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Letters, March 4

Regional focus is better

I like most of your editorial about changes to the paper. I like that you are going more regional, even though I dislike your commentary from the Washington Post. I do remain curious as to your home delivery subscription policies. We choose not to spend over $300 a year for your paper, yet unlike virtually all other papers, you do not offer alternatives — no Sunday only, Wednesday and Sunday, Friday through Sunday. Consequently you only have my family reading your paper once or twice a month.

I suspect the reason most of your letters are liberal leaning is that most of your readers are that. Most of the right has abandoned “fake news” (all newspapers and network news) in favor of right-leaning digital sites, Fox TV/NewsMax and others further out in conspiracy land.

Tom Biehn

Shady Cove

Bentz has failed his district

Eight weeks into his first Congress, Rep. Cliff Bentz has failed this district. Rep. Bentz voted with every other House Republican against the COVID-19 relief bill.

He voted against sending $1,400 payments to every household immediately; against assisting unemployed people in keeping internet broadband monthly; against federal assistance for past-due rent; against reducing class sizes and increasing safety measures to aid school re-opening; against essential aid for restaurants to stay in business; against extending federal unemployment benefits during 6% unemployment in Oregon.

Rep. Bentz thinks fealty to GOP orthodoxy is more important than actually helping his constituents recover from the damage caused by the negligence of the previous Congress. He has said that he opposes the bill because he didn’t have any say in writing it; that sounds like his ego getting in the way of our assistance.

Luckily, there are enough Democrats in the 117th Congress to make all of this a reality, despite Bentz’s mistake in voting no. Now all of Bentz’s constituents can contact our two Democratic senators to tell them we need their help and the passage of this current COVID-19 relief bill even though GOP Rep. Bentz refused to stand with us.

Heath Belden

Ashland

Ban diesel defeat devices

Oregon needs to enforce laws against illegal tampering with pollution control systems on individual diesel vehicles. Devices similar to those employed by Volkswagen are commercially available through Oregon auto supply stores and are marketed to individual owners as “tune ups” to improve performance.

According to the EPA about 15% of heavy diesel pickups have been altered with “defeat devices” (New York Times, Nov. 20, 2020) that effectually bypass pollution control systems and give false readings when monitored. The EPA says that “diesel tuners” will allow more than 570,000 tons of nitrogen dioxide, a pollutant linked to heart and lung disease and premature death, over the lifetime of the vehicles.

That is more than 10 times the excess nitrogen dioxide attributed to factory-altered Volkswagens that were sold in this country.

The EPA report found that altered pickups will emit about 5,000 excess tons of industrial soot, particulate matter which is linked to respiratory diseases and higher death rates for COVID-19. Banning the sale or installation of such devices would be an effective step to protect the air we breathe and perhaps fines for those who already have them on their vehicles.

Legislature! It’s your turn.

Michael Sanford

Medford

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