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Unanswered question

Regarding Steven Gutkin's Associated Press story of Sept. 26, Gutkin misstates The big unanswered question ...

The indispensable, big unanswered question is: When will the Arabs recognize Israel's right to exist? Although Israel has been a member of the U.N. since 1948, 20 of the 22 Arab states still don't recognize Israel. The two that do are Jordan (which does not allow Jews to live in the country) and Egypt (in which the state-controlled press incessantly vilifies Jews/Israel).

If the Palestinians sincerely want a state of their own next to Israel, I suggest a new gambit: Arafat calls an Arab summit and begs the heads of all Arab states to recognize Israel as an independent Jewish state. Then he lobbies hard all EU leaders to pressure all Arab heads of state to recognize Israel as an independent Jewish state. Then everyone pressures the Palestinians and Israelis.

We hear and read regularly that military superiority is not the answer. Citing a U.N. report, the Seoul Times writes that the Arab population of 280 million today will exceed 400 million by 2020. In the absence of legitimacy in the eyes of its belligerent neighbors, how can Israel's 5 million Jews feel secure? ' Gerry Mandell, Ashland

Where's the logic?

In a recent article about the new rides the OSP get to race around in (Stealth Troopers Sept. 24). I was taken down memory lane to a time when the state budget was tight and dozens if not hundreds of state troopers were being laid off or let go.

But all of a sudden, they get newer, faster, unmarked, Christmas trees on wheels. I call them Christmas trees on wheels for their wide array of colors decking out every square inch of the patrol unit.

But don't think that I'm just ranting and raving because I now have to have another eye on an unmarked gray/silver Impala, I just happen to have logic and don't see any here. Take OSP Superintendent Ron Ruecker's and Lt. Kurt Barthel's word on the matter before you listen to me. And then you decide: Where's the logic? ' Jesse Riley, Medford

Jobs vs. environment

Rentals and home prices are totally out of whack with the area's income, but instead of calling on those owning rentals to bring down the prices, you call on business owners to raise their workers' wages. I don't know of many small-business owners who can pay employees &

36;45,000 a year.

Oregon's dismal economy is due to small business going out of business because they have to pay their basic employee, sometimes a living-at-home teenager, &

36;8 per hour! We tell Wal-Mart and Home Depot, don't come here with your low-paying jobs (haven't the last four minimum-wage increases been so minimum wage is more liveable?) Manufacturing companies can't move here because we have mighty clean air!

Until this town figures out whether good-paying jobs are important or environmental concerns, we will have high prices because Californians move here and have the money. Oregon doesn't need more minimum-wage increases to pay high-schoolers, new employees or the barely trained a living wage.

You want living-wage jobs? Stop keeping the companies that can afford to pay them from moving to here. ' T. Dalton, Central Point

A study in contrast

How serendipitous that the Watsons' letter slamming George Will was in the paper on the same day that Will put forth a particularly cogent column. His offering on the subject of Iran embodied everything I look for on the opinion page. I found it well reasoned, non- ideological and thought-provoking.

Molly Ivins' column on the lower half of the page was a study in contrast. (I have to assume that Molly's column elicits a warm glow in the Watson household when they finish laughing at George.) Fully one third of today's effort was a quotation lifted from Thomas Frank's recent book, the middle section was a fulmination on the machinations of those nasty Republicans (every one of which could have been leveled against Democratic politicians), and she closed with a naked plug for a book by two of her friends.

Come on, Molly, quit mailing it in. You are paid handsomely for your commentary. ' Ken Schmidt, Medford

Terrorists or freedom fighters

The Iraqi militants fighting the United States could be called terrorists or freedom fighters depending on which side you are on. During the time the Germans occupied France in the 1940s they spent a lot of resources because of the war-like activities of a few French heroes. Again it depends on which side you were on.

The Russians were more organized than either the French or the Arabs in Iraq. They, partially equipped with American arms, helped push the occupying German army to the west.

Last, but not least, we have the name Quisling. He tried to set up a new government, friendly to Hitler. Quisling is a name now synonymous with the word traitor.

Let's see now, who is the United States trying to install as the new head of the government in Iraq? How many terrorists have powerful positions in the government of Israel? ' G. Simpson, MedfordElection letters

Facts, not bias

To our Republican friends, the following are facts, not biased Democratic opinions:

U.S. loss of world trust.

