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Iraqis still oppose us

It's really sweet that polls show Iraqis are optimistic (Opinion by Steven E. Moore, Friday). Unfortunately numerous polls, including one done for the Coalition Provisional Authority, have found that they are also overwhelmingly opposed to the occupation. ' Michael Steely, Medford

Restore common sense

So the people of East Medford are losing pets. Cougars and bears walking down the streets. Deer and elk populations at almost criminal lows (ask any hunter).

How did this all come to pass?

Back when the wildlife was managed by the Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, instead of dictated by PETA and the voting bloc represented by Portland, our cougar and bear levels were maintained at an acceptable and sustainable level. The rampant proliferation of bear and cougar is a direct result of banning the most effective method of hunting these animals ' hound dogs.

And now the state wants to introduce wolves to Oregon. Yeah, there's a good idea.

Repeal the ban on hunting dogs and say no to introducing wolves. Let's restore some common sense and balance to our state. ' Larry Schatz, White City

Jobs are there

In the line of the times article in the MT Oct. 21, it asked, where are the jobs? There are signs all over Medford saying now hiring and, as usual, in the classified section of the paper there are in excess of 150 jobs offered.

Where are the jobs? Everywhere! Of course for most jobs, one must take a drug test ' that loses about 50 percent of the applicants right there. Then one must be paid for what they think they are worth ' there goes about 25 percent more; then the employers expect one to be at work on time and put in a full day's work for a full day's pay ' there goes another 15 percent.

Then when a company wants to settle in the Rogue Valley and hire workers, they are protested right out of town! There go the rest of the jobs.

We wouldn't want to see these corporations get any kind of tax break or a break on fees to locate here; after all they are making too much money already, even if they are the ones with the jobs. Wake up, people. I would ask a different question. Have you ever been hired by a poor person? ' Rick Schefers, Shady Cove

Choice is a gift

Choice is a gift from God. Some people make good choices ' some bad. We are not their judge and neither is the government. There is only one judge and we will all stand before him in the end. He can handle it. Don't try to take over his job. ' Linda Allphin, Central Point

Thanks for support

Many thanks to all the people who donated or purchased items in our recent Jackson County Special Olympics yard sale. This sale was a wonderful success ' thanks to everyone who participated. A special thank you goes out to all the volunteers. ' Clyde Halfhill, bowling coach, Jackson County Special Olympics

Council shouldn't endorse

In my opinion, a resolution that either opposes or supports a state initiative ballot measure has no business on our City Council agenda.

As an informed voter, I believe that I have the right to my opinion, which may or may not be in agreement with the City Council. As a citizen of the city of Ashland, I do not approve of the City Council resolving that all citizens of the city of Ashland believe as they do. When I cast my vote, then is when my opinion is heard.

The City Council is elected to represent the citizens in conducting city business and council members should limit their powers to this rather than using their position to promote or oppose a state measure. ' Barbara Christensen, city recorder, city of Ashland

The president's visit: Readers comment

It wasn't the Democratic Party

Jackson County Republican Chairman Brian Platt and I have an agreement not to organize demonstrations against our opposing candidates. The recent demonstrations were not organized by the Jackson County Democratic Central Committee.

There is no need. The Bush administration by its behavior demonstrates well its attitude towards civil liberties.

The police over-reaction in Jacksonville and the unseemly treatment of the three women at the Expo are prime examples. It was not a Democratic ploy. What will the teachers tell their pupils? ' Bill Layton, White City, chairman, Jackson County Democratic Central Committee

City's statements misleading

In Thursday's Mail Tribune, Jacksonville City Administrator Paul Wyntergreen claims the decision to order riot cops to force protesters east of the Third Street wasn't anticipated and thus unavoidable. Are we supposed to accept this as a reason for an aggressive assault on peaceful protesters?

While Bush was ushered to the Jacksonville Inn through an alley, demonstrators remained along California Street. Are we supposed to believe that only after the president finished dining did it occur to the police that protesters needed to be moved?

What were the responsible law enforcement agencies doing while Bush was eating dinner?

Clearly, there was a sizable period of time where the choice to communicate with demonstrators was wide open. Instead, the agencies chose to use riot police to aggressively push legally assembled children, seniors, and citizens on the sidewalk.

Police chose to shoot less-than-lethal weaponry, the same that killed a college student in Boston this week. Police chose to use batons, shove people in the back, to intimidate and terrorize law-abiding citizens that never imagined fear would be used to silence their voice. Sheriff Winters and Paul Wyntergreen aren't telling the whole story and their statements are not only misleading, they are deceitful. ' Grady Boyd, Ashland

Fortunate to have Towe

We would like to offer our understanding of Police Chief Towe's role in the demonstration control incident last Thursday night.

