Not surprised that Rep. Greg Walden chats up only the "Haves" —— and a select few from the Chamber at that —— about the Affordable Care Act. Would it likewise be stacking the deck too much to ask Greg if he's "stopped beating his wife"?

Greg should get out and meet his constituents. We're in a valley where nearly 70 percent of children require school lunch assistance. While he was lunching with his Chamber buds, I was getting my hair cut by one of those kid's moms. She's a full-time worker and long-time health insurance "Have Not." She's precious few other benefits either, because under our insane labor laws, she cuts hair all day at the same outlet, but is considered a "contractor," paying rent to a Minnesota corporation.

This mom was looking forward to insuring herself and her children under 26 at a price she could afford. She wasn't stressed at all about a few birth pangs getting the website going. She was delighted to learn she wouldn't need a computer. She could get help signing up at Jackson County Health or Planned Parenthood.

Mercy's sakes, Greg. Stop kicking hard-working people when they're down! — Alberto Enriquez, Medford

Stand for Children leaders urge the Medford School District and the Medford Education Association to continue talking to resolve differences of opinion regarding implemented contract language.

Strikes benefit no one, least of all students. At best, a strike would compromise student's educational experience by substituting replacement teachers unfamiliar with individual learning styles, and at worst cause delays and interruptions in instructional days and the school term.

Teachers appear most concerned about new contract language designed to control structuring of dedicated teacher preparation time, give the district greater control during layoff decisions, increase the district's ability to enlarge class sizes at the secondary level and reduce teacher input in determining best use of aide time in overcrowded classrooms. These issues are complex. It is important for adults on both sides to consider what is in the best interest of the students who are struggling with new rules and guidelines under proficiency grading, just as teachers are.

By working together with respect and cooperation, we set an example for the very students that we are trying to educate. — Karen Starchvick, Jacksonville

Your December 20 editorial, "Buy — and give — locally" reinforced the power every one of us has to recharge the valley's economy.

The best part is that we don't have to do much. Studies from mid-sized communities around the country show that shifting just 10 percent of spending from national chains to local businesses can spur creation of hundreds of quality jobs. That means steering just one of the 10 dollars we spend at Lowe's or Home Depot to Budget Lumber or Southern Oregon Nursery instead. Or redirecting one of ten dollars from Walmart to your town's hardware store or gift shop; from Safeway or Albertsons to Quality Market, Shop n Kart or the food co-ops; from Big 5 to the locally owned-and-operated Northwest Outdoor Store.

This shift might surprise us with the quality and value of local offerings. It would definitely fortify local businesses that re-invest in our community in so many ways, and create more demand for the support services every thriving business needs — services our under-employed neighbors could ably supply.

All by re-directing one buck in 10 from big chain to small local businesses. What a great deal. Let's take it. — Jeff Golden, Ashland

Share This Story