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Common sense lacking

I was raised to believe in government and that the people we elect are representing me and my interests. Why is common sense in such short supply with our elected officials?

We are currently moving towards a trillion-dollar deficit, again. Our school system, national power policies and state government are a shambles. A thousand new jobs nationally is not something to crow about.

I think Mr. Bush is living in the same separatist bubble too many elected officials occupy. Space travel is admirable (I come from an aerospace family), but is it necessary considering what that money could do to support the systems currently failing domestically?

How can we financially support millions of legalized aliens suddenly placed into the mix? Why still invest in a war that We have won while our children are still dying there?

Promising tax cuts is good popular drivel, but what else has to be cut to support election-year idle promises? Bush has already separated our nation from the world community. His political agendas will only separate us from each other.

Are we living with shock and awe here at home? ' P. Hathaway, Jacksonville

Air pollution stinks

The weekend of Jan 10 and 11, open burning was not permitted in Jackson County due to poor ventilation conditions. A call to 776-7006 would have confirmed this to the person or association in charge of burning the piles of slash in the Jacksonville Woodlands. It would have been a beautiful weekend if I didn't have to choke on the foul smoke created.

I called Jackson County Air Quality only to be told that the open burning section of the code is not enforced on state, federal or incorporated city lands. You may want to read that last sentence again.

Now that I know that government agencies have an open season on burning, I beseech them to at least verify that their foul-smelling smoke will ventilate and not stagnate in the valley. It really is easy to do. Just pick up the phone and call 776-7007 and a message will tell you if it is a burn day.

I understand that DEQ and the county commissioners want input on the lowering of our air standards in the Rogue Valley. My input is this: Air pollution stinks! ' Bill Philp, Jacksonville

Thanks to Frodsham

We were surprised and saddened to hear that Frodsham Photo is closing its doors. Joe Frodsham has been generous to our schools for many years, and the South Medford Booster Club has benefited from his community spirit. We want to thank Joe, his family, and all of his employees for helping us with our projects. ' Trish Narus, Central Point, for the South Medford Booster Club

Keep our air clean

As most readers are aware the DEQ is protecting our air quality by calling for an increase in industrial pollution. The regulations they are wanting to drop will benefit those wanting growth in dirty industries at the expense of our medical and economic health.

The Rogue Valley is one of the bright spots in the history air quality improvement. This success was done with everyone making a sacrifice by working as a team. The DEQ is giving the livability of the valley away with no gains for the common citizen.

No one has given any projections of what jobs might be made or lost by dirtying the air we must breathe. Priorities for the health of the population were not a consideration in pushing for this change.

If you are concerned I hope you will send your comments by the end of the month to David Collier, Oregon DEQ, Air Quality Division, 811 S.W. Sixth Ave., Portland, OR 97204 or e-mail collier.david@deq.state.or.us. ' Wally Skyrman, Central Point

Warped land management

Jan. 11's report of BLM land trashed by off-highway vehicle (OHV) riders includes mention of plans for OHV recreational areas, implying they will reduce such abuse.

The John's Peak locale is referred to, but not its scope. It will extend west of Jacksonville through the northern mountains of the Applegate Valley, close to the Josephine County line, incorporating 25,000 acres, with ridgetop tracks for racing events involving hundreds of riders, all on lands that are some of the last sanctuaries for wildlife.

How BLM will keep illegal OHV use from continuing is not clear. The present abuse affects much smaller acreage, off Worthington Road.

If such activity can't be controlled now, with posted signs and locked gates, how can BLM guarantee 25,000 acres is protected from unprincipled riders? Certainly, such a recreational plan means much higher use, with riders from near and far.

Further, it's reported BLM tries to find appropriate locations for mud bogging as long as it doesn't degrade resources. Allowing OHVs to create deep muddy wallows so some recreationally challenged, so-called adults can enjoy egregious entertainment is a warped way to manage public land.

What's next? Humvees for super wallows? ' P.R. Kellogg, Grants Pass

Shirking responsibility

In response to, If tax fails, cuts go ahead, Jan. 14: Our governor promised, No new taxes! We believed him, now he says, I never should have said that!

Gov. Kulongoski stated he will not get up Feb. 4th and come up with another plan. Sounds like he intends to shirk his responsibility by not doing his job. Our governor is also trying to scare us by stating, When government says something, that in fact is what happens. Isn't that what Saddam said? Now he is gone.

