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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Not a fair documentWhen did the Medford School Board become a propaganda machine?

The School Board worked with the administration to spend taxpayer funds on paper, envelopes and stamps to send a three-page letter to the parents of school children condemning teachers for asking for pay and benefits for which they are entitled.

Do you expect to work harder, be assigned new tasks and not be reimbursed for your time? The board thinks it is OK for the superintendent to ask for a higher salary for himself and his staff while expecting the teachers to take less.

The letter to the parents had lovely graphs and tables about averages and top teacher salaries and benefits, but nothing about new teachers, civil servants or administrators. This was not a fair document. It is easy to make it look like teachers are asking for too much. The letter failed to mention what the teachers have given up over the past few years in order to help students while the administration chose to create new administrative positions that pay twice the salary of teachers.

Teachers must be enraged and discouraged, especially since they aren't permitted to present their side. We need to support teachers, not administrators. &

8212; Kathy Fennell, Medford

Trapper is a wasteJackson County's plan to hire a wildlife assassin County wants to hire cougar hunter, May 4 is the biggest waste of tax money in recent memory. There are already wildlife officials at the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife that are paid with tax dollars to handle problems that arise with wildlife in Jackson County. This is a needless use of scarce tax dollars to hire a needless trapper.

This wildlife hunter will undoubtedly wind up killing many large mammals in the county, including non-target animals such as black bear or the rare pacific fisher. Jackson County should be celebrating our wildlife, not indiscriminately setting traps and snares and sanctioning wildlife kills.

There are special interests &

8212; cougar hunters &

8212; that have waged a campaign to create the impression that there are massive wildlife/human conflicts. Certainly there can be problem animals, but these accounts are often overblown, bordering on embellishment. State and federal authorities already enjoy ample resources and wherewithal to address specific problems.

Hiring a county wildlife hunter will not be good for the wild animals, citizens or coffers of Jackson County, and I hope the commissioners reject the proposal and save the money for more important county services. &

8212; Joseph Vaile, Ashland

Zone change firstThe Cascade High School property issue is simple.

The Jacksonville City Council is valuing the Cascade Christian School property on the basis of the property's current zoning. This is consistent with the council's fiduciary responsibility and is in the best interests of the citizens of Jacksonville.

Cascade Christian School seems intent on valuing the property on the basis of a future, hoped-for zoning change which they seem convinced they can make happen.

The solution is simple. Negotiations should be suspended. Cascade should file a Measure 37 claim or pursue an application for a zoning change including an appeal with the state Land Use Board of Appeals if appropriate.

If Cascade is successful in obtaining a zoning change, the property value should be well aligned with their asking price. If they are unsuccessful in obtaining a change in zoning, the value of the property should be aligned with the price the city of Jacksonville is prepared to pay. If the parties aren't prepared to suspend negotiations while the zoning change application makes its way through the process, the property must be valued based on existing zoning.

What could be simpler? &

8212; Howard Mercer, Central Point

Give house new lifeThe infamous Seda house was "bought almost on impulse" for $443,000. If only all of us could purchase a house on a whim. I dearly hope that Cheryl Alderson and Kimberly Zaslow realize the possibilities of this purchase aside from their own personal profit. This house was the scene of a subversive organization. Take this opportunity and make up for past misgivings by using it for a valuable community resource: community garden, affordable housing, or just sell it at an un-inflated price to people who need a home, instead of making a quick buck.

Many Ashlanders pat themselves on the back for living in such a progressive community that we've torn down all of the fast-food restaurants to make banks. Let's not forget the people who came here to go to school, give a better life to their kids and just get by. Don't pass this opportunity by in an effort just to get yourself ahead. &

8212; Tsara Borsting, Ashland

News for rural residentsA May 4 article stated that Jackson County might hire a federal wildlife agent to kill cougars. Budget committee member Shayne Maxwell, referred to cougars, and other wild animals, as "pesky." Because people are unrealistic when deciding to live in the country, we now have to fund a paid hunter to kill all those "pesky" animals.

I have news for rural residents. Those pesky animals were there first and you're the ones encroaching upon their land. Not only is it presumptuous and arrogant, but it's laughable. You can't move to the country and expect it to be as safe and tame as living in the city. Everyone has the fantasy about living on the land, but when they discover the challenges involved, instead of adapting, they want to civilize it.

