I've been a car dealer for more than 40 years, and in that time I've participated in many changes in our industry. One thing, however, has remained constant, and that's been the leadership of the American automotive manufacturers.

Keeping the American manufacturing machine humming is vital to our country's future. We need to do what it takes to ensure that we have companies available to meet our defense needs, to innovate and to perform research and development into experimental technologies.

Chrysler is one of these companies. During this recession, the company has come to us, the taxpayer, as a lender of last resort for loans to help scale back its operations as it reduces its size to meet our nation's new economic reality.

As a condition of that loan, Chrysler has submitted a plan to the government that demonstrates its ability to thrive as a stand-alone company. However, it also submitted a plan to form a partnership with Fiat, a European manufacturer. This partnership would make Chrysler much stronger, much faster.

I believe it's important for each of us to contact our elected representatives and to ask them to support American manufacturers by supporting Chrysler and the partnership with Fiat. — Sid DeBoer, chairman, Lithia Motors Inc., Medford

The last thing Medford needs to spend money on is a pedestrian bridge to cross Barnett Road! The millions of dollars spent on that project would be a total waste of tax dollars. (By the way, folks, every dollar of that stimulus package is, in the long run, our taxes.)

Medford just keeps on spending money on projects that really seem to not be needed while the real needs of the city and citizens go without, i.e., the City Hall remodel, plans to add onto the City Hall annex, plans for a "water park" instead of repairing or replacing the two existing pools. It goes on and on ... "let's build this or that new thing ... we don't need to keep or repair (or even maintain) the old thing."

It sounds like our city government can't stop their overspending habits. By the way, the crosswalk and signal crossing at Barnett should be all that is needed for the Greenway users! — Allen Stewart, Jacksonville

I note with increasing dismay the free-floating and directed anger in our society. I believe a large contingent of our populace needs a course in anger management.

This is especially germane to the Republicans, who have a knee-jerk response to anything advanced by the current administration, forgetting they're the ones who created this mess by their fiscal irresponsibility and military adventurism over the past eight years. Now, when our president, elected by a majority (not by the Supreme Court), is trying to straighten out those disastrous policies, "no" is the Republicans' answer on every issue! Because they have no program of their own, partisan negativity and obstructionism is the agenda being followed in lockstep both nationally and locally.

There have been some truly frightening letters to the MT regarding abortion rights, homosexuality, the economic "stimulus" and gun control (I'm a hunter), all misplaced, destructive criticism at a time we all must come together for the common good. Keep in mind that President Obama inherited the most serious problems since the Great Depression. Doesn't his administration deserve a chance to implement his policies rather than the inappropriate reaction of the people across the aisle? — Yale Sacks, Central Point

Why is it that every time there is a shortfall in budgets, schools and emergency services seem to be the first threatened cuts?

Rep. Dennis Richardson proposed using large carry-forward budgets from several state agencies to defray that without harming future agency budgets. Sounds good, but apparently didn't happen.

Central Point District 6 needs teachers to take five days without pay. We continually hear from the teachers unions (at contract negotiations) about the "dedicated professionals" who need such comprehensive retirement plans, medical plans, liberal days off, "prep" days (slang for more days off), substantial salaries, etc., etc. (In excess of most working peoples' income and benefits.) I have not heard of one "dedicated professional" who offered to keep working those five days whether paid or not. Most all "professionals" do some pro bono work.

How about you, teachers? — Raymond Smith, Central Point

All the criticism of President Obama for moving rapidly and decisively to pull our country out of this quagmire has me baffled. These pundits and politicians beat on him for doing it the "wrong way," but give no suggestions for what their "right way" would be.

What is most outrageous is that the loudest critics are the Wall Street, hate radio, political cabal that precipitated this crisis in the first place! Those of us who listen to most talk radio shows and watch Fox News and CNBC are taking in the same propaganda that has brought this country to its knees. Time to change channels and start thinking constructively. — Alice Hardesty, Ashland

"Peace is not just the absence of war, but a state of mind. It is a lifestyle, an attitude, a commitment that the bully, the provocateur, the warmonger will never understand. Peace is about power — a power more potent than any weapon — the power of community."

