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Letters, April 22

‘Away’ is not a place

I received an anonymous letter addressed to me as “neighbor” regarding a “most urgent and serious situation” in which “the health, safety, property value, reputation and integrity of the Downtown Medford community is at stake.” What disaster is about to befall downtown? A proposed year-round shelter for our neighbors that are currently without a safe place to sleep, eat, or even sit for any length of time. The letter also makes many assertions about the Kelly Shelter that may have been true last year, but were NOT true this year. The shelter was a good neighbor.

The letter writer prematurely and unfairly blames the shelter for crime, drugs and other social ills. These will be present with or without the shelter. Simply telling those experiencing homelessness to “go away” is not effective if they have no place to go. Having an accessible, actively managed and well-run shelter downtown is infinitely preferable to having them sleep on porches and in parks, which is the case now. Shall we push those experiencing homelessness to other neighborhoods or address the problem ourselves?

The Rev. Tom Sramek, Jr.

Rector/pastor, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church

Medford

Vote for experience

We are encouraging voters in Medford School District 549C to support current board members Karen Starchvick and Lilia Caballero in their bids for re-election to the board of directors. The makeup of a school board should reflect the diversity of the community it represents. Lilia Caballero is a trusted advocate for the Latino community in Southern Oregon and has a long history of supporting cultural and civic needs of this important population. Karen Starchvick has become an effective spokesperson for the needs of high-risk children in our schools, a segment of students who require intensive support to overcome disadvantages in their young lives. Managing the complexities of a diverse school system requires experience, understanding and genuine compassion for the children they serve. Lilia Caballero and Karen Starchvick have proven they should continue the important work they started for all children. Please vote for these two community leaders.

Cherie and Randy Gravon

Medford

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