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Vote for Skillman

Connie Skillman has proven leadership qualities. She is a professional who believes in accountability, honesty and open communication with the voters of Jackson County.

The current RVTD board, with the exception of Ed Chapman, have indicated by their actions and their disregard of policies governing public boards that they have their own agenda. This is not a training ground. The current board either know the rules or they are not qualified to serve.

The fact that both Eva Avery and her husband Paul Avery are running for positions on the board is a definite conflict of interest. Appointing your husband to the budget committee, as Ms. Avery did, is also a conflict of interest.

We need a board that cares about public transportation issues. We need a board that will work to provide service, expand services and provide the services our citizens and taxpayers deserve. Vote for Connie Skillman. ' Maryann Duncan, Central Point

Coalition polling candidates

The Human Rights Coalition of Jackson County is conducting interviews of all school board candidates in Jackson County on six human rights issues in schools: curriculum review policy, sex education, prayer in schools, bilingual education, gay-straight alliances and other social justice groups in high schools, and support of diversity. As the responses come in, we are posting them on our Web page, .

— While financial issues are foremost in everyone's mind these days, we cannot afford to overlook the important human rights issues that often make all the difference to minority students. Please check our Web page to see how candidates in your district respond to these questions. ' Jean Milgram, president, Human Rights Coalition of Jackson County

League supports levy

The Ashland League of Women Voters supports retention of the Youth Activities Levy and urges Ashland citizens to vote yes on Measure 15-43. Since this is a double-majority measure, it's important that all registered voters cast their ballots.

In the lower grades, the levy provides important child development specialist programs and music and physical education opportunities. These are augmented in the middle grades by foreign language, sports and other activities productive of interpersonal skills, initiative and competence.

Ashland schools have lost nearly 20 percent of their funding over the past two years. The Youth Activities Levy supports group activities important for personal development and frees up money needed to retain teachers, courses and effective class sizes.

Please join LWVA in voting yes on Measure 15-43. ' Kate Culbertson, co-president, League of Women Voters, Ashland

Talbert for RCC board

Kevin Talbert would be a strong addition to the Rogue Community College board. He brings a deep knowledge of the needs of the Rogue Valley. He understands the role the community college plays in promoting balanced economic development.

Kevin's knowledge of new technologies and his established relationships with leaders in higher education make him the best qualified candidate on the ballot. Kevin Talbert can make a positive difference on the RCC board. ' Echo Fields, Ashland

A crass misnomer

What nerve! County Commissioners want the cities to further finance the libraries. Jackson County taxpayers, note the last line on your property tax statement, entitled Jackson County Urban renewal. What a crass misnomer. It is the White City Urban Renewal.

Last year was the first time it was broken out as a separate line item, so most of us weren't aware of Commissioner Kupillas's pet project, passed 10 years ago without voter approval, blindsiding the county taxpayers. In 2002, over &

36;9 million of our property taxes went to White City, increasing by 9 percent in 2003, and continuing. This actually reduces the money given to our schools.

This can be checked out with your school officials or the tax assessor. Urban renewal is now putting sidewalks in White City. Is that necessary in this time of financial disaster throughout the county? Unless the commissioners take immediate action, more than 90 million of our property tax dollars will be given to White City before it is finished. While the commissioners may not be able to eliminate the project entirely, they certainly can curtail future expenditures.

Taxpayers, start asking questions of your county commissioners. Mail Tribune, consider assigning an investigation into this debacle. ' Bill Kyle, Shady Cove

What they got in return

George W. Bush was elected to the presidency by a coalition of corporate executives, Christian conservatives and the Supreme Court. For this they have received the following: cancellation of nearly all environmental protection and some worker safety standards for the corporations, especially the mining interests.

Although the Faith-Based Charities Act failed and Bush's proposed deal with the Salvation Army, which would allow them to refuse jobs to homosexuals, was aborted, Republican hawks in Bush's shadow cabinet got their desired removal of Saddam Hussein. (The Iraqis got rubble, chaos and several U.S. uncles to manage their oil.)

The Supreme Court awaits a right-leaning replacement of a liberal judge; 2.7 million jobs and millions of dollars in investments have been lost since January 2000, due to 9/11 and corporate crime. Some of the corporations involved were Bush's biggest supporters.

