Editor's note: A transcription error changed the meaning of the last paragraph of the following letter in Friday's paper. Here is the correct version in its entirety.
I have family members buried in the historic Central Point Cemetery, so I read the article about the owners' plans to repair the tombstones vandalized in March 2011 with great interest and an equal amount of skepticism.
The owners received the court-ordered restitution from the vandals and publicly announced plans to have Oregon Granite and Stone repair the markers well over a year ago (MT, Oct. 30, 2011). Lots of good weather and dry days have come and gone in a year and a half. As of Feb. 1, they had not contacted the company to be put on a spring repair schedule.
What will it take to get the owners to follow through on their promises to repair the markers families bought to honor their deceased? The cemetery is crying out to be restored and beautified, and yes that is a reference to the Central Point Cemetery Restoration and Beautification Foundation they established to do just that! I can see no evidence that anything has been done by the owners. Except for the work that has been done by a few caring individuals, unconnected with the owners, the cemetery has been allowed to languish in a totally neglected condition. — Glenna Brewold, Ashland
The Tuesday, March 5, front-page headline made it seem that rich families were getting hammered on taxes. The headline was "Tax bills of rich families approach 30-year high." The tone of the article ignored several important facts.
First of all, the tax rate for wealthier Americans is still among the lowest rates in recent history. Even in Ronald Reagan's years, until 1986, the top rate was 50 percent and, believe it or not, the top rate was 91-92 percent in the Eisenhower years. Of course that's when the government built highways, parks, helped build schools and provided adequate services for all people long ago when Republicans and Democrats worked together for something called the "common good" — a lost idea.
Furthermore, there is another clear reason why the wealthiest Americans pay the biggest portion of our taxes. Since 1980, the average hourly wage, adjusted for inflation, has increased a measly $1.23 per hour. In the same time period the income for the top 1 percent has gone up a whopping 275 percent! The gap between the super-rich and the rest of us has never been wider. Of course they pay most of the taxes. They have all the money. — Peter Ware, Talent
What happened to the LaGrandes at Howard Prairie Resort is a tragedy, but not surprising. In 2007 the LaGrandes moved from Minnesota and purchased the concession agreement from the Johnstons. The Johnstons operated the resort from day one, dating back to the early 60s. The LaGrandes had little knowledge that the state's "premier" trout fishery was then extinct. Smallmouth bass had taken over.
Consequently, activity at the lake took a nosedive. Campgrounds were basically empty and still are. The tragic loss of their son along with no trout fishery were only pieces of the problem facing the LaGrandes. They not only had to pay the county a percentage of the gross revenue, but had additional financial obligations to the Johnstons.
I suggest the county has few regrets taking over the resort. Instead of receiving 4 to 6 percent of the gross revenue from 180 campsites, it will realize 100 percent for the first time in 50 years.
Consequently, don't look for Howard Prairie Resort to return as we once knew it. I anticipate the county will keep control of the campground and marina slips, both "no-brainers."
Finding someone to manage the restaurant and store and renting boats is problematic at best. — Randy Hutton, former Jackson County parks manager
I want to congratulate the maintenance crew on their grooming of the city park on Stewart Street in Medford.
The grass is always groomed, the leaves are picked up almost before they hit the ground and the fine grooming of the shrubs and trees is never neglected. We live nearby and walk our dog daily and the poop bags are in the dispensers and the trash cans aren't brimming over. I think we are lucky to have the best park in Medford in our neighborhood.
My only complaint is the thoughtless, lazy and inconsiderate people who don't pick up after their dogs poop. There are a lot of kids in the park, and they should not be exposed to the piles left by inconsiderate dog owners.
Once in a while some show-off kid drives his car on the lawn and does "donuts," leaving ruts in the lawn. How stupid can you get? Those kids should lose their car and drivers licenses!
Congratulations maintenance crew, you are great! — F. Black, Medford
Never take advice from someone with missing fingers.
Recently Joe Biden recommended that if his wife were frightened by a possible intruder, she take the double barrel shotgun out on the back deck and fire off both barrels. Joe Biden ought to be given a large red nose and paint his hair orange. His highest and best use is as comic relief.
He lives in a residential neighborhood where his home overlooks a community pool. Firing a shotgun there is a felony. Furthermore, once both barrels of a shotgun are discharged, his wife would be left with an expensive club because an intruder would know she had an empty gun.
Joe Biden might have all his fingers, but he is certainly missing something — or has something missing. — Jack Benedict, Central Point
In reference to the March 6 "Our View" report of Senator Burdick's SB 511 (all vehicles must drive in the right lane), there are some concerns.
First, it will be difficult to enforce equitably, especially if the rule won't apply when traffic volumes are heavy. I recently took a trip north on I-5 on a Thursday morning, returning on the following Wednesday morning. Traffic was light Thursday and heavy Wednesday, but there were many trucks on both days. Secondly, with trucks' speed limit set at 55 mph, it will require frequent attempts to pass them on the left to even maintain (or exceed) a speed of 65 mph.
So it appears the trucks and slow vehicles will have the right lane, and the speeders will have the left, and those of us who wish to comply with the law will have no safe lane in which to drive. Better all vehicles have the same speed limit for both lanes with passing on the left. — Dorothy Compton, Central Point
The Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010) took away the government's ability to ban or even limit political spending by corporations in candidate elections.
Corporations have a huge influence over who gets elected and who chooses to run for office. This decision unleashes billions of dollars in corporate money to dominate legislatures and elections. I am appalled that the Supreme Court would allow corporations to further corrupt our democracy by allowing candidates who already face costly election campaigns to ultimately be bought off. This should upset you; Americans deserve a say in who runs our country and those people should have our interests in mind, not those of the corporate elite.
U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern has introduced two constitutional amendment bills that will help get the money out of politics and clarify that corporations don't have constitutional rights. Sometimes changes must be made to our Constitution in order to uphold what our Founding Fathers had in mind when they wrote it. I encourage all of you to write our representative and senators to ask them to support these amendments so we can take our voice back in this democracy. — Amanda McCracken, Ashland