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Letters to the editor

A decent job

The elected officials in Salem did a decent job of agreeing on a budget that provides a minimum standard of care for public services in Oregon. Finding a way to do that without increasing revenue was hard to avoid. When the average wage earner weighs the temporary cost in personal income tax increase against the benefits to school age children and citizens who need medical care, I believe the majority of people will say that's reasonable given the dire economic circumstances that have created this problem.

So I thank the legislators who made up the two-thirds majority of both parties who voted yes. They had solutions to the problems while the conservative members of the Republican Party did not have a legitimate answer because of their fixed position on revenues. The system is broken and it needs fixing.

Thomas Jefferson wrote the most important responsibility of a state is to ensure a public education for its citizens. When I see flags on cars and slogans about being united I think also of doing what's right for our kids and what benefits our needy citizens in Oregon. That's being patriotic too. ' Steve Haskell, Ashland

Changes to Big Box

Bill Street, a tenacious, public-spirited citizen, has seven excellent suggested changes to the Big Box Amendment to help maintain the historic character and scale of downtown Ashland while still allowing development.

1. Limit the building footprint to 10,000 square feet (larger than the Elk's Building).

2. Limit the total gross floor area to 30,000 square feet (larger than the Elk's Building).

3. Limit building lengths to 100 feet (300 feet is the length of a football field).

4. Limit building heights on the north side of Main Street to 20 feet to protect views of Grizzly Peak.

5. Require parking for residential housing.

6. Create design standards for parking structures.

7. Increase affordable housing requirements.

These suggestions deserve serious consideration by the city council. After all, wisdom doesn't originate only within the planning department. But the council didn't even bother mentioning them at the last meeting. Not even a thank you. So much for citizen input.

Citizens who are concerned about the ambiance of our downtown should contact the council members and the mayor, requesting public discussion about these suggestions when they next take up the Big Box amendment. Common courtesy requires as much. ' Jack Hardesty, Ashland

Patridge not listening?

I agree with the Mail Tribune regarding Rob Patridge. As one of his constituents, I am furious about his vote for the largest tax increase in Oregon history and I am now committed to work toward bringing about the ultimate political consequence for him ' removal from office.

I did not vote for Rob Patridge to reach consensus in Salem. I helped elect him to stand by the conservative principles he supposedly espouses and make the state of Oregon live within its means. Instead he chose political expediency and tired scare tactics ' There is not enough money to provide services at the level that people demand ' to once again put the screws to the people of Oregon by raising taxes. There is plenty of money, Rob, and there were many alternative proposals to cut waste and spend less ' you simply were not listening.

This outrageous tax increase will not survive a vote of the people. Then Oregon will be back where it started, or worse. Maybe then Rob Patridge and his ilk will summon the guts to finally do what is right for the people of this state ' if he's not voted out of office first. ' David Spear, Medford

Repeat until they sink in

All together now!

Oh, sinner man, where you gonna run to? (repeat x3)

Oh, sinner man, where you gonna run to all on that day?

Lord says, Sinner man, the moon'll be a bleeding.

Lord says, Sinner man, the sea'll be a sinking.

Lord says, Sinner man, the sun'll be a freezin' all on that day!

The wheels have come off little Georgie Bush's new war toy and only four months old! Help! Help! Bring in the United Nations!

Scene Iraq (after its holiest shrine exploded and U.N.'s top envoy, Sergio Vieira de Mello and 20 other U.N. workers killed).

Georgie: Puhleez help us clean up this little problem we got in Eye-raq.

UN: Are you nuts!? You lie, cause a war, get our people killed, insult us, and now you expect us to bail you out?

Georgie: Uh?

Sing! All together now? repeat above lyrics until they sink in. ' Terry Doyle, Ashland

Wal-Mart and strip clubs

Citizens are critical of councilor decisions about Wal-Mart compared with HotBodies. (the kids and I practice the HotBody face preparing for that great satisfaction in life ' sex without commitment, love, or emotion.)

Americans were told to assuage our grief after 9/11 by consuming more. It is no wonder we are confused. Sex is for mindless disconnected pleasure and consumption is to relieve grief.

How is the rape and pillage of a community by mega-corporations (Wal-Mart's money supports Arkansas while starving Oregon) similar to a club built for undermining healthy relationships between people? People become less connected to one another, have more stuff, less substance, and support lies about commerce.

Wal-Mart and HotBodies fit; soulessness. At Wal-Mart we vote with our money and put neighbors (with the distinct shop downtown) out of business. We lower worker wages valley-wide and increase our own taxes. Full-time Wal-Mart employees nationwide qualify for HUD, Healthcare and food stamps.

