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ELECTION LETTERS

We need to re-elect Sheriff Winters. He has proven himself.

I reiterate, I've known all sheriffs since De Armond Leigh, and Winters is undoubtedly the most progressive sheriff I've ever known.

Winters has developed safety programs in the schools, and implemented them. We are safer. Our loved ones are safer.

Lt. Sergi: Good cop? That's up for grabs as the Department of Justice began a criminal investigation of him.

Corey Falls: Basically trained in Washington, then came here. It would take him years to catch up. Helicopters are for more than search and rescue; they battle the drug cartels and that's equally important. — W. Van Blarcom, Talent, retired sergeant and deputy medical examiner, Ashland Police Department

I moved to Jackson County a few years ago and as a gardener wanted to know how to grow tomatoes here. I enrolled in the OSU Extension Master Gardeners program, where I not only learned how to grow tomatoes but much, much more. OSU has helped home gardeners for 100 years. They have also helped with orchards, vineyards, forests, 4-H programs, food preserving, small farms and land stewards.

If you are a home gardener who wants to learn much more or involved in any of the many other areas be sure to vote yes on Measure 15-121 so you, I and many others can benefit from the wealth of information available.

"Happy Birthday Jackson County Extension" and best wishes for another 100 years. — Diane Watkins, Jacksonville

I have been watching the "Cosmos" series. Recently, Neil deGrasse Tyson chronicled the fall of the Roman Empire due to lead pipes in their water aqueduct system. Despite knowing that lead was poisoning the citizenry, changes were not made because of profit.

He also chronicles massive ad campaigns funded by the lead industry and other poisonous chemical industries in our own country in the name of profit.

We would be wise to be wary of industry that promotes engineered seed in our precious valley for a few to profit. This seed has to be bought yearly and requires a multitude of chemicals, while contaminating organic farms in our community.

If engineered seed is safe, why has Europe banned it? Why is Syngenta seeking to grow seed here that has been banned from their own country?

Join me in voting yes on Measure 15-119, to protect our families, farms and community. — Cherise Black, Medford

We used to be a nation of farmers, and as generations passed, the family farm began disappearing. We arrived at present day having grown up on supermarket offerings.

Farmer's markets helped bring us back to a healthy table and interested us in growing our own food. What a concept — but wait — that broccoli I bought all those years didn't tell me about the insects it hates. It didn't scream about what kind of soil it loves and the amount of water it needs.

Seed packets tell little, the Internet tells a lot, but nothing beats the Extension — especially with hands-on learning. It's close, convenient, accessible and a nesting place for Master Gardeners. I'm going to grow some of my own — making good use of this Rogue Valley soil and growing season. I don't want to do without the Extension. Vote yes on 15-121. It supports 4-H too! — Treeza Fernandez, Central Point

As John Lennon, said, "Imagine." Imagine a place that has 15 libraries serving over 200,000 people. Now imagine stable funding for the libraries, as well as a board to guide them and a return to full service hours. You can turn imagination into reality with a yes vote on Measure 15-122. — Carol Jo Pettit, Talent

Government's a big beast, which feeds off money. The more we feed The Beast, the bigger it gets, the bigger it gets, the more feed it needs, and the exact opposite needs to happen if "the kids" have any chance affording adulthood.

Our local Beast hasn't informed taxpayers that libraries and Extension services would be a permanent tax burden that would increase 3 percent per year (compounded) totaling over 30 percent in the first decade!

It's neither about the feed amount nor the cause; it's about sending The Beast the message that the feed swindle is terminated! If it can't live off a compounded 30 percent per decade feed increase from property owners, it'll need to relegate to a long overdue diet. Stop feeding The Beast by voting down all initiatives and put the heat back in the The Beast's lap. We'll be thankful when we learn that it regurgitates the feed for these services. — C.G. Curtis, Phoenix

I just heard former Sheriff C.W. Smith say in an ad that implementing Measure 15-119, which would ban genetically modified crops from Jackson County, would result in fewer deputy sheriffs on the job. What a total misrepresentation!

County Administrator Danny Jordan estimated that costs to the county to implement and enforce 15-119 could be anywhere from zero to in excess of $200,000. C.W. latched on to that highest figure and made the unfounded assertion that all of that money would come out of the sheriff's budget.

First, several California counties that have similar ordinances have had virtually no enforcement costs. Second, the measure does not require spending by the county. Third, if the county does incur costs, the measure allows the county to recover the cost of abatement from the offending property owner. How much did Big Ag pay C.W. to make that commercial? — David Lane, Ashland

For an average annual cost of three coffee drinks, your family can ensure Extension services continue in the Rogue Valley with your yes vote on Ballot Measure 15-121.

My family of fifth-generation ranchers and farmers benefits every year from the services Extension provides. All five generations have given back to others through 4-H.

Does our community's quality of life matter so little that we can afford to lose the programs that serve our children, farms, orchards, vineyards, land, water and home gardens? The entire valley loses without the stability 15-121 provides. Coffee or our community's future? It's a simple choice! — Lynn Gladman, Central Point

While attempting to educate myself on the issues surrounding ballot measure 15-119 which, if passed, would ban GMO crops from Jackson County, I suddenly realized that Greg Walden, our longtime representative in Congress, has remained cautiously silent.

As this vital issue has far-reaching ramifications for the citizens of Jackson County, it would perhaps behoove Mr. Walden to interrupt his obsequious pandering to the tea party to impart his wisdom in respect to the merits of the proposal. Does his continued silence on the measure stem from a fear of alienating the wealthy, out-of-state donors who are pouring money into Oregon to ensure a no vote on the issue? So how about it, Mr. Walden? Should it be yes or no on GMO? — Bob Warren, Medford

I have read on these pages the opinions of "farmers" who oppose banning GMOs in our county based on their idea of the principle of property rights; they say they should have the right to farm any particular way they please. Really?

Even when GMO "farming methods" will put over 150 of your neighbor farmers out of business? So a foreign country can maintain its pimping privileges on American soil?

Does Syngenta, banned in their own country, have more property rights in America than the rights of current American farmers to stay in business?

"Property rights" certainly are being violated here! The choice to poison your neighbors and put them out of business is what we're voting on.

Over 60 other countries have figured this out. Are we really this stupid?

Vote Yes on 15-119 for better farmers. Vote Yes on 15-119 for better neighbors. — Scott McGuire, Rogue River

I am old enough to remember ads touting the health benefits of cigarettes. I am reminded of these ads when I see the misleading ads against Measure 15-119.

There are reasons why GMOs are banned in other counties, in the U.S. and throughout the world. Go to www.familyfarmscoalition.org for more information and don't be swayed by big money and misleading ads. Please protect our family farms and keep our food healthy and tasty and free from contamination. Vote yes on 15-119. — Mel Ginsberg, Ashland

If you eat, then vote yes on 15-119.

Our local government and Chamber of Commerce have sown seeds of greed and deception. Please support and protect local families and farms from cross-contamination by genetically engineered crops introduced to the Rogue Valley by Swiss corporations.

We're all in this together. Please support farmers, libraries and OSU Extension. A yes vote ensures the long-term economic viability of one of the world's premier growing regions, the Rogue Valley. — Jayme Exley-Peat, Jacksonville