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Letters, Feb. 12

Begin the conversation

I applaud Pat Gordon’s letter to the editor of Feb. 5 and her willingness to share her wise and thoughtful perspective on this all too often “swept under the rug” issue.

The End Choices nonprofit corporation seems to be a good place to begin a conversation that’s so challenging and so necessary.

Jean Vondracek

Ashland

Primary for nonaffiliated voters?

The premise behind the proposal to create a primary for nonaffiliated voters is fatally flawed. The purpose of a party primary is to allow that party’s members to choose the best candidate to advocate for their shared positions. By definition, nonaffiliated voters are not affiliated with common values or positions as embodied in a party. The assumption that Oregon’s approximately 900,000 voters who have chosen not to join an existing party share a common set of reasons that would lead them to support a single nonaffiliated candidate flies in the face of common sense. For such voters, the existing parties may be too far to the right or off the cliff to the left, too cozy with corporate interests or in bed with labor unions. Or they may just feel like Groucho Marx, who would never join a club that would have him as a member.

The worthy goal of increasing voter participation is far more likely achieved by Oregon’s continued pursuit of the California/Washington “jungle” primary and/or adopting the Maine ranked choice process. In the meantime, the estimated $140,000 a year this “primary” would cost Oregon taxpayers would be far better spent on improving civic education in Oregon schools.

Susan Stitham

Ashland

Belcastro, Brett offer a great service

Steve Boyarsky’s Sunday Community Builder feature on Pete Belcastro and Joe Brett was a tribute to two men dedicated to promoting “community” in the Rogue Valley.

Their belief that all extra curricular activities, not solely sports, enhance learning should be a welcome perspective for parents. Kids do need something to draw them to school besides classes. Sports are often kids’ first choice, but Pete and Joe see that many activities provide an incentive for high school kids to show up for classes and to graduate.

And they are correct to lament the tendency for coaches to pressure kids to play one sport year-round rather than playing two or three. Parents can resist pressures that limit their kids to one sport which can result in injuries that don’t have time to properly heal.

Attendance declines at games are consistent with the general societal decline in “face to face” connectedness. But people may realize more that smartphones, computers and the internet stifle the vital social interaction that keeps people mentally healthy and engaged.

Pete Belcastro and Joe Brett have offered a great service. The recognition and exposure they give kids helps build self-esteem and a community recognition which remains for life.

Brent Thompson

Ashland

Neurological condition

A rumor is circulating that the CDC is investigating a new disease that seems to be spreading quickly within the federal government and is now beginning to affect state and county government bureaucracies.

The CDC estimates that 1 in 3 bureaucrats are now affected by a condition known as CFM:

Cranial Fecal Matter is a communicable neurological condition that can occur from bureaucratic constipation causing bureaucrats to become full of crap. This results in feces being pressurized into the cranium, causing neuropathy of the frontal lobes of the brain, resulting in paralysis and nothing meaningful being accomplished for the taxpayers.

The CDC hopest the cure currently being tested (a swift kick in the ass) will be effective in treating the disease. If it were only that easy?

William E. Simpson II

Yreka

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