Weary from years of rhetoric; form without substance. Let's recondition ourselves to think where our dollars go. Let's learn to support one another; willing to sacrifice a few dollars of our own for the good of the whole. Support small neighborhood stores.

In a depression who is there for you? Your neighbor, the mega-corp, hotbodies or faithful friends? ' Suzia Aufderheide, Ashland

Thanks for response

We'd like to send our special thanks to Don Hickman, deputy fire marshal, and all the paid and volunteer firefighters of Fire District — for their prompt and professional response to a potentialy disastrous fire that broke out near our home on Tuesday, Aug. 26. The effort of these dedicated firefighters was very impressive. The share of everyone's tax dollars that go to support FD3 are well spent. ' Vern and Shawn Roberts, Eagle PointWe need a change

I was shocked after watching CBS' 60 Minutes Aug. 27.

Watching the interview on the food lines in Georgia, USA, I feel our own country needs help before we try to solve the rest of the world's problems.

Now, don't misunderstand me, I am a patriot first and totally respect our military people. Now that we've rid Iraq of Saddam's rule and Afghanistan of their bad rule, let's count our gains and losses and bring our military home.

Let Iraq solve its own problems now that we've freed them. Let's let China deal with North Korea and its satanic leader.

We sure better take inventory of our economy, which is down, and our national debt, which is up. You may not agree with the moral issue, but you have to agree that in the eight-year Clinton-Gore administration, we had our best economy ever and reduced our national debt.

Times are changing quickly and yes, I'm a good ol' Democrat, with a lot of Republican friends who will disagree with me, but we need a change next election, for the sake of our people and our schools. Please join me by nominating Howard Dean and Richard Gephart for the Democratic ticket. ' Clifford S. Buck Fixsen, Medford

Benefits of bats

I wish to compliment John Darling on his article Welcome to the neighborhood in the Aug. 23 Mail Tribune.

I was just about ready to compile a letter describing the benefits of having brown bats greatly reduce the mosquito population when his article was published. Bats work all night gobbling up about 5,000 bugs each ' about half their body weight ' and mosquitoes are on their menu. Wherever you put up bat houses, they reduce insects.

I cannot understand why our leaders in the mosquito abatement program would rather use a chemical spray, which costs a lot of money, rather than introduce the brown bat, which is one of nature's best insecticides for less money.

I will be buying myself a bat house in the near future to put on a tree in my back yard and I hope others will do so also. ' Don Cramer, Medford

They're only kids

This letter is in regard to one written by Bonnie Johnson (Aug. 25), and her comment on what appears on the front page of the paper. The five children of the Mail Tribune employee also happen to be my children. How could you complain about them being front-page news? Give them their 15 minutes of fame. They're only kids for heavens sake ! ' Robyn Tarbell, Medford

More money than sense

After reading Sarah Lemon's Aug. 26 story titled Burglars take man's trophies, I felt compelled to write a letter to the editor.

Mr. Merriman was described as an avid hunter. This was probably a fairly decent way to refer to him since avid means that someone will pursue or desire something to the point of greed and that he/she may have a fondness for publicity.

Who in their right mind or what emotionally stable, well-adjusted individual would spend &

36;15,000 to hunt animals so they can possess the 13th largest Kodiak bear skull in the world for the year of 1995? Why would anyone be proud of owning a walrus skull with ivory tusks intact? Wouldn't it be a lot more exhilarating to view a walrus with its entire body intact? Alive?

What in the world is so cool about killing these amazing animals and having their body parts in your house so you can brag about them to people who probably don't really care? Ever heard of karma Mr. Merriman?

Mr. Merriman has more money than sense. ' Sharon Grimm, Medford

Such a deal!

That's it! I've had enough! We have to get out of this quagmire! We are losing 300 innocent Americans every day. The streets just are not safe. This is worse than Vietnam. We have to get out of our vehicles, off the streets and out of America. It is way too dangerous here and we don't belong here anyway.

And since it is a heck of a lot safer in Iraq ' we only lose one or two Americans each day over there, I say we should all move to Iraq. Think about it. We conquered Iraq and it is ours to do with what we please. We wouldn't have to worry about oil shortages, no Anwar, no environmental wackos, no liberals. Life could be good there. And we could relocate all the Iraqis to the United States, give 'em nice homes, SUVs, taxes. And we wouldn't have to rebuild their country! Such a deal! ' Patrick Henderson, Medford

Proud of Patridge

As both a longtime resident and former state representative from Jackson County, I am extremely proud of the courage and leadership shown by State Rep. Rob Patridge during this past legislative session, assets which were sadly lacking by most of his colleagues during that same time.