Huge tax cuts have gone to the rich while most of the states are bankrupt and begging for aid. Now they must also pay for homeland security, whose bureaucracy is steadily undermining our civil rights.

All hail to the chief (and if you are dark-skinned and wear a beard, good luck). ' Elma Beeson, Phoenix

Why focus on Repp case?

After reading the article published on Sunday, May 4, I don't understand what Gary Repp's case has to do with a 17-year-old murder.

I have been reading the Tribune for over 30 years and during that time there have been numerous criminal cases in this valley. Myself and several other patrons are wondering why every week there is some comment made about the Repp case. In years past, we don't recall that every week the alleged criminals got their name in the paper to remind us to incriminate them before they had gone to trial and been proven guilty or innocent!

None of us sees the relevancy of a 2002 case having any bearing on something that happened 17 years ago. The comments about Repp's case could just as well been left out and we would have still understood that the Hirschy case is under new investigation.

Try to give Repp a break and leave the comments until there is really something to comment about. It has been a year since all of this happened. We don't need constant reminders as to what happened. The trial is set for September and that will be soon enough. Until that time Repp has not been proven guilty, or is he condemned already by the media? ' Sonja Resh, White City

Cuts have ripple effect

I'm a licensed care provider for RVCOG's Senior Services and Disability Services. My clients rely on the Oregon Health Plan (OHP) to get support services to survive. I bring my clients food, bring them to doctors, and try to ease my clients' lives, only to have the state step on them by cutting OHP.

One client had services completely cut, and another, who has multiple sclerosis, had her hours slashed from 90 to 20 hours a month.

Not only do OHP cuts hurt my clients, but my work has been cut and I had to go on unemployment. We're in a crisis, and that's why we need an increase in federal funding to OHP. For every &

36;1 million cut in OHP, the state loses &

36;3.2 million in business activity and &

36;1.1 million in wages, according to a 2003 Families USA report.

Health care is not only for our seniors, but for our communities and our economy. ' Karla Singh, Medford

Give me Molly any day

The vitriolic, vituperative vilification of Ms. Ivins cannot go unchallenged! As much of the business of government is devoted to the creation, collection and distribution of wealth, where else should the barb of her wit be focused?

Perhaps Mr. Robinson would rather the venal Ken Lay and his Enron acolytes were in charge of rhetoric championing the cause of the underprivileged and exploited? Give me the pungently articulate and honest Molly any day! ' John Lean, Central Point

Where is the NRA?

It was with interest that I learned that assault weapons are going to be outlawed by our administration in Iraq, especially in Baghdad.

Where in the world is the NRA on this issue? One would think they would be outraged about this limiting of personal freedom and potential constitutional rights in a newly liberated country.

After all, at this moment, the National Rifle Association is trying to lift restrictions pertaining to assault weapon ownership in this country. ' Dale S. Smith, Ashland

Vets' benefits not reduced

I'd like to respond to a recent letter suggesting that Congress and the Bush administration are curtailing veterans benefits and shortchanging school funding for the children of military personnel.

Contrary to some reports, no reduction of &

36;25 billion in veterans funding was approved by Congress. Rather, this year's budget resolution provides an increase of &

36;6.2 billion, or 10.7 percent, over last year's level.

Regarding funding for military children, our budget does not contain a cut of &

36;172 million, as the letter suggested. Rather, it increases federal Impact Aid funding by &

36;49.7 million, roughly 4.1 percent above last year's level.

Since coming to Congress, safeguarding the benefits of America's military personnel, veterans, military retirees and their spouses has been among my very highest priorities. I have co-sponsored legislation to allow retirees with service-connected disabilities to receive both retired pay and VA benefits without reduction in either, as well as legislation to ensure all veterans and military retirees have lifetime access to health care.

Standing up for veterans is not just a responsibility, it is a privilege and an honor. As long as I serve in the U.S. Congress, I will always strive to do just that. ' Greg Walden, member of Congress

Your turn in the barrel

Those who challenge us to find out about the horrors of a Republican, more conservative national government, cluster bombs, depleted uranium, neoconservatives, Halliburton, protection of the oil ministries, Afghanistan, WMD, the economy, education, the environment, conspiracy theories, black helicopters, one-world government and the like, have nothing better to do.

Sorry, no matter how much you rant, rave, whine, worry and wring your hands, the chads have been counted. Mr. Gore is not president. Get over it.

