The opponents of Measures 66 and 67 trumpet that 70,000 Oregon jobs would be lost if these measures passed.

That claim is "without merit," according to the Tax Policy Center's nationally recognized experts in tax, budget and social policy, and based on "fatally flawed assumptions." One significant flaw is not recognizing the federal matching funds that will be lost with service reductions, which makes the $733 million raised by the measures equal a billion dollars in cuts to vital services like education and public safety, if the measures fail. The nonpartisan Legislative Revenue Office echoes that in their September 2009 analysis: The cuts will be more detrimental to Oregon's recovery than the revenue measures. Thirty-six Oregon economists agree with those at the LRO, as stated in their open letter of October 2009.

Economists across Oregon agree: Yes on Measure 66 and 67 for Oregon's stability and economic recovery. — Katharine Danner, Ashland

Let us see this from the children's view. I was in a classroom at the Madrone Trail Charter School and noticed a basic math equation on the board and I thought, if only the powers that be would go back to the basics learned in the first years of our education, we would solve this question like we teach our children.

Jackson needed school buildings. The district provided them. Madrone needs school buildings. The district should provide them.

The equation for both situations is the same. (Need buildings-have buildings) = (need buildings-receive buildings.) Can we teach our children simple math? Or, have we developed too much adult baggage to use the simple principles we are trying to teach these young children?

Thank you Mail Tribune for the fine opinion in the Dec. 18 issue. — Linda DeHaven, grandmother of a Madrone student

I read with interest the front-page story in the Mail Tribune (Dec. 16) regarding the annual Christmas Basket Food Drive in Rogue River and Gold Hill. There are so many folks in need at this time of year, and more so in the depressed economy.

However, in the B section there was a prominent story about local people expending lots of effort to get Trader Joe's to put a store in the Rogue Valley. The accompanying photo of the two gleeful folks with armloads of special goodies they had driven for hours to purchase made me ill.

I moved here a few years ago from a city that is "saturated" with TJs. I sometimes miss having such a store available too. But how many of those food basket recipients can afford the fuel to get to work if they indeed even have jobs? They don't have the luxury of "driving two-plus hours through sleet and snow to the nearest Trader Joe's." This story shows poor news judgement and timing on the part of the Mail Tribune. — Ken Bergeson, Central Point

In reference to the MT article about my candidacy for Jackson County commissioner, I'd like to make a couple clarifications.

Regarding the county employees' health plan, a committee of employees have generously volunteered their time to study and make recommendations on moving to a self-insurance plan. They know that this can potentially save the county significant money over a period of years, but understand the importance of recommending this change to begin at the right time, when there are initial savings to be realized.

On outsourcing of the county library, many of us sought alternatives. Once LSSI won the bid and took over operations, their employees had the opportunity for representation but did not choose it, concluding the matter.

Finally, I want to mention that there were three other county employees who joined Commissioner Dave Gilmour and I in lobbying Congress for the timber replacement funds. One was Amy Blossom from the Ashland Library. The other two were from Curry and Baker counties. They did a fantastic job. — Buck Eichler, Medford

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