A lot of decent, hard-working people are out of work and losing their homes during the worst recession since the Depression.

Meanwhile, Jackson County Administrator Danny Jordan is being paid over $14,000 a month in salary. Since that is apparently insufficient to make ends meet, Mr. Jordan receives another $2,000 monthly for housing, car and "communication" allowances.

Let us not forget that the Board of Commissioners gave themselves a 45 percent salary increase that tops out at over $100,000 a year. Yes, two of the current commissioners weren't in office at the time, but they have accepted their salaries. C.W. Smith initially turned down the raise until he was safely re-elected, at which time he chose to quietly take the cash.

I understand that the commissioners think they and Mr. Jordan are worth every penny. But I don't care what kind of self-laudatory terms they use to justify themselves. These outlandish salaries funded by taxpayers are unseemly even in good times.

The board has promised to hold public hearings regarding their pay. I hope that they follow through, because I imagine a lot of voters are anxious to have their say on the matter. — Gregory Ventana, Medford

Regarding the "cheers" in the editorial about the Jacksonville Planning Commission decision regarding downtown amplified music.

As chairman of Jacksonville's Historical and Architectural Review Commission, I won't second-guess the Planning Commission's decisions. I offer the following considerations regarding the town's storied "ambience," however:

  • Jacksonville is an essentially residential community.
  • While the businesses in town do add a certain vitality, especially downtown, most are boutique, tourist-oriented enterprises, not service or convenience businesses useful for day-to-day life in the community; hence, we do the bulk of our routine shopping in Medford.
  • Except for the hotel bed tax, no income from business per se comes to the town for historic preservation and timely and thorough maintenance of our historic infrastructure — or even for daily civic operations.
  • The town relies heavily on volunteer service to survive.
  • While tourism helps underwrite street activity and provides an income for local business and building owners, it seems to generate inadequate surplus for proper maintenance and improvement of our ancient structures. At the same time it accelerates decay by wear and tear.

In many cases, we locals simply "put up" with certain business activities, hopefully benefitting in some way from them, say by eating, drinking, and listening to music — including the Britt Festivals. — Gary R. Collins, Jacksonville

One of the first laws enacted by the Continental Congress was the protection of those who blew the whistle on crimes committed by their superiors.

In 1777, two troops serving under Commodore Hopkins of the Continental Navy were appalled at the torture of British prisoners by this man. They petitioned Congress with their grievances, at which point the Commodore was removed from his post.

The following year Congress enacted the first law, with no dissenting votes, protecting those who expose crime: "That it is the duty of all persons in the service of the United States ... to give the earliest information to Congress or any other proper authority of any misconduct, frauds or misdemeanors committed by any officers or persons in the service of these states, which may come to their knowledge."

In 1778, Congress took action against those guilty of crimes and protected those exposing the crimes. Fast-forward to the present, where the president imprisons alleged whistle-blowers and proclaims them guilty without benefit of trial. Congress does nothing.

Private First Class Bradley Manning has been in prison without trial for nearly 11/2 years for exposing U.S. war crimes. I say we stop persecuting our whistle-blowers and begin prosecuting the war crimes exposed — as our founding fathers intended. — Linda Smith, Rogue River

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