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Measure won't lower prices

In the debate over Measure 37 one argument that struck a particular chord came from its supporters, who blamed Oregon's land-use system for skyrocketing real-estate values and the lack of affordable rural housing.

As the argument goes, the supply of cheap rural and suburban homes is limited by controlled growth, thereby driving up the price of what homes exist, leaving them out of reach for the regular Joe and his family. Enacting Measure 37 will flood the rural market with new homes and bring down the cost of these homes so everyone can afford one.

This is an opinion held by Oregonians in Action and even C.W. Smith. This idealized outcome of applying Measure 37 or loosening urban growth boundaries couldn't be further from reality. It relies upon overly simplistic supply/demand principles and ignores more prominent forces in the valley's real estate market: Low lending rates, speculation and large numbers of investors and wealthy buyers. More rural and suburban development will do nothing to make housing more affordable and will likely make it more expensive.

One doesn't have to look far to see where the Measure 37 argument fails. Are houses suddenly cheaper in Eagle Point? ' Dominic DiPaolo, Ashland

Thanks to a fellow soldier

This year my children told me that there were extra presents under the Christmas tree. Each of us received a surprise gift from A retired Marine. The kids were elated. My wife and I were in awe of the kindness from a fellow serviceman and his family.

We want to express our gratitude the retired Marine and his family for their service to our country and continued service to their community. In this time of turmoil it is refreshing to see peace on earth and good will towards man. ' Maj. Ray Hanosek, Central Point

U.S. is shortsighted

Correct me if I am wrong, but it is my understanding that any student of merit in all of the Western European countries can get his/her further education financed by government, without any problem and without any long-term financial burden. Here in the United States, we do not do this (student loans are not the answer to this). As a result, many students who could/should attend, never go to college or university. Are we not, as a country, a bit short-sighted in denying the bright but low-income students the ability to further their own education, presumably to the nation's benefit? It would probably benefit us all.

Hail to the imperialist presidency of King George and to a totally neglectful Congress! ' Bob Carson, Medford

Thanks for 'Candle' response

Thanks to JoNel Aleccia, writer of the Light One Candle series, and the generous readers of the Mail Tribune. Within 12 hours of JoNel's story appearing, my phone began to ring and people began arriving at the Ashland Police Department bearing gifts. An Ashland family received money for heating costs, numerous gift certificates, a gym membership for the daughter featured in the article, cans of cashews and nearly two cases of cashew butter.

I was the graced one who, on Christmas Eve, delivered the gifts on behalf of 14 anonymous contributors. One card, with a &

36;5 bill enclosed, written in the hand of a 6-year-old, said, Please buy the dad some cashew butter. Sharing that card with the family was a tender, tearful moment. Thanks to all of you for helping to instill hope where it had begun to falter.

Your kindness will long be remembered. ' Jan Janssen, Community Outreach, Ashland Police Department

Albany editorial appalling

An Albany Democrat-Herald editorial reprinted on Dec. 24 said that this administration isn't spying on Americans, it's conducting surveillance, and that we should be glad that it's doing so. It doesn't even raise the question of whether or not it's legal. That's what I found appalling about that editorial.

Our founding fathers didn't trust government. The whole purpose of having a constitutional republic is to place restrictions on what government can do in the name of patriotism and security. Our Constitution was forged out of war, and for several decades the security and even the existence of this nation itself was severely threatened by hostile enemies. Yet our forefathers wisely saw the rule of constitutional law as our strongest safeguard, not as a nuisance to be skirted anytime there was a threat.

Bush said court approval takes too long. Yet, the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act enables court-approved wiretaps within hours, and even retroactively in an emergency.

Bush said bypassing the court is legal, citing congressional approval for him to use force in Iraq. So, legally, is using force in Iraq the same thing as surveillance on Americans without a court order? Would the Mail Tribune please clarify its stance on this? ' Eli Dumitru, Medford