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Letters to the Editor, March 5

Correction

U.S. Rep. Greg Walden buys health insurance on the District of Columbia small business exchange set up under the Affordable Care Act. A letter in Thursday's paper incorrectly said he is insured through the Federal Employees' Health Benefits program.

Support Music Festival

We give credit and thanks to the Southern Oregon Music Festival for our daughter's interest in music.

She attended the festival with us every year since her birth, as we volunteered as band hosts. Now at 14, she plays the piano, trombone and violin.

The festival admits children for free,and the festival's school program is a huge blessing to our community, promoting and supporting music programs for the youth of Southern Oregon. If you have a child taking music lessons in Medford schools, please consider pledging to the Southern Oregon Music Festival and then attend together this October. You'll have a great time!

Jan Houston

Medford

More than partisan politics

Like many others, my husband and I get our news from more than one source. But our favorite is the Mail Tribune for its general national news and exemplary local coverage.

We followed the sagas of former sheriff Corey Falls and a former county commissioner. The coverage of the local marijuana industry as well as other major issues has also been extensive. The Tribune is how we find out what is going on in both Jackson and Josephine counties. This includes what elected officials are doing on our behalf (whether we agree or not) and with people in the news.

When it comes to national politics we read all columnists from Charles Krauthammer to Dana Milbank. And then there is Leonard Pitts, who offers food for thought in our insulated valley. We feel fortunate to live here.

Lately there have been a few letters from subscribers threatening to cancel the paper because they feel the coverage is not balanced. The editorial page offers those readers and others a place to air grievances and opinions.

I think if critics reevaluate the paper they will see there is much more to it than just partisan politics.

Margaret Bradburn

Eagle Point

Tears of joy

As liberals cried on election night, I cried, too. But my tears were tears of joy. Ever since, along with prayers for family and friends, I’ve included prayers of thanksgiving for the election of Donald Trump as our president.

Following the election, I’ve seen the anger, intolerance and protests on the part of some liberals escalate into hatred, vulgarity and riots with property destruction and criminal behavior in the name of progressivism. Where is the love and tolerance for which liberals profess to stand? Eight years ago, even though conservatives were deeply disappointed in Barack Obama’s election, we acted as adults and accepted him as our president.

With the Democratic Party still lying in shambles, the only figure emerging is glazed-eyed and sweating, its liberal rags in tatters, panting with exhaustion from flailing away futilely at every word and action issuing from the White House. Nevertheless, the president will continue to work every day to put millions of Americans back to work and make our country strong and safe again. For those progressives who are still bitter and unaccepting, I pray that the Holy Spirit will move their hearts to be open-minded and fair and to give them peace.

Ramona Templin

Medford

Editorial page excellent

President Trump recently said that the press is the enemy of the people which, unfortunately, did not surprise me. As Sen. John McCain said, attacking the press is a tactic of would-be dictators. And now, I am seeing letters critical of the editorial page of the Mail Tribune for publishing columnists who are critical of Trump, causing the writers to consider canceling their subscriptions.

Criticism is fine, but I see it differently. My measure of a good editorial page is that if I don't read something on it that really irritates me, they are not doing their job.

The Mail Tribune's editorial page is excellent. It does not just confirm my beliefs but it gets me to think about the other point of view. Thinking is good for the human mind and I welcome the challenge.

David Asche

Medford

Feeling less secure?​

Recently our president declined the daily intelligence briefings prepared by our intelligence agencies — said he doesn't need them. He also admitted he gets most of his world news from watching Fox News, e.g., the massive immigrant problems in Sweden.

Question: Does this make you feel more or less secure?

Lee House

Medford

A great opportunity

We see that the Southern Oregon Music Festival is in need of funds in order to continue providing music opportunities for the area's schools. This much-needed service has been a great success in years past and deserves to be perpetuated. The festival provides instruments to students who otherwise couldn't take part in band or orchestra.

This provides Southern Oregon businesses and corporations with the opportunity to join with the festival in providing sponsorship annually. Such sponsorships would not only insure the ongoing success of the festival but also their philanthropic endeavors in helping area schools with their much needed music programs.

