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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

I was troubled to read your article of March 4, "Making amends." Rather than putting the primary focus on the hard work that this family has done to change their circumstances, Sarah Lemon chose to recount the most horrible day of their lives.

Losing a child is literally heartbreaking, no matter what the circumstances surrounding it. This could have happened to any one of us and is every parent's worst fear.

I'm sure Mr. Day was compelled to share his story in order to make an impact on the meth problem that we have here in the valley. I applaud him for that. I'm angry that the Tribune decided it was OK to sensationalize, once again, on their pain.

Knowing Michelle Wimberly, I need to tell you what a bright young woman she is. She is a wonderful, loving mother. The world is blessed to have her in it. I'm proud to call her my friend and inspired by the work that she and Mr. Day have done to make the world a better place for themselves and their beautiful children. — Ruth Dailey, Grants Pass

My mother has had orchards in Southern Oregon for decades. In the '90s she was no longer able to keep the orchards going.

There were many reasons she could no longer continue, but I will only mention a few. It was financially impossible to continue to farm and she could find no one to lease the orchards.

My mother was threatened with lawsuits from neighbors if she sprayed and charged $500 a day by the county if she didn't.

All the trees were pulled. My 74-year-old mother is now forced to go out and cut and spray or hire someone every time the trees try to grow back. My husband and I live too far to get there in time to keep her from being fined.

The land has two houses on it, but when she looked into selling them she was told no one wanted them because they came with too much useless land.

Dividing her land into 10-acre parcels shouldn't be that awful. My mother could live comfortably in her later years. She's paid the taxes all these years. She's not a big developer, just a common citizen.

People voted on Measure 37, it passed. Where is democracy? — Crichton Raaberg, formerly of Phoenix

How long are the people of Medford going to allow the city, ODOT and the environmental groups to harass and punish us?

We read in the paper that you cannot park on your own graveled driveway without being fined $150 per day! — (because of dust particles).

ODOT has ruined some established businesses and neighborhoods with traffic changes and heavier traffic. The city has taken away some parking in front of our houses to allow for more bicycle lanes.

When will the people of Medford (the taxpayers) stand up and say, "Enough is enough"? — Dick and Barbara Miller, Medford

It was disappointing to read that the Medford Arts Commission did not decide, twice in three years of planning, what to do regarding a sculpture piece in the new roundabout on Highland Drive and Siskiyou Boulevard. OK, be safe and put in something like trees. Nice, but not very unique or imaginative.

Another art matter concerns the wonderful bronze sculpture of three children cater-corner from the library on Central Avenue and 10th Street. Beautiful piece, but almost impossible to see because it's perched on the edge of a parking lot.

Since when did automobiles serve as a good backdrop for art of this kind? Please put a nice wall behind it or move it where it's more visible and distinctive.

Perhaps making decisions on art requires more than just a mental approach. I suppose it also takes heart, enthusiasm and imagination. — Hank Morgan, Medford

According to Damian Mann in his March 4 article, our leaders (?) — Larry and Moe minus Curly — took another vacation to Washington, D.C., to plead for money.

They have as much chance of being taken seriously as a flea crawling up an elephant's leg with making love on its mind!

Commissioner Smith's attempt to justify a $30,000, nine-minute video tape and the expenditure of $12,000 to $16,000 vacation cost is nothing more than their usual feeding from the public trough. The three of them would do well to remain at their posts and place a freeze on hiring, building, letting of contracts and other unnecessary expenditures.

A short time ago, Sen. Alan Bates suggested that perhaps the feds could extend the funding for a year so our "leaders" could solve the shortfall problem. If the problem can be solved in a year, why hasn't it been addressed and satisfied before and why will we need to vote for a three-year library levy that can be used not for the library but as general funding?

Because of the commissioners' continued funding inaction, inadequate fire and police protection can and will raise your insurance rates. — Charles D. Tisler, Central Point

Recent news coverage prompts concerns about hidden costs of public policies.

