Responding to Ramirez' scabrous political cartoon "I don't know this man," I offer this brief biography of Saul Alinsky:

A tough, pragmatic humanist, Alinsky pioneered a method of helping poor and working-class people organize to improve their communities. Combining urban social theories learned at the University of Chicago with street smarts learned in Chicago's Jewish ghetto, Alinsky first worked in prisons and as a juvenile delinquency researcher.

Starting in crime-ridden Chicago neighborhoods in the late 1930s, he helped unions, churches and other social groups organize and gain everything from street lights and garbage collection to jobs. He would immerse himself in neighborhoods, listen to people's troubles and needs, assess where power lay, and empower previously divided groups to seek common goals by standing up to government and corporations.

With financial backing from department-store heir Marshall Field III, Alinsky established the Industrial Areas Foundation, which extended his work to several other cities.

Having little patience with militants, communists or dreamy liberals, Alinsky was a community organizer because he believed in American democracy and because "I can't stand to see people pushed around." Saul Alinsky was a good man and a great man. — Harry Freiberg, Brookings

I read your reporter Greg Stiles' article on Sen. Ron Wyden's forum. My comment to Senator Wyden was primarily concerning derivatives and the futility of trying to bail out the hopelessly bankrupt global financial system, which contains more than a quadrillion dollars in derivatives.

If those contracts were to be settled, it would take all of the world's GDP for 4 or 5 years to pay them off. This would result in the worst financial crash the world has experienced since the 14th century. Obligating U.S. taxpayers' money to pay off these gambling debts is insane.

I recommended, instead of futile bailouts that can't possibly work, a bankruptcy reorganization of the U.S. financial system. The purpose being to declare the unpayable debts null and void and to protect the public interests, like state and federally chartered banks, etc.

Your reporter chose to focus on my reference to economist and statesman Lyndon LaRouche, not the content of what I said. To learn more check out www.larouchepac.com. — John Mitchell, Medford

Residents of the Horn Creek area are being asked to clean up the banks, cut berry bushes and other things that might impede the flow of water. This needs to be done, but Public Works has a major problem with the flow of water.

The pipe going under Taylor Road is much too small. I have observed many times the creek on the south side of Taylor Road full to the top, but on the north side of the road only half full. It would help if Public Works would correct this problem before the rainy season begins. It would help to know that our cleaning the flow of water will help the situation. — Marvin G. Evans, Central Point

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