Consider that many of the 70-plus percent of Americans feel President Bush is doing a good job in significant areas, also voted Mr. Clinton a second term and wanted Mr. Gore to lead us. It's just your turn in the barrel. ' Dennis DelliGatti, Medford, Vietnam and Persian Gulf veteran

Say yes to self serve

Oregon is one of the last two states to be behind the times in allowing people who would like to be able to get their fuel and go without having to wait on an attendant to finally get around to you. Truckers, most bikers and others with certain credit cards like Pacific Pride, DFN and Grange Co-op business can fuel themselves and get on about their business without having to wait on someone else to get around to you.

It's also frustrating to have an attendant put the fuel nozzle in your tank and leave and it shuts off and it takes him 10 minutes to get back to you.

For the elderly and those who need one, there will always be an attendant to assist them. For those of us like myself who have a small towing business it would make a big difference. It would speed up and improve service 100 percent for everyone. ' Lee Clay, Butte Falls

Get a checkup

I would like to be a warning sign to anyone who will listen. I was healthy, strong, active, a nondrinker, smoker, or drug abuser, but I thought I'd get a physical since I rarely ever did, and at 72, it might be a good idea.

Now, seven months later, with seven major surgeries, three were death sentences, I wish with all my heart that you would check your cholesterol. My cholesterol was 365, and the carotid and heart arteries 98 percent shut. I had no symptoms, that's right, no symptoms.

You hear about breast and prostate cancer, let me tell you about colon cancer. It's a killer, and only now are people becoming aware of its dangers. Get that colon checked out. Mine was cancer, but God has granted me life.

Please don't let these tests go by. Check them out. ' Jean Albertson, Medford

Not embarrassed

I am writing in response to Mr. McCollum's letter asking if I was embarrassed to be a member of Medford School Watch and asking why I did not disclose my membership in the Voter's pamphlet.

The voters' pamphlet asks for specific information from each candidate and what groups you belong to is not one of the questions. I am a member of several religious and civic organizations which I did not disclose. Would he like a list of all of them?

Mr. McCollum knows that I am one of the only members who have chosen to publicly identify himself as a member of School Watch. Perhaps his problem with School Watch stems from the fact that we questioned the use of district funds by Mrs. McCollum to purchase herself new office furniture. ' John Glaser, Medford School Watch, candidate for Medford School Board

Nicholson has what it takes

I am an active parent in the Medford School District and I know how hard our school board works for this community. I worked closely with them when I was co-chairman of the Make Room For Kids campaign.

The school board's composition is changing with this election, making our vote more important than ever. We need to elect dedicated citizens to our school board.

Larry Nicholson has proven his dedication to this community. He is a well-organized, intelligent, thoughtful leader. More importantly, he is a devoted parent.

Larry Nicholson will look out for the interests of our children. He will find innovative ways to work with our school system's limited budget while maintaining the highest standards of education for our children.

Please support Larry Nicholson for Medford School District board, position 6. ' Sam Baldoni, Central Point

Re-elect Penland

Do you want an honest, dedicated, knowledgeable, hard working, kid-oriented individual on the Medford School Board? If so, I urge you to re-elect Peggy Penland.

I have worked closely with Mrs. Penland for over 20 years on various boards and committees, including Southern Oregon Drug Awareness. Peggy Penland is an independent thinker and problem solver.

I have frequently observed her listening to input, analyzing facts and making common-sense decisions. Exactly the type of person we need on 549c School Board.

Peggy Penland has dedicated her life to her family, our community, and our youth. Her experience as a school board member since 1994, involvement at the state level, and her work on Oregon's Quality Education Commission is invaluable to our school district and will be an asset to the new superintendent. I encourage you to vote and re-elect Peggy Penland to Medford School Board position 5. ' Ed Mayer, Medford

Parker would be an asset

I've known Heidi Parker for nearly 20 years. I respect her integrity, wisdom and passion. She believes in high-quality education for children and you can see the results in her children. I believe she would make a really good school board member. ' Barry Snitkin, Cave Junction

Voting for Wright

We've known Cynthia Wright for 14 years and have been impressed by her intelligence and common-sense approach to tough decisions. Having children in grade, middle and high schools herself, she's committed to a quality education for our students.

She's been in the trenches, volunteering extensively in our school system. She understands first-hand the issues we are facing as a district. And in a crisis she is always the one quietly rolling up her sleeves, ready to get to work.

