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Letters to the editor

Say no to self-serve

State legislator Randy Miller recently (again) suggested self-serve gasoline.

Our state is in economic straits and he wants more people laid off work.

Oregon should take pride in being one state that provides service to tourists. That they won't be driving with gas smell on their hands, or spilled gas on their shoes. The weather? In the comfort of their car, they don't have to face bad weather to pump gas.

Prices? On March 31, gasoline was &

36;2.29 in Sacramento; &

36;1.79 at a local Arco station. Early April gas at Harris Ranch in California was &

36;2.36; &

36;2.09.9 in Redding; &

36;1.79 at a local Chevron station.

Speaking for women, I will not leave my young grandson in the vehicle while I go inside a gas station to pay. A carjacking with children inside is something to take seriously.

— The disabled and elderly may be offered assistance. That means an operator on call anyway. So why not give an additional operator work to help our economy?

Miller's suggestion, repeatedly turned down by Oregonians, will gain us nothing. ' Carol Fisher, Central Point

Vote for Braham

Leaders have to listen to effectively lead. To listen well, your agenda must remain open.

Howard Braham is able to listen without putting a preconceived spin on what he hears. In doing so, he emerged a true leader during last year's contentious Drug and Alcohol Policy review process. I feel he will make an ideal school board member for all the same reasons. ' John Maurer, Ashland

Where's America's obligation?

The Friday, April 18, edition of the Mail Tribune, on Page 1A, reported the need for further cuts in our schools allocation, largely due to the state's inability to squeeze more money out of its tax-paying populace. Have you no shame? Don't you realize the taxpayer has greater priorities?

On page 9A, it is carefully reported, Bechtel Group will receive &

36;680 million (of a total of at least &

36;1.7 billion) to rebuild Iraq, including their schools. Gee, I didn't know we had bombed any of their schools. I though we were just pinpointing palaces and such.

Nevertheless, it is clear America's obligation is first to the children of other nations. While taxpayers' money is trying to win the minds of a people who haven't evolved much since the time of Christ, our children will just have to do without.

It's just a case of knowing where our priorities are, and they certainly are not with our children. More and more, the watchword seems to be, America last! ' William H. Smart Jr. , Talent

Thanks to volunteers

National Volunteer Week was April 27 L May 3. It was dedicated to the celebration of America's volunteer spirit. On behalf of the Southern Oregon Historical Society staff and trustees, I'm taking this opportunity to thank the more than 300 volunteers who contributed time to society activities this year.

These volunteers, ranging from school age to senior citizens, helped in dozens of ways, including staffing sites, assisting with fund-raising endeavors, special projects and events, organizing library and collections material, caring for buildings and grounds and performing clerical tasks.

We are most appreciative of this strong base of community support and recognize the value of this volunteer service in helping the society meet its goals of preserving and sharing the history of this region. Southern Oregon Historical Society volunteers, we celebrate and salute you. ' Donna Curler, volunteer resources manager, Southern Oregon Historical Society

Elect Nicholson

On May 20 you have the opportunity to strengthen the Medford School District Board of Directors by electing Larry Nicholson to Position 6. Times are tough for our schools, and there are no quick fixes on the horizon. Many of the problems facing the Medford School District are not exclusive to Medford.

However, the approach each school board takes will have a lasting impact (positive or negative) on the academic environment for years to come. Funding, administrative costs and the numbers of teachers in classrooms and classroom size are only some of the issues.

We need visionary leaders; people who are focused on the issues, who will think outside the box, and are capable of making solid business decisions for the long-term benefit of education for all kids. Larry is a man who brings all the necessary skills to the table.

Vision. Leadership. Commitment. Vote Larry Nicholson. ' Rick Baldini,

Grants Pass

Freedom has a flavor

This is in response to Jason Clark's letter (April 24): Mr. Mike Hinkes, like myself, are combat veterans. I fought in Korea to preserve the democratic government of South Korea. Preserve their freedoms and ours.

For those who fought for it, freedom has a flavor the protected will never know. And by the way, we vets fought for freedom of the press, freedom of speech and freedom of expression.

Mr. Mike Hinkes, a combat veteran, had every right to express his feelings -' just like you. Just how much did you provide for this great nation to have these freedoms? ' Joseph Carvalho, MedfordLois Wilson for RCC board

We are proud to call this lady a friend. We are extremely pleased to hear that she has agreed to be a candidate for a board position with Rogue Community College. This lady has a remarkable grasp of the English language.

She is fiscally conservative, yet very supportive of responsible spending for the education of our young folks. Her service to the community has been long and strong. Highlighted would be her service on the Jackson County Fair Board and, most recently, the Board of Directors of Jackson County Fire District No. 3.

She has the time, the energy, the desire and the experience to be an outstanding addition to the RCC board. We recommend your vote for Lois Hawley Wilson for that position. ' Ruth and Dalton Straus, Central Point

Film festival enriching

As a member of the board of The Friendship Force of Southern Oregon (), I have the pleasure of sharing our enthusiasm for the excellent Ashland Independent Film Festival presented earlier this month. We were pleased to have sponsored travel for the filmmaker of OT: Our Town and encouraged by the quality of the whole program and its presentation.

