I find it ironic that the same people who insist that mankind is but a product of natural selection now seek to thwart that process by killing barred owls to keep spotted owls from becoming extinct. — Jim Andrews, Medford

I see in Thursday's Trib where Oregon's first Education Officer (annual salary of $280,000) didn't think he was "earning" enough. So he attempted to rip off the taxpayers with six weeks' paid vacation, first-class air travel and personal travel expenses while the Legislature is stealing earned wages and salaries from retired public service employees. As always, the rich get richer. — Guy Parker, Prospect

The bankruptcy of Detroit should be a big wake-up call to Americans watching our federal government in Washington, as there are many consistencies: over-spending, no fiscal restraint, high unemployment, bloated entitlements, no political courage, inept politicians and corruption. Detroit had decades of fiscal mismanagement, having spent $100 million a year more than it took in. Gee, this sounds familiar. Detroit can no longer "kick the can down the road."

Other cities will follow the bankruptcy road. Perhaps Chicago will be next. Someday my grandchildren will ask, "What in the hell were people thinking?" — Dick Dunbar, Medford

We wish to express our gratitude to the Jacksonville Fire Department and all other fire departments and support agencies that responded to the fire on Applegate Street in Jacksonville last week. Although the firefighters were unable to save our neighbor's house, through their skills and expertise, they were able to keep our house from becoming a complete loss and the rest of the neighborhood from becoming involved in the fire. This reminds us how important it is to support these vital services through our tax dollars as they are a most important source of protection and safety within our communities.

Having had this experience, we would urge residents throughout the area to take a look at their homes and properties and discuss with a fire professional what they might do to decrease their fire risk. — Debra and Robert Herriott, Jacksonville

The uproar at the Jackson County Fire District 5 meeting was just the latest example of a local government board or council violating or at least bending their own rules or even the regulations as set down in the Oregon Revised Statutes.

District 5, Talent, Phoenix all seem to turn a blind eye to regulations whenever it is convenient. Now one could say that these apparent violations should be reported to the Oregon Government Ethics Commission. The problem is that the commission is a toothless tiger that has such a narrow mandate that nearly every complaint gets rejected, mainly for lack of information. It seems the commission wants the complainer to do all the investigation. The only answer is for people to become better watchdogs on the local government. — Steven A. Schulman, Phoenix

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