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Letters to the Editor

Mountain bikers: show some respect

As a mountain biker who frequently rides the Ashland Watershed trails, I've followed the Daily Tidings' coverage of Jackson Tyler Dempsey, the Jackson County psychiatrist found guilty of sabotaging area trails because of his dislike of mountain bikers. The Tidings' article on Jan. 4 quotes Dempsey saying, "It was never my intention to hurt anyone." This is very difficult to believe. Dempsey tied parachute cord across trails in the watershed at neck height, injuring at least one mountain biker. This guy is a psychiatrist who now has a private practice? What the hey?

Sadly, however, the Tidings has missed an opportunity to report on the twisted rationale behind Mr. Dempsey's actions. Downhill mountain bikers are blazing tons of illegal trails in the watershed with no regard for their environmental impact. Surely the many users of these trails (many of whom are Tidings readers, I'd imagine) notice the erosion and soil degredation created by downhill bikers in the watershed. It's worth looking into.

Mountain biking is a great way to enjoy our watershed, but bikers should step it up when it comes to respect for these lands with which we're so blessed.

Jim Bowers


Thanks to Merkley for public service

Had I the chance to speak at Sen. Jeff Merkley's recent crowded town hall meeting in Medford I would have thanked him for skillfully giving his life's time to public service.

Politics lately is a dismal, daunting realm, draining anyone with soul. Selfish demands and unrelenting ridicule seems a game to some, a game that alienates us from our democratic faith, resulting in a corrupted, clogged, barely-functioning Congress. It wears anyone's patience, decency, and creativity down. In such a time, good men like Merkley do a hero's work.

But this applies also to the many local politicians and citizens in the room. A half-dozen mayors, state representatives and senators, former county commissioners, hundreds of involved citizens — these deserve our appreciation also. America isn't finished; it is ours to cherish and advance in our time, despite rude ridicule and systemic corruptions.

When asked who is concerned about climate change, most hands went up. This isn't something we should expect Jeff Merkley (or John Kitzhaber or Greg Walden or John Stromberg) to solve by themselves for us. We're all involved. We all have a responsibility.

We're a smart, caring, fairly civil culture. We need good politicians, but they need us too, for ultimately, our government is us taking care of ourselves, economy and environment.

What can the citizens and politicians of the Rogue Valley do to boldly model a significant lessening of our carbon pollution, something environmentally and economically advantageous, something that is replicable in many areas?

Brad Carrier, volunteer for Southern Oregon Climate Action Now


Think of pets before fireworks

Many years ago when I was just a small child, my daddy would buy me all the fireworks I wanted. Then on the Fourth of July, I would go out and have a ball setting off all of my firecrackers.

Of course, back then I never thought about what all that noise would do to any pets that were nearby. But, years later, after I became a dog owner, I finally realized just what it did to them to hear all of those loud explosions.

On the evening of New Year's Eve, as I sat at my desk, I suddenly heard the unmistakable reports from someone setting off firecrackers, and moments later I had a very frightened and shivering dog trying to hide herself in between my legs underneath my desk.

As she sat there, I began to wonder about all the other pets in my neighborhood. Were they too shivering from fright while trying to hide from the noise of all those firecrackers exploding?

So, if you are reading this, remember in the future, before you light that firecracker, try to remember just what the report of that firecracker will do to all the pets in your neighborhood.

Jack Harmon


Were the American people lied to?

Were the American people lied to about health care?

They will pay more? They won't lose their current plan? They can keep it, et cetera?

President Obama makes President Nixon look good.

Gordon Self