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Election LETTERS

Bob Sergi has 34 years' experience in law enforcement, 20 of those with Medford police and four as a lieutenant with the Jackson County Sheriff's Department.

He is prepared, in his first six months, to increase the number of deputies on patrol (simply by reorganization — it won't cost the county a dime), allocate more detectives and work with mental health professionals to reduce the number of people with mental illness being housed in the jail. He's concerned about fiscal responsibility, and will reduce and eliminate spending on non-essential equipment and services.

Bob has the support of the majority of law enforcement in the county, including the Fraternal Order of Police State Lodge Oregon, the Fraternal Order of Police Southern Oregon Lodge 15, and 52 percent of his fellow sheriff's employees in the union (compared to Winters' 4 percent). Bob is the right man to lead the Jackson County Sheriff's Department. — Teri Tipton, Medford

Thanks to all of the people who are going to vote for a countywide library district, especially if you don't have future generations who might use the library and if you can afford to buy any books you want.

At the library you can play Scrabble, take classes, read papers, borrow movies and music, exercise, look for a job, introduce your toddlers to stories, get free help with taxes. There are 133,932 library card holders; that's at least how many reasons we need libraries.

At the library nobody cares what color you are, what language you speak or what you believe. And you can get a really good deal on copies.

So, thanks to you who don't need the library but will support it anyway. Count yourself as the best of us because you have empathy for people you don't know and a healthy respect for knowledge. — Joi Riley, Talent

The next time you are pulling a dandelion bloom in your yard, give a thought to where the seed blew in from. Then, think how GMO farmers hired by Monsanto are "sharing" their crops with their neighbors — by the wind, by birds and other seed carriers.

The many organic and natural farmers and food producers (Amy's Kitchen, etc.) in our county are threatened daily by the GMO crops in Jackson County. There have been huge financial losses locally by organic seed producers because of this contamination.

And — please — remember that hardly any enforcement funds have been spent in the five counties in California and Washington that have GMO bans. Where is Danny Jordan's shame in issuing irrelevant, unsupported guesses that would destroy many, many Jackson County businesses?

Let's produce what real people want and buy — not big corporations. Remember the dandelion, and vote "yes" to ban GMOs. Votes count! — Kathleen Heritage, Rogue River

The libraries of Jackson County are much more than depositories for books. They are the centers of learning and information that allow us access to and the ability to do research and share and enjoy the wisdom of the ancient and modern world.

The libraries provide meeting spaces for lectures and study groups. A successful library is a great public asset to any community. It will attract new business, and educated families will help all of Jackson County grow and prosper. Who would start or move a business to a community that doesn't support its libraries?

Volunteers augment the paid staff, but it is not enough to keep the libraries open. Creating a taxing district will provide an independent source of funding to keep the libraries open.

Please vote yes on Measure 15-122 to keep our libraries open and protect our past investments. — William P. Haberlach, Medford

What is missing in this quandary is the actual use of the libraries. The MT article of April 13 said "about 65,000 people utilize the community rooms in libraries every year." I question that. Is this discrete individuals or repeat visits by far fewer individuals?

The population of Jackson County is about 210,000. Is the library spokesperson saying that about 30 percent of the population goes to a library at least once a year? Why the vagueness?

Traditional free public libraries are virtually obsolescent artifacts of a previous age. As a property owner, I am reluctant to contribute yet more taxation to a publicly funded facility that serves no useful purpose in this day and age of Internet informational and literary access. If a town wants a gathering place, fund it themselves or charge users. — G. Lockie, Ashland

Everyone knows how totally disabled Congress is by political gridlock, but we here in Jackson County have an opportunity to show the nation how local communities can take charge of their own destiny from the bottom up.

Whether you are a Republican, Democrat, Libertarian or independent, you can vote yes for all three ballot measures in the May election — knowing that you'll be making Jackson County a better place to live and raise kids.

By voting yes for libraries, GMO-free crops and our Extension Service programs, we will all be working together to provide our community with some of the tools its citizens need to pull themselves up by their bootstraps while resting assured that local farmers — not huge chemical companies — will be making decisions about how to farm their land.

