Ten years ago I appeared before the tax assessors board in Medford to object to my residential property taxes. I got the same results today that I heard then, even though we all know that values are down at least 30 percent or more here in Jackson County. And the faces on the board looked really familiar, as well. I wonder, is this their entertainment?

In November 2011, when I received my property tax statement, I spent many hours researching and compiling comparables of current property sales relative to my home. I submitted them at the hearing. It was evident that this board had a scenario, even before I appeared before them.

"Yes, we will lower your real market value, but that does not affect your assessed value. And therefore, your property taxes remain as assessed."

Politics as usual. In my opinion, they had decided their verdict before the property owner even appeared, no matter how well a case was presented. It is an effort in futility. The revenue to Jackson County is the decisive factor here, not what is fair regarding the values placed on your property. — Kay Maser, Ashland

We've heard that the Medford Jazz Festival will not invite back the Southern Oregon Jazz Orchestra this year, claiming that while it is a great band, it is "too local." The festival says folks won't pay to dance to a local band! Even though the festival doesn't have to pay travel or hotel costs for a group that lives here, it doesn't think it's worth having.

As dancers who attend the festival each year, we protest! SOJO is the main reason we attend because it plays by far the most danceable music. The festival should showcase this fine group of dedicated and excellent musicians. We are fortunate to have a band of this caliber here in the Rogue Valley.

Our suggestion to the festival is not only to retain the band but to schedule it for afternoon or evening hours when more dancers can attend, instead of the early morning time slot it's been relegated to in the past.

We who dance hope that the festival will reconsider its decision and show more sensitivity to the desires of dancers! — Kathy and Jack Ashcraft, Medford

I am not one of those "leftist liberals" Pat Butler condemns in his or her letter on March 18. I decry all "vulgar diatribes" used against women, whoever uses them. I cannot think of anything more vicious, vulgar or disgusting than Rush Limbaugh's tirade against Ms. Fluke.

It is far worse for a child to be born into a family that doesn't want or cannot give it the care and support it needs than it is to prevent that birth. Many of our tax dollars Pat Butler is so concerned about are spent helping such children. Contraceptives also are used to address certain medical problems. Women without access to them have lost their ovaries, as did Ms. Fluke's friend.

I am glad that Ms. Fluke's Catholic university has strongly condemned the attack on her, as should all of us, men and women alike. While Ms. Fluke might get a large salary when she signs with a law firm, most women are not that lucky. For many women who need it the most, the cost of birth control pills is prohibitive. — Mary Ann Carlson, Central Point

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