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Letters, Aug. 2

Right on

In Jared Garson’s opinion July 10 regarding elections, I recognized many thoughts and ideas I’ve long held regarding the electoral process.

Democrats and Republicans have unfortunately held a strong monopoly on politics. The two parties have strategically held strong control over government through closed primaries. Elections have been about what the parties want, dictated by professional politicians.

The two parties, through their politicians, control “what they want,” not what the majority of the American citizens they are supposed to represent want! The longer these politicians and their party stay in control, the more power and money they control as well as the critical direction of this nation.

It’s time the electoral primary process is changed to accept independent candidates, in addition to the Democratic and Republican candidates! This would require by law, the primaries to provide independent candidates the same rights and standing to compete for elected offices. This would also increase voters’ choices. By doing so, we could get people into elected offices to truly present and represent the interests and positions of the roughly 40% of American independent voters and possibly others.

Garson was “right on” in his eloquent opinion.

David Jones

Medford

Lawsuit led to curb ramp project

The construction of curb ramps that will begin in Eagle Point over the next three weeks is a result of a landmark settlement agreement — the largest commitment to accessible transportation in state history — approved by a judge four years ago. The agreement was reached between the Oregon Department of Transportation, eight individuals with mobility and visual disabilities, the Association of Oregon Centers for Independent Living and Disability Rights Oregon.

ODOT must install missing curb ramps, fix substandard ramps and upgrade crossing signals across the entire state highway system as a requirement of the settlement agreement.

A 2017 ODOT survey found that 97% of curb ramps on state roads and highways across Oregon violate Americans with Disabilities Act standards, and 10 Oregon counties did not have a single, fully compliant and accessible ramp.

If you know of a missing or inaccessible curb ramp, report problems to ODOT using their “ADA Accessibility Requests” complaint form.

You can use the “Ask ODOT” form for complaints not covered by the settlement agreement, but within ODOT’s control — such as railroad crossings without barriers or sidewalk obstacles that make it impossible for you to reach the curb ramp or use the signal.

Tom Stenson, deputy legal director

Disability Rights Oregon