Broken treaties.

The deficit is more than &

36;7.3 trillion.

Lies about weapons of mass destruction costing over 1,000 American lives, thousands wounded, not counting tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis killed or permanently disabled.

Global warming going unchecked.

Broken world treaties.

Social Security and Medicare in jeopardy.

Millions out of work.

Millions have no health care.

Schools and teachers not being properly funded.

Millions under poverty level.

Extremely high energy prices to hundreds of millions.

Medicine and health care very high, especially for the elderly.

Torture of prisoners.

Bankruptcies soaring.

Outsourcing jobs.

Credit cards maxed out.

The very rich getting richer and more powerful and the middle class and poor getting poorer. The United States has never been so divided since the Civil War.

A country divided cannot stand. ' Don Schnitzer, Medford

Vote for Buckley

With Dr. Alan Bates leaving Oregon House District 5 and about to win the state Senate seat in Senate District 3, the voters in Ashland, Phoenix, Talent, the Applegate Valley and parts of Medford have a clear choice for state representative.

That choice is Peter Buckley by a landslide.

Peter Buckley is precisely the perfect person to represent this district at this time when strong, decisive new voices are so needed in Salem.

I have never met a candidate with a more positive, cheerful, and enthusiastic personality than Peter Buckley. If you want a candidate with the ability to communicate, to reach across party lines to develop working relationships that can help get state government working for the people again, then vote for Peter Buckley on Nov. 2. ' Allen Hallmark, Ashland

Call for apology

Hey, liberally-biased Tribune, shouldn't you write an article calling for Rather to apologize to President George Bush? ' J. Mueller, Medford

Swatting at flies

The 9/11 Commission found the Bush administration lacked the imagination to prevent the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

President Bush was briefed six times within a few months of 9/11 on provocative intelligence showing al-Qaida operatives were active in the U.S. Two August 2001 briefs inferred that Osama bin Laden planned to hit the U.S. and two terrorists were here.

Why didn't Bush demonstrate presidential leadership and demand the FBI investigate? Bush said he didn't want to be swatting at flies or lobbing Cruise missiles at bin Laden camps in Afghanistan like Bill Clinton.

His flippant comment is a profound indicator of why he's an irresponsible and untrustworthy leader. Bush's inaction causes real independent voters to believe that he purposefully ignored the forewarnings knowing a horrible tragedy would inflame the fearful paranoid flag waving or nationalism he needed in becoming Commander Bush, the Iraq War president! ' Richard W. Altig, Talent

A can of worms

The ballot initiatives are a real can of worms! For the most part, this year's crop comes from folks with an ideological bone to pick. A no vote on all them would do no harm and yes on many will guarantee a waste of our taxes to pay for their consequences.

Instead, send our most effective legislator, Alan Bates, to the Senate. Peter Buckley also has the skill and energy to work for a return to serious governance in the Oregon House, as does John Doty. They will work to reform Oregon's revenue system and return Salem to people-centered lawmaking.

It's time we voted for such candidates committed to defending our interests against those more concerned with undermining our shared heritage of good government. Let's end the decade of mismanagement that is Oregon's shame.

Don't fool around with the initiatives ' send Bates, Buckley and Doty to Salem. ' Nan Trout, Ashland

Vote, people

When the Supreme Court of the United States voted to stop the count in Florida in the last election, they rendered a decision that put George W. Bush in the White House. We now live with the realities and consequences of that decision.

In November the people have the opportunity to change the direction of our country and our choice is clear. We can vote for a new direction or we can continue to suffer more of what we now endure: a massive debt, a pre-emptive war that we are losing, a sluggish economy and the loss of our country's respect in the world.

Thomas Jefferson gave us all hope when he said, ... though written constitutions may be violated in moments of passion or delusion, yet they furnish a text to which those who are watchful may again rally and recall the people. So vote, people, vote! ' Walter Schmidt, Jacksonville

Vote no on 37

The poll showing local support of Measure 37 tells me people are not reading the fine print. Measure 37 would pit neighbor against neighbor every time someone insists on their right to erect a motocross track, rendering plant, convenience store, anything that disrupts a once-predictable neighborhood, insuring endless lawsuits at huge cost to taxpayers.