Sounds like Gov. Kulongoski and the Legislature have decided to punish us for standing up for our rights, Measure 30.

The governor and the legislators should remember, Government is for the people and by the people. They work for us. Maybe we should consider a recall as did California, and maybe change some legislators. ' Bob Fischer, Applegate

Measure 30 appalling

I find this Measure 30 appalling. We sure have to live within a budget. Yet we are supposed to cut ours so government can continue to raise theirs.

If we spent like government, how many of you could go to your boss and say, I need a big raise as I overspent my budget? We would be laughed out of the office.

I think it is time that our government stop threatening to cut what is important and cut where it will benefit everyone. But they always use the scare tactics to try to get more.

If they get more this year, it will have worked and they will be back next year needing more.

I am tired of having to re-budget so more of my money can be wasted. ' Linda Merrill, Medford

The best thing we can do

When did adequate become enough? This is a question that has bothered me for years.

Education made this country great. Public schools, community colleges and public universities have been the great equalizer in our society.

Strong educational values are essential for a strong and prosperous society. The middle class made huge gains over the last century because of parent involvement and strong investment.

So why do out-of-state groups bankroll a petition drive? Why undermine a legislature's hard work? Why do Mannix and Saxton keep trying to ruin Oregon? The reason is because they think they can get away with it!

We citizens should expect and demand a fiscally responsible government, but rejecting Measure 30 would be contrary to this purpose.

Voting yes on 30 is best thing we can do. For a change, let's do the right thing, not just the adequate thing for kids, the elderly and the disabled. ' Cedric Buckingham, Medford

Kids will pay the price

Measure 30 is not about whether we pay a surcharge, but about who pays the surcharge. It's about whether the public shares the load, or whether our children, teachers, seniors and policemen pass the hat among themselves.

Last year, teachers in our district paid over &

36;3,000 each when school days were cut. Because of this, teachers all over the district now have two jobs, hurrying from school to pump gas and wait on tables.

Larger classes and cut positions have resulted in more students failing, more fights at school, and kids in abusive homes not getting the help they so desperately need. Whether we like the way the measure was written or not, the reality is that if we don't vote for it, our kids will pay the price.

And if we cheat today's generation of children, we'll pay more than we can imagine tomorrow. ' Karen Cain-Smith, Eagle Point

Doing less with less

Between July 1, 2001 and June 30, 2003, the Legislature cut &

36;2 billion from the state's general fund after returning &

36;1.5 billion to Oregon taxpayers in the form of kicker checks during the 1990s. Yet opponents of Measure 30 say Oregon hasn't curbed its spending.

After, among other things, cutting the PERS debt in half and freezing state employee salaries, opponents of Measure 30 say the state isn't doing enough to rein in costs.

Opponents of Measure 30 say spending more money on schools won't necessarily make them better. But spending less will most certainly make them worse.

Our schools and social services have reached the point at which the only thing they can do with less is less. The promised cuts that make up that less are unconscionable. A civilized society simply doesn't do this to its children, seniors and vulnerable citizens. Please vote yes on Measure 30. ' Maureen K. Vega, Medford

Measure 30 not the answer

Shame on you, Mail Tribune! I'm as disturbed and offended by your unbalanced, bleeding-heart series about the perils that will occur if Measure 30 doesn't pass as I am by the measure itself. Your irresponsibility of pressuring voters to support Measure 30 out of guilt is terrible.

I, for one, am an overtaxed person with a job. The fact that I'm employed shouldn't mean I should be penalized. I already pay a substantial amount to support schools, build roads and pay our public employees salaries.

The Oregon Legislature recently passed a — percent increase in lodging tax. The revenue from this tax is to be used for promoting tourism to Oregon. In my opinion it would be better to use this tax to go towards education. It is ridiculous to put tourists' interests before education.

The buck has to stop somewhere, and I'm giving Measure 30 two enthusiastic thumbs down. ' Sandra Wilson, Central Point

Vote yes on 30

As a society, we should vote yes on Measure 30. We are in a difficult position because either decision will cost.

The cost to students will be fewer school days and fewer opportunities. If Measure 30 doesn't pass, thousands will be without help ' 4,700 addicts, 8,000 mental patients, and many gamblers won't get the help they need because of cuts.

