The House Judiciary Committee is hearing three land-use bills. Rep. Esquivel filed two of the bills, which would dismantle Statewide Planning Goal 1: Citizen Involvement. The goal statutorily "insures the opportunity for citizens to be involved in all phases of the planning process."

Esquivel's bills, HB 2182 and 2610, would limit access to the Land Use Board of Appeals to the wealthy. An appellant must be an adjacent landowner or pay a large deposit to bring a case before LUBA. Farmers leasing land may be unable to afford to appeal decisions that affect their farming operations. Advocacy groups with limited funds may be unable to raise the appeal deposit.

Current law holds opponents liable for attorney fees if their case is determined to be frivolous. This bill would hold winning parties liable for attorney fees. Less-than-competent attorneys who don't win or those willing to take cases without merit would receive fees. This sounds like a D.C. or Wall Street concept, but it is not an Oregon concept.

Encourage Rep. Esquivel to withdraw his bills — which are not democratic — and represent the interests of all Medford residents. — Carol N. Doty, Medford

I am grateful for the coverage by the Mail Tribune of the Givan Park controversy and for exposing the shocking plans the county has now abandoned to develop it.

I cannot imagine why the north 38 acres, containing the highest concentration of American Indian artifacts and an excellent site for a boat ramp for river access, would be traded away for land where there is already an easement in place that will connect the north and south parts of the park through the Elks parcel.

No trade is needed in order for an incredibly special, pristine piece of this Earth to be preserved. In all of Jackson County, there is no other site along the Rogue River that is like this — untouched, in the condition it has been in for thousands of years. — Jan Harrell, Ashland

Now that the discussion about a real solution to the projected Social Security shortfall is beginning in earnest, I would refer any and all interested citizens and politicians to the highest research authority I know of, the highly acclaimed Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. You can find myriad articles written over the years that explain not only this issue, and possible solutions, but many related areas of interest.

Here are two resources to download a free report or purchase the actual book for a nominal fee: For options on fixing Social Security, see http://crr.bc.edu/special_projects/the_social_security_fix-it_book.html. For a guide to Claiming Social Security benefits, see http://crr.bc.edu/special_projects/social_security_claiming_guide.html. Let's all be informed and lucid in this discussion as we move forward in finding a solution! — Doug McDonald, Medford

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