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Letters to the Editor, Aug. 4

Important law expiring

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was originally passed into law in 1994 and has been reauthorized numerous times. The last reauthorization was in 2013 when the House passed a bipartisan Senate bill. It is due to expire Sept 30, so there will be only a short window for Congress to reauthorize the statute when they return from August recess. The bill addresses sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking by providing grants and support to victims and law enforcement programs that work on prevention. The new bill, introduced into the House in July, increases the focus on education and the prevention of assaults. It also bars eviction of the victim from housing based solely on acts of the perpetrator. VAWA has resulted in an improved response to gender based crimes. We can not let it expire.

We need to empower survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence to speak out and to provide them with needed support. I have called Representative Walden and asked him to co-sponsor the House bill. I hope others in our community will do the same.

Gretchen King

Ashland

Words have consequences

The president and his administration model behavior that is presumed to be consistent with decency.

One particularly offensive chant during the presidential race that strongly denied decency was “lock her up.” Nothing in Hillary’s conduct warranted that insult. I actually saw the crowd’s mockery as self-degrading. Stupid people shouting stupid things.

Recently, Attorney General Sessions addressed several hundred “outstanding” conservative high school graduates at Turning Point USA’s annual High School Leadership Summit. It was astounding to me to hear these students once again chant, “lock her up.”

Nothing illustrates more clearly that words have consequences. What was acceptable for adults by which to disgrace themselves turns out to be worthy of a younger generation’s mimicry. Shamelessly: “Monkey see, monkey do.”

What else have these students assumed to be good behavior from Trump and his administration? Lying? Cheating? Bullying? Swindling? Insulting friends? Coddling enemies? Complete narcissism? White supremacy? Collusion? Breaking treaties? Kidnapping children? And more!

We all need a real leadership summit. Real leadership cannot be found in Republican politics today.

Leif Hatlestad

Rogue River

Ask about Medicare

Last year the majority in Congress made their priorities clear: Cut taxes and don’t worry about the federal budget deficit. Now we hear we have to lower the deficit by cutting back on Medicare and Medicaid (with Social Security in the wings). The next Congress will decide health care for you and me.

Medicare covers 60 million people, mainly seniors and people with disabilities. Thank goodness for Medicare because there are no viable options.

The majority of Medicaid recipients are under 18, but most of the budget is spent on seniors in nursing homes and people with disabilities. Again, no options.

After the election, candidates for Congress who win will determine priorities in our country and state. Will they protect and enhance Medicare and Medicaid (and Social Security) or continue reckless tax cuts and policies to downsize healthcare for us? Ask them now and hold them accountable.

Bill Walsh

Eagle Point

Keep state from burning

In past years, forest underbrush was thinned annually. Loggers had road-making equipment, and mandatory water trucks and “fire watch.” In mere moments, action was taken if fire was spotted.

With virtually little logging permitted now and so much land in wilderness protection, needless time is wasted in assessment and equipment to reach the fire area, flames already damaging acres and acres. The problem isn’t clearcutting! Trees are replanted immediately and if managed correctly, there is tree growth and soil, watersheds and wildlife are protected.

Without any of this management, the volume of fire devastation increases with each passing year.

I urge you to spread the word. Help us keep our state from literally burning to the ground.

Our resources are being destroyed, tourism and health are affected as well as our tax dollars. (Astronomical amounts of money are needed to fight fires.)

Once again, we need our forests to turn into the products we use, renewing our state economy and giving us the enjoyment and beauty where we live.

We’ve proved we can fight fire; let’s concentrate much more on what enables them to start in the first place and take appropriate precautions.

Linda E. Goltz

Medford

Say no to smart meters

On July 3, a Talent City Council resolution called on the Oregon Public Utility Commission to review Pacific Power’s excessive opt-out fees, and urged the PUC to place a moratorium on the installation of smart meters. And on July 5, the Jackson County commissioners sent a letter to Gov. Kate Brown and the PUC stating concerns for the citizens of Jackson County raised by Pacific Power’s smart meter program. But if the governor of Oregon and the PUC commissioners won’t be moved by local representatives, how can we the people influence a utility to consider our concerns?

On Tuesday, Aug. 14, the PUC will hold an informational public meeting in Salem at 9:30 a.m. at 201 High Street SE, Suite 100. I hope every person who had a smart meter installed after they opted out, has experienced health problems from radio frequency microwaves, wants to opt out but can’t afford to — and every firefighter and electrician who is concerned about the potential for house fires because smart meters lack surge protection — will be there. We deserve the freedom to say no to intrusive and harmful technology. Visit freedom2sayno2smartmeters.org for more info, including Salem PUC meeting car pooling options.

Lunette Fleming

Talent

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