Time for action on Donít Ask, Donít Tell; No financial benefit for locals from tax; Nobel Prize dissenters, get off Obamaís back

Time for action on Don't Ask, Don't Tell

Thank you for reporting on Air Force Colonel Om Prakash's thesis that it is time to end the ban on military gays serving honestly (see Oct. 9 commentary "Writing an end to the policy of 'Don't ask, don't tell'?"). We in the Rogue Valley need to act on both the local and national scene.

House Resolution HR1283, the Military Readiness Enhancement Act, would repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Patrick Murphy (D-Penn.), an Iraq and Afghanistan war veteran, and Vice Admiral Joe Sestak (D-Penn.), the senior military veteran in Congress, are leading the fight for this legislative change. The bill has 179 co-sponsors, including three of Oregon's five congresspersons. We need 218 votes.

Our congressional district's representative Greg Walden has not signed on to this important bill. His primary reasons appear to be: 1) The majority of the Republican caucus has yet to sign on; 2) Representative Walden has not heard from enough of his constituents to move him from apathy to actio; and 3) Walden remains uncomfortable with the subject matter.

The strategy to change the Don't Ask, Don't Tell law and policy is two-pronged: Move forward with legislative change (e.g. HR1283) and prepare to implement change in military policy, which is the Pentagon's responsibility.

I ask that you contact both Representative Walden and President Obama and urge them to act today, not after the mid-term elections in 2010. All Americans must help stop this shameful form of oppression and now is the time.

Beth F. Coye

commander, U.S. Navy (retired)


No financial benefit for locals from meals tax

I take exception to Richard Katz's comments in the article on the meals tax (see Oct. 6 "Delis do their part"). He said it seems to be in the financial self-interest of residents to renew the tax to keep their sewer bills down.

First of all, locals currently pay $1.3 million a year in sales taxes on food. It's estimated that the average household pays $9 a month in sales taxes. That's almost exactly how much the city says it will raise sewer rates. So on average, the meals tax provides no financial benefit to the average household.

Secondly, there are some people who never eat out, and maybe they will vote out of self-interest. I would be willing to bet, however, that many of them are supportive of the community at large. Most people in town don't have kids in school, yet we continually vote for the Youth Activities Levy. Likewise, most people never visit the library, but we vote to support it.

Ashland residents consistently vote for the common good rather than the self-interests of their pocketbooks. We lose anywhere from $15 million to $30 million a year in revenue from people in the surrounding region who refuse to visit a city with a sales tax, and that money could be used to support working families in Ashland.

Christine Saetta


Nobel Prize dissenters, get off Obama's back

My distress at the reactions to Obama receiving the Nobel Peace Prize: "Get off Obama's back." He inherited two wars and the worst economic collapse in 70 years, dumped in his lap by defunct and greedy Republican administrations, and then he's expected to fix it all in nine months.

We have an intelligent, well-intentioned honorable man for president who has started action on a ban of nuclear weapons and set a precedent for encouraging nations to talk and negotiate for peace rather than go to war. A man who is determined to see that millions of Americans without health insurance will have it.

And what does he get? A Republican party out to destroy him, Democrats whose pockets get in the way of supporting him and an American public who whines and scratches their heads and complains that he hasn't done anything. Well, ask Congress, the media, the corporations, Republicans and the religious extremists. And ourselves. Get out and help Obama do what he can only do if we join him.

Kathleen Meagher