As described in the Mail Tribune's article, the festival is entirely run by unpaid volunteers. These volunteers provide a much-needed service to the community and it is up to us to see that it continues.

Gary and Carol Jones

Medford

Headline misleading

On the Feb. 20 opinion page is a contribution by the Los Angeles Times. This editorial has a large bold type heading: "Trump dumps two-state solution." This heading is very misleading, sad.

President Trump put the one-state solution back on the table. Both solutions are on the table.

I like the two-state solution; however, this solution has been in play for 15 years and has failed to accomplish a final agreement. President Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner will be his representative in the region.

A great diplomat, Mrs. Bill Clinton, failed to accomplish a final agreement. Perhaps a great deal-maker, Jared Kushner, can bring about a peace agreement by having all solutions on the table. This headline opinion by the LA times is a distortion. President Trump did not rule out a two-state solution!

Opinions by the media are partly to blame for a widespread disorder called the Trump unacceptance and resistance disorder. The cure for this disorder is common sense. After gaining common sense, the cured will be able to look at the present with clear eyes.

Problem: The schools need a stable source of funding. Solution: A 3 percent sales tax written into the constitution earmarked for schools.

Bill Hartley

Medford

Keep up the good work

Having moved here from a larger metropolitan area 20 years ago, I just want to say how much your paper has grown on me over the years. Without the resources of a “big city” publication, you manage to cover most of the basics on global, national and regional fronts with thoughtful even-handedness.

I’ve read a few detractors who’ve written here of late, and many seem to think a publication of this kind should operate according to local poplar opinion. They don’t realize that your business is to investigate, report and present your readers with reality-based “real news” on issues of import to all. It isn’t to be a cheering section for the status quo, but often to question it, to be its conscience, and to be a much-needed “burr in the backside” to the powerful.

Sure, you can cheer local sports teams, boost local culture, celebrate the 4H club and feature many local economic interests with pride. But that doesn’t change the fact that the news is the news. Despite occasional vocal opposition, you folks do a pretty good job with what you’ve got. As long as you keep doing it, I’ll keep being a happy subscriber.

Ted Killian

Medford

Administrators overpaid

April is Budget Committee month, when historically the same thoughts seem to convene, only to agree, after some academic discussion, on maintaining the status quo year after year; meanwhile, unattended O&C timber leaves huge carbon footprints by dry lightning strikes, rather than being intelligently harvested for environomically sustainable revenue streams.

And yet, Jackson County residents will, no doubt, unless something shifts radically, continue to see tax mandates designed to defray an unheard-of $411,565-plus annual compensation package for the county’s administrator (singular) along with his deputy administrator who continues to be compensated at the paltry rate of $208,000 a year. Wait, what? That’s at least six (6) kings’ ransoms in Jackson County being sent home to just two households by the private-sector taxpayers.

How long can this salary-structure trajectory continue? Your senior commissioners would love to hear your inputs before the April budget "negotiations" commence — RobertCL@jacksoncounty.org and DyerRR@jacksoncounty.org — especially since they’re both up for re-election in the 2018 GOP primary.

Why Republican (limited-government?) commissioners in Jackson County promptly go hard-left on the political spectrum shortly after being elected remains an unsolved mystery, especially since justifying ludicrous public-sector salaries directly opposes the more traditional philosophy of conservatism.

Kevin Goodrich

Central Point

Essential points omitted

Betty Kazmin, in her guest opinion "DeVos is a threat to public education" Jan. 30, omitted some extremely important and essential points.

In December 2106, the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, an international organization, released its Program of International Student Assessments scores. It revealed that the United States has fallen 11 points to 40th in math since the introduction of Common Core. Our country lingers a pathetic 24th in reading, 20th in science.

Where is the outrage? Why would anyone of right mind support such failure? Yet, the Democratic Party does. If fought viciously to keep Mrs. DeVos, a successful supporter of competition, creativity and innovation in education from being secretary of education and continue to keep the teaching-syndicate dollars rolling in. Congressional Democrats need to keep the failing educational cartel firmly in their hands and out of those of parents.