When President Bush changed his dinner plans at the last moment to eat at the Jacksonville Inn, Chief Towe was instructed by the Secret Service to clear the area in three minutes. The aggressive way this was done by the riot squad was not his decision; however, being in the chain of command, he automatically bears some responsibility.

In our interactions with Chief Towe, he has always spoken and acted respectfully and responsively to residents and visitors to Jacksonville. He has gone out of his way to be friendly and it is to his credit that, after our many conversations, we have absolutely no idea where he stands politically. We are fortunate to have such a cool-headed and warm-hearted person in charge of our police force. ' Barbara Casey and Robert Sorrell, Jacksonville

Amazed by reporting

I was amazed by the reporting about the rally against President Bush when he visited Jacksonville.

We went to Jacksonville that evening to hopefully get a glimpse of our president. We crossed the main road to get closer to the Jacksonville Inn when chanting protesters with black-painted faces arrived.

They surrounded us with their presence and their body odors. But we were still in the front line of that alleyway.

After about 10 minutes, security personnel asked us all to move across the street so they could close that portion of the sidewalk. We moved as asked, but the noisy, smelly crowd stayed.

We later walked home and were amazed when we watched our local news on TV that night. It could all have been avoided if they had respected the authority of the law.

I can't say how many times they might have been asked to move. But I do know they were asked at least once, long before it got ugly. (Maybe they were trying to get something to happen so they could get into the paper the next day.)

I guess they deserved what they got. Your reporters must learn to report honest, factual information without bias. ' Judy Calhoun, Jacksonville

Get facts straight

Allen Hallmark of Ashland states in a letter how appalled he is about the treatment of the protesters down in Jacksonville. I don't know how they were treated; I wasn't there. However, he states that Probably the president complained about the noise.

He must not have read the story about the president staying at the Jacksonville Inn. The owner said that the president and Mrs. Bush offered to leave so as not to disturb the other patrons. The owner said they could handle it. I'm sure the owner would confirm that if asked.

That doesn't sound to me as though the president complained. Please get your facts straight before making public statements. ' Norma Handbury, Rogue River

Unprepared for dissent

Yes, it's true, the Bush campaign tightly screens the audiences attending his rallies. I was able to get a ticket to the president's rally by giving my name, address and identification, but was subsequently denied entry to the Jackson County Expo event at the first security checkpoint. I was wearing a Republicans for Kerry button.

This encounter, along with that of others, especially three women who were removed from the rally for wearing T-shirts displaying the radical statement Protect our Civil Liberties, should have everyone questioning George Bush's standing as an American. (The Kerry campaign has followed no such screening protocol.)

W's latest reason for invading Iraq is to spread democracy and freedom, but in his own campaign he lacks the fortitude to demonstrate the hard work of honoring our own democratic Constitution's First Amendment: freedom of speech.

Of course, a president who averages less than four press conferences a year doesn't get much practice receiving criticism, and is unprepared for handling any form of healthy American dissent. The scripted play in which this man shows himself to the American people is more fitting for the monarch of fantasyland than the President of the United States. ' Joseph Bova, Ashland

Should have shot sooner

My family was privileged to be in Jacksonville the night of the president's visit and witnessed history in our community. We saw the protesters clash with police.

After demonstrating an enormous amount of patience and tolerance with the unruly protesters, I can only criticize the police for two things: They should have shot the pepper balls sooner and high-fived each other while reloading! ' S. Johnson, Jacksonville

Unprovoked police violence

The unprovoked police violence in Jacksonville Thursday night is yet another example of the increasingly frequent use of force to suppress peoples' free speech rights. This was a rally of people from all over the Rogue Valley who came together to petition the government for redress of grievances, a right guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution.

All in attendance remained peaceful at all times. The crowd included people of all ages including families with young children, elders and numerous high-school students. All were on the sidewalk as directed by police.

Suddenly and without warning, an elder man was knocked to the ground; another man (attempting to shield him) was shot in the back with projectiles, pepper spray filled the air and the police began to move forward in lockstep with batons raised, striking those in front of them.

Look at this country. What have we become when those who exercise their right to free speech are met with police violence? These attacks on our local citizenry were unprovoked, unnecessary and egregious. People, especially the children, were traumatized.

The perpetrators should be disciplined. We must demand a country where it is safe to practice democracy. ' Jason Clark, Ashland

Vote on Nov. 2

I saw an article about the protesters in Jacksonville wearing anti-Bush material. The leader of the group was upset about how those protesters were treated.

If their party was in charge of the White House, their Secret Service would have done the same thing.

