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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Will it never stop? Oregonians have twice voted for humane treatment of wildlife. Now, the hunters want to "harvest" cougars with hounds again.

Currently the state and a county-financed agent are hunting and killing them (sometimes even in the "target zone") by unknown methods. All this and no one is even sure how many big cats actually exist. Let the Legislature know we have more important issues needing action. — Mary Kalakay, Medford

Did you catch the article in Saturday's March 10 MT: "Corps catches flak for new wetlands regulations"? That's what Bush and his administration are about — money, specifically money for big business. Isn't that what this war was really about initially — someone's ownership of Mideast oil?

In fairness, though, that's what most in Washington, D.C., are about — Republicans or Democrats — and Salem, Jackson County and Medford can be added to that list. I will not be surprised if the Opp Mine owners get their rezoning, as unfair as that would be, and if Medford devolves into a bumper-to-bumper metropolis. Sure, we would experience growth in any case, but we shouldn't encourage it.

It is this greediness that will keep us from ever effectively addressing global warming. There are too many of us who live by the credo: "I want what I want, I want as much as I can get, and I don't want any stupid tree-huggers telling me otherwise." The desire for stuff is insatiable (actually, the more one has, the more one wants) and it obscures rational thought. It's wholly about satisfying one's desires, no matter what. — Hartley Anderson, Medford

In reference to a cartoon that appeared on the editorial page on Saturday, March 10, depicting less-than-favorable response when a wheelchair-bound veteran is seeking care: I am deeply offended that the Mail Tribune chose to run this cartoon in the first place and am even more offended by the message this cartoon conveys to veterans and citizens in our service area. I am a registered nurse and I work at the VA's SORCC in White City. I am also a veteran of the Vietnam War.

Be assured, we do not ignore veterans as depicted in this cartoon and we certainly would never make fun of the handicapped, particularly those who become so in the service to our country.

Granted, care may not occur as quickly as we would like, but we VA employees in White City do our level best to assist our veterans in finding the correct areas for their care.

We care! What has this cartoonist done for veterans? What does the average person do for vets? — Linda Langhoff, RN, Medford

Prior to Rep. Sal Esquivel's guest opinion on the Healthy Kids Act (March 4) I called his office to urge his support for this important bill; I was told the tobacco tax increase would not adequately fund it. Since then, I have checked figures from the governor's office for three years out.

According to these figures, the proposed increase in the tobacco tax will fund HB 2201.

This proposal includes money for smoking education. If that reduces smoking even slightly, the state will save money on smoking-related illnesses. That savings can be rolled into the Healthy Kids Plan. For every pack of cigarettes sold, there is an associated health care cost of $11.16.

It takes a lot of letters from citizens to counteract the power of tobacco lobbyists, but many of us who support this bill don't want it paid for out of the general fund (Rep. Equivel's suggestion) where it will compete for dollars with education; we should not have to pit children's health against their education. Let's support them both!

Urge Rep. Esquivel to support the Healthy Kids Act, HB 2201, by contacting him at 503-986-1406. — Barb Galbraith, Medford