Letters to the Editor

Board should change enforcement policies

Regarding the Jan. 27 article "Handymen run afoul of rules": Oh, for Pete's sake! The Construction Contractors Board lives in a parallel universe, mostly serving outfits large enough to afford licenses, bonds and rapacious insurance rates. One understands concerns about electricians, but replacing some slats on that worn-out fence?

It's not that would-be handymen don't want to pay their dues. They can't. Neither can the elderly, unfit or unskilled who need handymen always afford more than $10 to $15 an hour. There's a secret army of people in Oregon who are desperate to do honest work for an honest day's pay. (They don't show up on the unemployment stats anymore, if they ever did. You can find them turning their equipment in to lenders.) Does the CCB check the "for sale" ads as well? Levels, saws, wood splitters, excavators selling for pennies?

So now the luckier are unhappy to be earning $35 an hour (What was that average wage here again? $11?) and whining as they rat out the more desperate. The CCB may think they're protecting a consumer from risk, but they're also raising repair costs $20 an hour, which often means either work doesn't get done or the transaction goes underground. What's next? Fining the poor widow for not having her roof fixed?

Nancy Ames

Siskiyou Pass

U.S. nuclear choices crucial to stability

President Obama is currently making critical decisions about U.S. nuclear weapons and the threats that every American faces, as part of a comprehensive nuclear policy review the administration is conducting. The review is expected to be completed by March 1.

He will make all Americans safer by doing everything he can to reduce the nuclear threat and de-emphasize nuclear weapons in our security policy. They don't work against today's primary threats.

The potential spread of nuclear weapons dramatically increases the chances of a nuclear war or nuclear materials getting into the hands of terrorists (like the failed Christmas bomber). There is a growing bipartisan consensus among military and security experts who are promoting a nuclear risk reduction agenda aimed at reducing this threat — including reducing Russian and U.S. arsenals, banning nuclear test explosions and securing nuclear materials worldwide.

Nuclear weapons cannot help us stop nuclear terrorism; the only way to stop nuclear terrorism is to lock down and eliminate nuclear materials. U.S. conventional military forces are the best in the world but are useless against an attack with nuclear-armed missiles or an attack by terrorists armed with nuclear weapons.

Just one nuclear bomb detonated anywhere in the world will affect everyone on the planet and have unimaginable human, environmental and economic consequences.

Beverly Williams


Commentary on GED students was correct

In regard to the Feb. 2 letter from Jenoge Khatter about GEDs, I can completely agree with him. Students who get GEDs are not necessarily failures or otherwise unable to finish high school.

For example, my daughter, who is now 43 years old, decided she did not want to spend the last year of high school taking courses in "underwater basket weaving" since she had already finished all her requirements for graduation and had an "A" average. I made a deal with her: I would sign her application for a GED (she was not yet 18), and if she did not pass, she would take 12th grade.

She agreed, passed the GED, started college the next fall, was awarded a scholarship for which she did not apply, got a degree in anthropology at a large state university, took three years of graduate school in archaeology and law school, passed the bar on the first try and has been earning a good living ever since. Obviously she was not "troublesome, immature, or low-skilled."

Some kids just don't fit into high school or have other reasons for taking a GED. I hope Mr. Khatter continues to help those kids who need/want to get a GED rather than stay in school. The people, especially school staff, who belittle students for taking that route, need to learn more about those kids instead of putting them down.

Carol A. Case


Peace House helped establish Peace Wall

The organizers of the Ashland Peace Wall want to thank Pam Vavra, executive director of Ashland's Peace House, for acting as fiscal agent for our project.

Peace House has facilitated fund-raising efforts on behalf of the Peace Wall, allowing all donations to be tax-deductible. Without Pam and Peace House, we would have had to form our own 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, which would have taken months and bucks. As it is, donors may send their checks payable to Peace House (PO Box 524, Ashland) and note "For the Peace Wall" on the memo line. Peace House has also helped us with grant submissions and sponsored our proposals to several foundations.

Without the generous help of Peace House, the Peace Wall might not be happening at all.

Nancy Parker

A Peace Wall organizer


One way to establish universal health care

Elevating the care of health in this country will elevate the country's self-esteem in every way. By supporting each and every citizen's well-being through universal health care, a major decline in frustration, fear, hate and competition will uplift and assure that we all feel truly equal in our right to be alive.

Single-payer is the only way to assure this equality. Please support single-payer health care. Thank you.

Mouna Wilson


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