Your March 9 editorial urges legislators to have Oregonians revisit the "double majority" issue, but omits a heavy cost. Current policy provides disincentives for registering new or youthful voters, since their failure to vote would dilute the numbers needed for approving a ballot measure. This seems a throwback to the pre-civil rights era.

What are the real costs of the newly exposed glitches in Oregon's electronic standardized testing system? You report lost learning time, effort and test results, and the frustration shared by students and teachers. But where is the dollar figure — the enormous loss of scarce school resources flowing into corporate coffers?

Voters are asked to support a library levy in May; we hear repeatedly about assessed value of property. Why is there no explanation of how assessed value is far less than market value, or how to calculate it? What is the cost of voter confusion?

I believe your readers are entitled to more facts about these issues — including real and hidden costs. — Betty R. Kazmin, Medford

In reference to the mother with the 3-year-old that was having a fit because the library was closed: My property taxes shouldn't be raised because her child is having a fit, or anyone else that is having a fit because the library is closed. Why shouldn't the majority of taxpayers have a fit over paying for services that we no longer need or use? — Jane Fowler, Medford

Upon my return from lobbying in D.C. with our SEIU delegation, I was amazed that our trip was largely ignored by the local press, while only the commissioners' efforts got ample attention. Then I remembered my own surprise at witnessing the power of the SEIU name on Capitol Hill. Whereas hundreds of elected officials from all over the country cold-called legislators offices, often with little success, we had booked 28 appointments with them.

Our secret? SEIU has millions of members in various key legislative districts. Our message that massive layoffs of our workers means cuts and elimination of vital community services, and that we are standing resolute that long-term solutions must be environmentally responsible, hit all the right chords in the new Congress. — Buck Eichler, Jackson County Construction Inspector, president, Jackson County Employees Assn., SEIU 497, Medford

Rep. Sal Esquivel's guest opinion on the Healthy Kids Act (March 4) asked if cigarette taxes were a sustainable revenue source for children's health insurance; especially if the prevention component is successful, and people quit smoking. Actually, the funding would increase under that scenario — for every pack-a-day smoker who quits, we would lose $300 in tax revenue, but would save $4,000 in health-care related costs. That is a net gain of $3,700 for this program.

The job of our elected representatives is to solve funding problems as they arise. Rep. Esquivel has proposed a beer tax to support law enforcement — a solution to a funding problem. This is the job we elected him to do.

In the case of the Healthy Kids Act, he has a chance to support a solution to another big problem: 117,000 uninsured Oregonian children. Any money collected from a cigarette tax would support thousands of children who receive no health care benefits. In Rep. Esquivel's own words, "We will never see a smoke-free world in our lifetime"; there will always be some tax revenue.

Give Oregon children a chance. Urge Rep. Esquivel to support the Healthy Kids Act — HB 2201. Contact him at 503-986-1406. — Jeanine Holtby, Medford

We have been reading, ad nauseam, letters and articles expressing vilification and hatred directed at our president. Any positive news or accomplishments, e.g., no terrorist activity in our country since 9/11, is rarely mentioned, and if mentioned at all is belittled.

Much has been made of the lack of evidence regarding WMD. Our Bush-hating liberal "Monday-morning quarterbacks" insist Bush lied; however, intelligence agencies, ours and others, insisted at the time that there were WMD in Iraq. Subsequent investigations proved them wrong. Action was taken with the available intelligence at the time.

Now on the subject of lies, quoting from U.S. News and World Report of March 5, the words of David Geffen: "Everybody in politics lies, but they (the Clintons) do it with such ease, it's troubling."

It is most interesting to note that: "David Geffen is a former Clinton donor and supporter who now backs Sen. Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination."

