A recent headline reads "Harry & David has a successful year" and goes on to say they "had a profit of almost $13 million." Too bad they don't have the social conscience to pay the small businesses that they stiffed several years ago when they were in Chapter 11.

A local company? I don't think so. Pretty rotten! — Chuck Brook, Medford

Last month I commented on the importance of libraries to an informed electorate; when people buy into such blatant nonsense as birtherism, death panels and climate change denial, democracy is the loser. An irate respondent countered that libraries are for everyone and shouldn't be made into a partisan issue.

Unfortunately they already are because the taxes they depend on are a partisan issue. Anti-tax activists oppose any increase for any reason, and especially resent public support for things they don't personally use. The same logic could be applied to jails and the police — ask Grants Pass how that's working for them.

If we want livable communities, we need to pay for community services. Libraries, in turn, could make themselves more relevant by doing more to educate voters — not taking sides, but hosting public forums and debates and acting as nonpartisan fact checkers.

Everything's political anymore, even the weather. To make informed choices, we need accurate information and libraries should play an active role in making it available. It isn't being "dragged into the muck," it's their civic duty. Today's politics is tomorrow's history — the legacy we leave our offspring. Let's at least base it on reality. — Michael Steely, Medford

We must be ever watchful and diligent in our efforts to maintain a semblance of freedom of choice in this ever-eroding democracy. Today, I am referring to Senate Bill 633, another attempt by biotech agriculture to take local authority away from counties in Oregon concerning seed and agricultural issues. After receiving more negative response last winter and spring than any other proposed bill in just about forever, someone has now attached it to the current PERS legislation that is very likely to pass because of its retirement benefits to our public servants.

This bill appeared just after Jackson County initiative 15-119 made it onto the May 2014 ballot and would ban GMO crops in Jackson County and obviously was in response to our efforts here to take a stand for local, sustainable, healthy and natural agriculture.

If anyone doubts these claims, please let them research GMOs and their links with toxic pesticides, concurrent modern health problems, soil degradation, ultimately lower yields, less marketability and dependence on biotech companies for seed, year after year.

Don't sign it governor. Don't pass it legislators. Big mistake. — Daniel Gregg, Ashland

Here it is, over a year from the next election, and local Republicans are already coordinating letters to the editor to attack Sen. Alan Bates on some kind of strange argument that Bates isn't bipartisan enough.

The fact is that Bates cares about making sure people have access to good health care, and making sure our kids have access to a good education, and he works with anybody and everybody to get to those goals. If his opponent wants to try to make Bates' bipartisanship the issue, it sure would be nice if he would wait until some time close to the actual election before going on the attack.

Tens of thousands of Oregonians, including every kid in our state, have access to health care due to the efforts of Alan Bates. I'm proud to call him a colleague, a friend and our state senator. — Rep. Peter Buckley, Ashland

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