Explanation satisfactory

I am satisfied with Britt Performing Arts Director Angela Warren's explanation for why the national anthem was not played in the season's inaugural performance. Most reasonable people would be. I think far too much attention has been given to a few people who are uncomfortable with change, no matter how slight or for whatever reason. This issue is a tempest in a provincial teapot. — J.T. Harkness, — Jacksonville

Why no town hall here?

Our Congressman Greg Walden is back for "summer vacation" in his district, but his office says "No, there will be no town hall meetings" in Southern Oregon. He will be working, I was told, meeting with interest groups. And so he has. He's met with timber interests and business people, but won't meet with his constituents.

I think we're owed some answers to questions such as: Why does Congress work fewer than three days a week? Why has this Congress been more useless than any Congress in 65 years, passing only 61 bills out of 3,914 introduced? But they can waste time by voting 40 times to abolish Obamacare? Why haven't they passed immigration reform? Why haven't they passed any of the 12 spending bills needed to avoid a government shutdown with only nine legislative days left before the end of the fiscal year? Why?

Over the past 10 years he's taken over $340,000 from lobbyists and $23,000 from the Koch brothers. What does he owe them now?

Given his dismal record, I can't figure out why normally intelligent Oregonians set aside their own best interests and keep voting to send him back to do more of nothing. Why? — Don Stone, Ashland

Meet with voters

How come Rep. Greg Walden is not conducting a "meet the voters" appearance in Medford over the House's August recess? I'm a lifelong Republican, and I was looking forward to it.

I wanted to ask him about defunding Obamacare, accountability of the administration staff that failed on 9/11/12 in Libya, the need for more progress in the IRS investigations, the implications of the FEC possibly being involved in the IRS scandal, whether several other federal agencies are also involved in the same tea party groups scandal, that Lois Lerner is getting her regular paycheck, the deficit, the money that the Post Office is losing, the fraud in the ObamaPhone program, the money we're spending on food stamps, aka SNAP, the shameful approval rating of Congress by the public, and oh, yes, that gun scandal, "Fast and Furious." Was that last year or the year before? Can't forget the NSA stuff, and by the time Rep. Walden can schedule a meet and greet there will probably be several other "phony scandals" we can talk about.

Has the heat in the kitchen become too much for our representative? — John Emanuelson, Medford

Pay them less

I hope Oregon legislators read Mr. Freiberg's letter concerning the huge PERS check Mike Belotti gets.

Real PERS reform will come when they realize the teacher, the fireman or the police officer is not the cause of PERS malfunction. It's coaches' and administrators' salaries.

The place to begin is either pay them less, limit their donations, cap the payout, or a combination of all three. Of course, Oregonians will never stand for paying football coaches at U of O less than a couple of million dollars a year, so cap the amount they and the university pay into the fund or cap the amount they can receive at a reasonable and equitable level.

It's a popular political theme to condemn someone who has put 30 years in as a public servant and then applaud a millionaire coach who moves to a new job every few years that pays him even more money. — Bob Simpson, Central Point

'CATS' was great

The Camelot Conservatory staged an incredible performance of "CATS" last week. Children from 6 years old to 17 wowed a sold-out audience at every performance.

I heard it said, from several members of the audience: "I saw it on Broadway; this is better." Such talent among our younger generation simply underlines the enormous respect for theater in this community. — Noreen Hulteen, Ashland

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