and benefit demands.

Contrary to the Mail Tribune's claim that real market values rose faster than Measure 50's limitations, in many cases the facts are just the opposite.

In 1999 and 2002 we bought houses in Medford. Each was assessed at more than 150 percent of the sale price. These values existed even after the 10 percent reduction mandated by Measure 50. In both cases we appealed. The Board of Property Tax Appeals reduced the assessed value to 100 percent of market value. Then the 3 percent compounded assessed value increases began. By 2010 the assessed values were again above market value. We again appealed and BOPTA granted reductions. I wonder how many people are aware, willing and prepared to appeal? Not many, I think.

Although Measure 50 may not be perfect, it gives property owners some protection from runaway government spending. My suggestion to fix property tax inequities, to the extent they exist, is to replace residential property tax with a countywide voter imposed sales tax. — Phil Sadlier, Jacksonville

Think about it

Skyrocketing gun sales in the United States indicate that many Americans mistakenly equate personal safety with ownership of a gun. Largely ignored have been the logistical problems accompanying this myth.

For defensive purposes, the primary requirement would mandate that the gun be kept readily available and loaded at all times (not unloaded and locked away somewhere).

Thus, the paramount question arising from such a scenario is whether the ready availability of a loaded gun in one's home affects overall safety negatively or positively. Ready availability translates to having the gun close at hand when danger threatens. But might not this ready availability pose a significant risk while baby-sitting the grandchildren or entertaining guests?

Would teenagers be tempted to entertain themselves and their friends with it? (The odds here are about 50-50.) All too often, tragedy strikes when domestic conflicts are irrevocably settled in fatal fashion when a gun is handy.

In sum, are you and your family safer with a loaded gun easily available to anyone and everyone who enters your home? It should also be mentioned that, unlike Dirty Harry, trained police officers frequently suffer major trauma following fatal shootouts, no matter how justified. — Robert Warren, Medford

Letter was skewed

Bob Palzer's letter on abortion and gun violence is oddly skewed. A correctly stated comparison would compare the victims of gun violence to the victims of abortion (the dead babies). Instead, he treats the abortion seekers as victims.

Hmm "… according to Planned Parenthood's 2009 annual report, abortions do represent 3 percent of their total services. Planned Parenthood likes that number; it's impressively small. But if we look a little deeper, we see how they got there. They report on services, not on patients or appointments. For example, a primary care appointment likely involves multiple services. But an abortion appointment likely involves only one service (abortion). Additionally, Planned Parenthood compares women who had an abortion to a variety of other people who (1) were not pregnant women, or (2) were men!

A more meaningful comparison is to see how Planned Parenthood's activities stacked up for pregnant women. In 2009, 332,278 women received abortions, 7,021 women received prenatal services, and 977 women were referred for adoption. Do the math! If you were a pregnant woman looking to Planned Parenthood for counseling and assistance in 2009, your baby's chances of surviving were only 2.35 percent.

That's the percentage that counts! — Kristin O'Driscoll, Jacksonville

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