If the Medford City Council wants to encourage a larger pool of candidates, there is a no-cost solution used by many towns its size.

If the Medford City Council wants to encourage a larger pool of candidates, there is a no-cost solution used by many towns its size.

End the idea that a candidate has to live in a particular location. End the ward system.

This would likely provide more citizens willing to serve and possibly even broaden the council's perspective beyond what can sometimes be a narrow neighborhood focus.

Medford is not so large that citizens will lose their ability to express their concerns and it is entirely possible that two outstanding council members could live next door to each other. — Joe Peterson, Ashland

The extreme sad reality is my government, using our tax dollars, is supporting the violent war against civilians in politics.

We give arms and military support to Israel, and I don't like it! I don't want to give an Iron Dome to one country and not to the other!

Netanyahu is just as dangerous and violent as Putin. Use economic sanctions against Israel like we use against the Russians.

Over 500 Palestinians dead — 3,500 wounded. We in the USA support this. Why? — Marie Griffith, Phoenix

I totally agree with the "Our View" article on July 20, "Off to a bad start." To immediately go to the highest amount the voters OK'd was bad enough, but then to have the entire county pay for the extended hours of Ashland, Phoenix and Talent was the final straw; I can't possibly imagine how the board justified the latter — Ashland residents voted to pay increased taxes to extend their library hours, not the county voters!

A friend said to me, "what did you expect when you voted yes?" and even though it wasn't stated, my expectation was that things would stay exactly as they have been in the library system, with time determining what changes would be made, if any.

The fact that the county chose to stop payment immediately for libraries — when that was not my understanding if the measure had failed — surprised me. But even so, to have closed the libraries until money could be coming in would have been a better option than the one the board chose.

What this has left me with is this: I will never again vote positively for a special district tax. I supported and continue to support our county having libraries, but I have no faith in the present board to run the library district. — Judith Burgess, Shady Cove

The unpaid, elected volunteer members of the Library District Board need our support, not criticism. The voter-approved Library District funding doesn't kick in until November. The county commissioners in the meantime withdrew designated library funds which would have helped pay for library operations until November.

As a result, the Library Board members face a funding dilemma. No one wants the libraries closed and hours limited further during the interim period. The board's decisions so far attempt to bring stability, not disarray, to our libraries. Let them do their job.

After a reasonable period of time, rate the board on their performance. Don't jump to conclusions after a few startup meetings. Focus on the long-term stability of our libraries, not on the board's struggles as they begin their thankless but very important work. — Judith Corbin, Medford

You chose a poor example to highlight your otherwise admirable story, "Migrant student numbers soar" (July 22). Summer classes are being offered by the Southern Oregon Education Service District at 22 sites to hundreds of migrant children, ages 6 to 21, who have not yet graduated from high school. Most interesting and inspiring in your story are words from students taking classes and their parents.

One student, who works all year and hopes to attend Oregon Institute of Technology, is using summer classes to lighten her academic load during her upcoming senior year when she applies to colleges. Another, entering high school this fall, takes classes to improve his English and begin earning high school credits.

One migrant working mother sends her children to summer school each year, to improve their literacy and math skills. She wants a brighter future for them, just as my father wanted for me.

"Most families came here for a better life for their children," said Charlie Bauer, ESD migrant education coordinator. That clearly includes education opportunities. Sadly, that is not the quote you highlighted. In bold red letters you stated migrant children may have missed learning fractions.

Why not highlight more inspiring words? — Marvin Kazmin, Medford

The editorial on the Library Board's decision to max out the 60 cent levy passed by county voters (Our Opinion, July 20) missed the point. Yes, it will be unfortunate if the board levies the full amount, counter to the promises made during the election. But hidden in the issue is the fact that a large portion of that money is "pay-back" to Jackson County for its current contract with LSSI. These are services that taxpayers are already paying about 40 cents per thousand, and which the county has budgeted, to fund.

I question, first why I should pay for libraries twice (really three times, since the county also benefits from the library levy funded in the 1980s), and secondarily why the Library Board is obligated to pay the county at all? What will the county do with the reimbursed funds?

If Jackson County thinks library services are a "frill," and wasn't convinced by the voters they aren't, they're not paying attention. Again.

The MT correctly questions using the full levy but holds Jackson County blameless for appropriating funds budgeted for libraries and now using them for things the voters did not specifically endorse. Also again. — George Kramer, Ashland

While Sam Becker's efforts to rid the valley of waste Styrofoam are laudatory, the real problem is not styrofoam but the lack of a place for it to go.

Why not look into starting a company that would collect Styrofoam waste and transport it to Bay Area refineries on empty fuel barges that have delivered their products to Eureka, Calif., or Willbridge, Ore., and are deadheading back? That solution would allow workers in Marietta, Ohio, and St. James, La., for example, to keep their jobs.

Those guiding Mr. Becker would undoubtedly say no one should be allowed to work in such a dirty, toxic environment, anyway. If the petroleum/chemical industry is so toxic, why do petroleum retiree lifespans generally exceed those of the remaining population?

After solving the "polystyrene problem," perhaps Mr. Becker and his advisers would tackle a real crisis — a helium shortage that threatens to limit access to critical medical diagnostic technology. How about a ban on helium party balloons? — Donald C. Young, Medford

Recent letters have been helpful in understanding the challenges U.S. citizens currently face. We have come to a point of decision. Do we want government to be in charge of all of our lives, or do we want freedom?

Remember, freedom isn't free. It requires us to love our neighbor, to help the needy. It requires sacrifice. But, with progressives in charge, all we need to do is pay our taxes and watch the government take care of everything. That's progress. Sounds like the easy way.

In his July 18 rebuttal, a self-proclaimed Ashland progressive gave his best argument, claiming that progressive positions follow the golden rule: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

The fallacy of this opinion could be understood if the Bible quotation actually read: "Force all others to do unto others as I want them to be done." But it doesn't. Progressives don't want to love their neighbors; they want to force you to love them, by using the power of big government.

I receive no joy and no blessing by paying my taxes, but I am blessed beyond measure and am overjoyed when I help my neighbor. How about you? — Jon L. Hornbeck, Central Point