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Letters to the Editor, Oct. 6

Stark differences

During the recent forum between county commissioner candidates Kevin Talbert and Colleen Roberts, stark differences were revealed between Mr. Talbert, running as an Independent, but who is actually a registered Democrat, and Mrs. Roberts, a conservative who believes in small government and has been a successful business owner for over 20 years.

Frequently when asked his views on county issues, Talbert admitted he was uninformed on the specifics of the issues or was unaware of the issue at all. When he did answer, most of his solutions involved more government interference.

By contrast, Roberts spoke eloquently about the issues. She has been attending commissioner meetings for three years, and has a firm grasp on the issues facing Jackson County. 

The citizens of this county deserve a commissioner who has proven that she will be a voice for the people and not the government in Jackson County.

Chris Sinclair, Medford

Let us decide

It's hard to really know who to believe on Measure 92, as information one hears and reads tends to conflict. So as I look into the issue, I learn that 64 other countries have decided it was worth labeling, and this apparently did not make food prices rise. In fact, many U.S. companies sell labeled products to these 64 countries already.

China doesn't want our genetically modified wheat. This makes me wonder what they know about eating it.

I realize alcoholic products will not be labeled, or food we eat at restaurants. (This might change in the future.) Nor will animals who eat genetically modified grains, or animal products who eat genetically modified foods, as the animals themselves have not had foreign genes inserted into them.

We at least have the right to have the foods labeled. This will help us focus on it, and make our own informed decisions.

Peggy Elterman, Ashland

Bates earned my vote

Sen. Alan Bates has earned my vote for his re-election. He listens to people and works hard to make government a beneficial partner in our lives. Look at his positive record on health care, education, support for businesses and our natural resources.

A recent mailer from his opponent misrepresents six votes that Senator Bates has made over the last seven years, and gave him an "F" for his record on education. Four of these votes concerned charter schools that receive public funds. Senator Bates voted to give school boards flexibility in approving charters and voted to set standards for virtual charter schools. Closing the School for the Blind, rather than a failure, made it possible for students to receive services in home districts. The website, Oregonlive/Alan Bates, shows his voting record. Details matter.

Bates is a straight shooter. He is an independent thinker and I trust him with my vote.

Steve Haskell, Ashland

GMOs merit labels

"Value Size," "Same Great Flavor; New Look," "Redemption Values," trendy ingredients or just improved marketing to challenge the competition. These are only a few examples of why food companies routinely change labels and actually want to change labels.

The average length of time a food label stays the same is less than a year. Consumers are bemused by label changes, but there’s no need to fear them because price increases are not associated with them. Reason: Label change is part of doing business and is not a direct price-raiser. This reality renders anti-GMO labeling arguments based on price increase fears as ridiculously fictitious.

Further, it’s peculiar that biotech companies would not only favor GMO labeling, but would not want their logo prominently displayed. Is there any difference between GMOs and other "quality products?" If not, why are they bashful? Let’s coax them out by voting yes on Measure 92!

Andrew Kubik, Ashland

'Negative' vs. reality

Interesting that Bates' supporters think telling people his voting record is "negative" instead of holding him accountable. Here are some actual Bates education votes:

  • For SB 5552 (2011): cut school funding, resulting in layoffs across the state.
  • For SB 5020 (2011): reduced Department of Education funds over 11 percent.
  • For SB 2834 (2009): closed school for the blind.
  • For SB 2185 (2013): imposed fees on career schools.
  • Supported a one-size-fits-all model for education by restricting education options — limiting charter schools in 2014 (SB 1538) at the request of Portland Public Schools and opposing virtual charter schools in 2009 (SB 767).

Consider this trend. From 2003-2005, K-12 public school spending was 45 percent of the general and lottery funds budget. For 2013-15, K-12 received only 39.7 percent of the budget. These numbers don't indicate a record of success and lead me to question current leadership in education.

James Johnston, Ashland

Mailer is misleading

A slick mailer from Dave Dotterrer is headlined: “Alan Bates has failed our teachers and students.” That’s negative unless it shows Bates’ failure.

The “evidence” in the mailer is a list of six votes cast by Dr. Bates. One of the six is that Senator Bates “Voted to close our only state school for the blind (HB2834-2009)”. How shameful!

Or is it? An Internet search (www.votesmart.org/bill/funding-school-for-blind) reveals what that bill really did. It “abolishes the Oregon School for the Blind and uses proceeds from its sale to provide resources to blind students in their home communities.” In other words, Dr. Bates’ vote was admirable — unless you always favor big, impersonal state programs. This bill passed at better than 2-1 in the House and almost 3-1 in the Senate! My vote for Bates will honor his integrity, experience, and compassion — and reject the misleading negativity of Dotterrer’s slick mailer.

Roy Sutton, Ashland

Vote for Moro

Tonia is super qualified! She has served as an attorney in the Rogue Valley for 24 years representing citizen groups, local governments, nonprofits and businesses. Moro knows how to get the job done efficiently and effectively and would like to use her talents as commissioner to help our area flourish in a sustainable manner that provides a superior quality of life for all its residents.

I ask you to join me in voting for Tonia Moro for Jackson County commissioner, position 1.

Joan Dean, Talent

Bates leads on education

A recent negative political attack ad appears to be unaware of Sen. Alan Bates’ outstanding record on education. A quick review of legislation Dr. Bates has introduced or supported easily counters this attack.

Senator Bates helped: increase job training programs at community colleges; expand the Farm to School Program; make higher education more affordable through the Oregon Opportunity Initiative; leverage Career and Technical Education Grants; extend in-state tuition to veterans; advance educational initiatives in science, technology, math and engineering; increase the safety of school athletes through concussion safety rules for club sports; and, stabilize funding for Oregon’s K-12 public schools. In addition, he served for 11 years on the Eagle Point School Board.

I hope our district's voters will understand these attack ads for what they are, and instead, look at the facts. Senator Bates deserves our support and gratitude for the positive leadership he has demonstrated locally and in Salem.

Bill Street, Ashland

Letters to the Editor, Oct. 6