Extension affects us all, even if only indirectly. Well-managed small woodlands help provide clean water, more wildlife habitat, open space and vital timber products as well as contributing to the economy (average $9 million a year). Having a healthy Extension Service benefits all of us and the county. Vote yes on 15-121. — Bill Collins, Gold Hill
At a recent gathering, I had a conversation with Bob Sergi, candidate for sheriff of Jackson County.
He is highly qualified by experience, education and training relevant to his profession. I liked his ideas about improvements in services which can be implemented while containing costs, and the need for ongoing training in order to provide us with timely, quality law enforcement services while also taking care of our Sheriff's Department employees. Most of all, I liked that his focus was clearly on being of service to us, the community.
With no reservations, I will vote for Bob Sergi, and I hope that many other Jackson County residents will also see that Mr. Sergi is competent, capable and dedicated to serving us.
Vote for Bob Sergi so that he can be our next sheriff. — Delfino Arellano, Jacksonville
It's sad to see TV ads against the local initiative to ban GMO crops. They mistakenly say 15-119 will be too costly. The cost to the county will likely be nothing, as has been shown in areas with similar rules. Planting of GMO crops is controlled by huge chemical corporations, whose main purpose is to sell chemicals, not by counties.
Without the ban, GMO contamination has already cost Oregon farmers thousands of dollars because their crops or seeds became worthless.
Measure 15-119 protects our farmers and our environment from the heavy use of herbicides that comes with GMO crops. Just like the overuse of antibiotics has led to superbugs, overuse of herbicides has led to superweeds that require even worse herbicides — or manual removal. In heavily GMO-farmed areas, children have herbicide toxins in their bloodstreams. How can that be healthy? — E. Wakefield, Medford
Upwards of $1 million has poured into Jackson County from out-of-state chemical corporations, sugar conglomerates and nationwide Farm Bureaus. Expect to see this astonishing war chest spent on saturation bombing of radio, TV and print in the final weeks of the 15-119 campaign
You may have heard or seen a few ads from both sides now, but in the final week before ballots go out, and in the two weeks until they are due back, the no campaign will blitz this county with fear ads and blatant lies to try and buy the results. Stack your sandbags and dig your bunkers now. Arm yourself with honest information and education about the issue, so you will be prepared to resist.
The more money a campaign spends, the less we the people should vote for it. It would only serve the invaders and hurt the people of Jackson County. Vote yes. — Elizabeth Tobey, Ashland
As a Jackson County resident who retired from the Oregon State University Extension in 2012, I am intimately aware of the savvy and skills present in Extension faculty and staff.
I have worked in many environments in my life (public and private sector employment settings across three states). And I have never before witnessed the unrelenting strength of commitment shown by the staff and volunteers at the OSU Extension. Our community has available a talent pool of people to help make living in Southern Oregon better — we owe them our unfailing support. Vote. And vote yes on this ballot measure. Thank you. — Sharon Johnson, Jacksonville
The Jackson County 4-H, Master Gardener and Agricultural Extension Service District covers so many areas, including research-based assistance for orchards, vineyards, forests, home canning, home gardening, 4-H and land stewardship.
I have personally taken advantage of this resource. When we moved into our home 14 years ago, I was troubled by an insect that I couldn't identify. I took it down to the Extension office on Hanley Road and they identified it as a subterranean termite. They helped me discover where they reside and how to eradicate them.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Extension in Jackson County. It would be a shame to lose such an important part of our community. Please vote yes. — Pam Mooers, Central Point
That's the word for the library mess that our county folks have got us into. They never considered the costs and maintenance of 15 libraries.
Now we have a permanent tax to vote on $7 million a year with those with higher property values paying for most of it. Our taxes are based on 3 percent yearly assessed or real market value, whatever works in Medford's best interest. Yes that means the library tax goes up with your assessed value.
This will not be the end of future tax burdens and projects for the citizens of this county. Your property taxes don't go down, just up. That's how these fine county employees enjoy their continual raises and perks while most don't. Imagine never having a cap on property taxes; it's how it is done here; that is reality. Think of where your property taxes will be 10 years from now. — Ken Digness, Medford
We are very privileged to live in an area where conscientious farmers grow healthy organic readily available food, and I vote to protect the basic property rights of the family farms and the important part they play in our well-being. This real threat to their livelihood affects all of us, physically, economically and socially.
