It doesn't take a group of professional engineers, planners, paid consultants, a panel of appointed citizens and Dan Burden, the great Florida traffic guru, to prove that narrowing a road from four lanes to two would slow down traffic. Anyone who drives a car knows that it does.

People who object to the "road diet" plan are simply asking what the compelling need is to do this project in the first place.

In addressing traffic congestion and air pollution, European cities are applying these same "road diet" tactics to intentionally frustrate car drivers with the intention of motivating them to abandon their cars and use their existing public transportation systems. But this is a remote small city in America with a unique economy, a road layout already suited for the automobile, a weak public transportation system and a citizenry already devoted to pedestrian and bicycle use.

Meanwhile, an actual serious traffic problem at the intersection of Hersey, Wimer and North Main Street goes unattended while the Traffic Commission recommends that the City Council ignore it in favor of a plan that is unnecessary and unwanted. Sadly, the proposed "road diet" is a solution in search of a problem. — John Davis, Ashland

Just a response here to Tuesday's question.

I'm just offering the idea that the gravel-and-oil surface is actually a sub-surface layer for an actual paving of the entire street surfaces spoken of, as evidenced by the same occurring in the No. 2 lanes north, south, east and west before finishing the No. 1 and center turn lanes. — J.D. Waite, Medford

I love skiing and have since I was a kid, and actually have spent a lot of time on Mount Ashland. I love the mountain and our town because of its current size.

This was the reason I moved here from NYC six years ago. If I feel like this place is becoming overly developed; I will just move. I am not in the minority, either. There is a reason why people move to places like this.

Trees are no less important than people in my opinion. After all, there would be no people if there were no trees. Can we see the forest for the trees yet, or do we see trees as only paper money?

Ask yourself one question: Is this the best thing for Ashland and our planet, or is this just yet another example of a kind of rape? — Simon Luckinbill, Ashland

There's no such thing as a "liberal news media." News is fundamentally upsetting of the status quo, otherwise it would not be news.

This is why conservatives hate the news and try to control it. This puts News Corp. in the same class of news outlets as those in Mubarak's Egypt, Assad's Syria, China, the former Soviet Union and other dictatorships.

News Corp. and the American conservatives are psychologically identical to the authoritarian, totalitarian and anti-democratic governments of our present era. They have no credible place in the American system of democracy. Their program, based upon and celebrating ignorance as it does, only leads to strife, collapse and extinction.

The term "liberal news media," as folks like George Lakoff and others pointed out long ago, was a calculated invention by right-wingers during the 1980s. There's only news organizations and social media and then there's propaganda organs such as Pravda, Isvestia and News Corp. — Torrey Byles, Talent

Ski area officials have skewed the facts to portray clearing of old-growth forests for ski runs as beneficial to the watershed. By connecting restoration work with ski development, they claim the ski area expansion will reduce sedimentation in the municipal watershed.

Apparent from their argument is that our watershed is in need of restoration work because of previous ski development and Forest Service mismanagement. The Forest Service should complete this work regardless of the future of their plans to further damage the water supply with more ski runs.

Ashland taxpayers bear the burden of the negligent management which has resulted in sedimentation problems in Reeder Reservoir. The city recently estimated the cost of removing the current sediment load from the reservoir at $1.2 million.

Historical documents clearly show the correlation between sedimentation problems and Forest Service road building, timbering and ski development in the watershed. The Ashland City Council's belief in austerity and minimal government should not allow them to shirk their responsibility to protect our water supply. This would not be conservative in any sense of the term.

The City Council should not play hot potato with its responsibility surrounding this issue. — Ryan Navickas, Medford

As I was leaving the Children's Festival with my family again this year, the cotton candy booth had closed and my grandson had been promised throughout the night that would be our last stop and his big reward. Needless to say he was extremely disappointed.

I would like to thank the gentleman who generously handed over his cotton candy to my grandson. It just goes to show what giving, sweet people we do have left. Thank you and God bless you! Also thank you to all the volunteers at the festival who make it happen. — Laurie Whitaker, Medford

Ashland is, indeed, a very special place and truly unique among American towns and cities. What brings such distinction to this little hamlet nestled in the forested convergence of the Cascade and Siskiyou mountain ranges is not our tourist attractions themselves but rather the unparalleled opportunities for spiritual upliftment offered by our most rare, unspoiled surroundings.

The proposed expansion of the Mount Ashland Ski Area into the very heart of what makes Ashland so special, our ancient untouched forest, is nothing but a painfully short-sighted remedy for a nonexistent problem, nothing but a cruel and fraudulent attempt by a vocal minority to increase their economic leverage at whatever cost.

Please do not be misled by the shouting voices of the expansion proponents. Think for yourself: Do we really want to cut down 70 acres of pristine ancient forest, seriously impacting another 200 acres, just to generate a little more tourist money? And what would our children want, really, if we would ask them — another ski run or the same old eternal forest to pass on to their own children? — Randy Dolinger, Ashland

Recently I heard about a group of retired law enforcement professionals serving Douglas County as "Cold Case Cowboys." These gentlemen have worked on and solved many cold-case murders in the Roseburg area.

This sounds like a viable option for Jackson County since there are several unsolved murders on the books here, e.g. David Lewis and Troy Carney. It makes good fiscal sense to allow trained, retired professionals to lend their expertise to these cases, which have been neglected far too long. — C. Pettit, Phoenix

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