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Election LETTERS

As a business owner I know that libraries are part of the infrastructure of a healthy community. Libraries contribute to the workforce and economic development of the community with educational and training resources. Libraries are also essential to many job-seekers.

A thriving community needs healthy libraries. Libraries are an indicator of a community that values education and welcomes new business. Libraries are necessary to encourage skilled workers to remain in the valley as well as to promote new business and workers to relocate to Jackson County.

Support Jackson County libraries on May 20 by voting yes on Measure 122. — Scott Wolfe, Central Point

This is one of the last places in this beautiful country where there are so many small family farmers whose livelihoods are farming.

Our Family Farms coalition of 150-plus farms, are family farmers whose livelihood is farming here in the valley. This coalition is endorsed by nearly 600 local businesses. We're not an area where farms are the size of thousands of acres. Here, farmers mainly grow on small plots. Being a good neighbor here means respecting your neighbor's livelihood by being considerate of their efforts through the practices that you use as a farmer.

We want to protect the right to farm here in the Rogue Valley. That's what this vote in May is about and why I'm voting yes in support of local family farms,15-119.

Ninety-seven percent of donations from those opposing this, called "Good Neighbor Farmers," come from out-of-state, multinational corporations with bottomless pockets. "Good Neighbor" farming? — Charlotte Nuessle, Ashland

The issue at hand with GMOs is gene splicing, first accomplished in the lab in the '70s but not commercialized until 1994. Recall that following their introduction in the late '50s, it took almost 50 years for medical science to determine that trans fats were deadly.

Several years ago, a grassy weed adjacent to GMO sugar beets in western Idaho was found to have attained Roundup resistance through an "undetermined mechanism." Perhaps humans have also become Roundup-resistant in the same way. The human genome project may need updating.

So why hasn't the government investigated this? Perhaps for the same reason the FDA has reported less than 15 percent of the GMO- related incidents reported to them by industry. Both of these facts were reported in the Capital Press, a conservative agricultural newspaper. — Matthew Morey, Ph.D., R. Ph., Shady Cove

For 50 years I raised sugar beet seed in this valley, which required a two-mile isolation to control cross-pollination between varieties. The West Coast Sugar Beet Seed Company and their field men worked with the growers to meet this requirement in Jackson County.

Swiss chard, table beet and sugar beet seed pollen would mix if there wasn't the two-mile isolation. As Jackson County has become more urbanized, small operators have moved in alongside established farms. Now these small operators want to ban all GMO crops grown in Jackson County.

Vote no on Ballot Measure 15-119 so that farmers, ranchers and dairymen will be able to continue to raise the crops needed in the operation of their lifelong profession. — Don Bohnert, Central Point

Rogue Farm Corps supports yes on Measure 15-119. As a local organization tasked with training the next generation of farmers, Rogue Farm Corps urges voters to support young farmers and vote yes to ban genetically engineered crop production in our county.

The opposition at Good Neighbor Farmers are spreading misinformation to confuse the public. Measure 15-119 will not cost taxpayers, it will not lead to less support for libraries, OSU Extension or the Sheriff's Department. It will protect farmers' property rights to by stopping the damaging trespass of genetically engineered seed and pollen.

The average age of farmers in Oregon is approaching 60. Over half of all farmland will change hands in the next 10-20 years. Young farmers trained by Rogue Farm Corps are opening new farm businesses in our community, driving the resurgence in our local farm economy.

Please support young farmers and vote yes on Measure 15-119. — Stu O'Neill, executive director, Rogue Farm Corps

GMO crop proponents are telling us the pending ballot measure will "violate property rights." With 97 percent of their $800,000 war chest coming from other areas, you have to wonder if they have property here.

The fact is that Measure 15-119 protects property rights by averting GMO contamination of local fields carefully cultivated by local farmers. It's their basic property rights (as well as their livelihoods), not those of multinational corporations, that concern me.

The opponents' ads keep saying that 15-119 will unleash an expensive gaggle of government bureaucrats harassing farmers. That could only happen if these multinationals sell illegal seed in Jackson County — and who's going to sign those contracts? The three counties with similar bans have had zero enforcement costs. Please join me in voting yes on 15-119. — Zoe Alowan, Ashland

Jonathan Cooper says (MT April 7) that "The GOP nationally is trying to create a political opportunity of the problems associated with President Barack Obama's health care law."

Wrong! The Democrats created the opportunity when they rammed a deeply divisive law through Congress that is proving even more unpopular than predicted. Democrats themselves in substantial numbers are down playing their own vote in favor of the ACA, and many fear it may cost them control of the Senate.

Oregon compounded the error with Cover Oregon, which Mr. Cooper properly calls a fiasco as run by Bruce Goldberg, about whom Alan Bates, who helped craft Oregon's legislation, says "We're going to miss his hard work and his steady hand." Really? Bates still thinks the mess Bates created is a good thing? That is all I need to know to vote him out in November. — Laraine Anderson, Medford

People talk about the "cost" of Measure 15-119; they say enforcing a ban on GMO crops will take funding away from schools and libraries. When you look at the facts, the "costs" simply aren't there!

The only way "enforcement" could cost the county anything is if someone broke the law and planted GE crops illegally. That's like saying we shouldn't have a law against trespassing, because if someone breaks it, we'll have to pay to prosecute them.

The counties in California, which have passed similar legislation, reported a cost of $0 to enforce their bans. The same counties in California have seen huge increases in the value of their agricultural production! Currently, people are paying top dollar for food that is not genetically contaminated, wouldn't it benefit our valley to have the designation of GMO-free? Yes on 15-119, it makes dollars and sense for Jackson County! — Katie Oppenheimer, Ashland