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Walden's values clearOn Friday morning, Rep. Greg Walden voted against a bill that would have provided for county payments needed to keep our libraries open and cops on the beat. He voted against the needed funding because the bill also called for pulling our soldiers out of harm's way in the Iraqi civil war. Mr. Walden evidently values an open-ended deployment of U.S. troops in Iraq more than he values funding Oregon timber counties. &

8212; George Sexton, Ashland

News item buriedI regretfully report that the same news item that was the lead story on the front page of the New York Times (March 14) was buried toward the bottom of page 4 of the Mail Tribune.

It was the piece on Attorney General Gonzales firing eight Justice Department attorneys who were involved in prosecuting high-profile corruption cases of whom four were Republicans. — The situation, at first described by Gonzales as an "overblown personnel matter," was especially embarrassing to Bush because there was abundant evidence that tied the White House and Karl Rove to the firing of the attorneys. &

8212; Harry L. Cook, Ashland

A disturbing previewIn February, Americans were given a disturbing preview of the 2008 presidential campaign. Former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, a fine candidate with an excellent record, withdrew from the race because of the difficulties of raising millions upon millions of dollars for a national campaign. Two front-running candidates. Sens. Barak Obama and Hillary Clinton, squabbled over who was entitled to the millions contributed by a Hollywood mogul. What do candidates have to do for these millionaires to get this money anyway? This is a disgrace.

Public funding of presidential candidates, proposed 100 years ago by Theodore Roosevelt, is available today. Equal funding for every candidate would make the campaigns more like the Olympics: Everybody starts off even and may the best man &

8212; or woman &

8212; win. Make sure every dollar is accounted for, and those who don't stay within their budget should be disqualified. Major television networks should donate time for debates that include all candidates (those airways belong to the public, after all).

Today the USA has a national debt of more than $8.8 trillion. Our country needs a president who knows how to get the most out of a dollar, not the most dollars out of a contributor. &

8212; Marcia J. Simon, Ashland

Libraries and moneyRegarding the library funding issue, I would like to say I agree with U.S. writer Anne Herbert, who wrote in 1980: "Libraries will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no libraries." &

8212; Ron Turpen, Jacksonville