Uneven rules would either lower property values or make investments unpredictable. Added bureaucrats will be hired to determine who bought property, when, and what the laws were at the time. Permitting for everyone would slow. A few people would benefit at enormous cost to most of us.

The measure provides no money so the result would certainly be cuts in key services such as public safety and education. It's a badly written measure, even the title is deceptive. Spare taxpayer wallets, prevent lawsuits and protect your property values, vote NO on Measure 37. ' Nancy Ames Cole, Ashland

Supporting Densmore

Thousands of us responded recently to prevent the proposed scrapping of our air-quality rules. We thousands should keep in mind the fact that Dr. Dave Gilmore supports our clean-air rules and that Jack Walker does not, and that the critical swing vote in the future on our county Board of Commissioners will therefore be either C.W. Smith or Sue Densmore.

Mr. Smith has made clear in speeches and on his Web site that he, like Mr. Walker, does not support our clean-air rules. Mrs. Densmore, on the other hand, has also made clear, like Dr. Gilmour, that she supports clean air and preservation of all of our current air-quality rules. We will therefore have either 2 out of — for dirty air or 2 out of — for clean air.

I choose clean air and Sue Densmore. Please join me in supporting Densmore for county commissioner. ' Cond? Cox. Jacksonville

Vote yes on 36

Three good reasons to vote for Measure 36:

1. It affirms what most Oregonians believe: That marriage is defined as a life-long commitment of one man and one woman.

2. It inserts language into our state constitution which defines marriage for county officials and judges within the state. No longer will a circuit court judge be able to declare thousands of gay marriages legal with the stroke of a pen.

3. It seeks clarity and common sense. We live in confusing and complicated times. If gay marriage is allowed, what's next? The legalization of polygamy? Please vote yes on 36! ' Larry Jung, Jacksonville

No on Measure 36

Separation of church and state does not mean we are a godless nation. Far from it.

We are a nation of many individuals, holding a variety of cherished beliefs. A cornerstone of the freedom to believe and worship is freedom from governmental imposition of one creed or article of faith to the exclusion of all others.

Some religions forbid smoking, drinking or dancing. Others worship with music and dance.

Some forbid divorce. Others permit it.

Some require certain styles of dress. Some direct eating or abstaining from certain foods. Some bar work on different days of the week.

Matters of faith are inherently private and not the business of government.

I am ever grateful to live in a country where we all enjoy freedom of conscience. I urge a no vote on Measure 36, to preserve this precious freedom. ' Elizabeth K. McCarthy, Ashland

Elect John Doty

Your option for the House District 6 race is to elect a fresh face with energetic new ideas and a lifetime commitment to the quality of life in this valley (John Doty) or to elect a career politician/real estate developer whose background and beliefs sometimes put him at odds with the shared interest of valley citizens (Sal Esquivel); to elect someone with the intelligence to understand that simple solutions have gotten this valley nowhere (Doty) or someone who has publicly stated he believes in common and simplistic answers to budgetary matters (Esquivel).

Republican control of the Legislature since 1990 has done nothing to address local problems. Take the time to compare Doty and his opponent. You'll find that Doty will put the needs of the citizens of this valley before anything else in Salem.

It is time for change ' elect John Doty to the Oregon House. ' Cynthia R. Wicklund, Medford

Custer was strong, too

I heard a drumbeat about a strong leader coming from the Republican convention. General Custer was a strong leader.

When a strong leader leads in the wrong direction, it's a disaster. Enough about a strong leader. I'm ready for a wise leader. ' Lamar Beatty, Central Point

Vote for Wheeler

Have you driven around downtown Medford lately? Great things are happening!

To ensure that the new and exciting vitality our city is experiencing continues, we will cast our vote for Gary Wheeler for Medford's next mayor.

Gary has a long and exceptional history of community service. We served with Gary on boards and committees and have witnessed his special ability to listen to the issues and create shared visions.

He has first-hand knowledge of the challenges facing our city through his tenure as chairman and current board member of the Medford Urban Renewal Agency, as well as his past participation on the city's Budget Committee and County Health Planning Council.

Gary Wheeler is a community asset. We are fortunate that someone of his intelligence and dedication is willing to unselfishly serve as Medford's next mayor. We urge a vote for Wheeler. ' Dennis and Judy Barr, Medford

Supporting Wheeler

This letter is being written in support of Gary Wheeler for mayor of Medford.

