I agree with Senator Bates' comments on the importance of education that you published on July 7. Before the legislators in Salem vote on the education budget, I suggest they read a speech made by Mark Twain on Nov. 23, 1900. That was almost 113 years ago, but the speech is still valid.
Twain said: "Every time you stop a school, you will have to build a jail. What you gain at one end, you will lose at the other. It's like feeding a dog his own tail. It won't fatten the dog." — Jeff Cheek, Medford
The Oregon Legislature has added $1 billion to school funding from increased taxes, a prediction of increased revenue from a slightly improved economy and a few cosmetic reductions in PERS costs. Sen. Bates is "proud to see this big reinvestment in schools," and seems happy with its sources.
He recites the only options he knows for reducing school costs: larger classes, fewer days and programs, and layoffs. He ignores the big driver, salary levels and increased staff levels.
I grew up in a small town of 15,000 population in the 1940s. We had five grade schools and one high school with a superintendent of schools for the whole works with only one secretary.
He and unions fall into the trap of believing there's a "correct" price for everything. This view was common in the Middle Ages when kings set the price for many trade items and workers were very limited in their mobility. We've learned since then that free markets do a much better job of keeping costs and staffing under control.
School boards should set salaries based on what they must pay to get what they need, rather than looking at what other districts pay. — Fred A. Zerull Jr., Jacksonville
It was sad to read Senator Bates' Legislators Report in a recent Mail Tribune. He seems so happy to have increased state purchasing costs 10 percent by "allowing" its agencies to pay a premium for products grown in Oregon.
He basks in the glow of supposed jobs added in agriculture. But he can't see, because they are unidentifiable, jobs lost elsewhere because our state taxes are kept high to pay for the program. And he doesn't mention the burden of other regulations on farmers.
Similarly, he "personally met" with a state agency called "Business Oregon" to take credit for creating an "e-commerce zone" in Jackson County. Which unnecessary regulations does this ease? Why are they imposed on everyone else? What does "Business Oregon" do that business can't do on its own?
This is sad not because Bates is a bad man. He means well. He may have bipartisan support for grandstanding measures. He is just stuck in a cynical politician's pattern: taking credit for providing an advantage to a few select constituents at a real cost spread imperceptibly over the rest of us. — Robert Olsson, Rogue River
I would like to ask, why should those of us who own property in Jackson County be required to have a levy added to our already overpriced real property taxes if we do not even use the libraries?
We already pay over $1,000 toward educational services which we do not use, nor ever have. Then there is a variety of other taxes added to our property tax bill in the amount of over $1,600 and it just goes on and on!
Let the people who use the libraries be charged an appropriate amount to cover the need to keep their libraries running. That is the appropriate and proper action to be taken. — Jeannie Gladson, Medford
I want to express my thanks and appreciation for how a number of Medford police officers managed a difficult situation this past week involving a physically out of control and hysterical boy who was perhaps 12 or 13 years old.
They never raised their voices and never used unnecessary force. Eventually the police officers were able to gently restrain him while speaking to him compassionately and reassuringly. After considerable time they were able to guide him into a patrol car.
Thank you your intervention. You touched my heart with how you assisted this boy. — K. Sloan, Medford