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Letters to the Editor, Dec. 14

Reviewing Gillespie

A review of Jeffrey Gillespie’s review of “Mary Poppins,” in the style of Jeffrey Gillespie:

My hard-working mother took in ironing to help raise five children. She’d make the clothes of some of the wealthiest people in Bakersfield look crisp and appealing and have me deliver them in the affluent neighborhoods. Of course, the most meticulously pressed trousers might not look so appealing on an overweight tycoon with a heavy wallet destabilizing their symmetry.

It hurts me to say it, but Jeffrey Gillespie’s review of Camelot Theater’s “Mary Poppins” is as distorted as those contorted pants. It is simply deplorable.

The toothache he probably took to the theater might have slanted his perspective, for he seems to have missed most of the appealing features of the show. The inclusion of snarky opinions will likely gain sneering endorsement from those inclined to accept dyspeptic pronouncement as astute commentary.

How could anyone who sees Camelot’s "Mary Poppins" not start a review with ardent applause for Stefani Potter’s melodious and comely portrayal in the title role? She is stunning, the heart of the show, and anyone who omits that must have had a fight with his wife moments before sitting down to his keyboard.

Perhaps Gillespie thought he was going to a Ken Burns documentary screening. How else to explain his fixation on the minute complexities of the British class system, and his own Britisher-than-thou preoccupation?

He got some things right: Rigo Jiminez has distinguished himself in the song-and-dance role as Bert, the Jack-of-all-trades kindred spirit to the magical nanny, Mary Poppins. Dean Cropper and Ava Code are appealing as the mischievous but innocent Banks children. And the costumes are indeed splendid.

But how in the name of Rotten Tomatoes could he disparage the fine acting and vocal work of Kelly Jean Hammond as Winnifred Banks? Or overlook the animated Beatriz Abella igniting the stage as Mr. Banks’ malignant nanny?

Camelot Theater’s “Mary Poppins” captures the magical spirit of the story. The house was nearly full, and audiences quite enthusiastic, in the first week of the run. If Gillespie consistently sauces his half-baked commentary with brimstone and treacle instead of a spoonful of sugar, patrons of his bakery might profitably seek their bread elsewhere.

Jack Seybold


Where was respect?

Let’s talk about respect, why don’t we?

I am responding to your editorial “Speak up — respectfully.” I was left apoplectic for a few moments after reading it.

No matter what side one may be on when it comes to the hot issue that is Ashland’s Senior Center changes, one has to wonder where was the respect that Michael Black felt for these seniors when he summarily fired the experienced staff there? Nowhere to be found, apparently.

Did he respect those seniors enough to have experienced staff, knowledgeable in all things geriatric as well as social services, to seamlessly pick up where the former experienced staff left off? Hell, no.

What was he thinking? Obviously not of the well-being of the senior population who use the services on a regular basis or new seniors who may have wanted help with any of myriad situations. That was callous and unprofessional on his part.

We will never know how many folks fell through and continue to fall through the cracks because expertise in senior issues is not presently there. Does that sound respectful to you? I should hope not.

The two current staff people (one full-time, one part-time) in the senior center office work their butts off (in my humble opinion) to help meet the needs of the seniors who do ask for information and assistance. Their learning curve has been fast and steep. They are sometimes criticized for their lack of senior issues knowledge and are compared to the former experienced staff which is akin to comparing apples and oranges. Black has put them in a very awkward, stressful and unfortunate situation.

Surely Black’s leaving the seniors high and dry as he did would be grounds for his own dismissal.

Lisa Garnett


Thank you, Starbucks

Many thanks to Starbucks at 120 E. Main St. for donating three coffee travelers with almost 300 fluid ounces of freshly brewed coffee for 30 shelter guests and volunteers waking up at the Ashland Winter Shelters for the unhoused at Pioneer Hall on the morning of Monday, Dec. 11. Thank you to Jana and Nicole for preparing the order and Brittney for going the extra mile to secure the approval from the regional manager. What a wonderful gift!

Phil Johncock


This recycle business

Isn’t the “elephant in the room” the manufacturers who put their stuff in plastic?

Why can’t we get them to package in a way that helps our climate? Am I being naive, or can’t we start contacting manufacturers and places like Trader Joe’s (which seems to encase everything in plastic)? If enough people get involved we can make this happen. just saying ...

Wendy Eppinger


Rushing tax reform

There are many things that disturb me about rushing 500 pages to major tax reform through Congress.

Why are there no public hearings on such a major change in tax policy? Why are the middle class in general and especially teachers, graduate students and those in high taxing states singled out to lose key exemptions, then get hit with fewer services simply to reduce the excessive increase in the national debt? What’s another trillion dollars to our debt? After all, it won’t hurt us nearly as much as it will our children and grandkids.

Why sneak in authority to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge into the tax bill? It is one of the most pristine ecosystems left in the world. Whatever oil that may be there should stay there and not be burned and add more CO2 and heat retention to our fragile atmosphere. Global warming is a serious long-term impact of burning fossil fuels that will affect our children. We cannot wait until it is too late to switch to alternative fuels!

Thank you, Ashland, for taking a leadership role adopting the Climate and Energy Action Plan to address our shared climate concerns!

Eric Dittmer