Keep city vehicles on 5-percent biodiesel; Clean up unkempt SOU homes first; Regulate the quality of our food and water; Frustrated with the health care debate; Food safety act won’t improve food safety

Keep city vehicles on 5-percent biodiesel

Thanks to public pressure, and the Tidings' coverage, the city of Ashland received its first load of 5-percent biodiesel in June 2009. I had met with two Ashland mayors, various city officials and councilors, but had not convinced them to switch to a 2-percent biodiesel blend. I collected hundreds of signatures and provided detailed documentation of its use in similar municipalities, but only after the Tidings' article did the city switch. Although Rising Phoenix did not get the account, we were proud to have helped the transition to a biodegradable, non-toxic, fuel.

After discussion with various city officials, it appears the city of Ashland is only going to stick with 5-percent biodiesel until the new fuel standard comes into effect in the whole state. Thanks to Oregon's renewable fuel standard that was part of House Bill 3463, all diesel in Oregon will be blended with 2-percent biodiesel starting Oct. 1. City officials says they will switch from 5-percent to 2-percent at that time, which is disappointing since a 5-percent mandate will eventually be required by the state. Please contact your city officials if you believe that 5-percent domestically produced biodiesel is a better idea than 2-percent. There are two different local sources of recycled biodiesel that does not compete with food crops, and plenty of federal grants to cover any cost differential. While biodiesel is not a perfect solution to dependence on foreign oil, soon all diesel users in Oregon will be doing their part (2-percent) for energy independence.

David Tourzan

founder, Rising Phoenix Biofuels

Ashland

Clean up unkempt SOU homes first

We live on Walker Avenue, across the street from run-down, unkempt Southern Oregon University student rental homes. Why doesn't the college start by taking care of what they already have and clean up those homes and use them for faculty housing.

Come on SOU — be a good neighbor. How would you like those run-down, unkempt rentals in your neighborhood?

Gayle Vezie

Ashland

Regulate the quality of our food and water

Make health care universal and affordable! The single-payer system will work, if the government also better regulates the quality of our food, water and environs. How much of our resources goes into caring for self-inflicted ailments or those sustained by proximity to harmful levels of toxicity?

If rich corporate fatcats don't want to pay for health for everyone, it's probably because of the horrendous levels of obesity/cardiovascular issues that they have invoked upon the masses.

Shawn Adams

Ashland

Frustrated with the health care debate

Take Note



Check it out

Who fires the shots?

Whose money margins are measured?

Does the electorate take note?



Who watches the "powers that be"

scratch with inspired itch

the welts left by corporate 'squitos?

Does the electorate take note?



Who fills profit bags earned

from poverty and foreclosures?

Who watches as death collects bodies as dues

Does the electorate take note?

Who blurs the boundaries

between politics and greed?

Will new shots ever be fired — new money margins measured?

Will the electorate ever take note?



This is written out of frustrations I feel when hearing Congressional arguments on health care reform — the efforts that mainly Repubs and some scaredy cat Dems put out trying to scare "the electorate," shouting "socialism" when the words "public option" or, God forbid, "single payer" are uttered. Meanwhile they think nothing of personally benefiting from free government health care themselves and from private, for-profit health insurance companies' and pharmaceutical companies' donations to their personal and party wealth chests.

And, to top it off, the big banks think nothing of taking the electorate's money to bail themselves out of their greedy self-made trouble. Then, when they start to recover, they resume their former ways of giving themselves huge bonuses while holding back on loans and help to people in foreclosure stress.

Yes, when will the electorate get the guts to take back their rights to make this "a government of, by and for the people" before it perishes from the earth?

Charu Colorado

Ashland

Food safety act won't improve food safety

I am alarmed at HR 2749 (the "Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009") and its possible fast-tracking in the next few days. HR 2749 does not address underlying causes of food safety problems such as industrial agriculture practices and the consolidation of our food supply. The industrial food system and food imports are badly in need of effective regulation, but HR 2749 does not specifically direct regulation or resources to these areas.

What it lacks is significant, but meanwhile its potential for damage is huge, damage to the health of our farms and to the health and well-being of all of us. Local and sustainable agriculture can be the way of the future only if we realize that it cannot squeeze into large agricultural oversight programs. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has pledged to do what he can to support family dairies, and I hope his commitment extents to all small family farms. The local farms we all enjoy at our farmers markets cannot afford to participate in the programs of "safety" involved in this legislation.

HR 2749 rings a death knell for the family farm. Please oppose it!

Deborah Gordon

Ashland