It is slimy but typical of the Cato Institute's mission to exculpate capitalism from any responsibility for the destruction of lives and our global ecology. The authors (May 22) plead that "Producers have every incentive to spend whatever makes economic sense." Ah, yes, and not one penny more than necessary — which is why the rig exploded and is still gushing poison into our lives. — Gerald Cavanaugh, Ashland

I can't exactly call my primary election victory "hard-fought;" in my slot, there was no other name on the ballot. Now I'm one of four candidates for two county commissioner seats in November. I admire how the other three walked the campaign trail. They answered voters' questions thoughtfully and respectfully, running just the kinds of races we want, but don't get, in national politics.

We can keep doing that. One suggestion: Let's collaboratively hold six community forums focused on solutions, not political slogans.

Each would focus on one topic (possibilities: job generation, long-term county funding, foreclosures, food security, water, transportation). Each would take place in a different town; we'll ask city councils or service clubs to host/moderate. Each would specifically invite citizens who've been studying and working on each topic. And, really stretching, the four of us would limit our talking to 20 percent of the time and listen the other 80 percent.

If these events produce even a few ingredients for practical, effective solutions, then county residents win this election no matter which two of us end up taking office.

I'd like to work on this with all interested candidates. Call 541-858-0585 and we'll work out details. — Jeff Golden, Ashland

I read with interest Mr. Hyde's comments on the Rogue Valley Symphony's year of the search. I concur with his opinion of the symphony and how lucky we are to have such a group of musicians in our area.

As a subscriber for more than 20 years I would also like to note that it is in part thanks to the previous conductor and musical director, Arthur Shaw, that these musicians grew, matured and performed progressively more difficult music year after year. The kudos go to them and to their "maestro," as well as those who came in for just a few days and led them during this season. — Arline Johnson Borella, Seattle

OK, I think we in Medford and the Rogue Valley finally get the message from the city and Parks and Recreation regarding the water park: "We don't intend to make use of community feedback; we're just required to ask for it before we push through what we want to do. You'll get what we want, not what you as a community want, need, or deserve (a proper aquatic center with regular and therapy pools to respond to the loss of our pools and Providence's programs) because it was our great, big idea and we know what's best for you."

Wow — Democracy in action! — Cara Davis-Jacobson, Medford

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