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Let the good times roll

The stock market has tanked, and the unemployment rate is up. The number of people living in poverty is increasing, but the wealthy get the tax cut.

Health care is less affordable, and the prescription drug benefit is not in sight. The budget surplus has vanished, but the deficit is growing.

What the hey, let's bomb Iraq!

Keep the incumbents and let the good times roll. ' Don Reynolds, Ashland

Editorial unfair to Bates

I was disappointed to read your Sunday editorial synopsis of the latest failed compromise in Salem. I am particularly concerned about your criticism of Alan Bates and his leadership role.

Although Dr. Bates helped draft this bill, he was absolutely right to vote no on what later came out of the committee. There were two very important changes which Alan wisely chose to oppose.

First, the time line of when the proposal was to go to a vote was changed from January to December. December, a month after a major election, during the Christmas rush and before Oregonians would have an opportunity to fully understand how it would affect them, was a recipe for disaster.

A December vote would have gone down, and then where would we be? Alan was holding out for a time when it will have a chance to pass or fail on its own merits after a dialogue with the voters.

Second, while the package protected education and OSP, it left state health and human services orphaned. Alan's original proposal included funding for this important segment of state services.

We are all anxious for a workable solution for our state budget crisis. But accepting a plan destined for failure or leaving our most vulnerable citizens behind is not acceptable.

Alan Bates showed extraordinary courage in his vote and should be commended for it, not rebuked. ' Amy Amrhein, Ashland

Tips reward service

In response to Respect service employees (Sept. 16): One must first understand that the word tips isn't a word at all, it is an acronym that means To Insure Prompt Service, and has nothing to do with disrespect.

It's all about service: good service, good tip. Lousy service, lousy tip. Last word on TIPS is service. ' Michael Gay, Medford

Money not the answer

If you look at the current edition of the World Almanac, you will find that Oregon pays more per student than most states with the same or close enrollments. Yet it rates No. 20 in graduation rates and test scores are lower than some states that spend less on education per student.

A good example is Utah. It spends about half of what we do per student.

Its average class size is higher and yet it is No. 4 in the country in graduation rates. Test scores in Utah are also higher than here in Oregon.

The point is, throwing money at a social system isn't always the answer. ' Jeff Fogelquist, Medford

Withdraw bond measures

I just finished reading today's cover story of the large class loads at Medford's secondary schools. While basic educational needs clearly remain unmet, and the Oregon Legislature is unable or unwilling to provide a solid financial security to our current educational system, it is only right that either the RCC board members or the Medford School Board withdraw their bond ballots.

Since it is probably too late to retract the ballots, I offer a practical and workable alternative. The two educational entities cooperatively reach a joint approach to a skills center. A community skills center would provide students both practical experience while offering both high school and college credit.

What a lesson in civic responsibility and cooperation! ' Joshua Owen, Jacksonville