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Droughts, wildfire and severe storms are not partisan; they affect Republicans, independents and Democrats alike. Similarly, our recognition that these events are increasing as a result of climate change is scientific, not partisan.

It is difficult to judge whether Mitt Romney takes climate change seriously. In his convention speech he treated it as a joke — maybe a sop to his party's anti-science platform. Previously, however, Romney argued it is a serious concern needing to be addressed, though through volunteer measures not regulations.

We know that we only have clean air and clean water because regulations level the playing field for those who want to do the right thing. Regulations make greedy individuals accept their community responsibilities. Volunteer environmental protection has never worked; it leads to disaster.

Confronted by congressional opposition, Barack Obama might not offer perfect responses to climate change, but he takes it seriously and offers positive proposals. — Alan Journet, Jacksonville

I have had the privilege of working alongside Ben Bloom for over a decade. As an attorney, Ben was always extremely honest and thoughtful. As a judge he has been even more so. Ben is an asset to our court and to our community. He has the overwhelming support of the attorneys, elected officials and judges in our county. He also has mine. — Charles Bolen, Central Point

Greg Walden has a proven record of balanced leadership in the multi-use aspect of our public lands. He has time after time advocated jobs and public access to local forest. I especially appreciate his standing up to eco-radicals and their plan to lock up an additional 1 million acres of our public lands. Two more years of this kind of leadership, please. — Rocky Reeser, Medford

The MT's endorsement of Obama seems to only reflect the idea of "better the devil we know, than the devil we don't know."

Hardly the smart choice when the hole you are asking us to stay in has been such a hellish economic and political environment these past four years. We know where this devil has taken us; now it's time to reject him and seek a new environment. — Bob Smith, Medford

Believing in Mitt Romney is like believing in the "tooth fairy." Just go to sleep, and in the morning you will have more money. — Jim Britton, Jacksonville

Even though Peter Buckley joins the ranks of leaders throughout the political spectrum, he shows courage in supporting legalization and state control of marijuana. The impact of 9/11 on Fourth Amendment rights makes many citizens reluctant to speak, even though the War on Drugs has been pouring money down a rat hole for decades.

Furthermore, the ease of finding "marijuana grows" and RICO skew the efforts of law enforcement away from more serious and difficult-to-solve crimes. Of course there are few donors to the legalization campaign — who wants to be on a list of supporters when it only takes one over-zealous DEA agent with a cavalier attitude toward civil liberties to find oneself on a more sinister list?

So, whatever you feel about the measure, let's give Buckley credit for speaking out on behalf of putting more into drug education and less into overwhelming our prisons and state budgets. — Nancy Ames, Siskiyou Pass

Jackie Agee is running against Carol Voisin for the Ashland City Council. Agee states that as development director for Salvation Army, she is familiar with the needs of the impoverished in our community. Yet she is running against the only city council member attempting to reasonably alleviate the homeless issue in Ashland.

For example, Carol works with local churches and community organizations and advocates for veterans for homelessness. It's delusional to believe an organization such as the Salvation Army will solve the homeless problem. Agee, who has no experience in government, was asked to run by the Ashland Chamber of Commerce and is endorsed by the conservative PAC funded by construction and engineering firms and others.

It is clear to whom Agree will be beholden if she is elected to the City Council. Our household supports Carol Voisin. She works for the entire community, including businesses. — M.L. Cody, Ashland

The ugly, mean, gray mastodon with long sharp tusks is indeed in our living room. Five trillion dollars more in debt in four years is beyond the liberal mind to worry about, however, it is the main idea, our most important issue as we cast our ballot.

The debt is twice the amount of the previous administration, which was also awful. It is more than all previous presidents combined. Yet the current administration wants to "stay the course," which means $12 trillion in the next four years.

The East and West Coast urban vote will stay the course. Seventy-five percent of journalists will joyfully do the same. It is a Greek tragedy demonstrated for real in that small country.

As Clint said, why not a businessman? — Lynn Berntson, Jacksonville

Individuals have a chance to regain some of their individual rights that were taken from them by Oregon's inheritance tax. Stop the raid on your savings that you have already paid tax on.

There are those who think the state has more of a right to your savings than you do. One of those groups is Defend Oregon. Not only do they advocate looting your savings, but foster class warfare with their rhetoric and their worn-out slogans of "tax breaks for the rich."

Stand up for your rights. No one else will. Vote yes on Measure 84. — Gordon W. Dickerson, Medford

When a mailer comes into our house endorsing three candidates and trashing others, it doesn't take a genius to understand one thing.

The three candidates are pretty much guaranteed to vote as a bloc on issues facing Ashland. We are a diverse city, facing real issues.

We need a council with diverse viewpoints so all sides can be heard before decisions are made.

