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I protest the firing of Dr. Jackson Dempsey during October 2012 from Jackson County Mental Health Services.

He was an important professional in good standing, and received regular evaluations. The circumstances that initiated this decision were not immediately made public, although the Board of Commissioners is ultimately responsible for the ongoing circumstance of JCMHS. Also, austerity and community support were hotly contested topics between candidates for commissioner in the November 2012 election.

Part of my protest of this decision to terminate Dr. Dempsey is because the commissioners did not provide for a plan B appropriate for the protection of clientele, and they did not inform clients, as is ethical and responsible. As such, the board may have placed the clients and patients within JCMHS in jeopardy, and indirectly imposed an "unnecessary tax burden" on Jackson County.

So, my appeal is simple. Please use care and judgment while becoming informed as voters. It is important for the wider community to elect the best possible representatives, not enforce an authoritarian process.

Further, austerity at the expense of established protocols and the needs of others may impose vulnerability for future burdens on the community that may not be immediately clear, or cheap. Be well. — Thomas O. Guss, Ph.D., Medford

GMO companies first pay farmers to plant GMO crops. The farmers must sign a contract to not reuse the patented seeds. The expenses for seeds and poisons the GMO companies sell goes up each year.

Meanwhile, farmers who plant non-GMO seeds often have their crops pollinated with GMOs. Then the GMO companies sue them heavily for patent infringement. Weeds and insects are becoming more poison-resistant as they get pollinated with the same genetic resistance to herbicides. Heavier applications then kill soil organisms that keep the soil loose and able to soak in water.

Notice the disastrous droughts in the Midwest the past few years, where GMO crops dominate — and our rise in food costs? The Farm Bureau is heavily funded by the GMO companies.

Our government does not regulate GMOs, claiming GMOs are no different than natural crops. Then why can they be patented? Help protect Oregon's economy and reputation as having some of the best farms and healthy food in the nation — food we can sell to any nation (many nations have banned GMOs).

Tell your representative you oppose the GMO industry and their recent bills, and support the local 2014 ballot measure to ban GMOs in our valley. — Margery Winter, Ashland

Did someone forget to send the memo to conservatives that Dr. Ben Carson is black?

It looks as though, if he were to choose to do so, he could be a serious contender for the White House. If the vetting process goes well, I could enthusiastically support his candidacy.

But how can it be that I could get behind a candidate of color, since it is clear that I am a racist — at least it is clear to many liberals/progressives/socialists who accuse me and other conservatives of being so.

Any conservative who questions a black president's policies, appointments, etc., is obviously motivated by racism. And conservatives who desire greater border security hate Hispanics, although that doesn't very well explain our concern for our northern border and our western and eastern coastlines.

I find it fascinating that those who label as racists conservatives who criticize President Obama, are often displaying prejudice by stereotyping conservatives. There are unquestionably racists in every camp, but to assume to know an individual's motives, especially involving such an ugly accusation, because you don't agree with their position, is not only wrong, it unnecessarily inflames an issue that, instead, deserves honest and accurate dialog. — Bob Calhoun, Eagle Point