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Letters to the Editor, Aug. 19

Cell use a violation

A minor correction to your Aug. 5 Since You Asked response to Heidi S. in Medford. You stated that ORS 811.507 is “a misdemeanor.” A misdemeanor is a crime punishable by imprisonment. Violation of the statute is a class C traffic violation with a presumptive fine of $160.

You correctly summarized the case of State v. Rabanales-Ramos, 273 Or App 228 (2015), which found the statute ambiguous with respect to what constitutes “use” of a mobile communications device. Legislative concepts are currently being circulated to include within the law’s prohibition devices such as music and GPS devices being used in the hands while driving.

There is also consideration of raising the presumptive fine amount to $260 as a class B violation, and removing all exceptions to the law. Of course, any changes in the law depend on active enforcement to eventually change driving behaviors. The better practice is to put your cellphone away in the glove box or trunk so that you won’t be tempted to see who that "ping" is from, however briefly.

Joseph M. Charter

Jackson County Justice of the Peace

Panel will review measure

Now that it has qualified for the ballot, there has been a noticeable increase in public discourse about what is now known as Measure 97, the corporate gross receipts tax measure. This measure will continue to generate intense interest, with a deluge in advertising from opposing campaigns sure to follow.

Often caught in the crossfire of these high-profile ballot measure battles is the average Oregon voter, who finds it increasingly difficult to know where they can turn to obtain factual and unbiased information that they can understand.

For these Oregonians, help is on the way. This month, the Citizens’ Initiative Review will take place on the campus of Western Oregon University in Monmouth. The CIR starts by identifying a panel of 24 randomly selected registered voters who are politically and demographically representative of Oregon's electorate. These ordinary citizens will come together to learn about Measure 97 from experts and from advocates for and against the measure. After four days of deliberation facilitated by neutral moderators, the panel will draft a "Citizens’ Statement" highlighting their most important findings about the measure, to be published in the statewide Voter’s Pamphlet distributed by the secretary of state.

For information, visit www.healthydemocracy.org.

Robin Teater


Well done

So often I've thought about writing this letter. The Monday, Aug. 8, edition convinced me I must.

I've resided in the Southern Oregon area for over 10 years now. Since I've arrived, one of my favorite things has been the Mail Tribune. The hardworking, dedicated staff produce an award-winning newspaper — as chronicled by their ongoing awards in the industry. The Animal Services story, "A big heart, a big problem," written by Hannah Golden, photo by Jamie Lusch, was outstanding.

The paper's focus on important local issues such as this is to be commended. As an animal lover, my appreciation for these types of stories is enormous. Lusch's ability to capture an image goes beyond the realm of what one might think is possible, even if a picture is worth a thousand words. The feline's eyes seem to be calling out for help, pleading for compassion. It broke my heart; hopefully it will help make people aware of the plight faced by so many homeless animals.

In conclusion, in today's misanthropic world, thank you to the staff of the Mail Tribune for trying to make the world a bit better place. It's greatly appreciated. Well done.

Sue Webb

Eagle Point

What fools

How ironic!

The Shakespeare Festival wants to censor the books that are on display in a bookstore in Ashland, illustrating the evil of censorship.

If "old Will" were alive today, he'd probably say something like, "What fools we must be."

Bob Golding


Distorting the truth

It amazes me how people can distort the truth to try to improve the chances of winning for their candidate. Here’s an example of how the news media does this. It appeared in an article in the Aug. 8 Mail Tribune by AP reporters Bustos and Riccardi.

They say that Trump is “talking about deporting 11 million immigrants.” That is not at all what Trump says. He wants to deport 11 million illegal people who are consequently breaking our immigration laws. Or is it OK to break laws? We put thousands of people in jail every year for breaking laws but I guess it’s OK for illegal immigrants to be breaking our laws. How about having more accurate reporting?

Bill Silfvast


Shock and anger

It was with real shock and anger that I read the Oregon Shakespeare Festival had attempted to ban the banned books display at Shakespeare Books and Antiques. I have been a supporter of OSF for many years, often personally disagreeing with their choice of plays or manner of production; however, I always stood with them in defending their right to make those choices.

