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Letters to the Editor, May 30

Another fee

The citizens of Jacksonville are facing yet another “fee” tagged on their utility bills, a scam begun decades ago when the city managed to get the Oregon Supreme Court to OK what was, in actuality, a tax to fund a paid union (Teamsters) fire department.

Never mind our volunteer force was in place and performed well. Never mind the public was not given a chance to vote on the scheme. In fact, several years later the city reversed a popular vote opposing an increase in that fee.

At present, the city fathers are floating yet another increase of $20 to fund a shortfall in police funding. However, there has been no attempt by the city to re-negotiate the police’s contract or suggest cuts in benefits or staff. Are we experiencing a crime wave or any sort of criminal “pressure?” I don’t see any and the city hasn’t made a case for it.

We are, quite simply, under the boot of an imperial city government which is, on the one hand, intimidated by its employees and, on the other, contemptuous of its citizens.

Hubert Smith

Jacksonville

At it again

More horror! More terror!

The state of Israel is at it again, punishing a people for their resistance to being obliterated. When will the world deny Israel the right to commit genocide — the death of a people whose land the religious state of Israel calls its own?

Since the U.S. supports Israel in its crimes against humanity, we must as Americans resist. We must all support the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) in a boycott against the purchasing of Israeli products, stocks, etc. as we did successfully during South African apartheid. For the suffering people of Gaza, resist!

Cynthia Zavatski

Ashland

Parker muddies the water

Nationally syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker recently waded into the religious liberty discussion and did a great job of muddying the water.

Philadelphia ceasing to fund Catholic Social Services because of its discriminatory policy against placing foster children with same-sex couples is not an infringement on religious liberty. Catholics can continue to exercise their religious beliefs, but the state won’t pay them to impose those beliefs on non-Catholics. Parker goes on to say “secularism would seem to qualify as a religion inasmuch as the state’s policies are really beliefs — articles of faith based upon far less information and experience than the church’s.” This is a very strange statement that argues that the dogma of one particular religion better informs public policy than does empirical research and study.

“Belief” based on empirical study is in no way equivalent to religious belief. One relies on evidence while the other relies on faith that emphasizes that it has no evidence. Blurring these distinctions, especially in a piece on religious liberty, is irresponsible at best.

Ian Templeton

Ashland

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