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Letters to the editor

Teachers' benefit package

I can't help but wonder if there's a correlation between a school teacher's benefit package and the high number of students in a classroom. Are the teachers and their unions causing our tax dollars to go to the wrong place? ' Chuck Brook, Medford

Butte Falls' eyesore

Butte Falls' historical small town charm is quickly disappearing.

Two weeks ago, I drove through Butte Falls and it was the same beautiful town that I'd always remembered. Today when I drove through, I nearly wrecked when I discovered that the quaint little Totem Pole cafe had become a bright orange eyesore with a pink door. Apparently it is under new ownership, and is now called El Presidente. It looks like a Nevada bordello.

Doesn't Butte Falls have zoning restrictions to preserve the historic atmosphere of their sleepy hamlet? The town has gone from beautiful to unseemly in a matter of days. It's made me seriously rethink my route to the lakes.

Perhaps the new owners will see this letter and realize that they've done a gross injustice to the town of Butte Falls. Or perhaps the town of Butte Falls will read this and discover that they need to take action to keep people coming through. Either way, I hope someone does something. ' Jay Boogman, Medford

Test scores add up

Surprised by low test scores? You shouldn't be. Oregon has America's highest absentee rate. If parents can't get kids to school, teachers can't educate them.

— Also, research proves overcrowded classrooms are detrimental to learning, yet local districts have the highest class sizes in the state. Finally, students face no consequences for failing state tests, while on meaningful ones, such as the SAT, they do just fine ' tops in the nation over the last 20 years. ' Mack Lewis, Central Point

No separation

We are told by some there should be separation of church and state. I disagree. Article I of our Constitution states: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. Get it, the free exercise. The courts and judges have overstepped their authority.

Some believe Jefferson had a belief of separation; not so, as he attended church services in the Capitol!

The Constitution of the United States was signed by George Washington, in the year of our Lord. When he became president, he put his hand on an open Bible and said, So help me God.

Read the history of America. The Bible was called the great political textbook.

When the Constitution was being formed, Ben Franklin rose to speak. We have been assured, sir, in the sacred writings that except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it.

Then he told the delegates they needed to pray for the assistance of heaven and its blessings on their deliberations every morning before they proceeded to business.

Does this sound like separation of church and state? ' D. Maurer, Central Point

Stereotyping students

If two young ladies from Ashland or Medford had recently arrived in Japan or India or Israel to attend school as exchange students I do not think the local news media would headline this event Christians come to New Deli High (see Ashland Daily Tidings of Sept. 1) or subtitle, For three Christian students, etc. (see Mail Tribune of Sept. 2).

I would rather think they would be identified as Americans, and wonder if this brand of stereotyping does not contribute to the religious wars in which we now seem to be engaged. ' Mary L. Hartmann, Ashland

Waiting for tanks, grenades

I read with great excitement about the Labor Day Machine Gun Shoot at the Josephine County Sportsman's Park in the Sept. — Tempo and eagerly await notice of public grenade throws and tank test drives. ' Susan Peck, Ashland

Election letters

Fair and balanced?

Arnold gives a stellar speech, the first lady does fantastic, and what do you decide to print on the front page? Kerry/Edwards signs are being stolen in Medford, so say the Democrats.

Wow, edge-of-your-seat reporting by the Mail Tribune. I seem to remember much more hoopla about the DNC a few weeks ago.

Fair and balanced? I think not. About 1,500 people have been arrested protesting Bush in New York. Did we hear of such ludicrous things being done by Republicans in Boston?

And therein lies the difference between the two parties: One is a bunch of left-wing loonies, the other trying to save the rest of us from such lunacy. ' Jason Ferrer, Central Point

Intolerance in Ashland

Over the past six weeks, we have had 13 Bush-Cheney yard signs stolen from our yard in Ashland. When the last sign was stolen, I was awakened at midnight by the sound of an idling car. When I opened the front door, I was greeted by a middle finger speeding away and words encouraging my wife and I to move out of Ashland (nicely put).

This is very discouraging to us because we are very fond of Ashland. Unfortunately, our town has been overtaken by a number of liberal radicals that have distorted the principles upon which our great country was founded. What is more American than the First Amendment to our U.S. Constitution?

Many liberals like to proclaim that they are tolerant and accepting of other cultures and beliefs; the fact is, when someone takes an opposing viewpoint to them, they oftentimes react with the utmost intolerance. ' Ryan Lipe, Ashland

Commitment and integrity

One thing that disappointed me about Bill Clinton was that though he was against the war in Vietnam, he did not protest it in this country ostensibly because that would hurt his political aspirations. He was too intelligent to make a sacrifice.

I was disappointed in Dan Quayle and George W. Bush because they saw themselves as people of privilege and, like Clinton, felt sacrifices should be made by those ontologically less valuable than themselves. They both used the National Guard to appear patriotic yet avoid the possibility of going to war.

John Kerry volunteered for riverboat duty in Vietnam where being a target for even one day was more than most of us would do. When he realized the war was wrong he protested it as fervently as he fought it.

That's not flip-flopping, that's commitment and integrity. I want a president who is willing to commit himself personally. ' Joe Barrett, Central Point

War involves sacrifice

Needless to say, everybody grieves at the loss of life and understands the trauma this imposes on the families and friends of those killed in action. What is missing is getting this all in perspective.

Acknowledging that this is war, truly a war, would go a long way toward this objective. I'm talking about this war against terrorism.

The generations that fought in World War II, Korea and Vietnam know that sacrifice is common and predictable in war. Showcasing a mother who is grieving over the loss of a son is touching but presents the notion that this didn't have to happen.

Hundreds of thousands of men and women are in the armed forces and know what might come their way. That includes death. This has always been and will always be so. Good and wonderful people have always died to perpetuate our freedoms.

What would this present media obsession in showcasing the loss of one person possibly do in a repeat of World War II, where the losses were in the hundreds of thousands? I feel that we are living in a time when present generations are unconcerned and ignorant of history and the sacrifices of their grandfathers' time. ' Bill Foy, Jacksonville

Give back 9/11

One in five delegates at this week's convention are millionaires; so what?

There are certain things you can't buy. The 9/11 tragedy is on that list. We as a people own that day, not one party.

It is absolutely disgusting and disgraceful that the GOP thinks that they can use this terrible event to drum up votes. However, this is not new to the Bush team, as they have spotlighted Sept. 11 in recent campaign ads.

I realize that the president's time in office has been nothing but a colossal waste of time and tax money, but Bush should at least talk about what he might want to do with the next four years, assuming he can steal another election.

Why is this administration so afraid to talk about issues? Catch phrases and slogans are good for fortune cookies, not national policy. ' Christopher Williamson, Ashland

Who's flip-flopping now?

So who is a flip-flopper now? Bush recently stated in an interview that he didn't think that the United States can win the war on terrorism. A few days later he reversed himself in a speech to a foreign wars veteran group. Does he think that American voters have confidence in that type of leadership?

I don't. Kerry gets my vote in November, and my 73-year-old mom is voting for him, too! ' Susan Jordan, Talent