Supporting paving plant

I felt that a letter in support of Mountain View Paving's operation on I-5 in Talent was in order. This is a first-class, family operation that has provided a valuable service to the communities of Southern Oregon and Northern California. It's difficult in these times to even try to put together and maintain that kind of operation and do a good job at it.

Employing 15 or so people who support families keeps them off of unemployment and able to support other businesses in the area. I've known the owner for many years and feel he doesn't deserve the kind of treatment some people have thrown his way.

I hope the folks who have made some noise over this will look at the facts and benefits and I'm sure they would be happy to have Mountain View Paving stay right where it is. After all, the operation is run right next to the freeway. — Eric Hunt, Medford

It has to stop

The following things should really concern us, because they will drastically change our lives.

1. Our national debt is $16.5 trillion and growing by at least $4 billion a day. That means 365x4=1.460 and nine zeroes, (that is a trillion and only in one year.)

2. The Federal Reserve is buying $85 billion worth of troubled mortgages a month — this helps the banks and Wall Street at the expense of Main Street.

3. Now the government has us concerned about the sequester on March 1. This is only about 21/2 percent of our expenditures — the average family could handle that without any problem, but not our government. The sky will fall if we make those cuts. Maybe the government could stop sending foreign aid for a month or two and it would be just fine.

4. Ten thousand Americans are retiring and going on Social Security every day (over 31/2 million a year.

5. People feel worthless and dependent when they can't find a job.

6. Eleven years of war in Afghanistan is just too much — I'm sick of it, and what have we accomplished over there?

7. A government that has no budget and only wants to spend, spend, spend. It has to stop. — Gordon DeVos, Medford

Adopt sentencing reforms

I saw your story that our counties are now facing tax increases after cutbacks in local law enforcement. Josephine County lost 22 percent of its state funding for community corrections in the past four years. Curry County lost 31 percent, and Lane County lost 12 percent. Where did that money go? To state prison spending that has grown three times faster than the national average or the state's population increase.

Oregon has nearly 50 percent more people in prison than in 2000 — with much of that increase accounted for by nonviolent offenders. State spending on prisons will jump another $600 million over the next 10 years — causing more cuts in local sheriff's patrols and probation supervision or more tax increases, or worse.

Survivors of intimate-partner violence survived in part because these departments were buttressed. As the Mail Tribune pointed out last year, research has proven that it is more effective and cheaper to prevent crimes at the local level than to keep creating more prison beds. The bipartisan Commission on Public Safety identified 19 reforms that would restore the balance without wholesale changes in sentencing laws. Now Oregon counties just need the Legislature to adopt those reforms. — Christine Mallette, executive director, Illinois Valley Safe House Alliance

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