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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Just wonderingI'm self-employed in Jackson County and I want to follow rules for businesses. So if I'm running work errands in Medford and fill my car with gas, do I need a city license? What if I buy supplies, or make copies, or use my cell phone while in Medford? What if I donate goods to the Humane Society in Medford &

8212; is that advertising?

If out-of-town advertisers (i.e. Ashland) need a license, does this include those Brookings businesses that advertise in the Tribune? If having lunch with a client requires a license, does it matter who pays?

Gosh, I just delivered a job to a Eugene customer. I should have stopped there and got a license. If Medford makes $500,000 a year on license fees, I wonder how much a class action lawsuit would cost them. &

8212; BJ Lewis, artist, Eagle Point

This is ridiculous

I realize the new libraries were built from a separate fund, yet, while we close these libraries it will still take a bunch of bucks to maintain the buildings and books, and will fall behind contemporary literature. It will still cost a fortune to clean, humidify and keep these buildings until they eventually reopen.

So I guess that money comes out of the police or sheriff or fire department. Or out of a children-in-danger program, or, hopefully, out of a roundabout.

Where are our congressmen? Were they on vacation when Congress couldn't or didn't have time to fund the library system, including the extra nickel it would have cost property owners to pay? Did our county administrators put the library's support in the wrong place?

I would pay $50 a year, and 25 cents a book or CD or DVD, just to keep the place clean, running and open. I can see closing the satellites, yet today I saw at least 30 middle schoolers there to check books out for study.

It's a shame that we still will be paying money from another account to keep these buildings up and secure for whenever the fund is re-installed. This is ridiculous. &

8212; Mike Hinkes, Medford

Think outside the boxHello! Is anyone listening to what the Jackson County Parks Department is doing? According to news reports they are actually almost self-supporting!

I have to wonder if our libraries could learn a thing or two from them. Why don't the "heads of state" for the library system start thinking outside of the box? The Parks Department did and they aren't closing any parks.

I think the library system is needed in Jackson County. It just needs to change in order to survive. Comments like "we'll try and float another bond next year" are getting old. The citizens of Jackson County are getting taxed to death, low-income families and the elderly on fixed incomes cannot afford to purchase a house &

8212; one of the key reasons is that taxes keep increasing. The library could start charging for some services for those that can afford it and at the same time issue low-income library cards that waive fees for those that need financial help.

Insanity is defined as repeating the same mistakes over and over again and expecting different results. Relying on the public for continued funding is insane. We need to start thinking outside of the box! &

8212; Chuck Brook, Medford

Ford funerals overkillGerald Ford was a good man ... a "simple" man ...

So was said at each funeral he was flown to last week, by all of the officials we flew to be at all of those funerals. Most of the taxpayers cannot pay for a decent funeral of a loved one &

8212; let alone our own burial (when it comes time).

With all due respect, and (no pun intended), this was overkill. &

8212; Kathleen Panos, Shady Cove

Just an ideaThere are corporate sponsors for everything from Little League baseball teams to Major League ballparks to school performing arts programs to public buildings.

Do I hear "Qwest Public Libraries of Southern Oregon?" Or how about "The Medford Harry and David Library?" Just a suggestion, but one well worth pursuing for our at-risk library system. &

8212; Dana Gouveia, Ashland

A cultural wastelandThe 15 public libraries of Jackson County are scheduled to shut down permanently next April. This action will surely give ammunition to those who, incorrectly or not, have thought of Medford as a cultural wasteland.

A great deal of new construction, business and residential, is in process, presumably to lure newcomers to the valley. A bit of shock to learn that in Medford alone there is one cinema (with movies largely aimed at teens) no restaurants of quality (they're in Ashland or Jacksonville), and many, many churches of the Christian faith. Balancing this are the excellent medical facilities, very good shops and markets, natural beauty and the wonderful public libraries at Medford and Ashland.

Pity the poor Realtor who has tell the prospective buyer that there are no public libraries in the county! &

8212; Patricia Erickson, Medford

Keep libraries openI urge Jackson County, its officials and its voters, to take all possible measures to keep our libraries open. Libraries are a vital part of every healthy civilization. We cannot thrive without them.

