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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Issue's legality settledIn printing on May 15 the editorial from the L.A. Times regarding the NSA's acquisition of phone records, the Mail Tribune violates its own policy against printing factual errors.

The editorial states "the legality of this program is debatable at best." Not so! The United States Supreme Court settled the legality of this issue in Smith v Maryland; 442 US 735 1979. After observing that there is no constitutional protection against disclosure to the government of information voluntarily given to a third party, "even if the information is revealed on the assumption that it will be used only for a limited purpose and the confidence placed in the third party will not be betrayed"

In US v Miller, 425 US 435,442 1976, the court upheld the installation and use of a pen register against a Fourth Amendment challenge in these words: "We therefore conclude that petitioner in all probability entertained no actual expectation of privacy in the phone numbers he dialed, and that, even if he did, his expectation was not 'legitimate.' The installation and use of a pen register consequently was not a 'search' and no warrant was required." Smith has not been overturned. &

8212; Robert D. Snider, Medford

Not a subversive sight

Only last evening did I read the May 14 Sunday letters to the editor and found "Give house new life".

I am not acquainted with the author, but it is clear she was not acquainted with Pete Seda. If she were, she would not have described his home as "the scene of a subversive organization." I doubt there was anyone in the Ashland community more actively devoted to peace than Pete. And the organization to which she alludes, Al Haramain Oregon, never engaged in any "subversive" activities.

She is correct in referring to it as "the infamous Seda house," but only because it became "infamous" due to the misguided actions of federal agencies.

True, Pete was human, like the rest of us, and he no doubt erred now and then. I confess that I have on occasion exceeded the posted speed limit by as much as — miles per hour. But those who knew Pete well, as did I, know that our community has suffered a major loss with his absence. That loss is indeed due to errors &

8212; not by Pete, however, but by the federal agencies that drove him from his adopted, and beloved, country. &

8212; David Berger, Ashland

Give state to MexicoSince we stole California from the Mexicans in 1848 after invading their country, the moral thing to do would be to give California back to Mexico and give guest worker permits to current California residents. As a side effect, the new border across the Siskiyous would be much easier to enforce. &

8212; Peter Silverman, Ashland

Slower saves gasI think I've found how to get some relief from higher gas prices.

Drive slower.

My miles per gallon went from 15 to 18 miles per gallon by driving 55 instead of 70 like everyone else, using the cruise control whenever possible, and avoiding jackrabbit starts.

With an extra 75 miles per tank, I figure I earn a free tank every five tankfuls.

At $3-plus per gallon that's a savings of about $75 per month, $900 per year. &

8212; Wil Scarrow, Gold Hill

Who will build the fence?My husband has a very good question regarding the May 18 headline, "Senate approves new border fence." His question is this: Which of the cronies of either Bush or Cheney will get the contract to build the fence — Actually, both of us would like to know. &

8212; Brenda Herp, Central Point