You can see that it's targeted to people with the fewest resources. The Oregon Department of Health serves over 20,000 needy people and the cuts take away the help they need.

On the other hand, if it does pass, taxpayers will struggle a bit. Our society should sacrifice rather than lose the help we need.

Like Hank Collins, Jackson County health and human services director, said, I've never imagined anything so bad in my life.

But I stand firm to what I believe in ' a yes vote of Measure 30. ' Amanda Stead, 14-year-old student at McLoughlin Middle School

Give students a chance

I believe the voters need to hear a student's point of view on Measure 30. Imagine being in a class with 30-plus students not being able to get the teacher's attention unless you were possibly absent the previous day. Or how about having to reuse assignment papers throughout every class because they don't have enough funding for separate sheets of paper?

I just feel no one old enough to vote has the reality of this. Nor can I fully express it myself.

I just hope that you as the voters take responsibility and just realize what could happen to our education. I can't imagine what we would lose next besides school days and music programs.

Please remember you had your chance to a great education, now let us have ours. ' Allyson Marrs, 14, North Medford High School

Return to 1990

Does anyone realize that in the past 12 years our state government has doubled spending? Population hasn't doubled. It's time to return to the same level of spending as 1990, and never increase except by the same percent as the population or inflation increases.

Concerning taxes and education: Abraham Lincoln proved that students generally succeed by their own will and discipline, not because of upscale gadgets in the classroom. However, if more money is needed for better education, it's time to tap the appropriate resource: the immediate families of the immediate recipients.

The decision to have a child is a very personal choice and a serious responsibility. It is immoral and downright theft to confiscate part of a person's income to pay for another person's very personal choices and personal responsibilities.

Direct dollars should be demanded for direct benefits, and that includes the privilege of formal education. ' C. Pestlin, Talent

Pay now or pay later

Nobody likes taxes, yet there are certain critical things in society funded by taxes, like public education. The surcharge vote will determine the fate of our children, especially the at-risk.

The Mail Tribune article Sunday, Nov. 9, explains what further cuts will do to our teachers and students. Do you care about at-risk children? Even if you don't, it's much more cost-effective to pay now than later.

A special education teacher makes around &

36;45,000 a year. And he/she ideally takes care of 15 kids (in Medford it's 30, which is way too many to be effective). It costs &

36;90,000 a year to incarcerate a person, not counting police, parole officers and the cost of crime.

Do the math! Pay now or pay much more later! ' Joyce N. Forrette, Medford

Looking for schools

I do not want to believe Bush is going to the moon to look for WMDs as suggested by a friend. I prefer to believe he is going to look for fully-funded, staffed schools for the Oregon children to be sent for a decent education.

Also, he is looking for a place where the seniors and the disabled will be able to get their medications and food they need to live out their lives with the peace of mind they deserve. If they are treated well, they may even consent to provide care for the children.

Just think, our world will have no kids, seniors or disabled. No one in need. What a perfect place.

Remember when you vote on Measure 30 and for president that you could be a student, senior or disabled person. ' Mary Reid, Central Point

Are there other options?

Measure 30 or Disorder in the courts ' are these our only choices? Are there other options?

What if we end the prosecution of those possessing and manufacturing marijuana? How can guardianship issues and theft, including breaking and entering, be lower priorities than the prosecution and incarceration of marijuana users?

The U.S. has one of the highest incarceration rates in the so-called free world, and the rate of incarceration is increasing. When no-victim acts become crimes, the idea of the peace officer has given way to the industry of policing and punishment.

While funds for the discipline and punishment industry have increased to the point of risking a police state, funds for health and education have declined. As much as 60 percent of local county tax dollars goes to the D&D industry. ' Mary Kean, Wilderville

What is 'all other?'

It is interesting to note from the state budget numbers published in the Oregonian Jan. 18 that the second largest item is categorized as all other and at the same time suffers the lowest dollar cuts!

What is all other? Let me guess ' could that be where the pork is hidden?

K-12 cuts are 6.5 percent, human services are 8 percent, public safety is 6 percent, all other cuts are — percent, and total proposed cuts are 5.6 percent. Something stinks in Salem!

How can I support, for me, a &

36;500 annual tax increase, when we know there is more money than the state needs in the all other column? ' P. Baker, Jacksonville