There's an effort under way to have the U.S. Congress pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) without debate (the so-called Fast Track process). This effort must be rejected for the following reasons:

1) Millions of jobs would be sent overseas and efforts to save jobs through the "Buy America" campaign would be undercut.

2) Corporate abusers of labor rights and environmental protection would no longer be held accountable.

3) Green job creation and needed economic development would be blocked.

I urge Congressman Walden to vote against Fast Track for the above reasons and my fellow citizens to call him and express their views. — Herb Long, Ashland

The residents of Greystone Court did it again this year — sharing the beauty of their lights with the community, who in turn showed their appreciation by being generous with their donations to ACCESS.

This year, the incredible holiday gift called the Greystone Court Food Drive raised 9,000 pounds of food and $17,588 between Dec. 20 and 24. Special thanks to the thousands of generous donors who turned out to celebrate the 13th anniversary of the drive. To the Kimmel Family Foundation for their support, Umpqua Dairy for supplying chocolate milk and the Human Bean for serving hot chocolate. All told, the donations received will help provide over 80,000 meals for hungry individuals and families across the county. ACCESS thanks all of the donors and residents who helped make this a wonderful holiday celebration. — Philip Yates, ACCESS nutrition programs director

Amidst the brouhaha surrounding the proposed re-zoning of large portions of east Medford, it is perhaps time to recall the Cherry Creek development, so recently a hot spot of controversy. Under the aegis of the Housing Authority of Jackson County (which operates 1,000 units in total) there are 50 additional units that were constructed under rules cooked up by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

These rules directed the contractor to favor hiring "women and minorities" in its construction and to actively solicit subs and suppliers from those same groups. If that disappointed Medford's stock of unemployed workers — tough.

What sorts of tenants were expected? The executive director of the Housing Authority was quoted as noting his agency screens prospective tenants by conducting criminal background checks and property managers also review the Jackson County Jail log to make sure tenants haven't been involved in criminal activity. Comforting?

In an era of high unemployment in economically distressed Southern Oregon, what is the rationale for recruiting additional folks at the bottom of the ladder? — Hubert Smith, Jacksonville

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