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letters to the editor

Who owns the oil?I've always wondered how the oil companies got to own all the oil. Don't we as citizens own the petroleum under public lands? The oil companies have no right to exploit us, by using something that is ours in the first place.

The state of Alaska gives its citizens a check annually for oil and timber sales. These checks vary from $1,000 to $2,500 per year. The rest of us in the United States receive high lumber and gasoline prices. What is wrong with this picture? &

8212; R. Perrigo, Montague, Calif.

A Bear Creek visionI'm relatively new to the valley. I didn't move here for the climate or the real estate. I came here for Bear Creek, that thread of water that drains the realities of urban growth into the currents of the Rogue. It may seem odd, given the somewhat degraded nature of Bear Creek that one would transplant themselves to the banks of a river unfishable and too polluted to swim. But, I came here as a graduate student of SOU with the task to study fish. I never experienced Bear Creek as it once was. Fewer and fewer of us moving here have. I have met those who reminisce about the days when they could cast a line or cool themselves in their favorite swimming hole. These stories are valuable for a community that is quickly forgetting the river that connects our cities.

If we share our stories, we might not only delight in memory, but also begin a dialogue for a vision of what Bear Creek might be. Tell your story to a neighbor, to this editorial page, and to the child who might one day bicycle home from the shore of our river with wet hair and a beautiful salmon. &

8212; Aaron Maxwell, Ashland

Eviction notice comingAn important milestone happens on April 27. It will officially be 999 days remaining for G.W. Bush to receive his White House eviction notice. Maybe G.W. would like to save some time and grief by resigning first. You can only hope. During the five minutes it took to compose this letter, we became $8,472,220 further in debt. &

8212; Bob Williamson, Jacksonville

Tax the touristsI was very pleased to see the April — editorial regarding the governor's call for new sources of revenue such as a sales tax. Oregon is a tourist state, as well as a state requiring more revenue. What better way to raise revenue than to tax the visitors as other states do to us when we leave Oregon? Each tourist who leaves the state without paying something leaves us that much poorer.

It is time our leaders and our newspapers become involved in finding a solution to our problem. Your editorial is a great start! Thank you. &

8212; Richard E. Moore, Medford

Resist loss of rightsThe United States is a unique country. The founders came to the "new world" to escape religious persecution and political repression. They crafted a government that prevented political and religious leaders from dictating how citizens manage their lives.

On Memorial Day we honor the tens of thousands who risked or gave their lives to create and defend the fundamental freedoms we all cherish. Those freedoms include free speech, freedom to assemble and freedom to exercise faith. Freedom includes exercising these cherished rights responsibly and that includes the right to control our reproductive choices.

The depth of conviction and debate around every aspect of reproduction show how diverse our society is. Allowing space for a broad range of convictions is exactly what the founders were trying to accomplish. Public policy debates surround nearly every aspect of reproduction from access to contraceptives to when an abortion is appropriate and is evidence that there is no consensus on any of these issues.

Those who want to reinstate the system of imposing repressive religion on everyone through the power of law and public policy must be resisted. Freedom must be defended because once it is lost it is very hard to reclaim. &

8212; Paul B. Robinson, Medford