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As Ronald Reagan's budget director and having himself worked as a private-equity investor for 17 years, David Stockman writes with authority in stating "Mitt Romney was not a businessman; he was a master financial speculator who bought, sold, flipped and stripped businesses."

In the Oct. 22 edition of Newsweek magazine, Stockman exhaustively debunks the Republican campaign's claim that Romney's career with Bain Capital has trained him for the task of "restarting the nation's sputtering engines of capitalism," but rather that "Romney's record is actually about the utter unfairness of windfall riches obtained under our anti-free-market regime of bubble finance" which "creates little of economic value" and redistributes wealth to crony capitalists.

You can read it online: just search for "Stockman Newsweek." — Ted Gibbs, Ashland

Where do you find story hours in American Sign Language, space for countless public meetings, free computer classes, tourists asking directions, newcomers registering to vote, folks reading the news, tutoring students, doing resumes, visitors asking about our town, people learning how to download books and music to gadgets galore, people using Wi-Fi, others watching free monthly movies, others checking out favorite DVDs, others finding how to fix an engine or searching family history, others absorbed in good books, gleeful kids with armloads of picture books?

Not your neighbor's living room, not the Chamber of Commerce or the local coffee shop. It's the Ashland Public Library, open 40 hours per week, including Sundays, and equipped to serve all comers. If you're happy that Ashland voters approved funding for those extra 16 hours, and you want to keep a good thing going, vote yes for Ballot Measure 15-113. — Ann Marie Magill, Ashland

Based on my previous discussions with Editorial Page Editor Gary Nelson, I know him to be an awesome wordsmith. As such I look forward to the Mail Tribune's explanation for why most of the news media is pimping for President Obama during this election campaign.

The last three debates can be offered as proof, and you may start with CNN's Candy Crowley shilling for President Obama on his debate Libya lie. — Michael McDermott, Medford

Rep. Greg Walden has hidden over 14 years as our representative in Congress. In a rare local public appearence recently, he, in answer to my question, said, "Yes, I signed the Grover Nordquist pledge to not vote for a increase in taxes, and I am loyal to it!"

He is a loyalist, has risen to leadership in the House and contibuted to the blocking of many legislative bills which would have brought us out of this recession. Please wake up and replace him with Joyce Segers, who is a thinker and not a loyalist to an ideology! — Gary Woodring, Talent

What can be done when you don't like either of the presidential candidates? What we need is a "Dave" (see the movie); someone who can balance the budget. Someone who will cut all the frills, make everyone pay their fair taxes, and make lobbying illegal. When all those legislators who promote their own agendas remember they were elected to work "for the people," perhaps we will have a government like the original was planned. When the laws of the land contradict God's laws, our country will pay for it in the long term. May God bless America! — M.A. Thorpe, Talent

I urge you all to vote for Ben Bloom for Circuit Court judge. His qualifications and temperament are ideal for the job, and he's done well since being appointed.

His opponent insinuates that any judge whose campaign accepts contributions is somehow tainted. That may be true of some judge somewhere else, but it is not true of Judge Bloom.

I support Ben precisely because of his integrity. Anyone who's worked with him or knows him at all will tell you that everyone in his courtroom gets a fair shake. If local attorneys thought otherwise, we'd not be supporting him in the first place.

Jackson County lawyers prefer him over his opponent by the overwhelming margin of 93 to 15. The reason is that he's an outstanding judge who takes his duties seriously. He has more to offer than empty campaign rhetoric. — Michael Jewett, Ashland

The county surveyor is one of those officials most voters will never have occasion to contact. Those most affected by the county surveyor are the handful of licensed professional land surveyors who use the office for research and file surveys there.

Besides Scott Fein's solid land surveying, technical and organizational strengths, most important for this job are his effective communication and harmonious people skills in dealing with fellow land surveyors, educating the public and managing the office team. He's tolerant of, and has an aptitude for, the bureaucratic governmental process.

Scott was hired six years ago by respected County Surveyor Roger Roberts, who has endorsed Scott for election. The late County Surveyor Kerry Bradshaw, realizing Scott's value, promoted him to deputy county surveyor.

Since Kerry's death, Scott effectively performs the duties of county surveyor as acting county surveyor, and will need no training upon election, resulting in uninterrupted service. — Joseph Bova, PLS, Ashland

After the divisive, financially wasteful leadership of its former chairman, Jack Walker, Jackson County's now fortunate to have two intelligent, common-sense incumbent commissioners, Don Skundrick and John Rachor — both Republicans.

Doug Breidenthal (also a Republican) is hoping to join them on the board, but he's a completely different breed. Breidenthal, who's garnered endorsements from the usual hyper-partisan suspects (including former chairman Walker himself) would be a Jack Walker clone — another stubborn ideologue impeding important county business with grandstanding and wasteful crusades.

Apparently now a "stealth" candidate, Doug's all-too-revealing statements posted on the Internet from his primary race seem to have disappeared. The fact that Don Skundrick's endorsed Doug's opponent, and that John Rachor and C.W. Smith (another Republican, whose seat Doug, if elected, would fill) have refused to support Breidenthal, should tell us something: Jackson County can do much, much better. Jeff Scroggin would fit that bill. — Jeff LaLande, Ashland

A professional opportunity brought me to Medford in 1984. I've never found a reason to leave. I like Medford's long history of supporting youth, schools, and the facilities and programs that point kids in the right direction.

