Sal Esquivel is a no-nonsense member of our community, who happens to work in the political field. Thank goodness!

With government spending a frustrating mess, Sal is committed to making sure government is efficient and living within its means. He has pushed hard for accountability and transparency, two things which are essential to taxpayers.

When issues that require funding come before Sal, we can always count on him to ask where the money will come from, rather than signing a blank check. With experience in the City Council, state Senate and state House, he remains committed to the taxpayers back home. Vote to keep a no-nonsense member of our community watching out for us. Vote for Sal Esquivel. — Bill Anderberg, Medford

Commissioner Gilmour (guest opinion, Oct. 14), the United States is not a democracy. Safeguards are put in place to prevent majority rules. The Senate is a check on the House, the body of the majority.

And, of course, there is the Electoral College, which can overturn the will of the voting majority. Our government and laws are filled with checks and balances.

Measure 56 eliminates a check against a small simple majority taxing all the taxable citizens. — Bill Hartley, Medford

In the last presidential debate, Sen. McCain praised Sarah Palin as "a role model to women."

Is this the same Sarah Palin who thinks the government should control women's reproductive decisions? The same Sarah Palin who tried to remove polar bears from the list of threatened species so she could drill in their habitat? The same Sarah Palin who was found guilty of abusing her powers as governor?

Role model? No, thank you. — Karen Basin, Medford

I was amused to hear Sen. McCain chide Sen. Obama for not standing up to his party's leadership, while Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin shout about their "maverick" status from the rooftops. What Sen. McCain failed to mention, however, is that it is much easier to be a maverick when you belong to a party that, on so many issues for such a long time, has been so wrong so often. — Paul Falletta, Grants Pass

Jim Olney is running for county commissioner and would be an asset to Jackson County.

Olney is exceptionally qualified. He has a degree in public administration and has held positions that deal with large government budgets. Most important of all, Olney sees the importance of developing a vision for Jackson County. Rather than plan one year at a time, we need a long-range plan that can sustain services through the highs and lows of the economy.

Why wait? Let's start planning now by electing Jim Olney county commissioner. — Jan Waitt, Ashland

What John McCain did at the Hanoi Hilton was honorable and heroic, especially to his fellow prisoners.

I have one problem with the senator. He says the reason he would be the best president is because "I know how to win wars."

He was only 8 years old when World War II ended. We have hundreds of our troops still protecting the South Koreans. I wouldn't call that a win.

He would be the first to admit that we didn't win in Vietnam. We lost honorable military personnel there.

They say that he finished near the bottom of his class at the Naval Academy. So when did he learn how to win wars?

No one knows how to win a war. But a lot of people know how to start one!

Why do we have military bases all over the world? No other country does. — Tom Anderson, Medford

Why? Well, her opponent, Sal Esquivel, as a sponsor of a bill to assure access and choice for mental health to all citizens with Oregon insurance plans, "bailed out" on a 1-vote loss in the House after the bill had passed in the Senate in February 2008. So, there remain several insurance companies in Oregon who refuse payment to Licensed Professional Counselors and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists.

Please vote for Lynn Howe, who is well aware of this inequity and will vote for this bill in 2009. — Gary Woodring, LMFT, Medford

My mom always said if you can't say anything nice about someone — keep your mouth shut. I guess I'm going to break Mom's rule by wondering why people keep electing the same good old boys back into office whether they are doing a good job or not.

An example is a county commissioner who is a retired sheriff and has had several other jobs that never lasted. They say it's a full-time job. Well, a few years ago I lived near a county commissioner and you would be surprised how many Fridays his car was at home.

Common sense says it's time for new face in county government. It's time to give local jobs to someone who is not a good old boy, needs to make a living and has the education and background to take us into the future. — D. Wilcox, Central Point

I am writing in response to Valerie Smullen's letter to the editor Oct. 12.

I met Lynn Howe at a get-to-know-the-candidate function a few months ago. Lynn's educational background is impressive and her work ethic will bring a vitality that is rarely seen in public service by District 6 representatives.

She will work harder than anyone I know. She will undoubtedly earn the respect and cooperation of her colleagues. Lynn is someone who will always have the best interest of our district while serving in the Legislature.

If we listen to Valerie Smullen's views, all incumbents are not replaceable and we have to keep re-electing them to office because of their experience, whatever that might be. It is the incumbent's judgment and experience that encourages me to vote for someone else. Lynn Howe will be my choice in this election for the Legislature. — Beth Hallett, Medford

I believe there is strength in communities that only comes from loving our neighbors. There are times when we must stand in opposition to actions taken by the opposition.

It was right to try to roll back the gay agenda laws that were passed in the last legislative session because government does not have the right to tell citizens to modify their religiously held beliefs. These laws did that.

Also, the petition process has been "adjusted" so that is nearly impossible to get a petition done. Subtracting 400 from the total number of signatures because a duplicate was found in the sample is severe. A triplicate costs 800 signatures.

Forbidding circulators to remove "Mickey Mouse" because it is a fake name is also severe. The only way to remove it is to track Mickey down and have him cross it off himself.

Love thy neighbor. Vote Republican. — Sandra A. Abercrombie, Medford

Pete Belcastro is the independent, fiscally responsible representative we need in Salem.

For too long we have witnessed partisan infighting that ends in gridlock. The politicians have taken the path of least resistance. They increase spending and then claim they have addressed an issue without doing the heavy lifting of working through to the best solution. They throw money at the problem and call it a solution.

Pete won't allow that to happen. While he knows it takes adequate resources to carry out policies and programs, he also doesn't believe that spending every cent the taxpayers send to Salem truly addresses our needs.

In fact, he knows the best solutions are the innovative solutions that don't require raising taxes or increasing fees. He doesn't believe in taking tax money out of the pockets of the people of Oregon to make up for a lack of leadership. — Dave Dotterrer, Ashland

Hooray for Gordon Smith, who cares for the lives of tiny unborn babies.

Jeff Merkley's latest political ad, stating so proudly that he support the woman's right to choose, is sickening. Choose the real words and state what is true — Jeff Merkley supports the woman's right to have her baby killed. Doesn't sound so grand when you tell it like it is.

Remember Obama and most of the Democratic Party believe this way, too. Gov. Kulongoski turns his back on his faith by supporting a group that condones unrestricted abortion. He, too, should be ashamed. — Marilyn Hermant, Medford


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