My own need for libraries is special. I am bed-bound, and depend on the Ashland Library's excellent Outreach program to bring me piles of books every few weeks. They keep me sane, informed and reasonably content, and I cannot imagine survival without them. &

8212; Virginia C. Lemon, Ashland

Two positive voicesTwo positive voices have been heard pertaining to the proposed closure of 15 libraries in Jackson County. The mayor of Ashland and a City Council member in Shady Cove have spoken out against the proposal to close the library system over a lack of funding.

From the county level we have a ho-hum attitude from commissioners and the county administrator. No attitudes are being expressed in a positive way to solve the problem.

Maybe it's time to go back to individual libraries run by the cities themselves. &

8212; Don Floyd, Medford

Law enforcement lackingIn light of the recent "suspicious" fires in Butte Falls, perhaps the attention shouldn't be turned to the fact that our fire department is only volunteer. Perhaps we need to look at the real problem: Butte Falls' law enforcement &

8212; or lack thereof.

Don't get me wrong, our tiny town does have its own version of law enforcement. A marshal and code enforcement officer (an ex-judge and his girlfriend, a former airport security guard).

We need real police that patrol regularly, not just on a whim, whenever they feel like it. Even with the occasional county sheriff patrol, it isn't enough. Butte Falls used to be safe enough to leave your doors open on hot summer nights. Now, not so much.

I love my little town, and hate to see it headed in the direction that it is. Our residents are beginning to feel unsafe in this sleepy little hamlet that most of us have called home for years. I urge the Butte Falls city government to please take a look at our law enforcement situation at their earliest convenience. &

8212; Jeremy St. George, Butte Falls

Now he wants adviceI find it ironic that President Bush has been traveling the country asking various leaders' opinions on how to proceed in Iraq. During the late winter of 2003, in the run-up to the Iraq war, I don't remember Bush asking for any advice (other than that of Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rice).

I also find it ironic that our country has spent hundreds of billions of dollars and thousands of lives have been lost in a country that wants us to leave and doesn't appreciate our sacrifice. I hope we learn a lesson from the boondoggle. &

8212; Robert Black, Medford

Stop illegal immigrationFor those of us who really care about environmental issues, a recent ray of sunshine has started to shine across the country.

Anyone who has ever really thought about ecological problems will readily conclude the most significant threat to the environment is uncontrolled human population growth. Now, in view of the fact that the federal government seems to have gone mum on the matter, local municipalities have begun to pass local ordinances designed to contain the spread of illegal immigration.

Realizing that immigration is the single largest source of population growth in America, small towns in Pennsylvania, Texas and California have passed resolutions against hiring and renting dwellings to illegal aliens. The American Civil Liberties Union and Hispanic advocacy groups have filed suits against these brave communities &

8212; in spite of the fact that their clients are clearly not Americans &

8212; but frustrated mayors and city councils continue to press ahead.

Here is a cause that every concerned citizen can get involved in. Strike a blow for the environment, encourage your local public officials to get on the bandwagon and introduce legislation to stop illegal immigration. It's a public endeavor each and every American can feel good about. &

8212; Robert Bennett, Grants Pass

World should be outragedToday, without ever seeing a preview, we went to see "Blood Diamond." For those of you who haven't seen it or don't intend to see it, it is a violently shocking expos&

233; of the African diamond trade and some of the most disturbing images I have ever seen.

What I want to know is this: Special effects aside, whether it's oil or diamonds, how in God's name can the world not be outraged?! &

8212; Felicia Cruz, Phoenix

Seeking rational discourseI had no sooner completed reading Sam Harris' book "The End of Faith," when Jonah Goldberg's opinion piece appeared suggesting that I may have just read an "offensive" piece of "fashionable nonsense." Further, Mr. Goldberg states that "certainty" is the new intellectual elite code for dismissing ideas out of hand, thus breeding "the very closed-mindedness it pretends to fight."

It may indeed be impossible to hold rational discourse on matters of faith between people who hold starkly differing views. If it is impossible, I wonder why this is.

As is the case with some of his other opinion pieces, Mr. Goldberg appears to believe that much of the current furor "stems from the popularity of Bush hatred." Goldberg reminds us Bush is accused of possessing a "messianic certainty." Whether that certainty will ultimately prove to be for good or bad, we have yet to learn. Meanwhile, I am reminded of something I once read by Sir Laurens van der Post in "The Lost World of the Kalahari": "Human beings are perhaps never more frightening than when they are convinced beyond a doubt that they are right."

The book was fashionably copyrighted in 1958 &

8212; long before George Bush acquired certainty. &

8212; Seymour Collins, Medford