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Shaefer's dream self-serving

We were saddened when Rod Shaefer's orchard was leveled and are opposed to his dream of developing the property after a Thomas Kinkade painting.

Pheasant Meadows is already reminiscent of many Kinkade paintings. We in Pheasant Meadows loved having the orchard as our view. Entering Jacksonville from South Stage Road, the farmland is a wonderful, welcoming view.

We find Mr. Shaefer's dream to be very self-serving. He bought his land because he fell in love with what he saw and now he wants to change that.

There isn't a need for the kind of community he envisions. We already have Pheasant Meadows and Nunan Square. Adding another park so close to Pheasant Meadows and Doc Griffin parks is unnecessary.

Mr. Shaefer is concerned about providing financial security for his family, and we, his neighbors, believe organic farming would be ideal. Organic foods are the largest growth segment in the food industry and with the arrival of Amy's Natural Foods to the Rogue Valley his farm could be important in the organic farming industry. If Mr. Shaefer is truly concerned about giving to his community, he will seriously consider continuing with farming and retain the wonderful views that his property provides. ' Peggy and Mac Peffley and six other Pheasant Meadows residents, Jacksonville

Off base on Social Security

Kevin Drum (Jan. 2) is off about Social Security: Under the trustee's low cost projection (optimistic estimate) SS could remain solvent for 75 years if we enjoy high economic growth, increased birth rates, higher death rates, lower unemployment, higher inflation and interest rates and higher immigration rates. No one seriously believes these will all happen. So it's a matter of when, not if.

— But that's only half the story: 80 percent of today's wage earners pay more in SS taxes (&

36;11,000) than they do income taxes and rates have gone up nearly 40 times since SS's inception in 1935. The rate of return on SS contributions has dropped to about 2 percent, continues to fall and will actually be negative by the time today's workers retire.

SS isn't guaranteed and Congress can and will raise rates and lower benefits any time they want. I'm retired and will likely be dead before SS goes broke, but I still feel sorry for the worker today whose SS money is going into an enormous government rat hole.

I hope Drum is smart enough to have some other investments ' he's going to need them! More info at . ' Lee Morris, Medford

A few can make a difference

In today's world of instant gratification, why would 300 cars wait in line on a cold, foggy night for 30-45 minutes to get a glimpse of Christmas lights and say hello to Santa? I think the answer lies in the opportunity for parents to help their children learn the spirit of giving.

This year, the Greystone Court Food Drive, put on by the residents of Greystone Court, generated enough donations to feed over half the city of Medford for one day. I had the good fortune to be there each of the four nights before Christmas and see the faces of the families drinking in the spirit of the holidays and tackling hunger at the same time.

Thank you to all the residents of Greystone Court and volunteers for creating such a wonderful environment, and thanks to all those in our community who came out to share the experience. ' Philip Yates, ACCESS nutrition programs manager

Council has vision

I was pleased with your editorial of Jan. 6 in which the MT editorial staff finally acknowledged the fact that in Medford, the mayor is more of a ceremonial role. Yes, the real vision and leadership is with the City Council, although they rarely receive the credit.

It is interesting, though, that when vision is referred to, it usually is attributed to the mayor, yet when there is a decision that the MT frowns upon, it is the City Council only that is named in the editorial or story. Why is that? ' John Michaels, Medford