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Letters, Nov. 27

Ambassadors I have known

All this talk of ambassadors in the impeachment hearings has brought back memories from my past.

As part of my military career, I worked with U.S. ambassadors in various countries around the world. Some were State Department career officers and others were political appointees. The appointees were usually given countries which were not critical to our foreign policy, like Luxembourg and Sri Lanka.

Under each of the politically appointed ambassadors was a strong State Department career officer called the deputy chief of mission. This person insured the ambassador followed U.S. policy. They went with the ambassador on all visits to foreign leaders and took the notes. They were the ones who spoke the local language.

Yes, there are wild and crazy appointees. I recall one politically appointed ambassador who showed up at her desk once a week for an hour. She always had a glass of bourbon, a Marlboro and a loaded pistol with her. The embassy staff humored her but always insured U.S. interests were represented properly.

Al Muelhoefer


Attempted bribery is a crime

The simple facts: The president of the United States used the threat of withholding vital military aid (authorized by a bipartisan congressional vote) to Ukraine in an attempt to coerce the Ukrainian president to interfere in our elections by investigating his political rival, Joe Biden. A CIA employee became aware of this and went through an official whistleblower process to raise an alarm. Two days later, the president released the military aid.

Bungled, attempted bribery that is cut short after being discovered is still bribery. A parade of mostly nonpartisan diplomatic service witnesses (and Gordon Sondland, a Trump supporter, contributor and appointee) have testified under oath to these facts.

Republican congressmen on the Intelligence Committee, instead of seeking the truth, have acted as defense attorneys for a corrupt president who lacks any sense of morality or decency. They have abdicated their responsibilities to uphold the principles of our Constitution, to defend the sanctity of our elections, and to safeguard our freedoms. Shame on them for their cowardice!

Claude Aron


Better proposal needed

Ashland and Medford city councils have delayed discussion of the jail service district and the Talent council voted no on the proposal that will cost taxpayers a billion dollars over 23 years for construction, operation and maintenance.

I support the concept of a new jail but prefer a comprehensive proposal that includes upstream diversion for mental health and addiction treatment, not only diversion opportunities once inside the jail.

If people can get into appropriate treatment on the front end rather than being incarcerated, jail size and taxpayer commitment should be reduced.

The Jackson County administration should engage in community dialog and a vision process rather than prescribing the community an 800 to 896-bed jail (current nighttime capacity is 315) and associated service district for taxpayers as the only solution.

The county should listen to the Continuing Care Organizations (CCOs) and include their solutions for serving marginalized citizens.

The likelihood of voter passage of the current 23-year billion-dollar boondoggle is slim given the cost and that it would funnel all available capital for treatment of social needs into the jail only.

The county should genuinely engage with the community and create a proposal that works for everyone — one the voters will support.

Derek Volkart


Don’t judge

You have the bully pulpit, don’t judge other people’s comments. They have a right to them. Your comment that the jail won’t be used as housing for out-of-county inmates is not founded. Danny Jordan’s strong suit is money and numbers. If you don’t think he hasn’t looked at the federal government or other municipalities paying $750 per day for a bed in this jail, you are wrong.

Jim Hughes


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