I must say that, as a 20-year Rogue Valley resident active in community issues, I heartily endorse the heartfelt sincerity of Eric Navickas. He always shows up as authentic and has put his moral code first.
Ah, that all candidates could have the kind of integrity that Eric does. You get exactly what you see with Eric. No surprises. No bait-and-switch. Just the kind of politics that is in the best interest of the people of this community. And that's plenty good enough for me. — Michael Mish, Ashland
As an avid user of our Ashland public library, I am happy to be able to vote for someone who supports our libraries, Michael Morris, running for Seat 2 on the Ashland City Council. — Ed Laskos, Ashland
I have known Rick Landt for 15 years, and I will be voting for him for Ashland Parks Commission, Position 5.
Rick has decades of experience in permaculture and a prior stint on the Parks Commission, which will be beneficial in keeping our parks enjoyable and affordable in the long term.
He has a keen eye for what works and what doesn't in our 16 parks, and he'll be an asset to the parks commission. — Kelly A. McNamara, Ashland
Measure 74 is sloppy. While helpful to medical marijuana users, it hands regulating this "hot potato" to state agencies that are experiencing budget cuts and are overloaded already. The measure seems to encourage an explosion of backyard marijuana gardens as a source of supply while giving the Department of Human Services the task of doing background checks on everyone involved.
A Los Angeles DA's comment was eye-opening, too: "marijuana distribution centers in LA went from four to over 800 within five years." Why can't voters put limits on the number of dispensaries? Perhaps one dispensary for every town of 25,000 or less, two for 50,000, etc.
Production sites should be treated like landfills — large facilities situated in remote locations to reduce complaints about odor. Such facilities could be easily checked by inspectors and sheriffs, whereas hundreds of backyard marijuana gardens entail endless policing.
Measure 74 — not good enough. — Marcia Simon, Ashland
I have known John Rachor personally and professionally for 30 years. And in that length of time I have seen him in many situations and have found him to be honest and not afraid to get his hands dirty.
He possesses a high degree of common sense and is a real team player when it comes to working out problems. He was raised in Southern Oregon and knows the area better then most of us.
He has been an employer for over 30 years and has employed hundreds of our neighbors until retiring just this year. He has volunteered hundreds of hours with search and rescue piloting his own helicopter, driving the Sno-cat or doing whatever needs done. He cares about our county and its constituents. I trust John and will be very comfortable knowing he is working for our best interests as my county commissioner. — Jon S. Henry, Medford
I urge voters to cast their ballots for John Kitzhaber for governor.
Facing the challenges that our community, state and nation have during these extraordinary economic times demands someone who has experience in state government. Kitzhaber was our successful governor for two terms after serving as state senator and state representative.
To some people, experience is a negative, but I feel that his type of experience is just what our state needs. He has developed a workable plan to help create jobs in Oregon. His plan is clear and available on his website (www.johnkitzhaber.com). Please take time to read it. It is one thing to say you will create jobs, but another to have a solid, well-thought-out, written plan as Kitzhaber does. Our state needs John Kitzhaber to lead us. — Mike Morgan, Ashland
While it's terribly important to have office-holders of experience and integrity in our state government — such as Kitzhaber, Bates, and Buckley — we dare not overlook the importance of our county government.
Jeff Golden was a Jackson County commissioner in the 1980s, so he'll be able to function well from the start. His 10-year stint as moderator of the radio call-in show "The Jefferson Exchange" exhibited his intelligence and ability to listen. Jeff's current drive towards developing and strengthening a local, sustainable economy bodes well for this special valley.
Mark Wisnovsky was one of the pioneers of the burgeoning wine industry of Southern Oregon, appreciating the needs of our agricultural community. Mark's interventions on behalf of agriculture have extended from local to state government agencies, thus giving him insight into how our political system should function. He, too, will be ready to perform as an effective commissioner from day one. — Roy Sutton, Ashland
As we begin to implement the new federal health care legislation at the state level, it's vital that we keep the experience, level-headedness and know-how of Sen. Alan Bates in our state Senate.
Dr. Bates has been a practicing physician here in the Rogue Valley for the past 30 years and has represented us in the Oregon House and Senate since 2000. He has a proven track record on health care issues, having authored legislation to maintain the Oregon Health Plan and to secure federal funding for Oregonians on Medicaid. With several years of experience serving on the Oregon Health Services Commission, Dr. Bates understands that in the long run, these positions actually save taxpayers money and foster long-term social and economic stability. To anyone following these issues with a true concern for Oregon's future, Alan Bates is clearly the top choice for the Oregon Senate. — David Orr, Medford
Last week's SOPTV debate of the candidates for county commissioner confirmed my support for Jeff Golden and Mark Wisnovsky, who I feel offer the kind of high-quality leadership our community needs during this economically challenging time. Both of these intelligent, proactive individuals have the energy and ability to lead the way in offering new solutions and forward thinking to create the high quality, sustainable jobs which are so sorely needed at this time.
