LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

The Internet is threatened

Americans of all political persuasions should be aware of the implications of a recent court ruling that threatens the Internet as we know it. The Jan. 14, 2014 ruling on a technicality by the U.S. Court of Appeals (D.C.) struck down the FCC's open Internet rules.

This this is a dire threat to the future of net neutrality, opening the door for big telecom companies to discriminate in how they carry Internet traffic. Imagine having corporate interests determine which websites they want you to see, with the ability to slow or block access to any site they do not like.

It doesn't matter if your political opinions are conservative or liberal, or if you have no interest in politics at all. Everyone has their own specific field of interests, and the full spectrum diversity of the existing Internet reflects that broad range of interests of American citizens. We must act to get Congress to pass a bill that will reclassify Internet providers as "common carriers" if we wish to keep the neutral Internet free from corporate control.

If you care about preserving a free and open Internet, please contact your congressional representative and senators to urge them to support a bill to reclassify Internet service providers as common carriers. — Stuart Davies, Medford


Restore our climate

Top scientists confirm that we can restore the climate of the 1980s by 2070. And, it won't require a miracle, nor big sacrifices, just the will and policies to do it.

We need to phase out and replace fossil fuels with clean energy. Peter Fiekowsky, physicist, business owner and volunteer with Citizens' Climate Lobby, says two policies are critical to achieving our rapid transition to renewables.

First, institute a gradually increasing carbon fee, as recommended by almost all economists. Political expediency requires that the fee be revenue-neutral, returning 100 percent to households and corporations, thus sending a convincing message to corporations and investors that society places a value on its future, and that smart investments from now on are in clean energy.

Second, promote investments in clean energy. Fossil fuels still receive six times more subsidies than renewables, and they attract more than twice the investment. For companies that want to use renewables, the factor limiting their use is acquiring capital, despite good returns. That changes when investors see that we're committed to a future with a healthy climate.

Tell your children, President Obama and Rep. Greg Walden (541-776-4646) that you support a carbon fee for a healthy climate by 2070. — Carola Lacy, Ashland


Vote yes on 15-119

Vote yes on Measure 15-119. It prevents growing genetically modified plants (GMO) in Jackson County. A GMO is a plant that's been created in a lab. This could never occur in nature, i.e., a gene from a fish and a tomato. Agribusiness wants to do this to make the plant resistant to pests/herbicides, which the companies also manufacture. This leads to more chemicals contaminating our water, air and ourselves. It also creates superbugs and weeds that develop resistance to those toxins.

When their pollen is captured by the wind (think hay fever when you think about pollen) it can contaminate other plants. This is called cross pollination, and it makes organic farming impossible, because the organic seeds have become adulterated.

If you want to wipe out our local organic growers, vote against Measure 15-119. If you value a clean environment and thriving local food production, Vote yes on Measure 15-119. — Cindy Harper, Talent


Small houses nothing new

The March 3 paper includes an article about small houses built to house the homeless in Madison, Wis. Those houses were really small, and the price seemed high.

Small houses were built to house victims of the San Francisco earthquake / fire and those houses had water, electricity and sewage hook-ups and worked well. Many hundreds were quickly established on empty lots and were to be removed when the city was rebuilt, but many were still being used in Richmond, Calif., as late as 1970. Perhaps they are still there. — Paul Brown, Central Point


Life isn't fair

This is in response to G. Holiday not wanting to make minimum wage or work nights and weekends. A question for him — where would this country be if people weren't willing to start on the ground floor working nights, weekends and holidays to make a better life for themselves and their families? Does he think policemen and firemen like working nights and weekends so he can call if he has a problem? It's time for people like this to get off the couch, put down the cellphone and quit thinking the world owes them a living. — Debby Leavens, Medford


Wake up, smell the future

Have you heard the tale of "Chicken Little"? If not, Google it. Every time I read another negative letter to the editor about GMOs I have to chuckle, and think of Chicken Little. Come on, all you gloom-and-doomers, it's time to wake up and smell the future! — Dave Wanamaker, Grants Pass


Learn about GMOs

In May, we can vote to protect our family farms from the impacts of genetically engineered crops.

Dr. Ray Seidler, a retired EPA scientist, will discuss what GE crops do to soils, plants, animals, people and the Jackson County economy at 2 p.m. today at Bellview Grange, 1050 Tolman Creek Road, Ashland.

I encourage Jackson County residents to join me at the informative talk as we educate ourselves on this important topic. — Gaylene Hurley, Medford


Times are changing

Now that the strike is over we can focus on the reality of education. In the MT on Feb. 14 a cartoon indicated that three large school districts — Portland, Eugene and Medford — had the second lowest graduation rates in the country. Why is that?

We must keep in mind that education is not a "fix all" for our society. With all the "data mining" that is out there (data mining is all the individual student information required by the Department of Education), it generates percentages of school success and failures, so we know how schools are performing.

We as people forget that times are changing. We are changing by our culture. Culture is defined as the way of life of a given group of people. School districts today work with a dysfunctional society/culture. Students move from district to district, come from abuse, come from split families, poverty, are homeless, at-risk, and have different family cultures. Our culture is changing before our eyes!

The Leave it to Beaver family is no more! Stay tuned, there is more to come. — Ralph E. Frey, Eagle Point


From a heartless employer

In response to G. Holiday, Employee Extraordinaire: I am one of those greedy, heartless employers that start new employees out at minimum wage.

Did you know the average minimum wage nationally is only $7.50 an hour? Oregon has the second highest minimum rate at $9.20. Washington is highest at $9.32. Even California and New York's minimum wage is only $8.00.

I'd get a good laugh reading his job application if he stated he wanted more than minimum wage and refused to work nights, weekends or holidays. G. Holiday is too good for us heartless employers. Why doesn't he start his own business like I did 15 years ago — that is, if he's willing to put his life savings into it and lots of time — evenings, weekends and holidays included. Hopefully, after five or six years when he catches up on the expenses of growing and maintaining the business, he'll make more than minimum wage. — John Hopf, Central Point


Approve the library district

In May, Jackson County voters will have the opportunity to create a special library district because a survey of voters showed they want libraries to be open more, not closed.

The library district would be governed by an elected board, much like school and fire districts. The measure sets a permanent rate limit for funding, which cannot be raised, and the library board would decide how much of that amount to levy each year. This funding cannot be rolled into the county's general fund as past levies have been and cannot be used for anything other than libraries.

The special district would give libraries stable, dedicated funding and a board whose only concern would be the libraries. Library funding would no longer depend on the availability of money in the County's general fund, allowing the libraries to continue to play their vital role in our communities. — Susan Kiefer, Prospect


Obvious hypocrisy

When Obama felt an urgent need to distract us from scandal watch, he authorized a bombing campaign of Libya.

When that ended, he did the same to Egypt.

Now he and John Kerry are telling Vladimir Putin that his actions in the Ukraine are an "incredible act of aggression."

So far, Democrats haven't uttered a word of criticism about this obvious hypocrisy. I guess they must be comfortable with it. — Ron Smith, Medford


What we teach

Never stop teaching! Even though we have been out of work for a few weeks, we have still been able to teach our children that if there is something that they really really want, if they pout and cry long enough they will probably get it. — Donald Nissen, Medford


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