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I am writing to respond to the article in the local section of the April 1 Mail Tribune, "Ashland cracks down on illegal occupancy." As a homeowner in an area of Ashland zoned R1, I have serious concerns about homeowners in R1 areas opening their doors to strangers for short-term stays.

A neighborhood is a special enclave. Homeowners who purchase homes in areas zoned R1 have entered into a pact with the city, an understanding that their neighbors will be neighbors for a significant period of time, that they will know who these people are, that together they will be part of the community.

To violate that pact is to render zoning restrictions meaningless. Changing the terms of that zoning impacts property values and lessens the sense of community. It violates the covenant the city established with homeowners at the time the property was purchased.

Those wishing to rent out space in their homes for short periods of time are welcome to purchase homes in areas zoned R2. Such purchases neither violate current zoning laws nor impact negatively the Ashland Lodging Association's membership. — Victoria L. Weiss, Ashland

I am pleased to see Joel Ockunzzi running for Jackson County commissioner.

I have known Joel for over 25 years. He is a man of integrity and hard work. He has served Jackson County on citizen committees for the last decade and been on the Jackson County Planning Commission for seven years, focused on protecting our rights and keeping us safe. He is a real estate broker and business owner and is very experienced in the issues facing Jackson County and will not be pressured by special interests. We need Joel Ockunzzi as Jackson County commissioner. — Cynthia Biondi, Central Point

I grew up in a city with a central library and many branches. I learned early on that I did not need to buy every book or recording I wanted to enjoy. I still rarely buy a book that I have not already read after checking it out at the library. Whenever I have moved to a new area, getting a library card was one of my first "to do" items.

Our library system in Jackson County has a branch in each city, so most people have access to a local library where staff members feel like helpful friends. The reservation system makes it easy to request books, audiobooks, magazines, CDs and DVDs housed in other branches.

I hope the creation and funding of a library district will enable county residents to continue their access to information and entertainment at local libraries that are open many more hours each week. — J. Camille Korsmo, Medford