Imaging empowering the schools to improve through free-market competition! Imagine having the parents shop with their educational dollars for schools that will more suitable fit the needs of their students!

Why not apply such free-market principles to education? Will not creativity and innovation serve the needs of both parents and students?

Dennis V. Sinclair

Medford

SB 557 for clean energy jobs

The Feb. 19 guest opinion "Clean energy jobs bill deserves bipartisan support" was spot on, and here's hoping Sen. Alan DeBoer will see that we really need his support in making the clean energy jobs a reality!

Taking action to pass SB 557 sends an unequivocal signal to all businesses that see clean energy disruption coming and want to position themselves to get a jump in a state that lays down a clear commitment away from fossil fuels.

Oregon is very fortunate to be blessed with unbelievable renewable energy resources — sun, hydro, wind, geothermal, wave — it doesn't get much better than that. We are the perfect state to take advantage of what we have: renewable energy and the clean energy jobs renewables will support.

Senator DeBoer and our rural Southern Oregon legislators can play a key role by passing SB 557 and signaling to all: “Clean Energy Businesses Welcome Here!”

Deb Evans

Ashland

Thanks for bullying coverage

I would like to thank and commend Ashley Hall and her crew working at channel 12 in Medford for their focus on bullying in the schools. This is a very important issue and has plagued our schools before the new president and has gotten worse after his election.

We are aware of the problems of attitudes that children bring to schools and need to make sure our children feel safe while attending school. These folks are also working to make sure principals, teachers and children know that this is not OK.

Arlene Aron

Medford

Support net neutrality

Net neutrality is dear to my heart. The internet is an incredible resource, bringing humans closer together. It is through the internet that we can share our humanity across the globe — in real time. It uplifts the poor and helps them to communicate and educate themselves in a way that would previously have been out of reach.

I believe Ajit Pai, the new chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, poses a real threat to net neutrality. He supports discriminatory policies such as slowing the net or taking away the Lifeline program, which lets companies provided affordable internet to low-income households, so that their children can easily access the internet for homework assignments.

I am a proud Oregonian with two fine senators, Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, who champion net neutrality. They promote the internet, seeing it as key to achieving direct democracy, allowing as many people as possible access to legislative process, sign petitions, and further fair public opinion polling. Net neutrality enables us to combat fake news and empowers everyone with a cellphone to become a news reporter. It is not partisan. This is what was meant by "of the people, by the people, for the people."

Andrea Good

Ashland

Why cancel now?

To those who have decided to cancel their Mail Tribune subscription: I ask, "Why now?"

The same syndicated columnists have been running for quite a few years. We have guest columnists that report on various topics. We have editorials from other newspapers. Sundays we have a pro/con piece as well as conservative and liberal columnists. Nothing has changed in format.

Comparing our paper to others, the Mail Tribune editorials win hands down. Conservative, independent and liberal journalists are equally balanced.

Perchance the disgruntled subscribers believe that the media is indeed the enemy now. Apparently they are not finding any columnists they agree with.

Why would that be? Could it be that many feel we now have the most uncouth, unqualified, illegitimate president ever seen?

We've had a month of chaos and diversion. Steve Bannon just announced at CPAC that the goal is "deconstruction of the administrative state" (Breitbart News). Appointing cabinet members to lead departments they oppose was a good, calculated step to achieve this.

My suggestion is to stay tuned to the Mail Tribune. Why would this diverse group of syndicated columnists have cautious, negative things to say about this new administration?

Gloria Elder

Ashland

Surprise

Surprise, surprise! What a refreshing break in the steady, relentless, unnecessary and uncalled-for bashing of our president on every page of every issue of the Mail Tribune.

The Thursday and Friday (Feb. 23 and 24) issues actually included some perfectly neutral, factually stated articles without one hateful, insinuatingly negative adjective or adverb descriptive of our president for real or imagined wrong-doings.

