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Rep. Greg Walden said that Oregon's need for federal funding was so important that, "... You have to take your shoe off, pound it on the podium and say, 'This is real, folks.' "

Jackson County's money is in the bill that funds the Iraq attack and Walden voted no. Why? Because Walden's No.1 constituent, President Bush, said he'd veto it. Obviously, Greg works for Bush and not for Oregon. Vote for anybody but Walden in 2008. — Damon Neal, Medford

The negative reviews of Aida by Bill Varble and Richard Moeschl didn't match the opinions of the patrons at Tuesday's sold-out performance. The performers received a standing ovation. I felt privileged to be there.

I hope other viewers will not be dissuaded by negative reviews. Read the reviews and then judge for yourself by going anyway. I thought Elton John and Tim Rice's Aida was fantastic! — Kathy Fennell, Medford

Recently we came home from a magical transport to medieval Spain with "Man of La Mancha" at the Camelot Theater in Talent.

Thanks to the theater, our family of five was able to see this performance on a "pay what you can" evening. How wonderful of them to enable locals to see a professional production that we wouldn't have been able to see at current ticket prices. Kudos to the theater! — Joyce Ball, Jacksonville

I would like to express my sympathy and respect to the county commissioners who have to make tough decisions on subjects like budget cuts to SOHS and the closure of our county libraries. These unpopular decisions could make Jackson County appear to be an unwelcome place for families, students and others to live.

However, the county commissioners will have an opportunity in the next few weeks to make a decision that shows they do care about families, they care about the mental and physical fitness of all county residents, they care about the environment, they care about history and they care about teaching children about endangered species such as the fritillaria gentneri. Best of all, it's free!

They can simply deny the application to rezone the historic Opp Mine property to aggregate resource. A firm refusal to allow an open-pit mine, with its loud noise, dust and dangerous traffic, to operate directly adjacent to walking paths, would mean that everyone in the county could continue to enjoy the Jacksonville Woodland Park system, which has been set up to encourage walking, hiking, biking, learning about rare flowers, history and the environment. — J. Mather, Jacksonville

I, along with thousands of others, was called unpatriotic, disloyal and a traitor, along with a few unprintable descriptions, when we protested the invasion of Iraq even before it started.

It is now apparent that some of these same individuals in the administration were involved in blowing the cover of a CIA agent, thus rendering her useless in her former position. Perhaps even worse, the lives of her informants may be endangered. Who are the traitors?

More recently some of these people are at it again. The administration does not want them to testify under oath regarding the federal prosecutors scandal. Could it be said that they have nothing to fear but the truth? — Harlan Moore, Medford

I have a few concerns regarding the March 25 editorial alleging "intolerance" by those who oppose legislation prohibiting discrimination against gays.

If homosexuals are not being granted special status for their specific sexual orientation, then why not protect pedophiles? Pedophiles insist theirs is also a sexual orientation. If I read correctly, landlords could not discriminate against registered pedophiles renting in a family-oriented apartment complex heavily populated by underage children.

Does the editorial staff insist one group of sexually oriented individuals is different from another? If so, then the MT position clearly sees gays as deserving "protected class" status over others with different kinds of sexual orientations.

My personal experience is that gay couples make excellent renters and neighbors, but we have to remember that neither homosexuality, pedophilia, bestiality or any other sexual orientations have ever been proved to be conditions a person is born with. That is why the framers of our Constitution did not extend equal protection to citizens on the basis of their behavior, sexual or otherwise.

As a constitutionalist, I oppose this legislation, not because I believe discrimination against gays should be "protected," but because the legislation grants special protections based upon sexual behavior. — Carl F. Worden, Eagle Point

Wow. The Shady Cove police chief and public school principal handcuff a third-grader in front of her friends, in a classroom, for stealing: A middle child of a large family who has grown up in a meth home. Any clues as to what this child might need, such as an environment she can respect and rely on not to hurt or disappoint her?

This is an ill-thought-out, knee-jerk reaction that causes more long-term harm for the child, and her classmates who were forced to witness it, than good by establishing adult role models children can trust, which takes time. Police spend time trying to establish positive relationships with adolescents; this sets them up as bullies.

This is teaching by fear which is short-term, relying on the next fearful event to keep the child in place. Could the chief have privately talked with the child as a part of an overall plan to help this child and family?

The adults involved need skills training regarding child development and age-appropriate practices, and the psychological implications of being handcuffed in front of your friends in a place you trust, by people you trust, when you're a third-grader and have already seen too much. — Ginger Gough, Medford

I want to address one of the many serious flaws in Jonah Goldberg's recent column regarding climate change.

He scoffs at the notion that we can make the U.S. economy stronger by addressing climate change. A more energy-efficient business is more profitable. While energy efficiency measures cost some money up front, they often pay for themselves in a few years and then start making you money. Buildings can be designed to use 50 to 80 percent less energy.

We also need to go full speed ahead with wind and geothermal energy, as they are already cheaper or soon will be cheaper than coal. Solar energy is also promising as the price continues to get more competitive. Thanks to state and federal government subsidies, in Oregon its payback time for businesses is now about five years.

All of these conservation measures and switches to renewable energy create jobs and keep money in local economies. Furthermore, we can make our economy independent of gas price hikes by switching to plug-in electric hybrid cars. Over their lifetime they would be cheaper, create less local air pollution and wean us off of foreign oil.

Goldberg impedes necessary and positive change. — Jim Hartman, Ashland

Our library situation in the Rogue Valley is in a sad state. The voters must take into consideration what could happen if we close the doors on this institution.

Another vacant building just when a face-lift is taking place to downtown, students without access to information, pre-schoolers without reading programs and low-income readers without books. Most important is losing the professionals that run the libraries to other employment and maybe for good.

The amount being asked to save them is equivalent to a night at the movies, a couple of lattes a week or maybe the night out for dinner. If we don't invest in the future of our valley that will make us proud, others may compromise the goals of investors, scaring them away.

Before writing off the levy, make a visit to the library and check it out and the people who use it. I did and I will use it. — Andrew Lennert, Eagle Point

I desire to be car-free. Bus fare rates have doubled. Monthly pass fees are exorbitant because buses don't operate on weekends and major holidays.

RVTD has deleted routes instead of adding and/or improving others. The district's services are too costly and restrictive (uninviting). I can't imagine there are not many, many more potential bus riders eager for a more reasonable and realistic transit system.

Personally, I'm interested in Route 60 Medford—White City. Antelope Road has been improved east of Agate Road. Consider adding this to the loop: Highway 62 to Table Rock Road, and down to East Vilas Road. This corridor is highly traveled and prime for inclusion.

My car gets 40-plus mpg. Yet, I desire the sense of freedom and well-being that comes from not feeding a parasitical and polluting contraption. I can ride my bicycle when possible, but there's winter, traffic, etc. (The Bear Creek Greenway ends at Pine Street). Governmental and/or private grant or subsidy programs must be available — other cities do it. Make the move forward, not backward. Give us incentive. A stagnant or declining (unmotivated) ridership will lead to more cutbacks, until there is no more RVTD.

Just imagine. — Charlie Hedges, Medford

My name is Samuel Nielson and I am a Scout. I think that you should interview people who really contribute to this county, such as firefighters, policeman, medics, etc., because they contribute so much to this county and I think that they need more support. People who were in the Army are great people to interview also because they could tell you what it's like in the battlefield. — Sam Nielson, White City