Election Letters

I am a concerned citizen and consumer residing in Jackson County. I strongly feel that I have a right to eat healthy, non-GMO produce. I strongly support our local organic farmers and believe that they are the key to a healthy food supply for our local families as well as a key element in a healthy economy for our county.

I strongly urge you to support 15-119 in May. — L. Michael Adams, Medford

GMOs are food crops spliced with the genes of other critters. They haven't been around long enough to know the long-term unintended consequences, but short-term, we know they kill pollinating insects such as bees and butterflies. Meanwhile, GMOs are in 80 percent of our processed foods. Basically, they're experimenting on us.

GMO crops are potentially hazardous, have no proven value and are notorious for contaminating neighboring fields through cross-pollination. This region is blessed with a flourishing community of locally owned farms and ranches, including many that are organic. The ready availability of fresh, non-GMO produce is what attracted Amy's Kitchen and makes our growers' markets so popular. Let's not sacrifice these treasures to enrich Monsanto and Syngenta.

On May's ballot, Jackson County is the only one in Oregon being given an opportunity to keep the lid on this Pandora's box. The Rogue Valley is exceptional. Let's keep it that way. — Michael Steely, Medford

Regarding "GMO money blues," by Vickie Aldous, from a report by County Administrator Danny Jordan: This report was well-written and well-researched. It would take researchers much time to arrive at these conclusions.

Who did it? My guess is, it was done by the people who would benefit most if the ballot measure lost. We know who that is — all of the manufacturers of genetically altered foods, the large corporate growers who are under the wing of those manufacturers, and the creators of the genetically altered seeds that caused this terrible thing to happen in the first place.

Danny Jordan never mentions that if someone causes an expense, that person or persons should be required to pay for all repairs. That is why we are required to have automobile insurance. There would be no expense to the taxpayers if those manufacturers were required to pay the damages they caused. — Sam Younghans, Ashland

The International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health recently published a study showing a direct link between Roundup herbicide use and kidney disease and deaths among rural populations in Sri Lanka. Two weeks ago, the country banned the use or sale of Roundup.

I found no discussion of how much the law was going to cost the government. Lives were at stake, people's health was at risk, with proven causation by scientific study.

The same dangers are here in Jackson County. Let's protect ourselves from toxic, genetically engineered agriculture.

And remember, target weeds are developing resistance to Roundup, and stronger herbicides will arrive, such as 2-4,D and Dicamba, being considered for approval right now by USDA. Then we'll see far worse health problems. Children are especially vulnerable. Protect new mothers from staring at birth defects or dealing with autism in their children. Pass 15-119. — Gregg Marchese, Ashland

"Just the facts," says a county commissioner. Some people may come up with "just the facts" as their own opinion, but some are spreading seeds of destruction that are planted with multinational money.

Local people, to protect our organic and traditional family farms, have carefully put together an initiative, but how they can compete with a high-finance media storm promoted as double-speak "good neighbor" policy? — Ira Edwards, Medford

We have watched the orchard smudge pots of April replaced with fans and sprinklers, the roadside "fruit stands" replaced with growers markets specializing in locally sustainable farm produce and generations of lamb, rabbit, calf, poultry and pig farmers producing local, natural, pasture-fed meat products for sale.

Our Rogue Valley wines and pears are award-winning industries! Learning opportunities on how to cultivate an exceptional quality of life exist in the Rogue Valley, all thanks to Southern Oregon Research and Extension programs. Happy birthday, SOREC! You have our support for the next 100 years by a yes vote on Measure 15-121. — Richard and Tresa Jarel, Medford

We chose to retire in the Rogue Valley because of the climate and the chance to own forested property.

What about you — why do you live here? Recreation? Fishing? Jobs from fruit growers or wood product companies? Maybe because of the local wine industry?

Is it because a proven 4-H program teaches our local kids responsibility, animal husbandry and the joys of life? Or, is this just a nice place to retire, where you can join neighbors to learn gardening, tree care, pasture management, beekeeping or how to use a crock pot?

The common denominator here is OSU's Jackson County Extension Service, with its quality programs that help make the Rogue Valley so livable. We feel it's the "heart and soul" of our valley, and we hope you'll join us in voting Yes on Measure 15-121 to provide dedicated support for Jackson County's Extension Service. — Sandy and Don Shaffer, Applegate Valley

After living in Jackson County for 23 years, we have come to rely on the information, programs and services offered by Southern Oregon Research and Extension Center (Extension).

From the Master Gardeners' Plant Clinic to the Land Steward Program to watching our neighbors' kids turn into wonderful, productive adults after involvement with 4-H, we have found that the Extension has enriched our lives and our community. We realize that even when enjoying our area's fine wines and its organic produce, we indirectly benefit from the Extension's expertise.

We support a "Yes" vote on Measure 15-121. We ask that you count the ways that the Extension affects your life and vote yes. — Cat and David Kizer, Sams Valley

I must commend you on the March 12 editorial "Missing half of the equation." It is indeed sad to know that 30 percent female representation in the state Legislature is a better-than-average political model. We must do better. And we can with Colleen Roberts, the perfect candidate for Jackson County commissioner.

Colleen earned a master's degreen in business administration, owns her own sucessful small business, and has attended almost every scheduled county commissioners' Wednesday morning meeting held in the past two years. She reports for a local newspaper on decisions made by the county commissioners and is not shy about questioning their spending decisions and whether they are necessary expenses.

She is well known to the county commissioners and the county administrator, and she has been fighting for you for the past two years. I'll be voting for Colleen Roberts for Jackson County commissioner in May! — Dee Clary, Talent

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