Barone was right

A recent opinion piece by Michael Barone (June 30, page A5) was titled “Democrats, Republicans lack credibility on economy.” I agree with that statement as well as the commentary’s last three paragraphs.

In the two paragraphs before those, Barone approvingly mentions low unemployment (numbers of people receiving unemployment benefits?), but then he points out that “workforce participation, especially among non-college-educated men, has been deteriorating.” The rise of populism in both of our major parties is a sign of this disconnect. People who once had meaningful participation in the economy, as well as those who are just trying to enter it, are former and possibly future customers of those businesses that have “recovered” from the Great Recession.

Both major parties use the shibboleth “economic growth,” which plays such a prominent role in our current civic theology. They argue over which magical solution can prop it up. I see numerical evidence that external factors make this an increasingly difficult task. Trying for an orderly retreat from excess is a more reasonable goal. You can view some of the relevant numbers at my LinkedIn profile. (Medford area, no photo; click on my name for public access.)

Dean Ayers

Medford

Monument access preserved

I share Brad Hewitt's enthusiasm for the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, but I strongly disagree when he argues in his June 16 letter to the editor that he and other sportsmen lack access to this wild land.

In fact, every square foot of this monument is open to walkers and hikers, picnickers, birders, campers, backpackers and sportsmen — as long as they are on foot. And there are plenty of roads available to everyone, including hunters.

Just about the only place on the Monument closed to motorized vehicles is the one-fifth that has been designated as the Soda Mountain Wilderness by an Act of Congress eight years ago. Republican Sen. Gordon Smith worked on that bipartisan bill. Gordon Smith knew the importance of preserving wilderness.

The whole point of American wilderness and public lands is to protect these remaining, rare, pristine areas. We are fortunate to have such an area so close to home.

You don't have to take my word for it, just drive up into the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument and look around. While you're there, I hope you'll be inspired by the beauty of this special area to get out of the car and take a walk!

Donna Rutledge

Medford

Who do they represent?

If the Republican Party does not impeach Donald Trump, then who do they represent? If both parties do not find legislative remedy for Citizens United vs. FEC, then who do they represent? If the American people do not overthrow this corporate oligarchy, then what are our values?

This David vs. Goliath task does not have to be bloody, and I'd prefer it not be. Effective campaign finance reform can be enacted at the state level and at that level citizens' voices can once again be heard. Those who believe billionaires are the best qualified to lead are not culpable, they are simply misguided as to the meaning of democracy.

Tom Espinosa

Medford