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Letters to the editor

A better response to rape

Clearing the Greenway is a dramatic sign that we want to do something about sexual assault. But most rapes don't happen in overgrown places by strangers. We must do more.

A staggering one out of every four women here will be sexually assaulted during her lifetime. Few will report the crime. Even fewer will see their assailants brought to trial.

We can change this.

Next month a new program will radically reshape the way sexual assault is treated in Jackson County. States with Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) programs show dramatic improvements in the quality of victim care and evidence collection, in the number of victims coming forward and in conviction rates.

In other words, the SANE program serves us all.

The victim's mother hopes publicity will raise community awareness. So before our outrage dies, let's give her reason to hope.

— Most states fund their SANE programs fully. In Oregon we must rely on you. To donate to the Jackson County Sexual Assault Response Team (SART), contact: Susan Moen, 43 Morninglight Drive, Ashland, OR 97520, silverwinglodge@charter.net. Other vital partners in the program, such as Community Works' SAVS advocates and Medford's Children's Advocacy Center, deserve consideration as well. ' Judith Rosen, Ashland

What price our greed for oil?

It would appear that once again we have succumbed to instant gratification and greed over temperance and long-range planning in the opening of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil prospecting.

There are a few facts that should have been considered in this egregious action. If North Slope policies are followed the oil will be sent to Japan and China rather than the continental U.S. It's cheaper to ship there than transport to the lower 48.

The 2,000-acre footprint is a misnomer. The USGS reports the reserves are most likely spread over the entire ANWR, not in a small acreage.

The potential reserve as promoted by the administration is the maximum potential ' 5 to 6 billion barrels is more likely. And of that we will not get it all. A 70 percent recovery of reserves is more likely.

It will take a minimum of five to seven years to attain production. This is a solution to our current energy crisis? We could achieve more by requiring all new vehicles to get — to 5 mpg betterment.

The current administration has no energy policy, only a plan to subsidize current energy producers at the expense of you and me. ' James F . Moore Jr., Ashland

Necessities, not luxuries

Anyone who lives on a budget can understand this: When you have extra money you allow yourself luxuries (like eating out). If you unexpectedly get injured or lose your job, however, you give up the luxury and use the extra money to pay expenses. It's disappointing, but you control yourself and do what makes sense.

George Bush doesn't understand this concept. He continues to lust after luxury items like Social Security reform and permanent tax cuts for the wealthy. These tax cuts were instituted when we had a surplus in the national budget. Since then, we have had unexpected expenses like a war with Iraq and Homeland Security.

In addition, there are several truly pressing issues that need to be addressed, such as: The amount of American children living in poverty, escalating health-care costs, reduced subsidies to small farmers and ranchers and an out-of-control national deficit (which will explode if Bush gets his luxuries).

As voters, we need to hold our elected officials accountable for their public stewardship. The next budget is currently being considered in Congress. Contact your congressperson about an issue you care strongly about ' let them know you expect them to pay for necessities, not luxuries. ' Tacy Rutherford, Talent

Conceding the war

The headline on the March 18 MT read, Smith leads budget showdown. This is followed by an AP story which says Sen. Smith led the fight against Medicaid cuts.

For this we should all thank the senator. Yet, having won the battle, Sen. Smith is ready to concede the war, for the article continues, Smith conceded the House-Senate compromise budget will likely contain some Medicaid savings (read: cuts) and said he will vote for it. Thus the funds for a program vital to the least well-off of our population will be cut.

We see more of the Republicans' plans for our nation later in this same article. While the president is running around the country saying the Social Security sky is falling, Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) is reported as follows: Bunning sponsored deep tax reductions and suggested it (the tax cuts) be used to roll back Social Security tax increases imposed on some higher-income recipients in 1993.

If I read that correctly, this means that the senator would worsen the financial condition of Social Security in order to line the pockets of the super rich. ' Don Reynolds, Ashland