Something smells improper

The thick, lung-assaulting fumes permeate the neighborhood air most every morning, and sometimes many nights from 10 p.m. to midnight. In this heat, the windows must be kept shut.

We the people, more than 600 Talent residents, signed a petition of dismay regarding the polluting operation of an illegal, asphalt-producing industry firmly planted in a flood zone alongside Bear Creek. That petition was presented to the Talent City Council more than a year ago, and, the county commissioners were formally made aware — in writing.

Many citizens have filed written complaints with the county against Mountain View Paving's abuse of land-use zoning laws; yet bureaucratic stalling is plainly undeniable.

The Jackson County code-enforcement officers seem to be bending over backward to keep this illegal asphalt industry in operation. This action certainly smells of a backroom deal within our local government. Which raises the question: where's the full report clearly explaining to our citizens how much time and thousands of their tax dollars have been wasted trying to protect this illegal business, while boldly impeding the judicial rulings of the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals?

This certainly smells of something very improper.

D. Pestlin, Talent

Vote conservative next time

Looking to the coming elections, much has been said bad-mouthing conservatives and Republicans in the letters column. Before doing that, let's instead look at results. We have had a Democratic-controlled government in Washington and Salem for the last several years. What are the results? $250 million wasted on Oregon's Obamacare website; all House bills sent to the Senate die on Harry Reid's desk; foreign policy is a hot mess, with our enemies laughing at our do-nothing president; the economy still suffers, jobs are only returning at minimum wage and part-time; and the average American has lost 6 percent income since Obama took office. There is no turnaround as the president and the Democrats assert. Time for a change: Let's have some Mitt Romney-style, businesslike management in Washington.

Let's again walk softly but let the world know we will use our big stick. Let's restore America to its greatness. Vote conservative in Oregon and Washington this November, and next year a new governor and president from the right.

Raymond Smith, Central Point

How would you feel?

We at Rogue Valley Oregon Action were concerned about a logo for neighborhood watch groups that appeared on the front page of the Mail Tribune (July 31).

The logo was supposed to symbolize “Stop Crime.” While I'm sure this was not the intent, readers we have talked to thought that it showed a black man in prison stripes, sneaking around. Over that was the “Stop” symbol — a circle with a line through it.

People of color in this area and elsewhere frequently experience racial profiling — being stopped and harassed while driving or walking on the street or shopping, just because of how they look.

We hope that logo will not be used by neighborhood watch groups in the future, and will not be encouraged by the Police Department or featured in the Mail Tribune. And that everyone in our valley will work together to prevent racial profiling and build a sense of community that includes everyone.

Michelle Glass, outreach director, Rogue Valley Oregon 

Get to the bottom

In the conflict between Israel and Gaza, both sides have had tragic losses. But Israel’s military operation has been especially catastrophic for Palestinian civilians.

The latest media reports from Gaza tell a terrible story. 1,900 people have been killed, and the United Nations estimates that 70 percent have been civilians. So far, 408 children have been killed and 2,502 children have been injured with thousands believed to be suffering from psychological trauma. Also, 10,000 homes have been destroyed with thousands more damaged, and 520,000 people have been displaced. Utilities and infrastructure have been severely damaged, which has created a humanitarian crisis. It appears that the people of Gaza have suffered massive human rights violations.

The United Nations Human Rights Council is launching an investigation in Gaza. Two reputable human rights organizations – Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch — have published statements and will continue to investigate and report their findings. These are reliable sources that will get to the truth of what happened to the people of Gaza.

Whoever turns out to be responsible for so many civilian deaths and injuries should be held accountable. This type of death, suffering, and destruction should never be considered acceptable.

Kenneth G. Loders, Ashland