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It's the traffic!

Why do Medford city officials even look at Wal-Mart's new architectural plans? The problem is traffic, traffic, traffic! ' Billie Dickerson, Medford

Police need training

The Medford Police Department needs to review its domestic violence procedures and how it responds to mentally ill people. It looks like the only way that they know how to react is with a gun!

They could have prevented this. This isn't the first time this year that a mentally ill person has been shot in Medford. It's tragic that someone else was injured. Justin should have been placed in custody on the first call.

The Medford Police Department needs to review their training and procedures on domestic violence and handling of the mentally ill. I know this is a difficult subject but we all will be safer if the job is done right the first time.

This is something that we all should be concerned about. There must be other responses for working with a mentally ill person; a gun is not the answer.

Crisis-intervention training is needed for police officers to deal safely and effectively with individuals experiencing a psychiatric emergency, mental health crisis or serious behavioral health problems. Police officers protect the public safety and assist those unable to protect themselves and others from harm. For more information, see . ' W. Cufaude, Central Point

Must be misinformed

In response to Michael Hays' Dec. 26 letter, I may have been naive and misinformed, but I was not aware that there was a pro- vs. anti-superintendent slate of candidates for the last Ashland School Board election.

Each candidate's literature or campaign statements in the newspapers focused on issues of school funding, improved communications, school closures and program cuts. All stated they were concerned with present and long-range successful planning for our school district. Only Michael Hays, who was not elected, referred to an absence of effective leadership and management.

If Mr. Hays is correct, then I relied on the wrong information and I was deceived when I voted. I didn't know that the job performance of Juli DiChiro was an issue.

If there was a slate of anti-superintendent candidates, they should have been more forthcoming about this and a discussion would have happened at election time. The voters could have decided if this election was a referendum on the responsiveness of the schools' superintendent.

If the superintendent was not an issue, then Michael Hays has done a disservice to newly elected board members and our community by stating that they had a concealed agenda. ' Pat Turner, Ashland

U.S. losing ground

An article in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists states that non-OPEC oil production could plateau in five years. We would have to depend more on OPEC for our oil.

The U.S. is losing ground in education against countries across the globe. The U.S. gave out 60,000 engineering degrees; China gave 325,000 this year. India and China are challenging the U.S. role as the top innovator.

Our current economic expansion is built on the housing boom, government spending and tax cuts that gave 67 percent to the top 20 percent of taxpayers (&

36;129 billion this year). Wars could cost &

36;500-700 billion by 2010.

Income adjusted for inflation fell for workers. Our economic expansion has been slow to help the low and middle class.

Countries that depend on undervalued currencies and exports to grow their economies have led to a distorted global economy (large U.S. trade deficit, loss of good-paying manufacturing jobs and a hollowing out of the middle class in America). Countries need to shift from exports to develop their own domestic markets, to create a big middle class to afford what they make.

America imports &

36;23 billion in kids' toys each year. American households hold, on average, 12.7 credit cards. ' Art Gerds Jr., Yreka, Calif.

Send cow shooters to Iraq

If the teens who riddled defenseless cows and two unborn calves with bullets enjoy shooting so much, then send them to Iraq.

Let them take the place of a few of our troops who are risking their lives on a daily basis because they believe they are helping to make a safer place for future generations. Let these boys come face to face with someone who will be able to defend themselves and who will not hesitate to shoot back. The parents of these boys should be ashamed to acknowledge them as their sons. ' Suzanne Thomas, Jacksonville

Walden should vote no

Oregon families have much to lose in the current budget battle in Congress. The Budget Reconciliation Bill (S 1932) targets children, struggling families, people with disabilities, college students and the elderly. We are really dismayed that our representative, Greg Walden, was the only member of the Oregon congressional delegation who voted for this disastrous bill.

What will it take to convince Greg Walden that he should join his fellow Republican, Gordon Smith, with a wise vote to protect Oregon's interests?

Will he be moved by the painful facts of the bill? Child care will be cut; student loans will be slashed; health care for families will be diminished; enforcement of child support will be drastically reduced. What will it take to convince Walden to support our people instead of rubber-stamping President Bush's priorities?

There is still time to stop the passage of this bill. When Congress returns Jan. 9, the House will have to vote again on this bill. We want Greg Walden to see this as a vote of conscience and of common sense. Please urge him to vote no to prevent severe hardships that threaten our young and old. ' Rich Rohde, Ashland

MT's agenda inconsistent

In your thousandth editorial trying to discredit the city manager and planning director, titled Records were made to be open (Dec. 23) you have lost sight of the progress these men of high integrity have made on behalf of the municipality.

You had no such agenda of open government when for years your newspaper often did not send a reporter to cover school board meetings. How was it possible to accurately report policy decisions concerning school issues without consistent attendance at the policy meetings? Did the superintendent influence the news reporting more than the actual board meetings?

Is it possible the Mail Tribune had a special interest, at the time, with the schools that met your template then, but does not now with the city?

Certainly there have been some difficult decisions made by the city, but Medford is fortunate to have a city manager and planning director of such high caliber interested in fiscal responsibility and new ways of looking at a managed growth conversion from rural to urban.

Your recalcitrance will eventually hinder quality management from applying here, but community change is difficult ' even for the media. ' Joel Marks, Medford

When does it end?

Every day I get the newspaper and every day I read the far-left insanity: impeach Bush, Bush lied, war for oil and my favorite, kids are dying.

Well, I remind the liberals that our military is 100 percent volunteer and they are not kids, they are old enough to vote, go to jail, have babies, etc. Bush was given the same information that all of Congress acted on that started this war. The only war for oil that I've seen is the one on our very own soil against the environmentalists whackos keeping us from drilling our own oil.

Liberals should get some facts and quit showing us how blinded they've become over the hatred they have of our president. Maybe they should venture out and get their news from more than one Bush-hating source.

I have a nephew, Army Sgt. Zachary Lycett, in the 101st Airborne in Iraq on his second tour of duty; he is proud to be there, I am proud of him as you should be also. He volunteered shortly after 9/11.

Thank God for these heroes that don't cower and run as some show every day in their writing that is what they would do. ' Gene Kitchen, Eagle Point

Moeschl a must-read

For those who are interested in our artistic future, Richard Moeschl's weekly column on page 26 in the Dec. 30 Tempo is a must read. Although you'll find only a bit of his usual humor, the writing is entertainingly incisive. ' Bill Symonds, Phoenix