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Revealing radio exchange

Public radio's The Jefferson Exchange received a revealing phone call July 16 from my Rogue Valley Transportation District board colleague Ed Chapman. Ed opposes non-renewal of General Manager Sherrin Coleman's contract'in conflict with the rest of the board.

The Mail Tribune editorialized that Coleman herself appeared blindsided by the board's (June 26) action. In sharp contrast, radio host Jeff Golden and Ed had the following exchange:

Jeff: So as we speak you are clueless (as to why the board acted as it did).

Ed: No I'm not, because I have been paying attention (in board meetings).

Ed then remarked on what he has been seeing for, oh, about the past year ... it's been building for close to a year.

As Ed's comments reveal, nothing arbitrary occurred on June 26. By 6-0, board members who have been paying attention in board meeting after board meeting fulfilled one of their obligations as the electorate's representatives: to decide whether to renew a general manager's contract ... whether, for example, her vision of an executive's relationship to the public's representatives matches the vision of those representatives.

RVTD is a valuable service and there is every reason to expect it to remain so. My hope is that the current great interest in RVTD will continue and that we will be regularly seeing many community-oriented citizens at board meetings. I know their presence will strengthen the district. ' Stan Druben, Ashland

Naivet? and vindictiveness

There is enough blame to be shared by an ill-informed, passive electorate and the current Rogue Valley Transportation District board who, through naivet? or vindictiveness, seems ill equipped to handle the responsibilities of public service and trust.

The only defense of the board's recent actions came in the form of a letter to the editor written by Fred Harrison (husband of current board chairwoman Kay Harrison) which stated, It's great to know the RVTD board is not a rubber stamp of the general manager. That these six of diverse backgrounds who attended June 26 voted unanimously not to renew Sharrin Coleman's contract clearly signals to me that they are on to something.

Sherrin Coleman opened her personnel files to the public. Now it is up to the board to let the public know what they are on to and to explain what new direction they are planning on taking. ' Al Willstatter, Ashland

Watch them fix it

Our senators and congressmen do not pay into Social Security nor do not collect from it. When they retire, they continue to draw the same pay until they die, except it may increase from time to time for cost-of-living adjustments.

For example, some senators and their wives may expect to draw &

36;7 million, with their wives drawing &

36;275,000 during the last years of their lives. Their cost for this excellent plan is &


We pick up the tab for this plan. We would have to collect our average of &

36;1,000 monthly benefits for 68 years and one month to equal these benefits!

Social Security could be very good if only one small change was made and that would be to jerk the Golden Fleece Retirement Plan from under them. Put them into the Social Security plan with the rest of us and then watch how fast they would fix it. ' Sybille Jones, Medford

House hypocritical

As I write this I am watching the debate on the floor of the House of Representatives on the bill from the compromise committee for corporate accountability. The House, under the control of the Gingrich radical Republicans, had fought any reform until the Enron crash and had only passed a weak, Band-Aid version of the bill proposed by Democrat members.

After a much stronger bill passed in the Democratic-controlled Senate, the conference committee settled on a bill much the same as the Senate version. To hear the debate now you would think the House Republicans were for it all along.

Now when they come home to campaign they can tell their stockholder friends and working people they worked for reform, and tell their corporate friends that they fought the bill all the way. Works out nice for them, don't you think? ' Mel Morgan, Phoenix