The criticism of Patridge by fellow Republicans is totally uncalled for, particularly when these same legislators offered no constructive alternatives to the legislature's final action.

Jackson County is fortunate to have the services of Rep. Patridge during these difficult times. ' Hank Hart, Medford

The key question

There has been a lot of discussion about whether the Bush administration lied and misled the public in order to make its case for war in Iraq. But there has been very little public discussion as to why they would have lied.

If the administration was truly aware that their intelligence was trumped up, that Saddam Hussein was not such a serious threat and that the links to al-Qaida were bogus, then why continue to push the case for war? If not for the stated reasons, then what could be the ulterior motives?

This is the key question, and I really see no answers that coincide with the supposed ideals of this country, unless you happen to buy that bit about making life better for the citizens of Iraq. I suspect that in reality it has a lot more to do with making life better for the citizens of Halliburton and friends. ' Joe Meadows, Ashland

Another Mars party

On Aug. 27, ScienceWorks Hands-On Museum hosted a Mars Party to celebrate the closest approach the planet has made to Earth in 60,000 years. We were overjoyed (and to be honest, a little overwhelmed) by the number of people who showed up to witness this historic event.

We imagine there were well over 1,000 people at the museum to take a look at the stars. What was most impressive about the evening wasn't what was happening in the sky, but what was happening in the audience. People's patience and enthusiasm turned this into a wonderful community celebration.

As a result of the interest we received, we are planning to offer some future astronomy events, including another Mars party in January to celebrate the landing of two Mars probes. We would like to thank you for making this event truly historic. ' Elib Crist-Dwyer, ScienceWorks program coordinator, and Christy Wallace Hostetler, ScienceWorks executive director

Bless all veterans

Tarawa World War II.

High school class of 1944. In 1943, a junior football player felt the call to fight for his country that had been attacked. He joined the Marines.

Home on leave to visit his classmates. Standing tall and proud in his uniform: handsome, bright eyes, beautiful smile. So confident.

November 1943, short months later, Don passed into history on the beach at Tarawa. So young, missed so much of life. Our hearts still ache. He will not be forgotten.

Bless all our veterans, young and old. And we thank you for what you have given our country ' freedom! ' Lorraine M. Storey, Medford

Narrow interpretation

The brouhaha surrounding Judge Moore's placement of the granite monument of the Ten Commandments in the Alabama Supreme Court building reveals exactly why the founders of our nation created a wall of separation between the church and the state.

Judge Moore and his ardent supporters do not represent the views of many Christian, Jewish and Muslim groups who claim the Ten Commandments as part of their heritage. His supporters neither account for, nor would they likely tolerate, the wide-ranging interpretation these various groups have of the meaning or importance of the Ten Commandments.

Throughout our nation's history religion has and hopefully will continue to influence our culture, our laws and our foreign policy. The mixing of a variety of religious perspectives has usually helped move our country toward a greater good. But, whenever one religious group has dominated the process, the quest for a greater good has often been stymied.

That is why it is important to remove the Ten Commandments monument, and along with it Judge Moore and his group's narrow interpretation of them, from the Alabama Supreme Court building. ' Paul B. Robinson, Medford

Election or farce?

An old political guru I once knew warned folks not to become involved in cat fights (read political encounters) in which there was more than one way to lose.

In this light consider the California recallaganza in which the perpetrators seem to face three such possibilities.

First, the recall could fail outright.

Second, the recall could succeed but with Cruz Bustamante winning the beauty contest.

Third, facing polls predicting certain defeat, Gov. Davis could resign. Presto! There's no governor to recall, Bustamante becomes governor, and cash-strapped California becomes the national and international multi-million dollar laughingstock for the wildest political sideshow in the history of American politics.

An election or a farce? Who knows? ' Vern F. Woltfhoff, Medford

MT should 'step up'

In the Aug. 27 editorial the Mail Tribune praised the legislators who stepped up to increase income taxes on the private sector. Your staff believes that the road to government fiscal responsibility is to always raise taxes.

I believe that it is time to step up. I suggest that you raise your subscription rates by &

36;25 per month and increase your advertising rates by 25 percent. The thousands of dollars that you generate can then be sent to the state to help the budget, especially education. This effort would show your readers just how compassionate your liberal paper really is. Then, if all other papers would follow your lead, the government would have plenty of money.

Some newspapers may go out of business as a result of these higher rates (taxes). But that's OK, because government needs the money, not us taxpayers. ' C. Andrew Beck, Medford