Part of living in beautiful Southern Oregon is precisely to cultivate a lifestyle that embraces the "small is beautiful" ethic, and to live in harmony with the natural world. The corporations promoting genetically modified foods seem far from that picture.
I oppose putting local food production in the hands of mega-corporations, bringing increased exposure to herbicide pollution, and chemical dependence in agriculture.
I encourage others to act locally and say "No" to global corporations by voting "Yes" on Measure 15-119. — Pamela Joy, director/coordinator, Ashland Food Angels
Family Farms Measure 15-119 will protect the property rights of our farming families from crop contamination from the invasion of genetically engineered (GMO) leased lands surrounding our farmers.
Tell Syngenta, a Swiss multibillion dollar chemical corporation, to find land elsewhere for its insecticide-, pesticide-covered GMO crops, banned in Switzerland and most other countries. Our farmers shouldn't have to deal with this risk nor being sued for patent theft from inadvertent pollen drift.
Don't fall for the typical corporate fear campaign connived to make us vote against our own best interest. Measure 15-119 has nothing to do with library or public safety funding. Rather, other counties have seen explosive agricultural economic growth when GMOs were banned, relieving farmers of that huge threat.
Remember, the expensive, prolific opposition ads are being bankrolled from nearly a million dollars in out-of-state funding.
Please support Jackson County's hard-working farming families with a yes vote. — Judd Hurley, Medford
A handful of ultra-rich corporations wants to keep GMOs legal for one reason only: to sell farmers more of their poisons to kill "pests." They know that, in the long run, the "pests" will develop immunities, so their only reason is short-term profit.
There is no undoing contamination from GMOs once it has happened. In our valley, total contamination is inevitable.
Local farmers trying to grow crops without those manipulated genes or those toxic substances will see their livelihoods irrecoverably destroyed.
The corporations' scare tactics include an ad misrepresenting the costs of enforcement, and another in which a former sheriff says farmers do not deserve police protection.
Can we stop it? Yes!
Take a stand against corporations draining us of everything they can get. Keep them out of our pockets. Keep them off our farms. Vote yes on 15-119 to keep them out of our valley. — Scott McKay, Medford
Recently I've spent many hours at Jackson County libraries registering voters for an American Association of University Women / League of Women Voters joint project. I've seen a wide variety of people using our libraries in different ways.
Tots attend story time, learning language, listening skills and social skills that prepare them for school. Students of a wide range of ages come to do research. Avid readers come in search of the latest fiction and nonfiction. Job-seekers, business people and organizations access resources and use public meeting rooms. Our libraries are bustling centers of our communities that provide what people need at every age and stage of life.
Vote yes on 15-122 to improve library access and keep our libraries open permanently with stable funding. — Gayle Clason, Medford
Pollen blows and knows no boundaries. When pollen from GMO crops blows onto non-GMO crops, the valued of the non-GMO crops is lost.
Family farms are a good part of the economy of Jackson County. Big Ag is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to convince the voters that county services will be lost because of the cost of enforcing a ban on growing GMO crops. But if GMO crops are not grown, then the question of enforcement is moot. David slew Goliath with a slingshot. Voters in Jackson County don't have lots of money, but they can defeat Big Ag (Goliath) by voting yes on Measure 15-119 and by thus supporting family farms and our economy. — Edith Montgomery, Ashland
Lets hire a professional for sheriff, Bob Sergi.
Bob Sergi will use our deputies in Jackson County, where we can reap the benefit. He will train those we entrust with our lives to the best of his ability, instead of paying for a helicopter (where could we have spent that grant money if we didn't pay for a helicopter?).
When Winters was elected, he said he was going to stop all the jail releases. He is saying the same thing this time. Are you ready to believe him again? Not me. Let's elect Bob Sergi, a man who will keep his word to the citizens of Jackson County.
We need a professional, someone who cares about Jackson County residents. Bob Sergi has a working knowledge of the Sheriff's Department and can hit the ground running. Vote for Bob Sergi for sheriff of Jackson County. — Richard Cavalli, Medford