The potential consolidation of the fire districts in Medford and White City raises the question: Why does a county with 300,000 residents need seven different police departments?

The potential consolidation of the fire districts in Medford and White City raises the question: Why does a county with 300,000 residents need seven different police departments?

The duplication of effort and administration has to be huge. The time has come to revamp the police departments into a more cohesive and better distributed resource. Every citizen in Jackson County wants good police protection whether they are in Ruch or downtown Medford. Government leaders should take steps to reorganize law enforcement countywide. — Mark Soderstrom, Phoenix

I'm sure we all know by now about the shooting in Santa Monica. The argument, while logical, that "guns don't kill people, people kill people," is now completely invalid. The issue now is simply public safety!

Would you like to be with your family in the mall, or on campus enjoying lunch with some friends, when all of a sudden someone unloads a semi-automatic rifle on everyone around you? It's too bad that a few bad apples are ruining it for the responsible ones, but it isn't just a few bad apples anymore. The occurrence of these shootings is increasing, and I believe that just one innocent life is worth more than all the guns and ammo in the world.

You may also make the argument that prohibition would only increase black market sales. While this is a valid and historically significant point, the availability of guns on a legal basis is too high. This isn't a party issue like some have pushed it to be. While a criminal background check is performed at the point of sale, it is not enough to filter out another possible tragedy. It is time to stop whining and being naïve, and face reality. — Brandon Shirley, Medford

Two thumbs up and "cheers" to Kathryn and Barry Thalden for their creative gift to enhance the Ashland Plaza. It's great when citizens are proactive to make things happen that benefit the community as a whole.

The baskets of hanging flowers are a wonderful idea that will add color and softness to the redesign. Yes, we can whine and complain when we don't like something in our community, or we can come up with a creative idea to help solve a problem. A big thank you to the Thalens!

I am confident that several years from now when the community finds the right balance of add-ons such as tables and chairs or as the trees mature, it will all be lovely and some will wonder what the fuss was all about. Now go out and change the day! — Patti Busse, Ashland

I love the environment, and my participation in the wilderness matches anyone's.

I agree with Doug Briedenthal's June 9 guest opinion. "Environmentalists" such as KS Wild and the Sierra Club have become economic terrorists, and they're directly responsible for the closures of Oregon forests and sawmills, and they've caused a destruction of the Southern Oregon economy.

Yes, there was clearcutting in the past, but we can control that now. That doesn't mean that we need to swing the pendulum the extreme other way and have no cutting. There's a reasonable and responsible medium in the middle.

Oregon needs to use its timber natural resources in the same manner that Texas uses oil, or Wyoming uses natural gas, or Utah uses minerals. There are huge stands of trees in Southern Oregon that could be thinned out.

Many of those stands are already bug-infested and have died. I would prefer that we cultivate and cut some of those trees, and employ Oregonians, and help pay for social services such as schools and police, rather than allow those trees to die or burn, because they will die or burn in time. Trees can be cultivated responsibly, and we should be doing that starting now. — Curt Ankerberg, Medford

The article concerning a surcharge being proposed by county officials says there will be a survey of a certain amount of voters, and if they show enough support for the surcharge it would go on the November ballot to be voted on.

I live in Shady Cove, and the City Council was finding it difficult to get a ballot measure passed raising property tax to fund local law enforcement. So about two years ago they voted on and passed a surcharge, charging each household about $15 a month (depending on income level) to help fund local law enforcement.

There was no survey of the voters or any attempt to place it on the ballot for voters' approval.

So if this is a legal process, how the City Council imposed this charge on each household, then why don't Medford and counties that are hurting to fund jails and law enforcement do the same thing?

Evidently based on Shady Cove's implementation of a surcharge (or tax or fee), voter approval is not needed! — Sid Peterson, Shady Cove