Please join me in voting yes for measures 15-119, 15-120 and 15-121. — Allen Hallmark, Talent

Corey Falls introduced himself to me while canvassing in our neighborhood a few weeks ago. It is refreshing to have a candidate running for Jackson County sheriff who has his priorities straight.

We need our Sheriff's Department to put more emphasis on public safety, protecting lives, rural patrols, crime prevention and services for families and children, as opposed to spending man-hours and taxpayer dollars on neighboring counties who refuse to pay for government services. We don't need our sheriff and SWAT forces for marijuana eradication in the national forest. That is federal jurisdiction and their responsibility.

We need a sheriff who respects and honors state law and who focuses on the immediate needs of our community and Jackson County. That's the job for Corey Falls. — Deborah Holden, Ashland

With over 34 years of law enforcement experience, Lt. Bob Sergi is the most qualified candidate for the position of sheriff. He is an individual of great integrity and his leadership and mentorship abilities will greatly strengthen the Jackson County Sheriff's Office in the years to come. Sergi has been in several leadership roles within law enforcement and understands what is important for the citizens of Jackson County. — Arturo Vega, Medford

Thank you for the coverage Sunday about the Libraries for All campaign.

In the Q&A section, it said, "Property owners would pay 60 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value." That is a cap. The initial assessment could be much less.

I am not a library user, but I support the campaign to create a library district to end the rollercoaster funding of libraries in the county.

When I was a parent of school-age children, many of those who did not have children in school voted for special school levies, believing that strong schools help build strong communities. I did the same when my children were grown.

That is why I support the library district measure, because I believe a community without libraries is weakened — weakened not only because needed services are denied to thousands of users, but also because such a community is less able to attract new residents, new business and new investment. — Jim Flint, Ashland

I recall the '40s when oleomargarine was white and came in a bag that had a bright orange dot on one side. It was converted into "butter" by pressing on that dot until it broke open internally. Then one kneaded the bag until the color permeated the contents, turning it a buttery yellow.

And though I don't recall a specific slogan, the idea was promoted that vegetable fat was healthy but animal fat was not.

But now, 60-some years later, we know better. We've learned that hydrogenated vegetable oils make deposits on blood vessel walls, restricting blood flow. And now it's apparent that animal fat was unjustly maligned.

So it makes me wonder about GMO crops and those who claim they pose no health risk. Where are the long-term studies that prove that? I'm very leery of big chemical companies that want to dictate what I eat. — Hartley Anderson, Medford

Libraries are part of the education system.

Library programs for infants, toddlers and preschoolers help to develop an interest in reading well before they start formal schooling. Reading is a key component of education. Throughout elementary, high school and college, libraries can supplement the materials available in schools.

After completing their formal education, adults can continue learning and expanding their knowledge, thanks to the wealth of materials available in the libraries. The 15 libraries in the Jackson County Library System are a treasure well worth the average $9,253 per year that it will take to keep them open.

Those who protest supporting a facility they do not use are short-changing themselves. Many people no longer have kids in school, but supporting schools still benefits the community as a whole, and supporting libraries also benefits the community as a whole. Closing the libraries will put an end to the finest method of continuing education ever devised. — Carita M. Culmer, Ashland

Measure 15-119 is the most important local issue of my 25 years living here. GMO crops have already financially hurt farmers, both conventional and organic.

Your freedom to grow what you want ends when you damage your neighbor. Co-existence? Syngenta and Fry Family Farms had an agreement to stagger planting to avoid cross-pollination. Syngenta corporate in Switzerland nixed the deal. Local farmer loses again.

Why is a foreign company allowed to harm our farmers? GMO crops will eventually kill the organic and conventional farming business due to cross-pollination. Most "Good Neighbor" PAC donations come from out of state. How exactly are they our neighbors? Do they really care about our county's financial health?

GMO crops require a written contract. Companies are not likely to offer contracts where their product is illegal; enforcement costs should be negligible. People don't want to eat them. Let's not grow them. Vote yes. — Lynn Barton, Medford