Wealthy have influence

In Jackson County, we successfully defeated the corporate inflow of campaign contributions when we supported 15-119, a measure protecting family farms from corporate influence.

But for the most part, the 1 percent of our population who own 40 percent of the national wealth are able to influence decisions vastly more than the 99 percent who are the actual voters and who should be represented. Democracy is threatened by the inordinate influence that money has on both election campaigns and what representatives do while in office.

A similar threat exists in addressing climate change. Fossil fuel corporations are funding a campaign that denies the accepted science on the process and cause of climate change, and is contributing heavily to candidates who will protect their income even at the expense of future generations.

When deciding for whom to vote in November, please consider voting against candidates funded by a few wealthy sources and supporting those funded by many small contributors.

Ken Deveney, Ashland

Ensure net neutrality

We as a nation are facing an important decision pertaining to our access to information. I am speaking of “net neutrality”, a topic of heavy debate in Washington, D.C., right now, and one that should be on the mind of every citizen. Net neutrality is the idea that all information online is equal and ISPs (Internet Service Providers, i.e. Charter, Verizon, etc.) must give them the same level of accessibility across the board.

Currently, large ISPs across the country are lobbying against net neutrality. They believe companies are entitled to regulate speed and accessibility by their own standards without having to follow rules set by the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) that ensure all information sent over broadband is available to consumers at an equal speed. For companies such as Netflix or Google, this could become the cost of doing business; however, the true victim will be the online entrepreneur. How is the average startup supposed to pay a premium price so their information reaches new consumers if they’re unknown?

Will these companies stop at charging a premium price for reasonable connection speeds? What if they decide to filter content they dislike? This may set a dangerous precedent.

Nick Farland, Medford

Telephonic frustration

I'm usually not a suing type of person, but I wish we could sue for the frustration big companies that have electronic answering cause us. You answer all their questions and they can't understand you, after several tries they say they are closed and hang up. Or you get someone from another country you can't understand, or et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

This is not a seldom thing, it's every time you need to contact them for billing information or technical support. By the time you get a human you are so frustrated you want to yell or cry. I feel sorry for them, if you can understand them to begin with. Once you get someone, they can't help you and transfer you to someone else and you have to start all over again. I just wish you could sue them.

I'm pulling my hair out.

Judy Westcott, Talent

Vote for Bates

I am writing this letter in support of Sen. Alan Bates. With Sen. Bates' extensive background in medicine and civic affairs he is the best person for the job in Salem. Senator Bates cares deeply for his community and his vast efforts prove this. Senator Bates has done work to end sex trafficking, expand the SNAP and WIC program to include fresh fruits and vegetables and improve the health of Oregonians, especially our children. Please vote in the election and please vote for Sen. Alan Bates.

Cassandra Damon, Medford

Republicans promote pollution

We can lead a horse to water, but we can’t make him drink. Similarly, we can have a clearly established scientific consensus around the world, the recent IPCC report, chaotic weather patterns emerging before our very eyes, and still Republican congressional representatives continue to promote atmospheric carbon pollution. Even when four past Republican EPA administrators urged them see the light at an Environment and Public Works Committee this June, House Republicans barely deigned to listen.

Nor do current Republicans in office heed the advice of their former Treasury secretaries (Schultz and Paulson) who have pointed out in no uncertain terms the huge economic costs of climate change.

Congressional inaction and obstructionism on this costly, life-and-death issue are inexcusable. Congress should support the EPA, make carbon polluters pay, and lead us into a future where our grand-kids can live. And if Walden won’t take the lead…let’s elect someone who will.

Lee Lull, Talent