DEQ proposes a massive pollution increase in our valley, which would benefit executives of the most polluting industries. DEQ held a public hearing Wednesday, pumped the room with false data, refused publicly audible responses, prescribed that complaints be recorded into little tape recorders ' two simultaneously. DEQ gave zero forewarning of this drastic format change from the last meeting.
The group opposed made peaceful requests that DEQ allow us to actually hear each other; DEQ refused repeatedly. Democracy? ' Michael Riedeman, Ashland
I read with interest about the Ashland High School math teacher who, on a flight to Arizona had a pair of scissors and a small knife taken away at the airport. He said he forgot they were in his backpack. On the return trip he forgot a hunting knife in his backpack.
The Transportation Safety Department fined him for this act of forgetfulness. I hope his students in Ashland aren't as slow learners. ' Bill Kyle, Shady Cove
Long ago Londoners emptied their chamber pots off balconies into the streets below. Eventually this practice was stopped, presumably for public health reasons.
If a family of three moved into a home with a septic system capable of handling the waste of five people, do you suppose they could sell the excess capacity to a neighboring couple, enabling that couple to empty their chamber pots into the street as they had always done? ' Eugene Thomas, Medford
Are you a victim?
The Mail Tribune had two headlines on its business page Jan. 15. One about a new trillion-dollar bank ' the first in history. The other about a new local bank with outstanding earnings. How do you suppose these two happenings occurred in the same month ' or even in the same decade?
The banks have a fix. The fix is provided by the Federal Reserve that borrows money from the U.S. Treasury at — percent then lends it at a profit to the nation's banks at 2 percent. A 100 percent profit for the Federal Reserve.
Then the banks lend out this money at anywhere from 6 percent to 18 percent to all of the needy Americans for 200 to 900 percent profit.
The American banking system no longer needs savers. They get all the money they need from the thieves that are stealing from the government. The Federal Reserve is in direct competition with the savers and investors in this country.
This is just another of the unnoticed crimes being committed by the approved criminals.
Are you a victim? ' Ed Scanlin, Medford
Don't forget forests
One factor regarding DEQ's proposed changes that hasn't been mentioned is our forests and the trend toward using prescribed fire for fuel reduction. We're all aware of the critical fire danger in Oregon.
Federal land managers are burning slash piles and doing under-burns more frequently in an effort to get rid of ground fuels to protect forests and nearby residences. This happens during winter and spring, and is regulated by DEQ. If there is too much pollution or wind conditions aren't perfect, agency burning doesn't happen.
If air quality standards are relaxed, industry will be allowed to creep pollution ratings closer to maximum levels. Consequently there will be fewer burn days, which means more slash on the ground during summer. (I'm assuming Interstate 5 traffic won't be stopped, nor will industries be closed down, so what else is left to regulate on bad air days?)
It's been proven that air particulates from prescribed fires are very low compared to the extreme levels during a wildfire. We know that wildfire doesn't stop at property lines.
It seems to me that everyone should favor continuing prescribed burning practices to reduce fuel hazards, so that we can better protect all of our forests. ' Sandy Shaffer, Applegate
Let them know we care
Department of Environmental Quality, Air Quality Division ' an unlikely name for the government entity pushing to remove the industrial requirement that has improved our air quality.
They tried to slip in Dec. 9 during the Christmas season and be gone by Dec. 31. But we caught wind of their unhealthy proposal. Now we have to sound off ' don't allow Rogue Valley to become Smokestack Alley.
Let them know we care about our air. They've listened to industry formulating this plan. Now let them listen to us.
We're bright enough to understand they aren't proposing a small allowable increase, which would be unwise, but an EPA allowable increase double the present level in much of our valley! That this valley, with prolonged air inversions, is no place for more industrial emissions. Attract clean industries like Bear Creek, by providing a clean environment, not L.A.-type smog.