A vote for Cynthia is a vote for an informed decision. With a freshman at North and a seventh-grader at Hedrick, we trust her implicitly to represent one of our greatest interests: the education of our children. Please join with us in voting for Cynthia Wright for position 7. ' Brant and Randi Rigby, Medford

Yes on Ashland levy

It's very important for Ashland's young people that residents vote yes on the Youth Activities Levy. The Levy not only frees up money needed to retain teachers, course offerings, and effective class sizes ' the group activities it supports are crucial opportunities for personal development.

Social psychologist Roger Barker found years ago that initiative, interpersonal skills, competence, and global personal development are best fostered by activities that suffer if some student doesn't show up ' activities such as teams, music groups, publications, etc.

Research has demonstrated that the best predictor of post-school success are a person's independent, self-sustained ventures ' such as those the levy supports. Teamwork, commitment, time management and decision-making are important products of those experiences.

Please vote yes on Measure 15-43, to retain these important group experiences. ' Hal Cloer, SOU emeritus professor of social psychology, Ashland

Vote for Nicholson

Please join me in voting for Larry Nicholson for Medford School Board position 6. Larry has proven his commitment to kids in our school district through his volunteer work within the schools and through his youth leadership activities.

He is focused on making education a priority! He is also an astute businessman who brings to the board both his enthusiastic energy and understanding of best business practices.

Larry Nicholson is the kind of person you would want as a neighbor or as a leader in your child's activities. I think you also will find he is the kind of citizen volunteer you want serving you on the Medford School Board in position 6. ' Mike Moran, school board chairman, Medford

People who care

What a shame the RVTD meeting room is so small and so few people show up to see the monkey show. They, except Ed Chapman, won't even follow the chosen rules of parliamentary procedure.

Their idea appears to be, Oh well, we'll change this item, Ignore that point, kinda skirt around the law, write a letter containing untruths and obfuscate the facts, as to sting Ed Chapman for his bad behavior.

When allowed to speak, Ed attempts to make a point or ask a question; he does so in a quiet, intelligent manner. I've never seen him attack, speak loudly or be abrasive at any time. Do you care about where and how your money is being spent? I do, and that's why my votes will go to Connie Skillman, Ed Chapman and Sharon Ely, people who care. ' Larry Baines, Medford

Audits are not the same

This is in response to Eva Avery's letter concerning requests for a thorough audit. It is true that there is a program-specific audit under way at RVTD. Mr. Chapman and Ms. Skillman have asked for an independent, thorough, agency-wide audit.

The program audit will only look at the program being inspected. The agency-wide independent would report in detail on all of RVTD. I believe that Ed talked against the program audit because of his wish for a more intensive audit, which is necessary at this time.

I believe that there are two audits supposedly being performed at this time, the program-specific audit I mentioned earlier and another audit by Richard W. Brewster, CPA. The board asked for an inspection of the last two quarters of the last fiscal year. Mr. Chapman has asked repeatedly about the progress of this audit and has not received an answer. ' Karen Barlow, Medford

Elect Heidi Parker

I feel blessed to live in a community that values education enough to support the Youth Activities Levy until state revenues adequately fund public schools. We all benefit when we invest in schools that assist young people in becoming competent adults and lifelong learners.

As the Ashland School Board wrestles with the challenges ahead, I can't imagine anyone I'd rather have represent me on our school board than Heidi Parker. Heidi knows both the institution and the community.

Heidi is respected for her willingness to work hard: from serving on site council to writing class newsletters, from supporting school budgets through numerous trips to Salem to supporting students with special education needs, Heidi has shown her long-term commitment.

Heidi possesses integrity and compassion; she's a great listener. She's demonstrated a creative and patient approach to problem solving. Join me in electing Heidi Parker, position 2, for informed, collaborative leadership. ' Cate Hartzell, Ashland

Voting for Penland

I have known Peggy Penland for quite a few years now. She has always been very involved in the schools and has worked long and hard to improve the school system and get funding for it.

She has not only been on the school board here, but at the state level. She has also been president of Southern Oregon Drug Awareness, been a Girl Scout leader, served on the board of the Friends of the Library and is now on the Medford Traffic Committee.

She always does a good job at whatever she is doing. I'm giving Peggy my vote and hope you do, too. ' Anne E. Crawford, Medford