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The MT could run an article to answer the questions and help diffuse the anger espressed in three recent letters about cyclists.

They have done a great job presenting both sides of the controversy regarding banning a dog breed because of people being bitten. Why don't we see similar articles regarding people on bikes that are being injured and killed (October 2013 on Riverside) by errant motorists?

The paper could provide a great service in educating motorists and cyclists on Oregon state law.

Same road. Same rules. Same rights. Share the road. It's the law. — Judy Kerr, Ashland

Mention climate change or global warming and the resultant emotions too often interfere with frank, rational conversations. Is global climate change real? Is it part of a natural cycle of warming and cooling? Is human activity contributing to the problem?

I often refer to a quote from Mario Molina, Nobel laureate, whose research uncovered the role of chlorofluorocarbons in causing the "ozone hole" over Antarctica. He also encountered skeptics relating to the facts and resistance to taking action.

His quote from the video "Changing Face of Science" refers to our using the atmosphere to conveniently dispose of our waste gases. He said, "If nothing else, it is bad manners." What a basic philosophy to caring for our shared home. — Eric Dittmer, Medford

In their campaign to eradicate open-air smoking, our government functionaries should be reminded that they have an obligation to accommodate the minority.

Sjothun continues to make his absurd argument that Medford should "follow suit" by enacting a ban. In the first place, 902 communities nationwide do not constitute a "trend." In the second place, following trends is rarely a good idea in the first place.

Councilor Matthews states, "It drives me crazy." We have all met people who feel the same. But the idea that open-air smoking constitutes a nuisance, much less a health risk, is so intolerant and fussy as to be ludicrous. These people don't need a law; they need a therapist. — Jim Tribbey, Medford

We are being drawn into a debate in which the parameters are being defined from the outside in. The debate is becoming a "show" that is actually creating distracting issues. That is the setup.

We all agree teachers are the custodians of our next generation and our real opposition is ignorance. What I think is ignorant is getting trapped in a stale debate.

We all want to achieve a sea change in the educational system. Let it start with the teachers. Let this debate be the catalyst for policy review that gets us back to basics. The fundamentals.

Let the teachers define the curriculum — policy that liberates teachers to teach. Preserve teachers' integrity so they feel validated without top-heavy command. Let it go from the bottom up.

Get the administrators out of the classroom because they are not actually in it. Let it follow a natural and common-sense path from teacher to administrator to state, all the way to the White House. But start with the teachers. Right here, right now. Let them define what they need to do their jobs. Create real change by reversing the direction of perspective, beginning with the primary relationship of student and teacher. — Rebecca Williams, Jacksonville

It's interesting, encouraging and frustrating (as an Ashlander) to see Talent and Phoenix pulling so far ahead of Ashland in downtown planning.

Perhaps Ashland's Chamber of Commerce, and thus its City Council, will finally be convinced of the wisdom of current downtown planning standards when its nearby neighbors set the example. These standards include a de-emphasis on cars and trucks, especially through traffic, and an emphasis on people on foot, bike, and in attractive public spaces safe from traffic. The most successful downtowns put people and a feeling of community first. — Julia Sommer, Ashland