Jam their computers with your comments by Jan. 30. E-mail DEQ at firstname.lastname@example.org. Ask to retain all of the present requirements on new or expanding industry. Unfortunately government policy often is not formulated by what is in its citizens' best interest. ' Gaylene Hurley, MedfordStudents, please vote
Last January, Ballot Measure 28, a temporary income tax increase proposal, was referred unsuccessfully to voters. In the SOU voting precinct, Precinct 10, just half of the registered voters voted.
Now, Ballot Measure 30, a citizen referendum of the legislatively approved House revenue and spending bill, is coming down to the wire. Students will be impacted more than many by this legislation. You have an opportunity over the next few days to help shape Oregon history. Please vote. ' Susan Roudebush, Ashland
Seniors already pay less
Measure 30's reduction of the special medical-expense deduction for some Oregon seniors has been a topic of controversy. My husband is 62 and works full time. Why should we be able to deduct all our medical expenses from our Oregon taxes when younger families cannot?
According to the Legislative Revenue Office, seniors already have lower tax rates than the general population because they qualify for a senior exemption and their Social Security income is not taxed on Oregon returns.
For about 69 percent of Oregon seniors, the change in the special deduction will not increase taxes. For affected seniors, the increase would average about &
36;150 more a year. Oregon's medical-expense deduction still would be more generous than is allowed by 48 other states.
Measure 30 helps seniors by supporting Project Independence and low-income prescription drug coverage. The League of Women Voters of Oregon urges you to vote Yes on 30. ' Eileen Adee, president, League of Women Voters of the Rogue Valley, Medford
Send a message
The diatribe begins against the taxpayer revolt in opposition to Measure 30. The Mail Tribune, the governor, the school districts and the state Legislature warn that the sky is falling.
Have we not heard this all before? The scenario is so familiar, so predictable: Coerce the taxpayer into submission with doomsday predictions. Like little children throwing tantrums, they must have their way or else.
The or else is fiscal responsibility. I for one demand it, before I yield to higher taxes. More revenue is not the answer. Less spending is the answer.
Vote no on Measure 30. Send a message to the state Legislature ' do your job.
And if Measure 30 fails, the sky will not fall. The sun will rise the next day and life will continue. The only thing that will change is the state budget. ' Gale F. Trapp, Medford
Voting yes on 30
I know that there is opposition to Measure 30. But there are people behind those tax dollars, too.
Right now there are men and women trying to take care of their spouses who have Alzheimer's. How will they survive without Senior Services? Or the teachers preparing lesson plans. Will they have jobs after Feb. 4, 2004?
And, finally, everyone who lives in Oregon. Without the state police, we'll be putting out the welcome mat to every criminal in the country. Please join me in voting yes on Measure 30. ' Diana McCloud, Medford
Wrong time to vote no
This is the wrong election to vote no; you need to vote no to the incumbents in the next election to get the change and accountability you want. A no on Measure 30 hurts children, the elderly and the needy, and does nothing to make our representatives in Salem stop the infighting.
We also need to send a clear message to outsiders like Dick Armey from Texas to take a hike by taking care of ourselves, our children and Oregonians. Oregon leads the country in doing the right thing, so we need to tell outsiders to stay out of our business.
Vote yes on Measure 30 and then get real change when it counts in the next election. By cutting out a pack, a six pack or a latte a week you will make a difference to our children and needy. ' Tom Owens, Medford
Our children are listening
In the story Horton Hears a Who, the mob is chanting, boil that dust speck, boil that dust speck! ' an act that would destroy the world of Who-ville and every Who in it.
What saved the Whos? Every single person uniting together and yelling with one voice, We're here, we're here!
We are at such a crossroads here in Oregon. We need to raise our voices in a united shout through exercising our right to vote.
We need every single person to vote yes on Ballot Measure 30. Shout yes to our children, who are our future, and to our teachers, who support our children despite the numerous obstacles they face daily.
We need to speak with a mandate and let them, our children and teachers, know that we care. We're here.
One voice, one vote can make a difference. Be sure you're heard. Our children are listening. ' Lee Maddox, Medford