LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Movement on timber

After years of discussion there appears to be some meaningful forward movement on our county's timber issues.

Last week in Washington, D.C., the House Resources Committee examined, discussed and amended HR 1526, the Restoring Healthy Forests for Healthy Communities Act. This act includes the O&C Trust, Conservation and Jobs plan developed by our own Reps. DeFazio, Walden, and Schrader. This proposed bill will now move to the full House for approval.

The bill will then be referred to the Senate for consideration by the Energy and Natural Resources Committee chaired by our own Sen. Ron Wyden, who also has great concerns about managing our National Forest lands and BLM-managed O&C lands. HR 1525 will provide sensible, balanced management of our local forest, which will allow for a reasonable timber harvest as well as provide protection of old growth, additional wilderness, enhanced watershed protection and revenues for our county.

These revenues are critical to ensure continuation of many county services such as libraries and public safety. This proposed legislation is a win-win for the environmental community, the business community, the citizens of Southern Oregon and our National Forest and BLM-managed forest lands. — John Rachor, Jackson County commissioner


Work harder first

Cheryl Lashley (president of Medford Education Association) said the school administration wants them to work harder and longer. Wow.

Considering they only teach 170 days a year and work a total of 188 days a year, that's a whopping 51 percent of the year that they work. They are actually wanting more pay and more benefits? Their benefit package is already enough to make Bill Gates jealous.

She also said that all this negotiation is taking the focus away from teaching. Records indicate they haven't been focusing on teaching for some time now by looking at 2012 graduation rates at 68 percent for Medford. Oregon ranked fourth worst in the nation.

Cheryl Lashley said the teachers want to get away from the bargaining table so they can concentrate on teaching. I say concentrate on teaching for a while, work harder, longer and maybe they will show enough improvement in the graduation rate that it will be a little easier for them at the bargaining table. Now is not the right time for them to be bargaining. — Greg Egan, Medford


Did city overpay?

My first reaction to the Red Lion story was as many, the city paid too much for what they got.

I still do not know if that is the case, the reason being that the council and Medford Urban Renewal Agency approved a purchase price without having the property appraised.

It was their responsibility to have an appraisal done on the portion they purchased. Without it, we citizens have no way to evaluate the appropriateness of the purchase or the price, nor do they. That is what is disconcerting about this transaction.

Due diligence was not performed. Maybe they got a good deal, maybe not, given the cost of developing what they did buy for the purpose they intend, which, by the way, also was not disclosed, to my knowledge, to any one else outside the council/MURA. — Doug LaFeve, Medford


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