When our children win, we all win, and voting yes on Ballot Measure 50 is choosing a win for our children.

Kids win because they will be healthier. Nearly 117,000 children in Oregon are without health insurance and Measure 50 will ensure they get health care. Kids win because Measure 50 provides funding for tobacco-free education, which has proven results in getting children to not smoke. We all win because Measure 50 will ultimately lower the costs of health care. The uninsured, including children, are 30 to 50 percent more likely to be hospitalized for an avoidable condition.

The only opposition is from tobacco companies. They know if tobacco taxes go up, their industry loses money.

Will we vote yes and guarantee health care for thousands of Oregon children, or will we protect the business interests of the tobacco companies?

We vote to choose our children. — Roy Vinyard, president and CEO, Asante Health System, and Tom Hanenburg, CEO, Providence Medford Medical Center

For quite a long time now we have been told that our Social Security benefits will soon stop because there will be no money left in this fund, especially now as the baby boomers are of age to start collecting from it!

In the past we were told that the government had been "borrowing" from it. My question is how much money was taken in this manner and when will it be paid back plus interest? Sure just might keep us solvent for a very long time. — Ellen E. Gatter, Phoenix

"What role will timber play in county funding?" I wondered during the Town Hall meeting. Probably little to none if we can't solve the gridlock between conservationists and industry. How will the BLM's new WOPR plan help if it only results in more timber sales being stymied in litigation?

In the Siuslaw National Forest, they are logging 20 million board feet per year with the potential of 50 mmbf with no litigation. Why? They stopped logging old growth and began a responsible thinning program.

In the Medford district "O&C" lands, we logged 15 mmbf last year and will only log 5 mmbf this year due to litigation. We need to abandon our "all or nothing" mentality and realize that some revenue is better than none. The conservationists seem to generally support a limited-term commercial thinning program in second growth, but would likely litigate a "thinning" program that leaves only six trees per acre.

Let's achieve a consensus on a commercial thinning program for 10 years, and raise tax and user revenues and/or, in the worst case, reduce public services until we can construct a long-term solution. — Buck Eichler, president, Jackson County Employees Association, SEIU 503, Medford

As a former school board chair, I wholeheartedly support the Youth Activities and Academics Levy.

This measure will allow us to continue providing Ashland students with an exceptional education, one that offers high-quality academics as well as the activities which help make our schools so great: sports, art, music, foreign language, drama, debate and vocational training opportunities. Our students graduate with skills and experience which allow them to move into the community with knowledge and confidence. Please join me in voting for Measure 15-80. — Mike Vediner, Ashland

As a student at South Medford High School, I believe that the school rebuild is not necessary. I very much enjoy going to school every day in our big old building. There is something about an old building that is very homey.

Since my mom is a staff member at a Medford elementary school, she gets the district e-mails. In one of those e-mails, there was a floor and landscape plan for the new campus. I really don't think that we need a new school, and $84 million is pretty much going to go to waste on the new building. That money could be going to a more important cause. Our education is more important than the building we receive it in. — Marissa Merritt, Medford

I was misled when I voted for Measure 37. I am opposed to building of any kind in our rural areas. Our wildlife doesn't need any more habitat loss in order to survive.

It makes me sick hearing all the sob stories from people planning on building more houses on their land — they just want to make lots of money. I will definitely vote for Measure 49, as should everyone who wants to protect our rural areas from development. — Cheryl Young, Central Point

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