Letters to the Editor, Feb. 28
A mark of shame
All politicians that fail to act now should be branded with their NRA rating. By protecting the sale of assault rifles, the NRA is placing gun rights above children’s lives. This is not the intent of the Second Amendment, be honest about gun laws. I believe in your right to own a gun, just not a weapon designed to kill people.
We must take action locally. I invite all rational gun owners to join us and encourage you to write your mayor, city councilor and county commissioner and demand legislation today. There are many actions we can do now; let’s work together, be creative, have a discussion, then take action. Some ideas include a ban on the sale of assault rifles in our community, ban the presence of any weapon with 5,000 feet of a school, seek a mental health referral for someone who expresses a desire to harm, fund a school program that creates social inclusion, or cancel your NRA membership.
Please consider the following:
- Three of the 11 biggest mass shootings have occurred in just the past five months.
- The 1994 assault weapons ban was allowed to expire.
- Politicians need to lose elections for their lack of support for gun control.
Silence is no longer acceptable. Our message should be, “If you take money from the NRA, vote against an assault weapons ban, background checks, and mental health intervention, you are complicit to murder.” Your NRA "A" rating is a mark of shame.
Planning for Lithia Park
Part of the recall against three APR commissioners is an accusation that the APRC has wasted $230,000 of taxpayer’s money by hiring a consultant firm in Portland (MIG) to complete a master plan for Lithia Park.
Assuming a plan of the scope proposed can be done in-house is misunderstanding what is at stake. While the Parks Department does a great job, they are mostly maintenance-oriented and, with all due respect for what they do, they lack the skills required to undertake such a massive task.
If you read the almost 30-page proposal from MIG, or talk with them, you will discover that the team they have assembled includes; civil engineers, structural engineers, water source specialists, fishery biologists, forestry management experts, landscape architects, historic landscape specialists and recreation planners, to name a few. Also, where and when possible, MIG has committed to hiring local talent. Maintaining Lithia Park is one thing. Planning to sustain the gem that is Lithia Park for the next century, well, that is something different.
Course correction needed
Ashlanders who trusted the city to compile an accurate budget were accused of falsehoods that the city now admits were theirs! They say there were "major errors" needing correction because we are using them in a recall effort.
An accurate budget is a city's prime responsibility. We thought we had one; now they state we do not! Ashlanders, especially those accused, deserve a giant apology.
All should be alarmed to see an almost $6 million projected deficiency in a few years. That comes out of our pockets! This is why even local government needs close watchdogging! It also brings up troubling questions about ensuring the citizen members of the Citizens Budget Committee can fully function. This unique feature Oregonians have deserves unassailable protection.
In hundreds of hours of research, Support Our Seniors found many examples of poor spending and officials claiming they wanted to save while planning to spend millions more. Gutting the Senior Center programs, which many believe was a way to build the multi0million dollar pool, was the tip of the iceberg. Vote yes on the recall to begin our course correction. We want public servants who represent us, not attempt to pull the wool over our eyes!
What was the Senior Program like before it was dismantled by the Ashland Parks and Recreation Commission? To get a sense of this, go to: https://youtu.be/6LW5p2WuScQ.
In this video, former Senior Program director Christine Dodson is interviewed and praised by Ashland Mayor Stromberg and Councilor Stefani Seffinger. Of the Senior Center, Seffinger says, “I wish more of our City Council and commissioners and different people would come because I think that they would be totally amazed and thrilled about all of the things going on there.”
We had a vibrant and functioning Senior Program before the APRC voted to gut it, with no reasonable rationale and over strenuous public opposition. Since the Senior Program provided not only recreation but vital social services, the APRC’s decision was a blatant disregard of public welfare.
It would be nice to imagine that the commission and director Michael Black, with the help of the ad hoc committee, could create a better Senior Program then we had before. However, this seems wishful thinking. They burned the house down and now they’re asking for help to rebuild it. They’re not to be trusted or taken seriously. If we want to see the Senior Program restored, a recall of Commissioners Gardiner, Lewis and Landt is an appropriate way to go about it.
Commissioners are outstanding
I’m urging my friends, neighbors and fellow citizens to vote no on the upcoming special election.
I’ve known Mike Gardiner, Rick Landt and Jim Lewis for over 26 years and strongly contend these individuals are by far some of the most upstanding and dedicated citizens Ashland has ever had. Ashland would not be the same if it were not for these individuals.
Jim was one of the original founders of the Historic Commission, Rick was one of the original members of the Tree Commission and Mike Gardiner was on the Ashland Planning Commission who, as the chair, presided over numerous controversial proposals. They are now dedicated volunteers for the Parks and Recreation Commission and advocate for improved parks and recreational activities, including supporting our senior community. The unanimous vote by the entire Parks and Recreation Commission to restructure and enhance the Senior Program is an example of that commitment!
Vote no on recall
The call for recall of Ashland Parks Commissioners is tragic. Unhappy with a single decision, the restructuring at the Senior Center, recall supporters manufactured other problems at Parks and Recreation in an attempt to create a case for recall.
When facts are forwarded countering the accusations — for example, the Ashland City Recorder publicly stating that the claim of breaking public meeting law is without evidence — these naysayers turn their attack on the credibility of the impeccable sources. This uncivil approach does harm to our community and to the reputations of commissioners who have successfully guided Ashland Parks and Recreation.
Recall is meant to be a means for quickly removing public officials whose actions of malfeasance threaten the common good and are so egregious that voters can't wait for regular elections where disagreements about decisions and policies should be settled. Please join me in voting no on the recall.