Both know that locally owned businesses keep their profits in the community while creating more employment, and that encouraging new technology, developing sustainable jobs in our forests while supporting family farms, ranches and orchards are crucial to long-term economic success. Please join me in voting for Jeff Golden and Mark Wisnovsky to help create a healthy, sustainable future for our community. — Deborah Mokma, Talent
This coming election provides the voters of Oregon with the opportunity to re-elect one of the most effective senators this state has ever enjoyed.
As well-reasoned editorials by the Oregonian and Mail Tribune staffs in endorsing Ron Wyden have pointed out, Sen. Wyden has employed cool bipartisanship in crafting and passing legislation that has benefited all Oregonians. He has led the fight for timber payments to the O&C counties. He has pushed for wilderness protection while at the same time mediating an agreement between environmentalists and the timber industry to log in the east side forests and at the same time protecting old-growth forests.
During his eight terms in the House of Representatives and 14 years in the Senate he has emerged as a courageous and dedicated legislator committed to the welfare of the nation and the people of Oregon. — Robert H. Grant, Medford
Mike Gardiner has served the Ashland Parks Commission since 2002, elected as chairman for four of those eight years. When I joined the board of directors of the Ashland Parks Foundation in 2006 Mike was also chairing the foundation, a role he continues in to the present.
Mike's deep interest in serving the Ashland park system speaks for itself. He serves and leads in a collaborative manner, combining strong interpersonal skills with extensive experience in business management.
Please consider casting your vote for Mike Gardiner for Ashland Parks Commission, Position 5. — Bob Rasmussen, Ashland
Regarding the League of Ashland Voters and Eric Navickas: The paid political advertisement regarding Eric Navickas on page 4A of the Medford Tribune (and also the back page of the Sneak Preview) is an underhanded and intentionally deceptive way of disparaging Ashland city councilor Eric Navickas' candidacy.
The comments on his voting record are inaccurate and in some cases they are half-truths lifted out of context and do not really represent how he voted.
This is not the League of Women Voters, Ashlanders. The League of Ashland Voters is a political action committee directed by David Churchman, William Heimann and Eleanor Savage. Three of the largest contributors to the "league" are Dave Bernard, Sidney DeBoer and Adroit Construction. We are intelligent voters here in Ashland. We can see through this. — Wendy Eppinger, Ashland
As an independent voter, I was very pleased to learn that the MT endorsed John Kitzhaber for governor rather than Chris Dudley.
In my own unbiased evaluation of Chris Dudley's qualifications to be governor of Oregon, I have considered the following:
Other than playing a lot of basketball in college and the NBA, what has Dudley done to prepare himself to be governor of Oregon? His experience in the financial services industry seems vague and irrelevant. I have found nothing to suggest that Mr. Dudley has had administrative experience of any kind, which is critical to the role of governor.
Oregon needs an experienced man for governor, not a hoop shooter. And certainly not another Yale graduate.
As a former Republican, I find myself dismayed by the quality of candidates offered by the party across the country. — Rob Morgan, Eagle Point
How can the editorial board support more of the same? We need to make sure neither party has a supermajority, and a governor from a different party would help. This forces both sides to come together and talk.
Please join me in supporting Chris Dudley, Sal Esquivel, Dave Dotterrer and Dennis Richardson. The most important qualification should be a strong financial background. Our real problems in the state came when our income was up 22 percent in one budget cycle and our state spent the whole amount. Measures 66 and 67 divided our state and now we hear the corporations will get a kicker this year; where was the leadership?
For commissioner, Don Skundrick; Ashland voters, Michael Morris and Dennis Slattery for council, Mike Gardiner for parks. Remember your vote determines our future, please don't be swayed by polls (the outcome is usually predetermined) or by negative attack ads. — Alan DeBoer, Ashland
Considering the Democrats' mantra of blaming the present on the past; why then would anyone consider voting for Kitzhaber when Oregon has suffered through the last 23 years with a Democrat as governor.
It's definitely time for a change. — Mike Messenger, Medford
We strongly support the re-election of Erik Navickas to Ashland's City Council. He has always been a supporter of the rights and liberties of citizens against encroachments by powerful vested interests. During his tenure on the council he has manifested growing understanding of the many challenges the city faces. He is particularly strong in his concerns about the city's master plan, the preservation and enhancement of the downtown area, and his foresight in regard to the other essential city neighborhoods. Ashland needs his vigor, his impressive and growing maturity, and his intelligent and energetic commitment to serving the city. It is a shameful spectacle that comparatively massive amounts of anonymously provided money are attacking and distorting his record of service to this city. — Ragan and Gerald Cavanaugh, Ashland
Why the Mail Tribune would publish a letter from a non-user of marijuana is hard to fathom. Unless the editor evidently has the same beliefs as this uninformed letter writer. I am a non-user myself, but at one time was a legal cardholder. Marijuana has none of the effects this woman stated in her letter. And the only reason it has not been legalized in the U.S.A. is the fact that big money lobbyists for the tobacco and liquor industries have control of all the politicians and news agencies and distort the facts as this woman is doing to affect the upcoming elections.
— Kurt Vongehr, Medford