I have known Gary for over 20 years. As a lifelong resident of the valley he is deeply concerned about its quality of life and its future. He is a man of boundless energy. He would bring the kind of integrity to the office that we only dream of in a politician.

He has experience in leadership positions in numerous civic groups. He is a past president of the Chamber, Southern Oregon Historical Society, the Red Cross and the Urban Renewal Agency. He was a captain in the U.S. Army's Medical Service Corps.

Gary knows the issues. He knows how to lead. He knows how to listen. He knows how to get things done. Please vote for Gary Wheeler for mayor. ' Arnie Green, Medford

Vote for Smith

C.W. Smith has a good heart and a clear mind. During his years in public office, he has had a lot on his shoulders, but has always had time to listen to the people he serves and offer personal assistance.

As someone who has responded to life-and-death emergencies, Smith has learned how to handle pressure and to think quickly. At the same time, he is a visionary and knows how to investigate a situation, evaluate potential outcomes and develop long-term plans that make sense and move the vision forward.

I believe in C.W. Smith because he is honest and sincere. I encourage people in the community to vote for him in November, because he will make sure that our voices are heard and that fairness is practiced. ' Mike Mace, Medford

Who do you trust?

Republicans made character an issue.

Our current president dodged Vietnam through political connections, thus protecting his rear end. Kerry dodged bullets in protecting America.

Who do you trust? 'John Holseth, Phoenix

New president needed

Please don't be misled by President Bush's claims that he's doing all he can to protect us.

As revealed by the 9/11 Commission, the administration received a fairly specific warning from the CIA on Aug. 6, 2001, about a planned attack by bin Laden. They reacted by doing almost nothing. If they had warned the American people, perhaps a citizen might have noted some suspicious activity, reported it, and interrupted 9/11 before it happened.

The administration will not spend the money to inspect baggage loaded onto airliners or shipping containers coming into our ports, because that would mean reducing tax cuts for the wealthy. Because of pressure from the industry, the administration has also failed to require chemical plants to protect themselves against terrorist attacks that could kill millions.

We need a new president who will set America's priorities straight. We need to vote for John Kerry. ' Alan Reder, Rogue River

A dreadful shame

As I was reading the New York Review recently, a quotation by retired Gen. Anthony Zinni caught my eye.

In the lead-up to the Iraq war and its later conduct, I saw, at a minimum, true dereliction, negligence and irresponsibility; at worst, lying, incompetence and corruption. False rationales presented as a justification; a flawed strategy; lack of planning; the unnecessary alienation of our allies; the underestimation of the task; the unnecessary distraction from real threats; and the unbearable strain dumped on our overstretched military; all of these caused me to speak out .... I was called a traitor and a turncoat by Pentagon officials.

This is on page 30 of the Sept. 23 issue. The quotation is from James Bamford's book, A Pretext for War.

Apparently, the president is in thrall to the ideologues in the Pentagon and doesn't hear criticism of their plans. A dreadful shame. ' Don Reynolds, Ashland

Seeing the trend

I am beginning to see the trend already from Democrats! They are beginning to say, Well, maybe Kerry ain't the best, but he is better then what we have now.

You have not even got your man elected (if you can) and already you are starting to bash him. It appears to be a fault to just not like whoever is in charge. Take responsibility for your actions; at least support him and keep reservations private. I support my choice until he is defeated( if you can). ' Larry Williams, Central Point

Put them with the comics

If a person was to read the various letters to the editor about the presidential election, it would seem that Sen. Kerry has a big lead in the Rogue Valley. However, a careful analysis of them would reveal that they are mostly the result of a desperate writing campaign by the Democrats to attempt to sway undecided voters, and contain the same tired arguments over and over again.

Secondly, they are primarily centered on hatred of George Bush instead of any substantive ideas that would influence a thinking voter. Most independent voters have the intelligence to see through their motives. It might be a good idea to put the Kerry supporter letters on the comic pages. ' Chad Robinson, Medford

Support 17-3 for RCC

Being on staff at RCC has been the most rewarding career I can imagine. The students who enroll here are the hardest-working, most determined people I have had the privilege to meet. They strive to meet their individual goals and all who succeed have the opportunity to change their lives forever.