The mailer trashed Carol Voisin because she sometimes votes in the minority. Ask yourself: Do we want a City Council voting in lockstep, or do we want a council that represents all of us?

I have known Carol for 45 years and know her as someone who listens, studies the issues, steps up and advocates with passion, and goes to work to make things happen. She is available, responsive, and takes her responsibility seriously.

She has my enthusiastic vote, and I hope she has yours. — Dorothy Brooks, Ashland

Mitt "corporations are people" Romney was born with a silver foot in his mouth.

His blundering attempt at foreign diplomacy earned him international ridicule, but his plan to gut domestic programs that serve the poor and elderly is no joke. As he inadvertently told the world: "My job is not to worry about those people."

His promise to cut taxes, increase military spending and still reduce the deficit insults our intelligence. His experience in outsourcing jobs and stashing his loot in offshore tax havens demonstrates greed, not patriotism.

President Obama saved the auto industry, expanded access to health care and ended the Bush recession despite Republican efforts to make him fail. He also nailed Osama bin Laden and decimated al-Qaida. The number of Americans killed by terrorists on Obama's watch is minuscule compared to Bush's.

Keep America safe: Let's re-elect the real patriot and pass on the plutocrat. — Michael Steely, Medford

Romney claims China manipulates currency. Surprise! Surprise!

We have been doing it for 100 years with the Federal Reserve (1912) and the Exchange Stabilization Fund (1934). — Louis Goldman, Ashland

Rep. Peter Buckley knows the pulse of his district and works year round to develop solutions for the people, even when the House is not in session. He is perpetually focused on making the best education choices available to his constituents.

He reaches beyond his district to find solutions for delivery of top quality health care to all Oregonians. He is respected by his peers, who have voted him into leadership roles in Salem.

To work with Peter Buckley on any project is to learn that he is a man of generous heart. Keep this good man working for the people of Jackson County. Vote for Peter Buckley, Oregon House of Representatives, District 5. — Gail Beason, Talent

I've known Dick Gordon for almost 30 years and have had an opportunity to observe him in his position as a city councilman.

He is always prepared, well-informed, thoughtful and open as he undertakes his job. He is experienced. He has worked for large businesses and for himself in the past and knows how to make hard decisions. He is retired and devotes countless hours for the betterment of our community.

Sometimes I agree with his positions and sometimes not, but I always know that he has done his homework and has come to his conclusions based on what he believes is best of the citizens of Medford now and in the future. We are lucky to have Dick Gordon as a Medford city councilman. He deserves our support and re-election. — Frank J. Pulver III, Medford

Congress is required to pass a budget before Oct. 1. For several years Congress has been unable to pass the budget on time. Recently it can't enact a complete (one-year) budget. Congress is failing to accomplish its basic responsibility to our nation.

While not all congressional representatives are at fault, voters can vote for only two senators and one representative. The smart voter will hold those three Congress members responsible. If any legislator doesn't publicly commit to passing the budget before Oct. 1 and show an all-out effort to do so, voters should replace him/her. If citizens in all states followed this guideline, Congress will soon toe the line and pass complete budgets on time.

Political parties are not the issue; the budget is the basis of economic growth and public policy. Let ability to pass a budget be the base line test for any legislative candidate. — Robert Mumby, Phoenix

Since winning the Republican primary, self-identified "severely conservative" Romney has been working to reinvent his image with women, immigrants, and the undecided middle.

After his one-term as a relatively moderate governor, he has become the candidate out of touch with the middle class. The question is, who is the real Romney and how will he govern?

It doesn't matter what he did as governor, what promises he makes during the campaign, or even what he believes. To determine how he will govern, consider the following. His campaign is being bankrolled by wealthy billionaires, large corporations, and secret PACs. His campaign advisors and inner circle are far-right ideologues. He picked Paul Ryan, an uncompromising budget slasher, to be his running mate.

Do you believe Romney will defy the people who are paying for and running his campaign — the Republican right wing — and suddenly govern as a moderate? — Gerald Brooks, Ashland

I've been reading the discussions regarding the pools. Swim Medford and the Mail Tribune are doing a great job of informing us. However, I am amazed at how much misinformation is prevalent.

Bob Summers states, "A new pool will cost approximately $50 a month for Medford homeowners." The voter's pamphlet states that the average homeowner's property taxes will increase by $30 per year, the maintenance fee will be 73 cents per month, for a total of less than $40 per year not $50 per month!

Pamela Dietrichs touts fitness clubs. Are these free? Of course not. Oz memberships cost $35 per month, a far cry from $40 per year.

Randy Hutton asks "... do we really need a year-round facility to accommodate special interest groups?" The pools are for kids, seniors, high school swimmers and all residents of Medford. Are these "special interest groups?"

I urge everyone to vote yes on 15-115! — Bill Freda, Cherry Lane