LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Martin Luther King once said, "I have a dream that one day my four little children will live in a nation where they will be judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

Throughout history racism has affected many lives. People are discriminated against for their cultural backgrounds and skin color. Many people overlook the fact the differentiation of a human's skin color shouldn't limit a person's opportunities to succeed.

To judge someone based on physical appearance is short-sighted. We are all part of one big race, the human race. It's time to eliminate our dogmatic thoughts on race and make the world a better place.

A wise man once said, "You must be the change you want to see in the world." We should look beyond skin color since there's more to a person than physical appearance.

As a nation we should seek to be united, acknowledging that this country was based on immigrants from diverse cultures. Without their influence, chances are we might have never achieved the success we have now.

Deprived of ethnic diversity, our country would just be a bland mixture, lacking individuality and creativity. — Evelyn Rivera, Phoenix

I am writing regarding the article in the May 11 Mail Tribune regarding 42 Degrees, a shop on East Main in Medford.

It is my feeling the code enforcement officer made a mistake in issuing a warning for graffiti, and Police Chief Tim George should have just said so, then (if needed at all) gotten some sort of legal clarification and addressed it at a later date.

It is also my feeling that if the mural is authorized by the business owner and the landlord, nobody else should have a say in the matter. If they need a permit for their "signage," so be it.

I for one am looking forward to seeing their mural the next time I'm in their neighborhood. I hope it's still there. — Chris Greene, Central Point

Dear Jackson County Roads and Parks, two things:

1. Thank you very much for mending the Bear Creek Greenway.

2. Mending the Greenway in the summer? Really? The busiest time of year. Really? — Clayton Pauer, Medford

So now the city of Medford cannot tell the difference between graffiti or a mural. My business has been hit several times by graffiti, and it looked nothing like that colorful mural on the front of 42 Degrees at 613 E. Main St. First of all, graffiti is usually done in a matter of minutes with a can of black spray paint. No one asked for my authorization (nor my landlord's authorization) when someone sprayed graffiti on my store, and certainly didn't come back to collect $1,500 for their creation.

Why didn't Police Chief Tim George just blow this whole thing off with the first complaint — which is nothing more than harassment by someone who doesn't like what goes on at 42 Degrees.

If the city of Medford continues to demand that 42 Degrees paint over its mural, it may be facing an expensive harassment lawsuit because no judge will be convinced that this is graffiti.

Stop wasting our tax dollars on these petty complaints and get to work on things that matter to most of us! — John Hopf, Central Point

I do not wish to argue the pros or cons of the teachers' strike, but rather to address the "mob" actions of those participating, and the lack of assistance from the police. The teachers took it upon themselves to use the crosswalk at Main and Royal is such a manner as to not allow citizens to turn onto Main from Royal.

When I asked a police officer why that was allowed, I was told as long as they are moving, they are not breaking the law. The officer informed me I should proceed to the next block and go around them.

Whatever happened to service to the community? The school district, the teachers and the police department have shown me they have no respect for this community or its citizens. — Dick Thomas, Eagle Point

Congressman Walden states in the recent Oregon Voter Pamphlet, "We don't have deficits because Americans are taxed too little."

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has stated that federal revenues from 2009 to 2011 were approximately 15 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This is the lowest level since 1950, and is significantly lower than the 18 percent average in the last 40 years. It is clear that federal revenues are too low today, when compared to the levels that gave us prosperity in the past, under both Democratic and Republican presidents.

Part of the drop in federal revenue was due to the Bush tax cuts. These were justified by stating that the economy would grow to make up the loss in revenue. We all know that the economy did not grow, it almost collapsed.

Our representatives cannot solve our economic problems if they present dogma rather than the true and complete facts. — Marcus B. Heritage, Rogue River

Last week, a three-part series by Sacramento Bee Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Tom Knudson shed light on the federal agency responsible for killing "problem" wildlife. Among the findings, Wildlife Services, a branch of the USDA, has killed more than 100,000 animals (including family pets and protected wildlife) in the name of livestock protection. Recently, the agency has begun killing wolves and other animals to artificially boost game populations for hunters. Such uncontrolled interference is devastating to a healthy ecosystem.

The agency's first approach is to simply kill! Often its methods are brutal, ineffective and expensive. Innovative, science-based, nonlethal practices that allow people, livestock and wildlife to coexist are available, but Wildlife Services does not bother with them.

Taxpayers need to know how many animals are being killed at their expense, often on public lands. The numbers are shocking and indefensible! One Wildlife Services manager wrote, "This information is not intended for indiscriminate distribution!!!" Wildlife Services has become a secretive killing machine. It must either be held accountable and reformed or be abolished!

Please contact Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and demand immediate action at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, DC 20250. Information hotline: 202-720-2791 — Susan Bauer, Talent

"Who is teaching our kids?" the Eagle Point picketers challenged. "Craigslist's Finest" was the union's gracious answer, referring to substitute teachers who stepped in to keep the classrooms functioning during the teacher strike.

Who are we? We are licensed, experienced, concerned teachers who came from all over the state to provide a service while your school system was at an impasse. Some came out of retirement, others took leave from their primary work, while others arranged day care for own their kids so that they could take care of yours.

We were not disputing or supporting anyone's issues, yet we were called "scabs" and harassed as though our interest was anything more than holding ground for the students while you worked out your differences.

"Shame on you," was shouted at me as picketers blocked my car. "I wouldn't sleep with your husband, so why are you taking my job?' was another greeting. "You will never get a teaching job again," was a threat tossed my way.

Come on teachers, we can do better than this. We can practice the anti-bullying that we preach. We can show respect, despite judgments and differences. These are the "teachable moments". Don't waste them. — Susan Shammel, Ashland.

In response to Yvonne Miller's statement that under President Obama no one can afford to go to the movies: Tell that to the producers of "The Avengers," which pulled in a billion dollars on the opening weekend. — A. Rossi, Medford

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