The bond levy on the November ballot will help expand the programs RCC can offer and free up money to support existing programs which otherwise may be cut due to the funding reductions in Salem. Please join me in supporting Measure 17-3 so that more Jackson County residents can have access to a great educational experience. 'Cindy Hauser, Central Point

The good old days

In response to D. Conley:

In the good ol' days women were not allowed to vote; it was legal to own African-Americans; one became a hero for slaughtering Native Americans. I choose to live in a nation that believes in equality for all: Native Americans, Caucasians, Asians, African-Americans, all races; Catholics, Buddhists, Baptists, Muslims, all spiritual beliefs; gays, heterosexuals, transgender, all people regardless of sexual preference; we are a nation that is founded on inclusion not exclusion.

Vote no on 36! Vote for equality!

Does anyone find it odd that the letters written regarding bestiality are written by those who use religion as an excuse for inequality? It never crossed my mind that sexual equality would involve animals. Maybe they know something I don't. ' Catherine Astell, Medford

We need change

We do need change in the 2nd Congressional District. Greg Walden is not representation. He wimps out when it comes to public debate and forums; even failed to respond to the National Political Awareness Test to give his position on issues that are important to us.

And for good reason. He can't defend his record or the administration he solidly backs.

Walden rides in the Pullman car of special interest. And behind him trail boxcars of record deficits, unfulfilled promises, a war for special interest and slashed social programs of foreign aid, space exploration, job training, community college training initiative, environment, health care, clean air, water, forests, wetlands, renewable resources, human services, Social Security, Medicare and local jobs.

See where John McColgan stands on the issues that count, go to vote-smart.org. Sorry, Greg Walden didn't respond, he's walking the dogs of the haves and have mores, his base. ' Gery Bargen, Medford

Maybe someday

I just wanted to get my 2 cents worth in about the upcoming presidential election.

Bush, blah, blah, blah. Kerry, blah, blah, blah.

Bush, sheesh! Kerry, unbelievable!

Last election, I voted against Gore. This year it looks as if I will be voting against Kerry.

Maybe someday we will have a choice other than bad or worse. ' Craig Ward, Jacksonville

Voting for Densmore

Creating a clean, healthy environment here in Southern Oregon does not mean we have to sacrifice jobs. In fact, protecting our wonderful environment is essential to growing our economy. Sue Densmore understands this and can help bring Jackson County stable, clean growth. That's why she's getting my vote come November. ' Richard Boucher, Jacksonville

Off the main road

As a society we seem to have gotten off the main road, spending our time on the bumpy detours of life. Who would have dreamed even as recently as 20 years ago that homosexuality would go from being a criminal offense to a protected activity, to defending marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

To suggest that our constitutional rights are based on our sexual preference is ludicrous. To have piggy-backed the civil rights movement, aligning a person's sexual preference, which can change, to a black person's unchangeable characteristics, is a brilliant ploy, but lacks one ounce of truth.

The liberal courts and the liberal media appear to be the willing tool of the homosexual agenda. An agenda that opens the floodgates to profound changes. Changes that most Americans find repugnant, and are being rejected at the ballot box. ' M. Stamper, Medford

Vote for Esquivel

Sal Esquivel served Medford for many years as a city council member. He was always fair and reasonable in his deliberations. He treats people with respect and he is responsive to his constituents. I believe Sal will commit wholeheartedly to the job of representing Southern Oregon citizens in Salem. Vote Sal Esquivel for state representative on Nov. 2. ' Patrick Huycke, Medford

Vote wisely

Politicians have this terrible habit of saying, I will. If they know what they are doing, they should say, I will try, or I want to.

They know they can't do anything without a lot of help from many others. If you can't tell the truth, don't say it.

There are those who keep persisting in sending the same people back to the same office to do the same thing ' nothing. Do they perhaps think that someday they will get it right?

Our votes are precious; know the candidate, vote wisely. ' Phyllis Sasse, Eagle Point

Afraid of 37

As an Oregon homeowner I'm afraid of Measure 37. The nest egg I've built up in my home could be destroyed in a moment if a bar or convenience store moves close by.

Also, as a taxpayer I would rather see my taxes going for education than for litigating claims brought under Measure 37.

Measure 37 doesn't reform anything. It only creates unreliability, confusion, and an unfair tax burden. If you are thinking of voting for Measure 37 please read it and make sure you understand it before you vote. ' Margaret Keene, White City