A 'modest proposal'

Thanks for running The Associated Press story, "Smith nets $1 million in — months." If we're going to judge candidates by how much money they raise, on the ground that money buys TV ads and thus votes, why not eliminate the expense and fuss of actually voting and just decide office-holding on the strength of who can raise the most money? Once the money is donated, it could be used to build and staff schools and hospitals. Just my modest proposal.

Shoshanah Dubiner




City Hall flag should fly half-staff

We expect the flag at Ashland City Hall to hang at half-staff due to the death of representation of the people by certain members of our elected City Council. The underhanded actions of the "Secretive Three" concerning the Mount Ashland expansion at the closed-door City Council meeting on July 18 made us cringe. Karl Rove would have been proud.

Diane and Richard Werich




There is an 'underlying lesson'

Almost daily during the days of the "Fair," we read front-page stories of how young people raise and care for their animals in order to display them before selling them off; they say they learn from the experience, they learn responsibility and how to say goodbye to the animal under their care. But the underlying lesson is that you learn to create trust and a bond with a sentient creature; then sell it off to a horrible fate in the Dante's hell of a slaughterhouse. We teach our children to betray a trust for a few bucks. The experience desensitizes the mind and blunts the emotions, creating a person well suited for a society that exploits other people and all of nature.

Great lesson.

Ragan Cavanaugh




Demands for an open forum

I don't know about others, but my frustration at being one of the increasingly disproportionate number of U.S. citizens who are automatically excluded from any of President Bush's public-speaking engagements has reached the boiling-over point.

Supporters and nonsupporters, we're all in this together and should be accorded the same standing. I do admit that the president can hold exclusive, private gatherings, but when it comes to addressing issues confronting the entire nation, the tent should be large enough to accommodate anyone.

Although I can certainly understand why he wants to reduce his exposure to the public, but our democracy demands that it be an open forum. So, it's time for President Bush to step out from behind his cowardice to address the real world and our place in it with every U.S. citizen.

Dee Decker




'The ghost is out'

The Ashland Daily Tidings provided a service to the community by providing us with the Michael Hayes June 26 editorial, "How good is an Ashland High education?" Now that the ghost is out of the closet, are we going to do anything about it?

This critical question, along with the backup provided by Hayes, confronts our activist community squarely between the eyes. His contention warrants further analysis and possible recommendations.

Our excellent volunteer school board is already overloaded with urgent daily items (which some argue the board should not be dealing with), yet this particular item requires an in-depth study. Why are our students failing to gain proportionate entry into top-level universities? If the contention is valid, it is in all of our interests (parents, students and retirees concerned both about home and human values) to seek possible long-term solutions.

Our community has two terrific resources that might work together to provide such a study.

1. Southern Oregon University's education department.

2. Dedicated retired educators living in Ashland.

At little to no cost, our school board could organize and oversee an ad hoc committee of "local experts" who volunteer a detailed analysis of the problem and possible solutions.

It is clear we have a dedicated board, and if it perceives that this is a

widespread concern, it will be addressed. You simply must let your representatives know of your feelings; it is then the board's job to search for the answers.

Gary Acheatel