Froma Harrop’s column contained not one word blaming or criticizing Trump! The political cartoon might even have been judged to be supporting law enforcement. Of the three letters to the editor, one was wise, well worded, upbeat and supportive while the other two were the usual wildly hysterical, inaccurate and negative bleeding-heart blabbering. And Michael Barone’s “Trump has significant substance” very fine article almost gave my heart hope that the Mail Tribune might actually become an informative newspaper vs. being a propaganda pamphlet for the Democratic Party. Dare I continue to hope for that change?

Juanita Bright

Medford

Statistic questionable

A Feb. 24 letter to the editor states there are “… 94 million Americans of working age who can’t find a job.”

The U.S. Census Bureau website lists the U.S. population as approximately 325 million. There are about 30 million Americans age 16 or younger that are not counted in workforce data because they are not working age. That leaves around 295 million Americans and that includes a number of some millions of people 75 years old and older and most of them are really not looking for work. However, I leave them in the count.

If 94 million out of 295 million are unemployed that would be an unemployment rate of around 32 percent.

The Bureau of Labor statistics figure for January 2017 is a 4.8 percent unemployment rate. Looking at their stats from 1950-2017, I find the highest unemployment rate for that span of 67 years to never be higher than 12 percent.

In the military we called stats like the “94 million” a WAG (Wild Ass Guess).

Larry Slessler

Medford

Alternative facts

It appears Gordon DeVos, in his recent appeal for cooperation with the current administration, made use of statistics that Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, would call “alternative facts.” He references “94 million Americans of working age who can’t find a job,” a so-called statistic that is grossly inflated by including full-time students, stay-at-home parents, individuals with disabilities, retired persons over the age of 65 and others that do not consider themselves in the job market.

Even more outrageous is his statement that everyone on food stamps has stopped looking for work. This is a typical Trump supporter statement. Government statistics show that 57 percent of recipients are either working or actively looking for work. Another 22 percent are persons with disabilities. Almost 70 percent of households receiving food stamps have children. In true Trump fashion, he insults people that are struggling to make ends meet.

Dirk Watson

Medford

Eagle Point has changed

What happened to the small town I grew up in breaks my heart. I’m a female business owner who works from home. Originally from Phoenix, then Medford, White City and now settled in Eagle Point, I find myself thinking of moving again.

I love this valley and what it brings: artists, organic food and some of the most beautiful country on the West Coast. Now, I’m being advised to consider moving toward Jacksonville and seek a new area once again.

It was important to me to try and find a solution as my girls begged to stay put here in the same school district. Also strong in sports, they have an Eagles team spirit and want to play athletics at Eagle Point High School.

Our small police force works hard, but like many departments seems possibly short funded. We watch them work hard trying to control something out of hand here locally.

As a taxpaying mother with two girls headed to high school sooner than I would like to admit, I plead to the city to put money where it’s needed. I hope the Rogue Valley can again be what it was a decade ago.

Keala Pierce

Eagle Point

Paid protester jobs

Perhaps the Mail Tribune can help me find out where one goes to sign up as a paid protester against the Republican turnover of the U.S. Government to the fascist forces. I need to supplement my veterans disability and Social Security, and haven't been able to find one of those millions of jobs Trump promised would be showing up across the nation as soon as he was elected, and I really do not want to move to Russia just to find work.

Can you perhaps have John Darling or Greg Stiles do an in-depth article on those jobs and where we can find one? It would be very helpful.

Ed Cooper

Gold Hill

Is Walden a coward?

Congressman Greg Walden has held seven town hall meetings since the first of the year, none of which are in larger cities such as Bend or Medford. On Feb. 20 he was in La Grande and on the 21st he held a town hall meeting in Ontario.

His meetings seem to be in nice, cozy, friendly little counties up north and east where he doesn't have to listen to constituents that possibly don't like what he or the Republican Congress are doing. Walden's Washington, D.C. spokesman, Andrew Malcolm, stated that Walden has not scheduled any more town hall meetings in Oregon at this time. He did not know when any more would be scheduled, nor did he know where the Congressman is, but that he would be back in Washington on Monday.