I'm excited to be involved in our current effort to modernize our aquatics facilities through the passage of Measure 15-115. For less than four dollars a month, I'm getting an outstanding benefit beyond just updated pools for summer splashing. The year-round facility at Hawthorne is the centerpiece of transforming the park back into a community asset. It will provide positive economic impact from hosting competitions, a separate therapy pool, and will help attract businesses to Medford.

The new Jackson pool will provide four times the current capacity, an expanded deck area, and splash feature. It is the centerpiece of supervised, healthy activities between the school years. Please join me in voting yes. — Joe Brett, Medford

We are fortunate in having two ongoing county commissioners who are moderate Republicans.

Jeff Scroggin is a moderate Democrat running for the county commissioner position being vacated by C.W. Smith. Endorsed now by both the Mail Tribune and Republican Commissioner Skundrick, Jeff Scroggin would bring an encouraging balance to the team. Imagine — two Republican commissioners walking with one leg down the center and and one leg down the right and Jeff walking with one leg down the center and one leg down the left.

Together they would make a vibrant team that could actually get some things done in this county. Elect Jeff Scroggin for county commissioner so this team can work together for a fiscally responsible county infrastructure that helps foster family jobs and supports small businesses for a better quality life for all of us. — Mary N. Miller, Medford

Mayor Stromberg is an easy upcoming vote. He's knowledgeable, honest, good-natured, humble and even-tempered. He supports public participation and Ashland citizens through innovation, experiments, and has an ability to listen.

When I asked him once how his life had changed since taking office, he told me that in Ashland, the mayor "lives/breathes the office 24/7." Being retired, Mayor Stromberg thus has the time to devote to the cause. There's no distracting career, so he's still available to "live/breathe 24/7" Ashland's mayoral duties.

In Ashland we need someone in office who is willing to be mayor full-time. Re-electing Mayor Stromberg is an easy decision based on his knowledge, experience, personality, and willingness to support all segments of the community. — Eric Heesacker, Ashland

Are we so gullible?

Jerry Sandusky claims it's the kids' fault. Lance Armstrong insists everybody else is lying. The NRA assures us more guns will make us safer.

Limit contraception, but don't allow abortions. Rape victims can fix themselves.

Romney really is for the 47 percent. Our financial problem is Big Bird.

Save Medicare by giving the money to insurance companies. A $5 trillion tax cut won't impact social programs.

The harder it is to vote, the better for our democracy. He got Osama Bin Laden, united the world on Libya and Iran, ended the Iraq war, plans to finish Afghanistan and kept us out of new wars but is weak on foreign policy.

A health care program that protects the people from insurance companies is bad for America. "Trickle down" economics will fix the disaster that "trickle down" economics created.

Will we ever learn? — Joseph Suste, Medford

Regarding the "road diet," the city of Ashland is finally imposing its traffic-constriction scheme to reduce lanes on North Main to one in and out of the city in order to promote bicycling.

This is an entirely internally generated plan by city bureaucracy/council pseudo-environmentalists (who don't bicycle, but want you to) abetted by a Portland consultant.

There was no groundswell of citizens asking for change. In fact, virtually all thoughtful citizen input has been against the constriction. And ignored. Aside from the lack of democracy in this imposition, it makes no sense.

The city also refuses to provide criteria for "success," although they say it's a "test."

The city council members who voted for this include Carol Voisin, who should be voted out of office for this alone. The current mayor, Stromberg, totally supports the constriction, and should also be voted out of office. Send a message. — Glenn Lockie, Ashland

The statements uttered by Skundrick and printed in the Tribune against Doug Breidenthal were read with profound sadness.

As Republicans, we need not agree on all issues, but should have consideration and respect for another's viewpoints, even if we disagree.

Such a public rebuke over two issues — "land use" and "fees" was so excessive it amounts to a political inquisition. Has this turned to personal animosity?

I have always found Doug Breidenthal to be cooperative and open to new, innovative ideas.

Doug has my vote and support. — K. Grant, Medford

Why endorse Greg Walden to continue destroying the effectiveness of the House? Why not endorse Joyce Segers, the candidate not beholden to Boehner and Cantor whose leadership has made the House a cancer?

We see no TV ads from her because she takes no money from interest groups. She plans to arrive in D.C. with no strings attached. When questioned about her views on Obama care, Segers says that every American should have affordable Medicare and corporations should not profit by marketing healing.

Joyce Segers strikes me as a sane, humane, intelligent woman who wants to serve as a citizen legislator, not a professional politician. She has nothing to hide and no corporate interests to promote.

Google Joyce Segers. In Oregon District 2, it is time to forget Democrat or Republican, bench tread-worn Greg Walden and send Joyce Segers to Congress. — Sam Alvord, Lincoln on the Greensprings

Mr. Endicott of Shady Cove says of the upcoming election to "Forget the rhetoric; look at the numbers" (Letters, Oct. 17).

Does he mean even the rhetoric said behind closed doors, in secret and not intended for voters' ears? Really?

I do believe Mitt Romney's rhetoric. I think he'd even lie in God's own face if he thought it'd win him the election. The editorial cartoon in Wednesday's Mail Tribune pretty well nails it.

Romney and the Republicans in Congress only hope they can win by continuing to derail President Obama's economic plans and that the unemployment numbers go up rather than continue their slow but positive progress downward. The President didn't crash the economy. He inherited it from the previous Republican administration. That isn't rhetoric. That's a fact. — Matthew Lubic, Talent