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Letters to the Editor, March 19

Incomplete decision

Through all the Ashland City Council's careful listening in the past two years, they've made a very incomplete decision. They've opened the door to defining and expanding, in a good way, Airbnb-type tourist accommodations, and stepped through it, but only for R2 and R3 zones. They excepted R1 on the basis of keeping a pristine idea of "residential integrity." This idea is a sacred cow.

(1) My one-bedroom accommodation, Ruth's Quiet Retreat, and others like me in R1 did nothing to undermine the quiet nature of our streets. Quiet, non-commercial and budget consciousness were what my guests wanted. The Airbnb paradigm supports keeping that spirit of community. It supports the integrity of my home; prospective guests and I have a conversation before competing a reservation. They tell me who they are and what their travel plans are, and I get to decide whether I will accept them into my home as guests. This is a core principle: respect, safety, and mutual caring. I am handicapped and elderly; safety and respect are essential to me. Airbnb's structure affords me that

(2) It is frivolous and discriminatory to exclude R1 but open R2 and R3 to transient accommodation. The new specific definitions of transient accommodation in a home in fact do not challenge the special broader accommodations of hotels, bed-and-breakfasts and motels.

(3) I have opened my home — one bedroom — to Airbnb guests not to make a living at it, but to make ends meet. This bit of income is crucial for me. The economy crashed my small retirement. Most other Airbnb hosts, like me, need a bit of extra income to be able to continuing living in Ashland — extra, not the major income.

(4) The City Council lost track of the mutuality of community, the taking care of making sure that Ashland is a place where many kinds of people can live, be welcomed and be comfortable enough at a variety of economic levels.

Ruth Resch, Ashland

Another 'Fingersmith' view

Leah Ev Ireland’s letter published in the March 17 Tidings pulled no punches in its discussion of OSF’s production of “Fingersmith.” I’m not sure whether it was a review of the play, a review of Roberta Kent’s review, or of Bill Rauch’s direction — maybe all three.

Ireland characterizes the play as a “Gothic romance.” I’d say Dickensian. To criticize the play as having too much of that flavor is to criticize the Marx Brothers for too much slapstick.

She calls Kent’s reviews reverential. I’d say they’re respectful, emphasize the positive, and offer constructive criticism.

Moving forwards, backwards and sideways in time was not an invention of director Rauch. That aspect, as well as the language and sexuality in the play, are straight from the novel, whose author, Sarah Waters, was given a key role in developing her novel into the play.

Rauch does push the envelope. He experiments in choosing the repertoire. He does all this with various degrees of success, and challenges the audience. I like that. It’s what keeps me coming back for more.

Jim Flint, Ashland

Support new troupe

“There are moments when troubles enter our lives and we can do nothing to avoid them.

But they are there for a reason.

Only when we have overcome them will we understand why they were there.”

— Paulo Coelho

Thanks for the Memories Theatre founder, Peter Wickliffe, describes his vision for the new community theater as having “a moral sense.”

The group’s “Anastasia” had to do a last-minute venue relocation, after lovingly and painstakingly preparing a conducive black-box setting. As with many “troubles,” this one is an opportunity for us as community members who love theater to encourage this fledgling troupe.

Probably no better way than to make the effort to attend one of the last three performances of “Anastasia” at 8 p.m. Friday, March 20; 8 p.m. Saturday, March 21; or 4 p.m. Sunday, March 22. Performances are in Pioneer Hall (opposite Lithia Park) and tickets are available at Paddington Station.

Thank you, Peter and colleagues, for enduring the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune in producing and performing “Anastasia,” and for enriching our community with theater that has a moral sense. I’ll see you on Sunday!

Daniel Murphy, Ashland