Politics does make for strange bedfellows. — Carl J. Sandberg, Phoenix

The president of our USA should be on TV right this moment apologizing to the people of Iraq and Afghanistan for the horror against them which he has directly caused by lying to his people and to the rest of the world. It is that simple.

From the moment he does this, the next step follows logically, i.e., put forth his resignation and retire to his multi-million dollar ranch in Texas. He should have never been allowed to leave that ranch. The world would have been very much better off without this puppet-man and his cronies.

Then it will be up to the people to force new elections and put into power some real human beings who will truly be "of the people," "by the people" and "for the people." We must get the millionaires and billionaires out of power. They will kill us all unless we act! — Duane Sample, Jacksonville

The president says our economy is good and new jobs are being created. I understand the stock market is improving and CEOs of many leading industries are being paid hundreds of millions of dollars for their services.

I know we are involved in a war that has cost us hundreds of billions of dollars and thousands of lives so far; yet, we are not asked to pay for this war. We are simply asked for more troops.

Where will the money come from? Where will the troops come from? Is there any end? Why?

All we see are large increases in the cost of health care, gasoline, travel, insurance and many other products and services. Things going well? Unbelievable!

Across the land we hear, see and read reports of airline and other bankruptcies and failures. We read of thousands of lost jobs, pensions, homes and other benefits due to globalization and outsourcing. We know that our communities find it difficult to provide needed human services because police and fire service, clinics, libraries and our schools are all losing support for lack of funds.

How can we be so successful with so much failure all around us? Something is really wrong. — Paul J. Brown, Rogue River

The historical record of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations claimed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as justification for greenhouse gas reductions is a fraud. Research by German professor Ernst-George Beck shows the IPCC ignored more than 90,000 direct measurements by chemical methods from 1857 to 1957. Measurements by these chemists showed that CO2 concentrations of about 380 parts per million have been exceeded in the past, including a period from 1936 to 1944, when the CO2 levels varied from 393 to 454.7 ppm.

The IPCC cherry-picked its data in an attempt to prove that we must stop industrial development and return to the horse-and-buggy age.

The inconvenient truth is that adherents of the global warming fraud, such as Al Gore, are lying about the scientific data on which they base their case for reducing industrial society. If Gore's recommendations for reducing CO2 emissions were to be carried out, the resulting collapse of economies worldwide would lead to millions or even billions of deaths.

Now maybe that's fine for a Malthusian like Gore, but what the world needs — especially Africa — in order to end mass starvation is much more scientific and industrial development, not less. Learn more at www.larouchepub.com. — John Mitchell, Medford

I don't look for thanks for serving in 'Nam, I just want our nation to wise up. It's awful arrogant of us to think everyone needs democracy. I do believe in helping those that are being murdered because of religious beliefs or race.

We have a lot of reasons to stay home. We could have done better in Louisiana, we could feed and educate children. There are working homeless here.

While we are the least taxed country in the free world, we shouldn't burden our taxpayers with the poor in the Third World. Nor should we be in a war that's unwinnable because of secular violence. We should only be concerned about the nukes.

We are being played for suckers by nations that have no intention of ever supporting us. I just want our country to stop making the mistakes we've been making for the last 35 years.

Smell the coffee. When these kids come back from Iraq, they will ask a small revolution. They will be our leadership that is so direly needed.

I believe in America. What the heck did 'Nam teach us if we are in Iraq, fighting both sides like we did there? No more wars! — Mike Hinkes, Medford

I am wondering how many people who pass the Rogue Valley Medical Center, as I do, ask why the Barnett Road side is the smoking area.

What a sorry example it shows for a healing facility. I see from one to eight and maybe more people standing out there puffing away.

This shows how those who are employed there regard their own health, as well as how patients' families and friends regard theirs.

Why hasn't Rogue Valley Medical Center made a place well away from public view where this disregard for life could take place?

Not caring if you're around to see your young ones grow to adulthood is a sad thought to me. Just maybe these smokers should think about that. — Doris Kane, Medford