I say forget about hiring a hunter and educate people on cohabitating with wild animals. Cougars are scary and aggressive. That's their nature, and killing them, or the other "pesky" wildlife, for acting naturally, is ridiculous. Perhaps the answer is that fewer people build fewer houses in rural areas. Those already living rurally should get a clue on the demands of their chosen lifestyle or move back to the city! &

8212; J. Ellicott, Jacksonville

A bias toward killingI am writing to express my frustration with Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife's Cougar Management Plan. Unfortunately, ODFW functions as a trophy-hunting and livestock-grazing interest group and their cougar plan demonstrates the agency's bias toward killing, rather than addressing the root of human/wildlife conflicts.

There is no scientific evidence that cougars are over-populating and require culling. The science does show that human encroachment into wildlife habitat continues unabated. Wildlife biologists tell us that trophy hunting cougars, damages the species age structure, killing many older and less conflict-prone older animals. This removal of older animals creates a population of young and more conflict-prone young animals. In Vancouver Island, trophy hunters kill large numbers of older cougars, causing human/cougar conflicts to escalate to a high levels.

ODFW is expecting taxpayers to pay for this multi-hundred thousand-dollar boondoggle to provide more killing opportunities for sport hunters and livestock operators. Taxpayers and wildlife would be better served by ODFW directing such subsidies into rural education on preventative strategies for reducing conflicts with wildlife. Modern animal husbandry, guard dogs and wildlife-friendly livestock enclosures are all effective techniques to protect livestock and save wildlife. &

8212; Spencer Lennard, Williams

Election letters

Vote for GrenskyRon Grensky, a Southern Oregon native, has the qualities that make a good judge. He has experience as a senator, lawyer and judge pro-tem. Some of the qualities that I consider important are maturity, honesty and fairness. Ron has served on committees that aimed at making life better for children, such as the Child Abuse Task Force, during the interim, where a comprehensive review of existing laws and agencies resulted in new bills to drastically improve the lives of children. He also worked on the Big Brother/Little Brother program.

I am enthusiastically supporting Ron Grensky for Circuit Court judge and I hope you will, too. &

8212; Richard Tiny Robertson, Medford

Greif is best candidateStill pondering which candidate to vote for in the race for Circuit Court judge? I urge you to vote for Lisa Greif. I have worked in the judicial system for many years. During this time it's been an honor and privilege to work with Lisa. As a community member and professional, I know it's important that our judges be experienced, dedicated and fair. Lisa possesses these attributes.

Judges should possess a deep-seated desire to uphold the law and serve the community, which Lisa has. Lisa has zealously represented indigent clients, she's served in a variety of leadership positions both locally and statewide, she's participated in the Big Brother/Big Sister program, coached Little League baseball and coached high school students in mock trial competitions.

If you haven't cast your ballot yet, take this opportunity to vote for the best candidate for this position; Lisa Greif for Circuit Court judge. &

8212; Ingrid Mathewson, Medford

Support Ron GrenskyI am proud to support Ron Grensky for Circuit Court judge.

Ron has spent his entire career with honesty, dignity and sincerity in solving problems as a lawyer and state senator.

I don't have to wonder about his commitment to our community. He has a proven record of community and family commitment. I feel as though I know him and think it's great that he is willing to serve as a Circuit Court judge. Please join me in voting for Ron Grensky. &

8212; Debra Smith, Rogue River

Greif is the clear choiceThe voters of Jackson County have an opportunity to select a judge who has the right combination of skill, dedication, judicial temperament, and relevant experience. Lisa Greif is that person. Lisa has devoted herself in the last eight years to educate herself and help provide solutions to the growing methamphetamine problem, and has worked one-on-one with meth users and the children of meth users. She is both a talented lawyer and a proven leader who will continue as a judge to contribute to fighting and solving this problem.

Moreover, Lisa brings an energy and dedication to her work that shows that this position is not merely a stepping stone for her, but a commitment to help this community in its fight against meth. This is the type of dedication we need from those in the judicial system. Lisa is the clear choice for judge. &

8212; Donald L. Scales, Medford

Mannix breaks promiseOn two separate occasions I have heard Kevin Mannix vow to run a clean campaign, and to follow Ronald Reagan's 11th commandment, "Thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow Republican."

Why is Kevin Mannix breaking his promise? Why is Kevin running a negative and horrific campaign against Ron Saxton? Does Kevin Mannix lack integrity?