Let's do one thing and one thing only on Nov. 2 ' go and vote in this election, and allow your feelings to be heard all over this county, state and this country. If you do not vote, then do not complain about what happens, because you did not do your duty as a citizen of this country. ' Tim Shults, Medford

No exit

I recently attended the George W. Bush rally in Central Point. Getting in was relatively easy, as I got my tickets early on. I have heard stories of loyalty oaths, however.

My main concern, though, is the fact that once we were allowed into the rally, we were locked in. There were gates piled up and the Secret Service and local police officers surrounded the outside perimeter.

The excuse we were given as to why we could not leave is because of the security of the president. I saw several people becoming weak and throwing up inside, and I overheard them saying that they couldn't leave.

I understand the security and safety they were trying to give to Mr. Bush, but to deny us exit is ridiculous. They should have told us before we entered that we would not be able to leave, instead of caging us behind fences. ' Monika Garner, Eagle Point

He could look it up

So W claims he is for freedom. He claims this is one reason why our soldiers are dying in Iraq. Yet, simply wear a T-shirt with the words Protect Our Civil Liberties, (considered obscene in his supporters' eyes) ' and get thrown out of a free political gathering.

Maybe he needs to look up the word freedom in a dictionary. I bet the teachers his cohorts evicted could have explained the word to him. ' Jeff Kyker, Medford

Cornerstone forgotten

At Thursday's rally President Bush said that he believes that liberty is God's gift to all people.

Before thousands of supporters, he passionately made the case for this cause, even as three women wearing T-shirts with the slogan Protect our civil liberties were escorted out. The women said they sought only to express silently their advocacy for human rights.

The right of free speech is the First Amendment to the Constitution. Our nation's founders considered it the right from which all other blessings of liberty spring.

Even Jesus, whom the president says he worships, had differences with people opposed to his view of salvation, yet he never stopped talking to them.

President Bush has forgotten the cornerstone of our American democracy and the loving tolerance of Jesus. How can he espouse the cause of democracy and liberty abroad when he doesn't welcome dissent at home? ' Jonah Bornstein, Ashland

Is this China?

I was horrified to learn that the now-standard Bush administration procedure of removing peaceful protesters who disagree with administration policy has shown its ugly face in Southern Oregon. Free speech, it seems, is now seen as not only unpatriotic but actually illegal if one disagrees with the current government.

Anyone who has studied history knows that this is typical in nondemocratic, authoritarian countries, but in America we have long been proud of our tradition of free speech. Shame on Jackson County for sending in sheriff's deputies in riot gear to disperse peaceful protesters. This show of excessive and needless force, resulting in physical injuries, represents a form of state-sponsored terrorism against citizens.

Is this China, or is this the home of the free? ' Maureen Hicks, Ashland

Bush's America

My family and I were part of a group of folks waiting in Jacksonville for President Bush to return from the political rally held at the Expo on Thursday night. Most of us wanted to express our opposition to Bush policies.

Being long-time residents we were greeted by many friends and neighbors; the mood was light and congenial.

When the Bush motorcade was about to enter town things changed drastically.

What ensued was Orwellian; a cadre of black uniformed, baton-wielding storm troopers overwhelmed the area. They proceeded to shove and intimidate people in what appeared to be an effort to insulate the Bush convoy from contact with the people or dissent.

I will concede the necessity to protect the president, but this was excessive.

While walking home the overwhelming comment was, How this could happen in Jacksonville? My only thought was, Welcome to Mr. Bush's America. ' Cathey Dodero, Jacksonville

Self-righteous hypocrisy

An American veteran attended the Bush rally wearing a Stop Torture T-shirt. Before he was thrown out, members of the Wimer Christian Fellowship joined together and blocked the president's view of his unpatriotic message. The enemy's going to find its way in, quipped one of the Christian patriots.

Don't challenge this president or exercise your rights. Otherwise so-called Christians will stigmatize you as the enemy. Such self-righteous hypocrisy is disgusting and dangerous. ' Scott Morrell, Medford

Isn't this a democracy?

We wouldn't have minded the president coming to Medford so soon after his last visit except for two issues: First, it cost Jackson County a lot of money and it cost all U.S. taxpayers a lot of money. Even that wouldn't be too bad, but the second problem is that not all citizens were welcome to come hear the president speak.

It is hard to believe that a U.S. president would exclude anyone who isn't willing to sign a loyalty oath avowing support of Bush in the election! Didn't we get rid of loyalty oaths after McCarthy? Isn't this a democracy where all are allowed to have free choices and free speech?

If we were among the undecided, this certainly would make us decide on John Kerry and John Edwards! When they come to town it does cost us something (but not nearly as much as Bush/Cheney), but at least all are welcome to attend. ' Larry and Judy Gourley, Rogue River