Letters to the Editor

Wyden has joined attack on Medicare

From his first term as Oregon senator, I have considered Ron Wyden one of the best in the entire Senate. I especially appreciated his holding open a public option for the health care reform act, even though it was ultimately left out of the legislation. He seemed to know at that time what the country needed, and he was one of our best champions.

And now he sides with Rep. Paul Ryan, whose aim is to eliminate Medicare as we know it, one of the foremost dreams of the Republican Party for 30-plus years. All studies I have reviewed show this to be a method of getting the elderly to pay more for their health care. Plus it gives another enormous boost to the insurance companies. Yeah, to the 1 percent.

I don't think the problem is with Medicare. The problem is the rising cost curve of our health care funding mechanism, driven by the for-profit insurance companies, with their independently required administrative costs, in addition to their need for maximizing profits. Either getting the insurance companies out of health care or making them nonprofit are two sensible approaches to the long-term reigning in of health care costs.

His new stance, taking Ryan as a partner, suggests that he has been rolled. Wyden's actions have dramatically tipped the scales toward the Republicans and their continuing attack on Medicare. I don't think his explanations will be able to expel the overriding conclusion that he has betrayed his state and his country. If he cannot reverse the damage he has inflicted on all seniors, now and to come, he should make room for somebody who will represent the best interests of Oregon and the entire USA, and go quietly into retirement.

Jerry Nutter


Looking down on the little people

A man becomes successful. People around him treat him with deference, and he comes to see himself as bigger and entitled to more than the "little" people. He builds a monument to himself, a home many times larger than those of the little people, high on a hill where he can look down on them. He builds it right next to a community resource where they gather. The resource displeases him, even though it came first.

Cattle barons hired thugs to wipe out the little people who got in their way. Settlers had the cavalry to relocate the natives and kill those who resisted. They claimed motives of resource stewardship and progress, but they took what they wanted simply because they could.

The man in the big house? He cloaks his hubris in similar terms and hires lawyers to rid himself of the little people and their resource. Any schoolyard urchin can tell you how the tale turns out. The bully usually gets his way.

He still loses, though. At the end of the day, he'll still be a bully and in the eyes of much of the community, little else.

Thomas Stinson


Ecosystem needs wolves for balance

It is exciting to have a wolf in our area. This guy needs to be protected and encouraged to settle in a wilderness area.

Our ecosystem is grossly out of balance without superior predators such as wolves. All nature has a tenuous hold on sustainability without the full complement of inhabitants necessary for the good of the entire system, from lowliest gnat to magnificent predator.

Studies have shown that riparian habitat and encouragement of new forest depend upon predators to keep grazing herds out of delicate new growth. We are all connected!

Thanks for reporting on our own Oregon wolf, and let's keep him safe and welcome to our wildnerness areas. Can you imagine how wonderful it will be to hear wolves howling in the distant forests?

Rose Highland


Shower 'problems' are hypothetical

I was upset upon reading about Mr. Lemhouse's views rejecting the proposed provision of additional showers at The Grove for the homeless, and particularly his concern that people may come intoxicated or with mental health problems.

The problems certainly exist as they do in our general population, and are cause for concern. But in reality we will have to deal with such problems whether they occur at a place for showering or in the streets of our city or any other public place.

Why does Mr. Lemhouse choose to focus intently on hypothetical problems of intoxication or mental health instead of the simple matter of offering showers as a positive solution to those who will appreciate and use this opportunity gratefully? If someone is intoxicated or exhibiting a mental health problem, an intervention is needed and, as a community, we have to take responsibility regardless of where this may occur. In fact, it is my understanding that the people volunteering to run the shower program will be well-trained, and in this our city of Ashland should take great pride and comfort.

I know my views are shared by many and hope this matter will be reviewed and that our community can move forward with integrity and compassion.

Barbara Goldfarb-Seles


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