These words began a beautiful speech by John Frohnmayer at an event hosted by Medford Citizens for Peace and Justice in Alba Park last Saturday, a talk he concluded with a beautiful Shaker hymn in a clear voice like a flute,

"When true simplicity is gained

To bow and to bend we shan't be ashamed

In turning, turning will be our delight

till by turning, turning, we come 'round right"

How long will it be till our community turns right from sacrificing its children in fruitless exploits in foreign lands? How long till it turns right to providing health care to all its sick and helpless? How long till it turns right and stops ignoring the voices of those crying out for peace? — Ivend Holen, Medford

Thanks for Sunday's Mail Tribune feature on "Graduates With No Future" and bringing attention to this important topic.

As a volunteer mentor, I work with students such as those you describe. Like my immigrant ancestors, their hard-working families sacrificed to bring them here to provide them safety and a brighter future. They have been taught that America is the land of opportunity and that those with honesty, initiative, and a strong work ethic are rewarded.

Though many are honor students and leaders in their schools and communities, these students do not qualify for conventional student loans or careers and their path to citizenship becomes virtually impossible. Treating them as nonresidents puts our state and nation at a disadvantage by excluding those who show so much promise. Please learn about the Dream Act and urge your elected officials to recognize these students' worth. — Ann M. Magill, Ashland

As an advocate for House Bill 3196, I was dismayed at Saturday's town hall meeting when Rep. Dennis Richardson called manufactured homes located in parks low-income, cheap housing. Calling manufactured home parks "trailer parks" is negative stereotyping.

Manufactured homes are supposed to be considered "affordable housing." The bill that addresses rent control in parks would help almost 100,000 Oregonians from out-of-control rent increases by (many times) out-of-state park owner/investors. It seems that Richardson has forgotten that park dwellers are also voters. — Monika Sayre, Eagle Point

When the economy is in shambles and tax-paying Americans are out of work, are we really supposed to care whether or not an illegal alien can get a job in America? Juan has enjoyed the education of American taxpayers, and whatever other services this great country has provided.

I have three children, and I am a taxpayer. What about their future? Perhaps Juan's parents, who abandoned him in Mexico, should pick up the slack for their own son's future and stop burdening law-abiding citizens with everybody else's debts and problems. — Dave Anderson, Medford

We attended last night's dress rehearsal of CMTO's "Broadway II: The Journey Continues" at the Craterian and thoroughly enjoyed it. Kudos to the group of very talented young people who have spent so much of their time on this production. The costumes, choreography and story were fantastic. We are so lucky to have such talent, and such accessible high-quality theater, right here in the Rogue Valley! — Jill Walker, Medford

Liar, liar pants on fire! This is a case of blatant hypocrisy.

Bills submitted by Congress were to be transparent and publicized five days before signing. Obama repeatedly pledged that lobbyists "won't find a job in my White House." He has nominated two lobbyists to high-level posts and 14 of the 112 White House staffers have been registered as lobbyists since 2005.

Obama's Cabinet is tax cheats and incompetents. For some people, not paying taxes is a jailable offense, while for others its a "bump in the road." Geithner is an example of our new two-tiered tax code.

The stimulus does nothing more than take care of political patronage. Nine thousand pieces of pork in the last one. Didn't Obama say no more pork? He wants a labor union card-check program to deny American workers the right to vote whether to unionize.

Snyder failed to mention the Democratic cheats in Congress and left out Republican Ted Stevens (R-Alaska). The best thing we could do is vote the cheats out of office. If that fails then we should descend on Washington, D. C., with several barrels of tar and a whole bunch of chickens. — Jerry Hall, Medford

Regarding Mr. Morrow's desire to make adult marijuana offenses the lowest priority for law enforcement: I am frankly sick and tired of people making excuses for people that do not understand the word "illegal substance" and try to make potheads solid citizens. And don't give me the tired alcohol argument, because alcohol is legal and highly regulated.

I graduated from high school in 1967 when marijuana was pretty much accepted behavior and lived through many friends throwing their lives away by getting stoned. I've seen friends' children struggle with drug issues, all because marijuana is "no big deal."

I'm no angel and tried it when I was young, but fortunately, I realized I was putting my entire life and family in jeopardy for a few moments of feeling high and I knew it was illegal and that made me stop. I don't know what could have happened if it was legal, or a low priority to law enforcement, and I'm so happy I will never know, but it doesn't take a psychic to see what has happened to others who didn't get the message.

How about we just allow the police to do their jobs and remember the meaning of the word "illegal." — Rosemary Harrington, Medford

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