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Our democracy is being sabotaged by Citizens United. Big donors are flooding politicians with money essentially buying elections. The needs and wants of average citizens hold very little weight against this onslaught.

If Americans wish to have a government "by the people and for the people" then we need new legislation to combat the effects of this legalized bribery. — Gwenne Penkert, Medford

At what point are the county and surrounding cities going to address the revolving door that is our county jail?

What good does it do for our county and city police to catch thieves, abusers, druggies, et cetera, when all that happens is they get a slap on the wrist, a court appearance — which many skip — and are put back out in society to continue to do whatever it was they were doing? We see in the paper that some are caught with seven to 10 "failure to appear" counts. There is something sorely wrong with this.

I can't imagine how frustrating it must be for our law enforcement officers to work so hard to catch criminals only to see them back on the streets the very next day. This has been going on for years, yet the city/county fathers don't seem concerned enough to do something about it.

How about building another jail, a bit further out of Medford, to house those already convicted and sentenced to months or years in prison, leaving our current jail open for new offenders? Whatever is done, at least do something! Please! — Patricia Green, Medford

Ah, the latest liberal mantra.

Let's do a hypothetical. A company comes up with a cure for cancer. Everybody in the USA voluntarily pays $100 for the cure. That's $35 billion in company profits. It pays its CEO $10 million, and the person that invents it $1 million. So, the customers are happy, $100 to cure cancer is a bargain. The company, CEO and inventor are also happy.

This is a much better deal than a government that confiscates your income under threat of force. We don't need income equality. The poor in our country qualify as the top 1 percent compared to other countries. The government would do better by getting out of the way, so that everyone can succeed. Make the business environment in the USA so appealing that it makes everyone in the world want to come here for manufacturing and services.

Remember, the liberals want to determine how you spend your money. The conservatives want to determine what your morals are. Be an independent thinker. — Larry Fields, Medford

Southern Oregon University is the single largest employer in the city of Ashland, as well as one of the largest employers in the entire Rogue Valley. As a public institution, SOU was founded with the mission of serving the residents of the region and providing individuals with the opportunity to pursue a quality education for an affordable price, with the intent of serving the public by utilizing public funds.

However, over the past 20 years state allocations to public higher education have been steadily declining. For example, in 2008 SOU received $18,794,362 in state funding; by 2012 that state allocation had been reduced to $12,642,338, a 33 percent reduction in four short years. Students have taken on the bulk of the increased financial burden through annual increases in tuition. However, the school literally cannot raise tuition fast enough to offset the rate of divestment.

As a result, as costs go up we are simultaneously being forced to cut programs and services. We're caught in a downward spiral that could be stopped by a small reinvestment; a simple step that would protect future generations' access to opportunity. The higher education system isn't broken, it's just broke. — Tommy Letchworth, Ashland