With Jason Atkinson you don't have to ask yourself these questions, because he stands by his beliefs, he is a man of integrity, and he has run a clean, issue-oriented campaign. Join me in making the right decision for Oregon; please vote Jason Atkinson. &

8212; Mindy Gilmore, Medford

Dedication to kidsAs the principal of Jacksonville School I have worked with Ron Grensky on several projects. From this experience I would urge everyone to vote for him for Circuit Court judge. He has shown a real dedication to our children and has not hesitated to help whenever asked.

As his son Christian a fourth-grader has moved through each grade, Ron and his wife, Victoria, have demonstrated a commitment to Jacksonville students on many levels. This has included volunteering in the classroom, at the Harvest Carnival, with the after-school ski program and helping with fundraising and field trips, including one to the state Legislature in Salem. Ron has even helped to judge our science fair projects.

Over the years Ron and I have become friends and I am proud to support him for Circuit Court judge. I hope you will join me in voting for Ron Grensky for Circuit Court judge. &

8212; Bob Goerke, Jacksonville

Voisin will serve wellI support Carol Voisin for Congress.

I have personally known Carol for years and I believe she is a smart, committed, ethical person who will work hard for the voters of our district. She is uniquely qualified, both inspiring loyalty among those of us who know her and impressing those who are just getting to know her. Proof of the latter is her endorsement by three of the district's most important newspapers. Vote for Voisin as she will serve our district wisely and well. &

8212; Karen Schneider, Ashland

Grensky is best choiceRon Grensky is without a doubt the best choice for Circuit Court judge. I have worked side-by-side with Ron for the past nine years. I have been employed in the legal field for over 28 years and worked with many attorneys and I can say that without a doubt Ron Grensky is the most honest man I have ever met. I know Ron has the experience as an attorney who has been involved with the community, as an advocate for his injured clients, as a judge pro tem, mediator and arbitrator.

He is the only candidate with all of these qualifications. Ron has the ability to be fair and has the highest integrity. Ron is a team player and will make a great addition to the local bench. I hope you' will look closely at his qualifications and join me in voting for Ron Grensky for Circuit Court judge. &

8212; Patricia Bureau Alvarez, Central Point

Support Gold Hill recallI felt sadly disappointed while reading your editorial about the Gold Hill recall. Rod Countryman was hired as chief of police and was chased away. Dean Muchow was hired. City Council members Gus Wolf, Jan Fish and Donna Silva want to get rid of him, telling lies and half-truths. They do not want police.

They should be recalled now. If they stay, it may be too late for Muchow and Gold Hill citizens who voted a levy for police protection. How many more police chiefs are going to want to work in Gold Hill, considering their attrition rate?

Our town is safer since Chief Muchow arrived. Teenagers no longer run around town late at night. Speeders no longer race through school zones. We should be thankful that someone cares to keep law and order in Gold Hill, especially after the problems with drugs, rapists, murderers, speeding, etc. in the past. &

8212; Judi Holdeman, Gold Hill

Re-elect CastilloAs candidates prepare for the primary on May 16 they all seem to be "pro-education." But the fervor of many seems to vanish once they reach Salem. Our schools have experienced years of cuts and are in dire need of our committed support!

Susan Castillo, our state superintendent of public instruction, is a knowledgeable and passionate supporter of stable and adequate school funding. She consistently reminds the public, the Legislature and the governor how important it is for us to invest in our schools. She knows that it is only through public support and properly funding our schools that we will be able to ensure that our children and our state have a strong future.

Please re-elect Susan Castillo as our state superintendent of public instruction. &

8212; June Buck, Medford

Grensky cares about valuesI am proud to support Ron Grensky for Jackson County Circuit Court judge. I know he grew up in Southern Oregon. I have followed Ron's career from practicing attorney, where he's helped people for over 26 years, to Oregon state senator, where he fought for us in Salem. He cares about the values that matter to me and my family and I know he'll make a great judge. &

8212; Gordon I. Bentson, Medford

Man of integrityI am very happy that Ron Grensky is a candidate for Circuit Court judge!

As a state senator, he worked hard for us here in the valley, and throughout the state.

He served on the Judiciary Committee, the Revenue Committee and School Finance Committee, the Crime and Corrections Subcommittee and the Education Committee.

Ron has practiced law for the past 26 years, working as a lawyer, mediator, arbitrator, as state senator helping write laws and as a judge pro-tem hearing cases.

I have known Ron for the last two decades and know him to be a man of integrity who is well qualified for circuit judge. He understands that he will make decisions based on the Constitution.

I urge you to vote for the best, Ron Grensky! &

8212; Donna Cain, Rogue River