Homeowners pay 63 cents per $1,000 for libraries through a 1998 tax measure. Today, that equates to approximately $8 million.

County authorities would have people believe this is not true. "They" want homeowners to pay for library services again, i.e., pay twice. In effect, a tax lien has been placed on the libraries until homeowners pay again.

Where did county authorities get such an idea? Answer: The Oregon Legislature.

An existing lien law was instituted to allegedly protect subcontractors and material suppliers who contribute to constructing or remodeling a home. However, it can result in homeowners "paying twice" for services and materials.

The homeowner pays the contractor. If the contractor doesn't pay the subcontractors or material suppliers, the subcontractors or material suppliers can put a lien on the home, forcing the homeowner to pay again (twice) for services and materials for which the homeowner has already paid.

The Oregon Construction Contractors Board filed HB 2113 this session addressing this issue. HB 2113 would have canceled the lien if a homeowner could prove the contractor was paid for the services and materials. Subcontractors and material suppliers would then be required to collect payment from the contractor. HB 2113 never left committee. — Randall Hale, Medford

Jackson County Administrator Danny Jordan vented his spleen at the Ashland City Council meeting recently. He poured out a tirade of anti-union half-truths and blamed SEIU — the union which represented the over 100 employees whose jobs Jordan axed — for the demise of those local jobs and the services they provided.

In privatizing local jobs, Jordan & Co. just arranged to ship our tax dollars to LSSI, a for-profit library company in Maryland. I am sure that the people of Maryland will be delighted to take our money.

Ironically, there would be no money for Danny & Co. to ship out of state had not local SEIU members gone to Washington to fight for reinstatement of the O&C funds. While Jordan & Co. floundered in D.C. at taxpayers' expense, SEIU fought for — and got back — our O&C money.

Now the county is sending it back East again. Nice of them. — Phil Newton, Murphy

A lady gets arrested for going door-to-door getting funds for volleyball camp for her daughter, but uses the money for other things, which is called fraud. When I was living in another state, a lady friend of mine was moving from one end of town to the other end of town. She saw a fellow holding a sign at the freeway ramp, saying "Hungry veteran, will work for food." She asked this fellow if he would help her move a couple loads if she would rent the moving van, dolly, etc., and pay him $200 for the day.

He told her he makes more than $200 in one day, just standing there at the freeway ramp!

Wouldn't that be fraud also? So, how do these people get away with calling themselves veterans asking for work or food, with this not being fraud? They do have those people here in Medford also at the freeway ramps! — Carol Hawk, Medford

If you saw the excellent movie, Hotel Rwanda, you know that in 1996 the U.S. and the other nations of the world knowingly stood by and allowed hundreds of thousands of human beings to be brutally slaughtered by their fellow countrymen over a period of three or four months.

And here we are, 11 years later, this time in Darfur and again you and I go about our days only vaguely aware and mostly indifferent to the plight of so many, many suffering people — real people who need our sympathy and concern and, more importantly, our determination to help.

I invite you to join me. We can do a lot and, if we're going to stop the brutalities happening right now, we must set aside a small part of our lives and take action. Here are a few suggestions: 1. Read the book, "Not on Our Watch" by Don Cheadle and John Prendergast. 2. Watch the movie, "Hotel Rwanda." 3. Write to me at dwerth@jeffnet.org or call me at 488-3014, so that we can explore ways to work together and share means of helping and/or 4. Log on to www.enoughproject.org, www.genocideintervention.net and www.savedarfur.org to learn more and to send donations. — Don Wertheimer, Ashland

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