It seems every other year we see a call to vote out every member of Congress, and the result is a 90-plus percent re-election rate of incumbents. This appears to be due mostly to 1) the idea that "they are all bums except for my congress person," and 2) gerrymandered districts that ensure the re-election of the incumbent. If you really want to vote the bums out, vote for someone other than the "incumbent." — Matt Morey, Shady Cove

In November the Applegate Valley Fire District No. 9 patrons vote on a new operating budget for the district, and it is for much more than fire fighting. For example, in February, I suffered a heart attack at our Applegate home, and we drove to the AVFD fire station in Ruch for help. As the EMTs there were helping me, my heart stopped beating. They immediately hooked me to a heart defibrillator and restarted my heart and continued CPR in the ambulance as we raced to RRMC in Medford.

The cardiologists there located an arterial blockage and inserted two stents so my heart could operate normally. I returned home with no lasting damage.

Had it not been for the proper equipment and the professional training of the personnel at the Ruch fire station, I would not be alive today. My story could be your story. Food for thought in November. — Tom Brussat, Applegate

For years teachers in the Medford School District have bargained reasonably to assist the district in balancing its financial obligations during tough economic times. There has been no real, significant increase in wages in more than 10 years and, in fact, significant losses in benefits.

  • Two years ago the teachers agreed to a two-year salary freeze; the district quickly cut days from the contract resulting in a loss in wages each year.
  • Over the past 10-plus years, modifications to PERS and health insurance have resulted in a much smaller benefit package and greater out-of-pocket costs.
  • After taxes, the six percent salary increase offered by the school board does not cover the proposed employee pickup to PERS. This is not an increase in salary.
  • The district wants to increase instructional days with no "real" increase in compensation. Teacher salaries would be roughly what they should have been two years ago — essentially extending the salary freeze an additional 2-3 years.
  • The district has additional money that could be devoted to teacher compensation.

After many years of stagnant pay/benefits, Dr. Long should be, and hopefully is, campaigning aggressively for significant improvement in compensation for teachers. Great teachers are a resource we cannot afford to neglect any longer. — William Rowan, Medford

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