It's a miracle! I just read Bill Varble's Sunday piece. All I can say to his concluding paragraphs is amen, brother! — Rick Foster, Medford

What is the criteria for front page news? Current, local, breaking national or international events?

Just wondering why the article on "Fugitive family" rates the front page. It doesn't meet any of those criteria. Are you that hard up for news? — Joan Dean, Talent

I noticed in the Oregon Legal Journal (May 12) that Governor Kitzhaber's salary is $93,600. However I read (MT, April 4) that Jackson County's sheriff, assessor, and one commissioner all make over $100,000; the other commissioners make more than the governor!

Moreover, the Elected Officials Salary Committee ensures county commissioners would receive over $110,000 by their sixth year! Yet, these commissioners are so out of touch that their proposal to appoint elected officials was defeated by over 80 percent of voters! MT May 6 identifies seven Medford School District administrators making over $100,000; three more, including a middle school principal, make more than the governor!

These public servants, no matter how competent, do not have responsibilities anywhere comparable to those of the governor. MT and ADT should look into other school districts and municipalities to ascertain how disproportionate their top salaries are.

With so much being cut from local governments and schools at the bottom of the pyramid (local jobs, teachers/school programs, aid for the poor, elderly, disadvantaged), local officials should voluntarily cut their salaries using the governor's as a benchmark. County and school district officials, as servants of the public, owe citizens proof of their awareness of Jackson County's fiscal emergency. — C.B. Thomas, Jacksonville

It was both disappointing and disheartening to see two articles regarding public expenditures appear in the same day's paper about contributions from the city towards numerous worthy nonprofit organizations cut to nearly one-third of the previous year's amount while the county announced the purchase of a site for the new jail at $3.3 million.

Although it is understandable that the county jail is in need of an upgrade, I fail to see why a commercial lot, previously an RV dealership, situated on an increasingly congested roadway, is at all financially sound. Their are numerous properties that the county already owns that would lend themselves to this project, such as expanding the building currently occupied by Justice on Highway 99 or any suitable lot that is selling for less than square footage in a major commercial hub.

It seems cavalier and downright annoying that the county seems to think that conspicuous spending is acceptable in a community where every aspect of public spending is taking an enormous hit. In the face of the harsh cutbacks everywhere else, it is an atrocity. — William Eckart, Phoenix

As an Oregon native and having grown up in the Rogue Valley, I have wonderful memories of attending movies at both the Craterian and Holly theaters. I was delighted with the restoration of the Craterian and feel similarly about the plans for restoring the Holly.

The successful restoration of the Holly Theatre to its original glory will be a valuable contribution to the cultural life as well as the entertainment options for the residents of Medford and the surrounding area. Furthermore, I believe restoring this cultural gem, that first opened its doors on Aug. 29, 1930, and drew adoring crowds for decades, to be a wise business investment that will produce many dividends for Medford's downtown and beyond.

I would hope, as a community, we can work together to help bring about the Holly's grand re-opening and subsequent decades of success. — Joyce K. Stockstill, Talent

Yes, N. Clark, others of us have wondered why the high schools need three vice principals.

In the dark ages (the '60s) I attended a high school in L.A. with 3,000 in three grades where we had two VPs, one for the girls and one for the boys. The graduation rate was higher than here and the trouble much less with no police presence on campus.

Granted, that was before the unions got hold of the entire system and started demanding their five pounds of flesh. I listened to the woman president of the local union tell us they refuse to agree to anything that reduces their take-home pay.

When did the unions become the middle class? In the private sector our pay was approximately the same as the unions now demand, the difference was we had to pay the vast majority of our health care and retirement — which was not a guaranteed amount. Our take-home pay was much less than the teachers now receive.

Until the unions allow the system to be run on a manageable budget that puts the students first, the schools will continue to fail our children and lose public support. They are totally out of control. — Pat Butler, Medford

Andrea Noble's letter supporting abortion offers a false choice of funding social programs or funding abortions. The scene she paints is not the definition of irony, but of cynicism. She is assuming that all unplanned children will live needy lives requiring government assistance and we should therefore pay to kill them now to save them from that possibility. That's not only cynical thinking, but a little nutty!

Examples abound of people who were born into desperate circumstances who managed to rise above it all and enrich the lives of others in some meaningful way. Examples would include Oprah Winfrey, Booker T. Washington, Helen Keller and Napoleon Hill. Who knows if they were unplanned events in the lives of their parents?

In circumstances of poverty, it's reasonable to assume that another mouth to feed might not have been their parents' first choice. But the mothers did what mothers have done for millennia, gave birth and raised their children up to strive for a better life.

More than abortions or social programs, unplanned children need mothers who will put the needs of their children before their own convenience. — Valerie Platt, Eagle Point

Republicans in Congress have ruled out any rollback of Bush-era income tax cuts for the wealthy. They proclaim that we can't burden their rich supporters with 1990s-level income taxes because we need these people to reinvest in America to create jobs. In other words, no tax break equals no investment. Really?

That's a half-truth at best. Granted, the wealthy control the lion's share of available capital, so we need them to take the lead in reinvesting for growth. However, whether small business owners or corporate CEOs, a great many wealthy Americans would be affected by the restored rates only after taking money out of their companies for themselves. If they immediately direct profits back into their own companies, before funneling that money into their salaries and bonuses, then there's no income tax because it's not personal income.

"Cut my salary in half and forget my bonus! Pour it all into R&D and plant modernization!" I don't hear much of that. What I do hear is that sales of luxury goods are up — way up. — Bruce Borgerson, Wavelength Communications, Ashland

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