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Mount Ashland questions

As a current season pass holder I'm still waiting for an official reason from Mount Ashland as to why they are raising season ticket prices by &

36;100 next year. Is it the fact that the Ariel chair was closed down more this season than any season before? Was it that their employees are incapable of organizing lift lines? Was it that various ski lifts had to be closed for extended portions of the day, if not the whole day, because of mechanical failures?

Or was it the fact that they have combined the retail and medical aspect of the Ski Patrol office into one office? I'm still trying to understand why the mountain has decided to have the Ski Patrol office selling T-shirts. That's like the doctors in the emergency room selling what should be sold in the gift shop.

It sure would be great to see Mount Ashland have proper management and all the lifts running on days after receiving fresh powder before asking for another &

36;100 for a season pass. After a pathetically run season such as this one, it has become apparent that the mountain needs to reconsider the idea of expanding. ' Andrew Lunt, Ashland

Don't outsource jobs

It is time for Oregon Senators Wyden and Smith to stand up against trade agreements that send our jobs overseas, continuing the race to the bottom for the middle class of the United States. The newest so-called free trade agreements are with Peru and Oman and they continue on NAFTA's legacy that destroys good-paying jobs when companies leave the United States and set up shop overseas.

The White House seems to be unable to re-evaluate NAFTA and come up with a better vision for trade policy. Instead, it's running full steam ahead into trade deals with Peru, where child labor is a major problem, and Oman, a country in the Middle East that forbids labor unions and collective bargaining.

This is the same president who went to India on March — to defend the practice of outsourcing jobs overseas.

— Oregon's senators should not line up behind a president who seems determined to outsource every call center and manufacturing job in America. I hope our senators reject the Oman and Peru trade agreements. The only trade agreements we should ever make need to have enforceable provisions covering labor and the environment. ' Wes Brain, Ashland

Did you see the lights?

I am trying to investigate a series of very strange lights in the sky on Tuesday, March 21, over Medford at 10 p.m. My position was on old Highway 99 between Medford and Phoenix, and the lights were slightly to the west of my position proceeding north. Did anyone see these lights? Please call me at 535-7650. ' Jim Doerter, Phoenix

Slow down, City Council

Our Medford City Council plans to spend millions of our tax dollars. They plan to extend the life of the Medford Urban Renewal Agency (MURA) from 2013 to 2025.

MURA has spent &

36;37 million since 1988 to enhance downtown parking and other cosmetic projects. Unable to pay off their overspending, MURA has asked our City Council to extend their sunset to 2025. A loophole in the law allows our City Council to extend this tax on all Medford property owners without our vote.

This taxpayer proposes the City Council conduct public hearings in all four city wards and explain to all city taxpayers why we should support MURA until 2025.

I am not convinced that MURA is good for Medford. By having public hearings, the MURA people can tell us why their projects are viable.

Perhaps some of MURA funds could help construct affordable housing, provide sidewalks along busy streets and help neighborhoods upgrade their livability, instead of indirectly giving money to Lithia. ' Dick Simonson, Medford

Library too expansive

Talk about unaffordable housing in the Rogue Valley for the poor and elderly. If the new library bond were to pass if put on the ballot in November we'd be even worse off. And the poor renters ' landlords would have to raise their rents even more.

We still have 14 years left to pay off the &

36;38 million bond from 2000.

I challenge the Mail Tribune to publish a list of benefits that the county workers (library workers specifically) receive and compare this to what the rest of us get. They don't need more money, they need to better use the money we already give them. ' Chuck Brook, Medford

Legitimate concerns

Regarding your editorial on immigration in last Sunday's paper, immigrants and illegal aliens are completely different. In your editorial you attempt to blur the distinction and label anyone who disagrees a bigot. I take exceptional offense. I am not a bigot, but I have legitimate concerns about the uncontrolled flow of foreigners across our southern border.

We may need a guest-worker program and I'm all for that. But I'm not for paying the social cost with my tax dollars so businesses can have a plentiful underclass of slave labor. If the employers who hire these illegals were forced to pay the full costs, like medical, education and welfare, for their families the wages for Americans to do these jobs might not be so unacceptable.

Mexicans aren't stupid. They want to move up and make more money just like everyone else. Illegals aren't just doing stoop labor anymore. They are filling skilled trade jobs that used to pay American workers a family income.

It's funny seeing a liberal newspaper like the Tribune contorting itself to kick the average American while it's supporting more profits for those evil corporations. ' Michael Patnesky, Gold Hill

School funding storm

If you've followed coverage on state funding for public education in Oregon you may anticipate a perfect storm.

First, Oregon is ranked very low nationally for student-to-teacher ratio in the elementary grades, i.e. higher than most. Second, several districts and parents are suing the state for insufficient funding based on the standard set by Measure — passed by the public in 2000. Third, a new legislative report shows a &

36;1.8 billion dollar gap between actual funding and the standard set by the Quality Education Model to implement high standards.

So the storm may hit when the special session meets this spring. There are greater than expected revenues in the lottery funds and statewide taxes. Different rules apply for rolling revenues over to help schools. So how will your representatives in the House and Senate position themselves on this?

Pay attention and you may find out which elected officials are serious about funding schools. Will some take a business as usual course and not rock their respective party boat?

We need leadership in Salem to get things done and break out of the rut we are in. See if a storm develops. Then vote in November accordingly. ' Steve Haskell, Ashland

Global warming denial

Science reports air temperatures over Antarctica are rising faster than anywhere else on earth, accelerating the melting of the polar ice caps and causing an increasing rise of ocean levels. Caribbean coral reefs are dying off at an unprecedented rate: (Mail Tribune, March 31). These are just two more events added to the long list of scientific discoveries that say global warming is real.

To all those who still think it's a myth I have two suggestions. One, arm yourself against the backlash you're going to experience from others who are angry with you for having contributed to our government's failure to take action in time to avert the coming disasters. Two, ask a therapist to help you understand why you are in denial.

It may be that science only offers proof without certainty. But that's a surer bet than the certainty without proof which is all that religion has to offer. ' Matt Lubic, Talent

Put on combat boots

You can't vote for war and disown the results.

It's beyond time for Bush's supporters to save his presidency by volunteering to serve in the military in Iraq.

How does sending our troops to Iraq, separating them from their families and loved ones, putting them in harm's way, and keeping them there equal supporting the troops? Why do those who claim to honor their sacrifices want them to continue sacrificing?

Why don't those who bloviate about supporting and honoring the troops against an enemy they think threatens Western civilization actually, you know, put on combat boots and join them?

Muster up or shut up. ' Marc Forrest, Ashland

Censure not allowed

Sorry, but there's no such thing as a congressional censure of the president. Please check the Constitution, which clearly enumerates the powers of Congress. Supervising, approving or disapproving the performance of the president is nowhere in the list.

The lone exception, of course, is impeachment. But that action must be initiated by the House, not the Senate. Therefore, any such action initiated by Senator Feingold is clearly unconstitutional. ' Neal Smith, Jacksonville

Bush laughs at you

Was it not enough when George Bush defiantly admitted he had ordered illegal wiretaps of American citizens? George Bush is laughing at you.

Was it not enough when George Bush signed a law intended to stop the international crime of torture, and then declared he would ignore it at his own dictatorial discretion? George Bush is laughing at you.

Was it not enough when he lied in the most pathological way to start a war in Iraq for the sole purpose of aggrandizing his own power? Yes, George Bush is laughing at you. ' Christopher Pride, Medford