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Election letters

I disagree with the Mail Tribune's April 24 editorial saying that things are going fine in the county assessor's office. Things are not going fine there, as further research will show.

We need a new assessor. Roy Wright will clean up the backlog, improve office functioning and add much-needed transparency to a troubled area of our county government. Vote for Roy Wright. — Samarra Burnett, Ashland

In its recent endorsement of Doug McGeary and Lisa Greif for judicial office, the Mail Tribune noted that some voters might have reservations about the Oregon State Bar preference poll. It's worth pointing out that the poll isn't a trivial popularity contest. Lawyers have good reason to be honestly concerned with who gets elected to the bench. After all, judges are a very important part of our work environment. We know who among us are best equipped with the capability, diligence and temperament to decide cases that are important to our clients and to the public.

In the past 30 years, I've appeared in many courts around the state and I am pleased to report that our Jackson County judges have always been among the best. The preference of local lawyers for McGeary and Greif points the way toward continuing this valuable tradition. — David Ingalls, Ashland

I am writing in support of Karen Spoonts for Jackson County clerk. I served as Medford city recorder and Karen as the deputy city recorder.

I found her to be very competent, conscientious, detail-oriented and with unparalleled energy for the work at hand. The city recorder's office responsibility included the recording of documents at the county and abiding by state laws relating to records management, elections, contract management and annexations and foreclosures.

Karen relates well with others and has developed a good networking with other clerks through professional organizations. I feel she would do an excellent job and I am very comfortable recommending her as Jackson County clerk. — Beverly Sandblast Fisher, Medford

I would like to highly recommend Chris Walker for the county clerk's position. I have known Chris for many years and found her to always be honest, friendly and helpful when I needed assistance from the clerk's office. I think we are most fortunate to have someone with her background and experience running for this position. Please join me in supporting Chris Walker for county clerk. — Don Rist, Talent

I was very disappointed in the Mail Tribune's endorsement of Novick over Jeff Merkley in its April 25 opinion.

Jeff Merkley has an impeccable 10-year progressive legislative record. In 2007 as Oregon House Speaker, he presided over one of the most progressive sessions in the country, demonstrating astute skills at bipartisan consensus building on difficult issues such as environmental protection and the Rainy Day Fund. As a progressive he has the endorsement of Rep. Peter Buckley.

What Oregon needs is a senator who can form coalitions and cooperate with others to break the congressional stalemates that are choking our country and state, not one intent on confrontation and conflict. What Oregon Democrats need is someone who can take on Gordon Smith and win.

Jeff Merkley is that person. Perhaps that is why the MT did not endorse him. — Karen Salant, Ruch

There is something frightening about the frenzied "Youth for Obama" movement going on across the nation.

Do the high school and college-age people who are eligible to vote this year and who are so enamored of Barack Obama understand the implications of electing a man who has friends like haters Rev. Wright and William Ayers? Even Obama's wife, Michelle, does not really like America.

Are these young people blindly following a cult of popularity per Oprah? Who influences these young minds to make them think that movie stars and daytime television show hosts are brilliant enough to tell them who to vote for? They are willing to buy into the hype and sell out America for some glamour, pretty words and promises, but no substance.

I believe Mr. Obama is a wolf in sheep's clothing. Beware young voters, you will have to live with what you vote for. — Nancy Brousseau, Central Point

Chris Walker was appointed Feb. 4, 2008 to fill the unexpired term of Kathy Beckett. Chris has been an employee of the Jackson County Clerk's Office for 13 years. Three years ago she was asked to oversee the Board of Property Tax Appeals hearings. With no prior knowledge of the position, Chris was not at all apprehensive, jumped in with determination and interest. She is so very competent, has a thirst for knowledge, very personable and articulate. She has a strong detail for accuracy and timeliness. This year she not only continued her position as BOPTA clerk but upon her appointment and the oath of office as county clerk did both jobs.

She has been a lifelong resident of the valley, Chris is energetic, and has a very high standard of ethics. Chris is without a doubt the most qualified candidate. Please mark your ballot for Chris Walker for county clerk. — Joan Middendorff, Medford

In my opinion Roy Wright stands as an excellent candidate for county assessor.

I had a very discouraging situation with the country property tax system last year, which could have been easily resolved by the assessor's office if they were interested in listening to residents and discussing appraisals, but which ended up requiring two appeals before they agreed to negotiate a settlement which closely mirrored what I had requested of them at first.

The current administration said they were unwilling to consider comparable sales data or in fact any data collected by the homeowner as we were not trained assessors. Yet, in the final analysis the data they accepted was extremely similar to what I had submitted at the beginning.

It seems time for a new administration in the county assessor's office. — Megan Mitchell, Ashland

Did all the followers of those evangelical ministers caught in flagrante delicto learn from their pastors that it's OK to cheat on their spouses?

Did all the devout parishioners of those Catholic priests who practiced pedophilia draw from their years of worship that it's OK to abuse children?

Of course not! So why are the media pundits so gleefully tarring presidential candidate Barack Obama with the brush of his retired pastor's anger?

Because it's titillating; because it sells; because it keeps columnists in circulation and talking heads on screen. It has nothing to do with the serious business of choosing the next president for this wounded country.

Barack Obama is a candidate of wide vision and high intelligence who will work his heart out to heal the rifts that divide America. — Gail Beason, Talent

It's interesting that the MT in their endorsement of Steve Novick for the Democratic nomination implied that Speaker Jeff Merkley would drift to the right during a general election campaign. On what basis?

Jeff is the only candidate running with a proven progressive track record easily confirmed with his five terms in the House. During his last two years as speaker, he displayed the ability to lead and build consensus among both parties in order to get the job done.

The Rainy Day Fund is the perfect example. It fell apart multiple times, but he kept pushing party leadership back together until finally success was achieved. Being a tough negotiator is not about being combative: It is about dogged determination to achieve what is right. And Jeff Merkley has proven that time and again. — Sooney Viani, Ashland

Ashland's mayor is running in the county commissioner primary and I would suggest that voters look at his record and lack of accomplishments before voting in his favor.

Remember the loss of most of the city's department leaders during his term. The last planning department leader probably resigned because the mayor let a city council member harass him for his calendar schedule, e-mails and all of his contacts.

The Ashland downtown plan died during his term as did most of the Charter Commission's recommendations. Let's not forget we needed mayor/council therapy sessions to conduct the City Council meetings in a civil manner during his term.

The importance of our county commissioners can only be realized by their lack of planning in the closing of our libraries and the unplanned loss of the timber funds. We must have commissioners who can do the job. — Donald Politis, Ashland

As I predicted, the recent poll numbers have validated my opinion.

I was correct in opining: Unfortunately, thousands of words spoken by Sen. Obama will not overcome the videotapes of Rev. Jeremiah Wright preaching historical lies and hate.

It is unfortunate, because both Sen. Obama and Sen. McCain are honest. The debates will be great, both stating clearly how each stand on current issues and how each would take us into the future.

However, no matter what the outcome of the debates, Sen. McCain will be elected president because most of the electorate are visual thinkers and a few videotapes are worth more than a thousand debates.

The visual thinkers do outnumber the logic thinkers (less than 10 percent of high school graduates excelled in mathematics), so, politics is all about image, perception and videotapes! Visual thinking is not the highest form of reasoning. — Bill Hartley, Medford