Rights and entitlements

The “Health Care: A human right” opinion in the July 28 Tidings is based on a conceptual error.

Rights are something that a person can do without government restriction. Expressing an opinion; traveling; and possessing property that you have created, earned or purchased are rights. No one is required to do anything, such as listen to you or provide you with an airline ticket. Americans regard rights positively and defend them vigorously.

An entitlement allows one to take or possess something of value without doing any particular thing. Attending a public school would be an example.

Entitlements always involve transfer of something of value from one person to another, though perhaps indirectly. Entitlements transfer specific property and create obligations on specific people that ought to be an integral part of any discussion.

Americans are leery of entitlements, so advocates tend to cloak their desires with the more positive feelings associated with rights. Publicly supported health care is an entitlement, not a right. So go ahead and argue for it, but be honest about what you call it, what it is, and who pays for it.

John Ames


Hunters live there

For those of us that have lived here long enough, urban deer and Mayor John Stromberg are relatively recent phenomena. Before the mayor moved here, there were no urban deer. Zero.

Why? Ashland still sat next to the forest, just like it does today. If the mayor ever goes out into the woods, he will be quite surprised to find out that deer will run away from him. That is natural deer behavior.

Urban deer don't go out into the woods. It's too dangerous out there. They live their whole life cycle within the city boundaries, in unusually high and extremely unhealthy densities. It's an unnatural situation.

I suggest the mayor visit Butte Falls and Prospect some day. These towns are out in the woods and don't have an urban deer population. Why? Unlike Ashland, they still have hunters that live there.

Pete Toogood


Supporters showed up

The Friends of Cascade-Siskiyou Monument thank the Soda Mountain Wilderness Council and KS Wild for organizing efforts to show Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke the community’s continuing monument support during his recent visit. When Secretary Zinke walked the Greensprings Loop, he met many unscheduled monument users, including artists, birders, equestrians and family hikers.

Most notably, an estimated 300 local residents showed support Sunday afternoon outside the Medford BLM office while Secretary Zinke held meetings inside. It was unfortunate that monument supporters, especially Oregon’s Gov. Kate Brown, were afforded so little time with the secretary relative to the time he spent with Congressman Greg Walden and other monument opponents. Even so it was evident on that hot afternoon, in a parking lot no less, that our monument has abundant public support. The Friends wish to thank all those who have worked to share your voice in support of biodiversity throughout this process.

Shannon Browne, community partnerships director, Friends of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument