State Rep. Ron Maurer has a new scheme. The idea is to (allegedly) pay for health insurance by "asking" state employees to foot the bill.

Of course, his scheme has no way of working. State employee benefits are decided by collective bargaining, not by the will of politicians like Maurer.

In short, Mr. Maurer is lying to us. His grandstanding has nothing to do with providing health insurance to poor people. It is about attacking the livelihood of working people.

The race to the bottom accelerates. — Phil Newton, Murphy

Please don't cut down the trees on Queen Anne. What is Queen Anne without the trees?

Gradually the city is doing away with all the trees. Right now they are targeting the trees next to Roosevelt School, saying they are infected, yet a neighbor who talked to an arborist said they aren't infected, just past their prime.

Remember what the city tried to do a few years ago on Valley View? They wanted to cut down the Dutch Elm trees saying they were infected. The neighbors got together and were able to put a stop to it. The Dutch Elm trees are still there and doing good. In just a few days, maybe tomorrow even, the trees on Queen Ann next to Roosevelt School will be gone. They aren't infected, they are just drying out due to a lack of water. The lawn next to them is already dead. — Marjorie Smith, Medford

Congress is being held in low regard, partly because of lack of progress on many important problems.

Why? The House of Representatives has passed most of the progressive legislation in the Democratic platform but the legislation was blocked in the Senate by a filibuster. More than 78 bills in the first session and 44 in the second were blocked preventing a vote, often with Gordon Smith's help. A bill to allow the government to negotiate lower drug costs was blocked, for example.

Ask Gordon Smith why his party prevents progress on many issues and ask yourself if returning him to the Senate will only continue this practice. — Frank R. Hieber, Medford

About McCain's age, I was never too bright, but I remember getting my driver's license in 1931 and gas was 20 cents per gallon. But the 20 cents was harder to come by than the $4 now.

I also remember the top Democrats wanted Saddam taken care of before Bush entered Iraq.

"Yes we can" is a good slogan, but after the election it will be "no we can't." So I am voting for McCain and I was 22 years old when he was born. — Lincoln S. Charley, Central Point

Kudos to the Jackson County Animal Shelter!

I cannot say enough about the concern and genuine kindness shown to a retriever I brought in (no tags or chip). She was frightened beyond words, bleeding, full of ticks and foxtails and rescued from a neighborhood not far from Foothill.

Upon arrival at the shelter, they immediately started caring for her. She was transferred to a veterinarian hospital where further care was administered. Ultimately, adoption by a very special person resulted in a happy ending.

Around the same time they were seeking medical funds for "Miracle," a loving dog who had been terribly abused.

My hope is that those who lose canine and feline friends will donate to the shelter. You may specify "toward medical bills." Small amounts do add up! Their phone number is 774-6654. — B. Smith, Medford

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