Bates worthy of Senate seat

I am writing as administrator of a residential treatment program to express my support for Alan Bates in the race for State Senator. During years in the field, I have become increasingly aware that even the most motivated clients have difficulty achieving stability for themselves and their families without the help of a network of human services. During his years as representative, Doctor Bates has proven that he also understands the importance of our services, without which many of our neighbors could not meet their most basic needs. I feel he would agree that these resources should be available as temporary steps toward self-sufficiency, available when necessary and administered responsibly so as not to be wasted. I encourage the voters of our district to support Alan Bates so that we may all continue to benefit from his experienced and balanced efforts.

Chris Mason

Better solutions to combat hunger exist

I was pleased to see the article in Parade on Childhood hunger. Hunger is an urgent issue we must all support resolving. However, I was disheartened by the solutions offered. Just raising money to buy food is only going to help on the short-term. An astounding 70 percent of the U.S. Grain harvest and 80 percent of its corn harvest is fed to farmed animals instead of directly to people. More than half the water used in the U.S. goes to raising animals for food. A plant-based diet can feed 20 times more people than a meat-based diet. It is obvious that a shortage of money is not the problem. The true obstacle is the affluence of our society and its addiction to slaughtered animals. Stop by the Southern Oregon Animal Rights Society’s booth at North Mountain Park in Ashland on April 24 to learn more about ending world hunger.

Amy Miller Bunk

Recent debate is typical Ashland

Controversy, it seems, is vintage Ashland.

Tempers flared more than 90 years ago over building City Hall on the Plaza. Merchants said no business located east of Pioneer Street would survive, and they wanted the Plaza space available for more commercial sites.

The fight over the development of Lithia Park raged for more than eight years. Should the old flouring mill, the historic building on the Plaza, be saved as a reminder of Ashland’s heritage, or should it be torn down to create an entrance to a city park? Should the land behind the mill and up Ashland Creek Canyon be developed as a commercial mineral water spa, or as a public park?

Construction of the Carnegie Library sparked controversy. The location was debated as was the highly emotional issue of applying for Carnegie money. Did the citizenship really want to “perpetuate the steel magnate’s name” by accepting this money?

In more recent years, Ashland has seen controversy over such things as annexation, fluoridation and declaring the city a nuclear free zone, over trees, parking meters, drive up windows, bicycle paths, sign codes, double-decker bus tours, military jet fly-overs, LIDs and the practice of the occult arts.

The list goes on and on and on, and my guess is that as long as there is an Ashland, and as long as people care, there will be controversy. It’s a great place to live, isn’t it?

Marjorie O’Harra

At issue: Israel’s right to exist

RE: Gene Robbins‚ letter of April 7:

The “core issue of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict” is not, I repeat not “Israel trying to steal the West Bank and Gaza…” The main issue is Palestinian/ Arab reluctance/refusal to accept Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state despite Israel being a member of the United Nations for 56 years.

On April 6, Arafat invited Hamas (a terrorist group even to the EU) to be part of the Palestinian decision-making structure. This is terrible if Arafat really wants peace with Israel. Hamas is unwavering in its stated goal to eliminate the Zionist presence in all of Palestine. Israel’s leaving the West Bank and Gaza will not meet this most basic demand or bring peace to the region.

The burden is and should remain on Palestinians to get their own house in order. (It may require a civil war and we can pray for those who pray for peace with Israel.) Until they do, they are incapable of being a peaceful neighbor.

Gerry Mandell

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