Re-elect Bates

I know Alan Bates personally as a member of my Rotary Club. I know him to be a compassionate individual who is wholeheartedly committed to serving his community.

In his two terms as state senator, he has placed particular emphasis on education and health care. He has played a leadership role to increase funding for K12 schools, re-establish vocational and technical skills training at the K-12 and community college levels, and secure funding for human services.

This promises to be a closely contested race. Voter turnout will be essential. The outcome of this race could markedly affect the future of education and human services in this valley. Please join me in voting to re-elect Alan to the state Senate this fall.

Lynn Thompson, Ashland

I'll take breastfeeding, thanks

Shirtless men walking around in public, or a mother breastfeeding in public? Give me the breastfeeding mother every time.

Mary Lewis, Eagle Point

Language is ambiguous

Grace-Marie Turner (Pro/Con, Aug. 17) is right to say that the Affordable Care Act clearly says "through an Exchange established by the State." What she — and the court — ignores is what any high-school civics class should teach: "the State" can refer to the government in general, particularly when capitalized. The term is ambiguous language, no matter how much detractors of the law claim otherwise.

Dan LaLande, Ashland

A Plaza suggestion

The controversy and conspiracies surrounding the Ashland plaza makeover are quite entertaining. Any more, all we can do is laugh at how local, state and federal governments find new ways to waste our money.

That being said, I may have a solution. They make these bricks or "pavers" that have a hole through them to allow grass to grow through, or better yet, simply remove every other existing gray brick in a checker-board pattern, fill the holes with dirt and grass seed, water it, and you're done.

Use the leftover removed bricks to create the raised flower beds. Now you have created a "greener" area for the cost of some labor, seed and water.

Steven Bunch, Medford

Gaza blockade must end

Senator Merkley is one of the few members of Congress so far who have called for an immediate and durable ceasefire between Israel and Gaza.

According to U.N. statistics, more than a thousand civilians have been killed, and the overwhelming majority are Palestinian. The bombs and rockets must stop. As Senator Merkley pointed out in a recent speech, security and economic development are essential to any enduring peace. A ceasefire must lift Israel’s seven-year blockade imposed on Gaza, which continues to prevent Palestinians in Gaza from accessing the outside world for trade, medical treatment, higher education and other opportunities critical to a dignified life.

I hope Senator Wyden will also speak out in support of a ceasefire. The Friends Committee on National Legislation, a Quaker lobby in the public interest, has more on what we can all do to support an end to the violence at

Beth Gould, Ashland