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Letters, March 29

Greater Idaho story saddening

The Tribune featured Move Oregon’s Border for a Greater Idaho, a group seeking to switch 22 rural Oregon counties and parts of northern California to Idaho. This group objects to the governor’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, wants lower taxes, less regulation, and more attention paid to rural residents.

I was raised 2 miles from the Idaho border, worked in Portland after college, and moved to Southern Oregon nearly 40 years ago, so I am well aware of Oregon’s differences. As a rural person I love our small towns, easy proximity to hiking and camping, miles of open space and relaxed pace.

While I much prefer this lifestyle, I know there are many more things that bind us than divide us from our urban neighbors — things like care and concern for others, helping our kids grow and prosper, supporting Oregon’s home-grown businesses, pride in our favorite school teams, keeping our rivers, streams and ocean clean, and so much more.

When I read the Tribune article, I was at first furious and now I am just profoundly sad. I wish people would use their energies and talents to build up and strengthen our communities rather than try to tear us apart.

Mary O’Kief

Ashland

Tiny replicating protein

As a freshman I took biology at a university having a tradition that at the end of a course the professor may give a “last lecture” on any topic.

Bio-101 started with microscopic replicating proteins called viruses. We studied for a year the evolution of species including humans.

The biology professor, I’m remembering, began his “last lecture” by saying that he believes that biology allows us to see a process. He went on to say, life evolves from simple to complex and from instinctual to thinking. Life activates from an intelligent and purposeful process which is not random. And, there have been “some bumps along the way” such as an ice age and shifting continents. So too, there’ll be more disturbances which some species will use to enhance evolution.

People’s lives all over the world now are being upended by a tiny speck of replicating protein acting as an aggressive viral disease.

Could the coronavirus pandemic be a “bump in the road” leading to something transformative? Could this virus be part of a beneficial progressive process? That might depend upon how we choose to use the experience.

Pamela Allister

Central Point

CEO compensation

A letter published March 25 refers to corporate executives’ compensation and provides a general dollar amount using McDonalds and Yum Brands CEOs. Executives may be overly compensated, but it is important to understand how that compensation works when discussing its utilization.

The McDonalds CEO’s compensation, stated at $15.9 million, is roughly as follows: $3.8 million cash; $5.8 million stock; $5.8 million stock options and $0.6 million “other.”

Stock options may not be available in

this year (usually available in part in following years) so not available for sale.

The stock award at current prices is about 35,000 shares, which may or may not raise $5.8 million when sold.

So to just look at the cash “excess compensation” (which is an IRS tax-driven definition) over the $1 million represents

$2.8 million. Assuming a federal tax rate of about 22%, the tax on $3.8 million would be about $0.8 million, leaving $2.9 million.

“Excess” cash compensation is now

$1.9 million. There are about 1.9 million McDonalds employees worldwide, thus providing about $1 per employee.

These times are concerning and all approaches for solutions should be listened to carefully. Details, though cumbersome at times, can be significant.

Jerry Sands

Medford

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