Calls to all of Walden's field offices yielded no more information and no one seemed to know where Walden was or what was his schedule. Apparently nobody knows but Walden, and we're left to play "Where's Waldo ... er, Where's Walden."

His unwillingness to meet constituents where they may have some real grievances smacks of simple cowardice. Oregonians deserve better than having a coward represent us in Congress.

Donald Stone

Ashland

Fearing for the future

I am an 86-year-old woman and have lived through the Great Depression, Pearl Harbor, World War II, the Holocaust, the McCarthy witch hunts, the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Vietnam War. Never before have I feared for the future of my country as I do now.

Let's call it like it is — a stealthy coup d'etat by a shadow government of unofficial "advisers" to the president who in reality determine policy. Meanwhile, Trump's outrageous behavior serves as a distraction from regressive actions by Bannon, Kushner, et al.

The multitude of demonstrators here and around the world give me hope that I will live to see sanity restored to my beloved country.

Ruth Israel

Medford

Clean energy means jobs

Solar energy now provides twice as many jobs as the coal industry. The Department of Labor projects that wind-service technicians will be the fastest-growing U.S. occupation over the next 10 years. Farmers in Texas get regular income by leasing their land to companies that plant wind turbines.

Texas — oil-friendly to say the least — now has built enough wind energy for 5.7 million homes. Iowa, South Dakota and Kansas are also going big for wind-generated electricity. All of these states have a majority of Republicans, who see no contradiction in being Republican and providing jobs in the clean power sector. In fact, 83 percent of Republicans support installing more solar.

I urge Rep. Greg Walden to look at job opportunities for Oregon in clean energy production which, importantly, also reduces both fossil fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions.

I also urge our state representatives (Sen. Alan DeBoer and Reps. Sal Esquivel and Duane Stark) to support the Clean Energy Jobs Bill (SB 557) currently before the Oregon Legislature. In addition to capping climate pollution, this bill will provide financial support to promote a clean energy economy and clean energy jobs in rural Oregon. This is a win-win proposal, protecting future generations and stimulating our local economy.

Ken Deveney

Ashland

Regulations

Trump and the Republican Party want to do away regulations because they say these regulation are slowing down our business community. These regulations are in place in trying to make us all safe, but still a lot of companies try to get around these regulations.

A good example is a local plywood manufacturer here in the Rogue Valley that emits formaldehyde, but their formaldehyde is better than everybody else's. Look at Oklahoma where the fracking is causing earthquakes.

There is a bill before our Oregon Legislature, SB 557, to lessen Greenhouse Gas Emissions. I hope Sen. Alan DeBoer can see the forest through the trees.

We are about to hit by a giant tidal wave of heat caused by global warming and what are Republicans going to do about it? National Republicans want to lessen the EPA, and I say shame on them!

Bruce Bauer

Medford

More reductions needed

In 2007, the Oregon Legislature passed a bill establishing statewide climate pollution emissions reductions. The bill was signed into law by Governor Kulongoski, making Oregon a national leader in efforts to stem global warming.

The goal, reasonable at the time, was to reduce polluting emissions to 75 percent below the 1990 level by 2050. Since then, state reports on our trajectory have consistently indicated that we are not on a path to meet the goals we established for ourselves in 2007.

The main problem was that the goals were purely voluntary. Thus achievement relied, and still relies, entirely on the major polluting sectors (transportation, industry, and utilities) undertaking voluntary measures to reduce emissions. While emissions have declined a little since around 2006, just as they have across the nation, these reductions are minor. Assessments of future trends indicate that emissions will probably rise again, and thus we will totally fail to achieve our targets.

Since 10 years of voluntary measures have simply failed to achieve the necessary reduction, it’s time to get serious and impose limits. The Clean Energy Jobs approach (SB 557) offers the win-win proposal of capping emissions and supporting clean energy jobs across the state.

Kathy Conway, co-facilitator, Southern Oregon Climate Action Now

Jacksonville

Letters to the Editor, March 5