End of life decisions; Conspiracy of silence; Affording TAP water

End of life decisions

"Up with death panels!" was an excellent article! (See Aug. 21 Lenore Skenazy commentary.) But this is exactly why people must have a legal document giving someone else the power to make decisions`as to what they wish done, in case they are unable to do so. This has been going on for 40 years. I am a retired registered nurse; I did this when I was 33. I saw a woman lay in bed for six years hooked up to tubes because she had not stated what she wanted done and could not speak, swallow or take care of her bodily functions and did not have anyone designated to do it for her. To speak with your doctor about it is also is a help, because lots can be explained to you. Having hospice when one needs it is also helpful. Hospice does not make decisions for you.

Penny Beck

Ashland

Conspiracy of silence

Professor Robert Glennon warns of dangerously shrinking water supplies (see Aug. 25 commentary "Our water supply, down the drain") and suggests possible solutions, ignoring one of the main culprits: the cattle industry. Raising animals for slaughter requires massive quantities of water, a tiny proportion of which comes back to us as food.

Cattle raising is also a major cause of greenhouse gases, according to the United Nations, but this fact was too inconvenient even for Al Gore. Ecologists seem determined to protect the sacred cow of cattle killing. One friend argued that "meat-eating, despite the environmental consequences, is a personal choice." Interestingly, President George W. Bush used this precise argument while defending the right of big corporations to voluntarily comply with environmental regulations.

Howard Resnick

Ashland

Affording TAP water

About 10 or more years ago, the people of Ashland were provided an unparalleled opportunity to "tie onto" the TAP (Talent-Ashland-Phoenix) water project to ensure a backup water source for dry years. But our City Council "leaders" with their typical short-sightedness, decided not to join in — reasons cited were that we could not afford it. Somehow we could afford a $6 million fire station (with an elevator!), a $4 million library, a dealership's worth of city vehicles (none of which is more than two years old) and a multi-hundred acre land parcel east of I-5 that has sat idle for the same years — but we could not afford water for our city!

Somehow Talent and Phoenix have found a way to afford it, and both have grown in population and in revenues. At the same time, their water costs are dramatically lower than ours on a "per cubic foot used" basis. Do our city fathers (and mothers) know how to plan and prioritize? I think not!

Tom O'Rourke

Ashland