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I second your opinion piece of March 23, "Just Get the Schools Built".

It's time we remember why the school bond passed by the slimmest of margins in the first place. It wasn't because voters wanted funding for restoring historic structures. It was because voters wanted children to have a safe, secure and functional place to obtain an education.

Not only would the historic designation delay the process, but it is hard to see how the impacted schools could be built within the current allowed budget amounts. Exactly which parts of the various school building projects would be sacrificed in order to keep historic facades built with defective brick?

We need to put the needs of the staff and children who use the schools first and foremost. — Karen Starchvick, Jacksonville

Capital gains tax: McCain at 15 percent, Obama at 28 percent, Clinton at 24 percent. Can we afford it (CWAI)?

Dividend tax: McCain at 15 percent, Obama/Clinton at 39.6 percent. CWAI?

Income tax: McCain at: Single with $50,000 = $12,500, married with $60,000 = $9,000. Obama/Clinton at: single = $14,000 and married = $16,800. CWAI?

Inheritance tax: McCain at 0 percent, Obama/Clinton reinstate tax Bush repealed. CWAI?

New taxes proposed by Obama/Clinton are: Increased tax on large homes, increased tax on gasoline (inspiring), new taxes on natural resources consumption (heating gas, water, electricity), new taxes on retirement accounts, new taxes to pay for socialized medicine so we can receive the same level of medical care as other Third World countries.

If Obama could enact his new fiscal policy, we would be faced with financing $874.35 billion in new spending in four years. CWAI? I can't. — Jay Quimby, Medford

America has declined for almost eight years and only a great leader can restore its former greatness and its covenant with its citizens. We are paying the price for setting the bar for national leadership disgracefully low.

Two terms of incompetence and unfairness have led to our decline in every meaningful measure of our value as a nation. We have always risen to historical challenges but not without courageous and inspirational national leadership.

Seeing and hearing Barack Obama has convinced me that we could have such a leader. His confidence is presidential in a way that arrogant gunslinger swagger is not. He is the great communicator without the theatrics. He is quick on his feet without being evasive. He talks to a very diverse audience without pretending to be one of them or in any way above them. This time Oregon may have a say in selecting a real president. — Doug Snider, Medford

I am a petroleum geologist who recently lectured on energy and peak oil at the Jackson County Auditorium.

I wish to thank the Sierra Club for sponsoring and arranging my presentation. I also wish to express appreciation to my audience. The folks from the Medford area listened carefully and asked insightful questions from which I greatly benefited. Thank you. — Ted Bezzerides, Brookings