Letters to the Editor August 19

Remove the greed from health care

Our health care system can only be fixed by removing from it the profit and greed. It has happened elsewhere, but can it happen in America? Not if profit and greed also run our political process. We don't have just a broken health care system, we have a broken democracy.

Knowledgeable people know that HB 676 (single-payer) could get the profit and greed out of our health care. That is why the corporate world is killing its chances. And our corporate-owned politicians are letting it happen. Don't be fooled by solutions that seem to be reform but that leave in place the enormous unnecessary overhead and profit (which includes money to keep politicians dependent on this profit/greed system).

HB 676 is the best chance we have right now, and people who know are fighting passionately for it. How many have even heard of it?

Louis Urban Kohler


Watching history go by

When I read the story about Bob Dylan being questioned by police when he was simply taking a walk through a neighborhood, I was immediately reminded of an old Simon and Garfunkel song with lyrics that go:

"I knew a man, his brain was so small,

He couldn't think of nothing at all.

He's not the same as you and me.

He doesn't dig poetry. He's so unhip that

When you say Dylan, he thinks you're talking about Dylan Thomas,

Whoever he was.

The man ain't got no culture."

It's so wonderful to watch history go by.

Mary Foster


I hope we're better than that now

Well, maybe Cheney and Bush had a good idea. Remember "free speech zones?" Peaceful, polite dissenters were locked up behind chain-link fences several blocks from any place Bush was speaking. And women wearing the wrong T-shirts were forcibly ejected. But maybe we're better than that now. I hope.

Peter Nemzek


Hamas focus is on eradicating Israel

Gene Robbins wrote "The ANC was created by South Africa's apartheid, just as Hamas was created by Israel's apartheid" (see Aug. 12 letter to the editor "Hamas was created by Israel's apartheid").

I disagree. Long before the state of Israel existed the Arabs were killing Jews. Hamas is simply the name for the current killers. Hamas' focus is not on the success of their economy or the welfare of their people. Their focus is on killing Jews and eradicating the state of Israel. Perhaps if the Arabs would stop teaching their people to hate and stop blaming Jews for their self-created misfortunes, there would be a chance for peace. Hitler had the identical blame the Jews policy.

Maynard Telpner


Let tourists help pay expense of being here

The restaurant political action committee's argument that restaurants charging meals tax discourages business does not make sense (see Aug. 11 article "Restaurateurs make a PAC"). Ashland customers are either local or a "captive, tourist audience" due to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Locals who might go elsewhere because of the tax are well offset by area residents who come to Ashland for dinner because it is a nice town with terrific restaurants. The numbers of tourists, greatly in excess of Ashland's own population, are the need for improved sewer treatment facilities and open spaces for which the tax is used. And the tax is not paid by the restaurant owners, only collected by them, for which they receive a small handling fee.

The lodging industry also collects taxes from visitors that are paid to the city for various reasons. Lodging establishments outside the city do not pay the tax, but there is little or no effect on lodging occupancy in town because visitors want to be in Ashland.

Taxes and/or fees for services are necessary for a town to function. They are a never-ending thing, just like repairs and maintenance to our homes. In this particular case, if the tax is not collected from visitors the fees for all residents and businesses will necessarily go up to subsidize them. We are lucky to live and do business in such a unique and lovely place that attracts so many visitors. But let's have our visitors bear the added expense of their being here rather than residents.

Tom Howard


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