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It is amazing but never surprising to read about liberal communities' disdain for affordable housing. They feed us platitudes about caring for the needs of same but when it comes to action, they vote it out, protest it or want someone else to pay.

You wouldn't see them lined up to protest in Talent.

This is one reason for higher prices of housing in liberal communities. They take every opportunity to restrict new building through unrealistic ordinances and building codes. Liberals only care about themselves in reality.

Ashland is only another example of liberal hypocrisy. Shame! — Richard Gyuro, White City

I read in the Mail Tribune (July 5) that Judy Barnes has stepped down as executive director of the Rogue Gallery and Art Center after serving nearly 11 years at the helm.

Board President Lindsay Berryman lauded Barnes' "drive and resourcefulness" in bringing arts education to the forefront and displaying high quality local art. She also said the gallery is "doing very well, is financially healthy with an excellent staff on board, a strong board of directors and exhibits that are outstanding."

I would like to add my personal thanks to Judy for her years of dedication and her many contributions to the growth of the visual art scene in the valley. — Eugene Bennett, Jacksonville

The July 5 MT editorial thanked our state legislators for "... doing their job ..." regarding passing a budget. I think it's a little overkill to thank them for doing the job they were elected to do, especially in light of the July 6 Sunday Oregonian front-page article ("Gifts, coal wrapped in 'Christmas tree' bill").

Evidently there's a long-standing tradition of placing "add-backs" in the budget; Oregon's way of "earmarking." For example: $500,00 for the Portland Art Museum and $625,000 for the Oregon Historical Society (the governor's priorities); $700,000 for a Coos Bay railroad; $150,000 for the Skanner Foundation (they provide minority student scholarships); $537,338 for development of an industrial park in Salem (a priority of Sen. Peter Courtney, D-Salem). A total of $121 million was in the Christmas tree bill, technically called the "reconciliation bill." This document had little public hearing, almost no debate and only a few hours after copies became available, the spending was voted into law. "I was told this is kind of traditional ..." said Rep. Peter Buckley, D-Ashland. Perhaps it's time we reviewed our "traditions" and have our legislators explain them to us. I've not seen an article in the MT regarding this add-back program — have you? — Murray LaHue, Phoenix

I do not appreciate scare tactic articles and headlines such as the article titled "The health care debate goes on — Watch for painful side effects" by Charlotte Allen. What are the painful side effects?

Health care rationing? We have health care rationing now. People with good jobs and the elderly on Medicare get what they need health-care wise. Other people, including many young people, have no health insurance and have poor access to health care. Is this the best way? Should a 99-year-old person get expensive surgery while a 21-year-old gets no health care at all?

Doctors not making decisions? Health care is doled out by formulas developed by private companies to make money for their shareholders. Is this the best way? Should a patient not get treatment because the insurance company thinks it is too expensive?

Let's stop the fear tactics, let's talk rationally about where and how our medical dollars are best spent. — Judy Holy, Ashland