The volunteers and businesses of the community who supported the board of the Southern Oregon Film Society in the success of the Ashland Independent Film Festival are to be commended for their generous spirit in enriching the cultural offerings of our region. ' Jeanene O'Brien, Ashland

Jobs are being exported

Gov. Ted Kulongoski, in a visit to our area recently, emphasized the fact that unemployment in Oregon is a serious problem. However, I think we should review the real situation.

Why have most of our sawmills shut down and their employees dismissed? Why are our pear orchards being dug up because they are no longer profitable? Why are our fishing boats standing idle in our coastal harbors?

The real truth is that big corporations have discovered that they can set up shop in foreign countries, use cheap labor, ship their goods back to the United States and reap a huge profit. Much of our lumber now comes from Canada and Japan. Pears and other fruits come from China and Mexico. The fishing industry has been taken over by Japan.

The shirt I am now wearing says Made in Cambodia. The sweater I have on says: Made in Korea. The shorts I am now wearing say Made in Bangladesh. These few examples are just the tip of the iceberg. So draw your own conclusions. ' Ralph J. Denman, Jacksonville

Time for silence

Now that the war has been waged and declared over by President Bush, it seems appropriate for the vocal and vociferous protesting to cease and desist. That's why I'm standing in silence in Vogel Plaza each Wednesday at noon with the Women in Black.

The WIB line up at high noon, then stand silently for 30 minutes. They are taunted and ridiculed, but they have heard it all and silence is their response.

For and against the war on Iraq, we have worn out the language hurling invective. What passes for logic is routinely self-serving and embarrassingly stupid. More wars are on the way, and we all know it.

Silence alone cannot be argued with. This Wednesday, I found myself standing with eyes closed amid the WIB, imagining a world at peace.

For stretches of time, between the random epithets of passersby, I forgot where I was. The half hour was over too quickly. A muted gong brought me back.

Jesus said, Blessed are the peacemakers. Well, not quite. The Greek Makarioi means happy. I drove home quietly, thinking how powerful and eloquent silence is. And was strangely and peacefully happy all afternoon. ' R. A. Swaney, Central Point

Cameras a business venture

I met a couple who, as it turns out, own the big brother cams located on Biddle and Barnett. After meeting the smug Australian (not even an American citizen) founder of the camera company, I am convinced that these camera intersections are a joint, for-profit business venture with Medford.

As I questioned the self proclaimed mover and shaker, he seemed to revel in the so-called fact that his venture was essentially untouchable, and had apparently already beaten any challenges questioning the constitutionality of his little entrepreneurial, Orwellian experiment in America.

I couldn't disagree more. In fact the cameras were for a time installed in Hawaii until the people grew tired of for-profit, joint-venture relationships between government and private enterprise, and had them ripped out with their pens at the polls.

I don't know about the rest of the citizens of Medford, but I personally will do everything in my power to prevent the unconstitutional, for-profit proliferation of government spying at any level. And I truly believe that left unchallenged, these pathetic little voyeuristic endeavors will (if they haven't already) permeate our every walk of life.

(No, I have not been ticketed from camera evidence.) ' Brad Marsh, Medford

Take back the sidewalks

I am now 64. After six years of living here, I can say that, in the city of Medford, bikes own the sidewalk. I was hit by one on the way to my mail, and the kid said, You just hit me! From my observation the only safe place to walk is on the city bike path, which is almost always devoid of bikes. This is even more serious since the sidewalk is the only place to catch a bus.

For the most part these people are very arrogant. One said You mean you want me and my son on the street, no way. We should be able to share the same sidewalk.

Jeff Golden, the radio guy, drives to work on his bike. He wanted to use an hour to encourage more bike usage in the valley. — don't know if he received any yes votes, but he was besieged with calls against it: these included handicapped people who cannot use the bus. At the end Jeff said, I had no idea!

We should take back the sidewalk and if anyone is on a bike, push them into the street. ' Richard Burger, Medford

Renew Ashland levy

Please join me in voting yes to renew the Ashland Youth Activities Levy, which provides funding for many worthwhile programs, such as music, foreign language, speech and debate, drama, outdoor education and athletics.

Cuts in state education funding have made the Ashland Youth Activities Levy more necessary than ever. Through state budget cuts, our schools have lost close to 20 percent funding over the last two years. Now is not the time to cut back on activities for our children.

The levy has not been increased; it is being renewed at the same rate we passed last time.

We all know that good public schools are vital to the future of our community, so please vote yes on the Ashland Youth Activities Levy by May 20! ' Diane Steffey-Smith, Ashland

The value of a dollar

Have you ever wondered about the true effect of a dollar in our local economy?

Think of this, if I spent &

36;20 at a small business, that local business owner would receive it directly and spend it. So now there's &

36;40 flowing in the local economy. If the next person, if it was a small business, would directly spend that too, there's now &

36;60 spend in our local economy, but it's not really &

36;60. It's the same &

36;20 initially spent.

What if everyone spent an extra &

36;20 at a local business or a home based business. We could all together improve our economy and our neighbor's income too! Think about it. ' Wendy Obie, Eagle Point