Machiavelli is alive and well in Jackson County.

I have known C.W. Smith for over 30 years and at no time have I had reason to doubt his honesty or integrity. I don't know the other two commissioners on a personal basis, but I have no reason to doubt their sincerity. The way the assessor's appointment was handled left their integrity open to question.

During the 2008 primary campaign I spent a great deal of effort pointing out the shortcomings of Dan Ross as county assessor. In spite of my efforts, the voters overwhelmingly decided they wanted Dan Ross to be their assessor.

It was not Danny Jordan's place to run Dan Ross out of office, which is what happened.

Anyone who has campaigned for public office knows it is expensive, time-consuming and emotionally draining. If I were to go though that again, even if I were successful, I not only would face the challenge of overseeing the assessor's office, but I would spend half my time and energy watching my back. At this time it is unlikely that I will campaign for county assessor.

To Joshua: I wish you the very best as county assessor; watch your back. — Roy Wright, Medford

In October world population numbers went over the 7 billion mark, up from 6 billion only 12 years earlier. But editors at the Los Angeles Times didn't seem to notice and neither did the Medford Mail Tribune, which reprinted the Times' editorial on Dec. 19.

Human population growth drives degradation of the world environment like nothing else. Issues like global warming, deforestation, shortages of fresh water and fish in the oceans could be handled much better if human numbers were brought under control. Now, however, we have people from areas that are hopelessly overcrowded migrating to areas that are not-quite-yet overcrowded. It's a migration that needs to be stopped, and the Arizona immigration law is designed to do that.

But the L.A. Times editorial attacks both the Arizona law and Sheriff Joe Arpaio, one of the law's chief supporters. The editorial cites a recent political finding by the Justice Department to support an argument for the environmentally unsound concept of comprehensive immigration reform, which is desperately not needed. We have immigration laws; they need to be enforced.

That's what Sheriff Arpaio is doing. He's an American hero, saving the environment by enforcing the law, one illegal alien at a time. — Robert Bennett, Grants Pass

I don't believe OR-7 is alone. He has his pack.

These cow killings are getting out of hand. Two cows were killed on Butte Falls Highway. Paw prints were too big to be coyotes.

Bringing wolves back into Oregon is going to end up biting you people in the rear end. Their main goal in life is to kill.

I live rural, I'm afraid to go hiking around my property, and I have three giant-breed dogs. They would be no match for a pack of wolves.

I'm not a hunter, I'm an animal lover. I have two resident bears and coyotes; they were here first. I would never harm them unless it came down to my dogs' safety.

For years we have lived in harmony. Can anyone live in harmony with a pack of wolves? They need to be killed or relocated back where they came from.

I cannot believe people are "thrilled" to follow OR-7 on the Internet. Someone is pulling the wool over your eyes if you believe he's alone. Predators kill, and he is out to kill, with the rest of his pack. Heaven help a hiker that has the misfortune of meeting up with them. — Sharyn 'Jinx' Arthur, Gold Hill

Once again freedom-haters are attacking America's traditional values. Having mocked the Founding Fathers with its so-called "Patriot" Act, Congress has now passed legislation authorizing the indefinite detention, without charge or trial, of suspected terrorists. Sadly, Obama lacked the courage to veto it.

Not only is it unconstitutional, but suspects are often innocent, as in the notorious case of Maher Arrar, a Canadian kidnapped by the CIA and taken to Syria where he was tortured for a year before they realized, oops — wrong guy.

Torture is another mockery of the Constitution. After World War II, we executed Japanese who waterboarded American prisoners. America represented liberty and justice for all until Bush/Cheney took us over to the dark side.

Torture is immoral, illegal and un-American, yet all the Republican primary contenders except Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman support its use. It's a barbaric perversion that defiles the flag and faith they claim to love.

Defending our freedom by undermining its foundation is criminally insane. Benjamin Franklin said those who would sacrifice freedom for security deserve neither. Would you really be happier in a police state? The U.S. was founded on Enlightenment principles. Don't let them drag us back to the Dark Ages. — Michael Steely, Medford

Extremism and recent hate crimes in the Pacific Northwest was the subject of Associated Press writer Nicholas Geranios' article (Dec. 21), but what was omitted is just as disturbing as what was included.

The man who tried to bomb the Spokane MLK Jr. Parade in January, Kevin Harpham, was duly featured, but not Mohamed Mohamud, who tried to bomb last Christmas' Pioneer Square tree lighting ceremony in Portland. For some reason or another, Geranios also declined to mention the June arrest of two men planning a machine-gun suicide attack on a Seattle military recruitment center in honor of Osama bin Laden. In his defense, perhaps Geranios wished to avoid the appearance of Islamophobia. — Pete Smith, Grants Pass

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