The ultimate entitlement

In Sunday's paper, anti-environmental politicians Doug Breidenthal and Dennis Richardson propose the ultimate government entitlement program: handing over our public forests and waterways to the same timber companies who have clearcut and exported the forests that once stood on their own lands.

If we're truly interested in more jobs in the woods, there's no better place to start than thinning the thousands of acres of dense second-growth plantations. — George Sexton, Phoenix

Taxpayer alert

Does anyone else cringe when informed that our police department spent two years watching a medical marijuana clinic? After this announcement on TV, they followed it with a story on "home brewing of beer" classes at Oregon State University. The whole bizarre notion that marijuana use, especially medical use, needs all of our tax dollars!

Cut the dollars to police and open our libraries. And pay our schoolteachers a decent wage.

I am so indignant and disturbed by the rampant stupidity in the use of our tax dollars. Please vote for better use of our tax dollars. — Marie Griffith, Phoenix

Taxes are burdensome

As a senior who likes the area (May 25 MT article), I think it's a great place to live, with two major exceptions.

First, I find it ridiculous that I, a retiree without company or state pension, must pay burdensome taxes to fund the retirements of those who are better off than I through PERS, and county commissioners whose salaries are bloated. Of course, I don't mind supporting sheriff, police and fire departments of Jackson County, which brings me to the second exception, which is that I find I must now support sister departments in Josephine County because the people they serve refuse to pay realistic and fair taxes in their support.

If I must move to lesser quarters in the future, it will be because I cannot pay high, unreasonable property taxes. In a fair and just world, this would not happen!

Is there any recourse? Only, I presume, if the PERS contract is re-negotiated in a manner consistent with present, and most likely future, economic realities. Josephine County should be self-reliant in supporting services on its own behalf. — M. Newby, Medford

GMO foods are not safe

Industry sources say they have done safety studies, and that genetic engineered (GE or GMO) foods are safe.

They've been saying that since 1989, when 29 people died and more than 1,000 were disabled by GE-produced tryptophan from Japan. GE tryptophan was not the toxin, but a contaminant made in the untested process. Now, it isn't the GE crop that poisons the soil, but the glyphosate that is used with it.

"Objective" experts say the evidence of direct toxicity exists but has not been adequately proven. How much proof does it take? When the process can threaten the future of food production, while the industry promise of the increased yields has already proven false, do we kill time until conventional experts say so, or agribusiness becomes honest?

For comparison, I have studied both, and estimate the presently available evidence of health harm from GE products is more than 100 times as strong as evidence that cholesterol causes heart disease. It isn't just a few rats with tumors. — Ira Edwards, Medford

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