State of frustration

There are 58 counties in California — only five of which have any voice in statewide ballot initiatives. Siskiyou County isn't one of them, nor are any of the counties north of Sacramento.

Eleven counties in the north state (roughly the size of Oregon) share one Assembly seat in Sacramento. For comparison, the San Diego area has eight seats. The state Senate seat north of Sacramento covers an area larger than the Assembly district. Californians who live north of Sacramento have one U.S. House representative; neither of our senators has visited our county, so no representation in the U.S. Senate.

As a lifelong voter and supporter of American values including our representative style of government, it's frustrating to realize no matter how often I vote, how loud I shout, or how valid the argument, it will never be heard, considered or acted on. If Northern California is going to be a place where families can settle and prosper, then the people who live here need to be a part of the governing, and today they aren't.

There have been around 40 attempts to split California into more manageable chunks. Hopefully, in the 21st century it will become a successful reality. — Tom Wetter, Lake Shastina, Calif.

Do it with facts

Politician Doug Breidenthal's guest opinion about forest management reminds me of a joke: A CEO, a union worker and a tea-partier sit down at a table and a dozen donuts are placed before them. The CEO eats 11 donuts, turns to the tea-partier and says, "Watch out, that union guy is going to eat your donut."

There is plenty of science demonstrating that wildfire hazards can be addressed by thinning smaller trees, carefully planned controlled burning and smoke management that reduces surface fuels and blows most of the smoke away from populated areas. There is considerable evidence that logging big timber makes the fire problem worse, not better.

If we could log our way out of the fire problem, the last hundred years of logging would have taken care of the fire problem. Industry took billions of board feet out of our forests and they are now more flammable than ever.

So, we know Doug's buddies ate the donuts. If we are going to address fire problems in southwestern Oregon, let's do it with facts, not talking points. — Jim Wells, Firefighters United for Safety Ethics and Ecology, Medford

Weapons moved from Iraq

In October 2002 I attended an investment adviser conference in Washington, D.C. At the time the question regarding whether Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and if we should invade the country loomed over Congress.

A speaker, a former national security adviser, told us that if we invaded Iraq we would not find weapons of mass destruction because they had already been moved. Afterwards, I personally went to him and mentioned that he did not tell us to which country the weapons of mass destruction had been moved. He acknowledged that he overlooked that element and thanked me for my interest. He said they had been moved to Syria. — Richard W. Schultz, Ashland

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