Imagine my dismay when I read of the festival's hypocrisy when they ordered a bookstore to follow their directions to either revamp or disband the display of banned books or be boycotted by the festival. Whether they agreed with the choice the owner had made, I would have expected OSF to stand with the store against censorship.

Incidentally, in my early years I read "Little Black Sambo" and remember it as a story of a clever and courageous young boy's adventures ending with the destruction of man-eating tigers threatening the village, in the process turning the tigers into enough ghee to feed the community. Tigers do not exist in Africa; their habitat is found in the subcontinent of India and in southern Asia. Ghee (clarified butter) is a staple in the traditional Indian cuisine. It would appear that India, not Africa, is the setting of this story.

A word of advice: Never make direct comments on books you have not read or plays you have not seen.

Pat Ashley

Eagle Point

Clinton lead is a hoax

Reuters did a poll where 15 percent more Democrats than Republicans were sampled.

Google has been caught red-handed for being biased against Donald Trump.

The DNC email scandal shows that media organs like ABC and the New York Times get their talking points from the Hillary Clinton campaign.

Hillary Clinton stole the Democratic nomination from Bernie Sanders and I do not believe she is winning against Donald Trump right now.

It is a complete hoax, just like the phony story that was put out by Politico that said Donald Trump would leave the race if he was given $150 million.

Donald Trump would never do that because he is not corrupt like crooked Hillary and her supporters in the DNC and the mainstream media.

Joe Thomas


Alternative to violence

A thoughtful response to a threat of violence may have saved a life. A true story, as reported on NPR the week of Aug. 25 happened in a D.C. suburb. A family supper party was underway outdoors, when out of the bushes a man appeared with a gun. He pointed it to the head of one man, demanding money. The man said he didn't have any on his person. One of the women spoke up, "Would you like a glass of wine?"

The whole scene changed. The intruder put away his gun and accepted the wine, even saying that it was very good wine. He was invited to have some cheese and other goodies. The visitor then asked for a hug, and received it, then a group hug, and received it. He left the party with a gifted glass of wine. On leaving their property, he carefully set the glass down by the path, and vanished into the night.

Those choice words by the woman threw him off target, allowing him to say, "Yes, I'd like some wine." The woman who spoke those words recognized he was another human being, and offered him an alternative to violence. May we all see that we're all human beings and find helpful words to diffuse awkward/stressful situations.

Carola Lacy


Release the taxes

Many, many very smart people, not me of course, are saying that Donald J. Trump has paid no income taxes for years.

To put these slanders to rest the only thing for Trump to do is release his income taxes for the last 10 years so the American people can see for themselves that these very, very smart people are simply wrong.

Mike Mooney


Get a life

Thank you for the editorial published in the Aug. 12 issue which was a well-reasoned discussion of the controversy concerning the OSF and the Shakespeare Books and Antiques store, owned by Judi Honoré. Today I first learned of the dispute as I was previously out of town.

I think that your learned editorial correctly supported the right of the bookstore to have a display of "banned" books in its window. Of course, most of those "banned" books are only banned in a handful of conservative communities, of which Ashland is not one.

I find the actions of OSF high-level staff to be apalling and not in keeping with OSF's generally reasonable philosophy. After all, OSF productions often push the limit of comfort for their patrons. Why is OSF offended when a simple book display challenges the comfort of some of their performers? Come on OSF, get a life!

John Bjorkholm


Actions, not words

I see many articles in the Mail Tribune declaring that Donald Trump is not fit to be president based on his unrehearsed comments. He’s not reading off a teleprompter.

I have often heard that one should observe what politicians do and discount what they say.

You will not find information in this paper about what the Clintons and the Clinton foundation have done. Observe and learn about Hillary and Bill’s corruption and dishonesty (corruption that is usually found in Third World countries, not in the USA). The Clintons have become multimillionaires doing favors outside this country in return for money. They use speaking engagements as a guise.

If you find Donald Trump distasteful because of his words. Watch the video “Clinton Cash.” You can find a free download with a Google search. I also strongly recommend "Hillary's America," a full-length feature film now playing in theaters. Compare actions to words.

Larry Schmaltz

Eagle Point

Letters to the Editor, Aug. 19