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Bob Pennell's priceless photo of Michael Heckert in the Hawaiian shirt, standing by the Jeld-Wen replacement door in front of the low-income rental units that are waiting for the city of Phoenix to act on his urban renewal application is now on my refrigerator. — Tucker Whitson, Ashland

This year, the voters of Jackson County have a clear choice for county commissioner.

Jeff Scroggin represents what public service could be. He served honorably in the military and learned the craft of governance under Sen. Alan Bates.

He would govern in a way that would represent the majority of our citizens, actively researching issues to make informed decisions, moving forward without ideologic prejudice to represent Democrats, moderate Republicans and independents, and actively working across party lines with his Republican commissioner colleagues to do what is best for our county.

In contrast, his opponent Doug Breidenthal won his primary with an aggressive tea party agenda. If he is elected, moderate Republicans, independents and Democrats would rarely influence decision-making.

I would urge all who supported me when I was a commissioner to support Jeff Scroggin.

He is the only candidate who is capable of merging fiscal responsibility with social compassion. — Dr. Dave Gilmour, former Jackson County commissioner, Central Point

I am writing a letter in support of Dick Gordon running for re-election to Medford City Council. Dick has been a neighbor and friend for several years. I have found him to be honorable and conscientious. He takes the time to think things through and has great management skills.

Medford is really lucky to have a person of his caliber working as a volunteer. I have found him to be trustworthy, and a great all-around person. — James F. Garner, Medford

Today I read David Brooks' Sept. 24 op-ed in the New York Times, titled "The Conservative Mind." He laments that conservatives do not adequately support government initiatives intended to help families, education, neighborhoods, religion, etc. He argues that "traditional" conservatives should be eager to support such programs.

What he fails to recognize is the general decline in popular public sentiment about the very things that create strong families and communities. For many in our country, God is no longer fashionable, hard work is no longer admired, premarital sex is no longer unwise, self-reliance is no longer assumed, self-control is no longer expected, education is no longer valued, honesty is no longer virtuous, and wisdom is no longer sought after.

Governments cannot fix our collective character flaws, no matter how much money they spend. I'm not saying we shouldn't spend the money, we just shouldn't expect much improvement as a result. We cannot build a better society until we become a better people. — Rick Fernandez, Medford