Don Morris' clean water letter (Sept. 16) got me to wondering where the mercury in Emigrant Lake originates from.

I am not aware of any native or imported coal in the Emigrant Lake drainage. Are there, perhaps, some naturally occurring chemicals in the ground that are carried into the lake via drainage?

Perhaps the fish are the culprits? Biologists might know the answer to that one.

Maybe the rowing club members bring it in? Maybe the motorboats that are used by both Democrats and Republicans on the lake are at fault? Perhaps the pollutants arrive via air currents? Maybe from China?

I mean, think about it — if the Japanese tsunami debris arrives on our coast via water currents then why can't airborne pollutants arrive via wind currents? I think I've read where China's coal industry is highly unregulated, whereas the coal industry in the U.S. is extremely regulated.

If coal pollutants are arriving from China, I am having a hard time linking that to a Republican-created problem. Could China, not Republicans, be the red-handed culprit in several of the instances cited by Mr. Morris? — Janet Eck, Ashland

This summer my husband and I decided to treat ourselves to a night out in Jacksonville. It's not often we make that sort of effort, and we were looking forward to a good dinner. I turned left onto a street in Jacksonville, saw what I thought was a place to park, directly behind another vehicle faced the same way, and took it. When we returned and got in the car, we discovered a parking ticket.

I'm not complaining about getting a ticket. It happens. But our ticket was for $110! A parking ticket!

Jacksonville relies heavily on tourism and local patrons, and giving tickets for $110 for parking is outrageous. How does that punishment fit the crime? A friend of mine was riding his motorcycle this summer in Medford, and got wiped out by a driver who made an illegal U-turn right into him. Her ticket was only $260, and my friend's knees are ruined, his bike is destroyed and his summer is blown. What is it I don't get here?

I went to court and got it reduced to $55. Was I grateful? Not really. My most expensive ticket in Portland was $38. One less patron. — Beth Powell, Medford

I didn't realize that all we had to do to increase tourism in Oregon and thus the economy of the state and Medford was support and pass Measure 80 legalizing marijuana. But Kaufmann (Sept. 18) says it's so. It must be true, then. Especially with all the Dems in favor.

My question: How much do drugged-out hippies spend with local businesses, other than drug paraphernalia shops? That's the only economy that will see any improvement. — P. Moran, Medford

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