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Letters to the Editor, March 6

Facts matter

Patrick Moynihan is famously quoted as saying, “Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but they are not entitled to their own facts.” I would suggest that Earl Haveman’s recent letter contains opinions masquerading as statements of fact.

Mr. Haveman writes, “they (APRC) formed the ad hoc committee to come up with solutions that they agreed with, or solutions would not be accepted ...” This is the exact opposite of what happened. The committee has done extensive work to bring national standards and best practices for senior service programs to the attention of the APRC, and the commissioners have listened. Their forte is parks and recreation; they know that, and have welcomed input from the ad hoc committee.

Mr. Haveman then asserts that the APRC has agreed to “find 2.75 full time inexperienced people ...” In fact, the APRC is now seeking a highly qualified leader who understands what a first-rate senior program should look like.

Finally, Mr. Haveman suggests that the “budget (will) increase costs (to) Ashland taxpayers $117,374 more annually for a lesser quality of management.” Two errors here: 1) there is no budget increase; funding will be reallocated within the Parks and Recreation organization with no additional cost to taxpayers; and 2) the quality of management will be improved by adding someone with the vision to extend services to formally underserved seniors.

Our APRC commissioners are now on the right track. Vote no on the recalls.

Jim Bachman

Co-founder, United Seniors of Ashland

My yes vote

My experiences in administrative and facilitative work have alerted me to the inherent dangers of administrative overreach. Whether done out of ignorance or purposefully, such instances need addressing.

The Parks commissioners facing recall created and approved a reorganization plan for Ashland’s Senior Program. As a result, the Senior Center lost its ability to provide the array of life-supporting aid it had been known for, and Ashland’s seniors lost a vital resource.

Mayor Stromberg has asserted this was done under Parks and Recreation’s “managerial control,” but was it? The City Charter creates the Parks and Recreation Department and specifies the commission’s duties. Resolution 2007-14, an updating resolution still in effect, gave the department responsibility “for the facilitation of all the senior programs and activities for the city” with authority to create an advisory committee if necessary. (No mention made of the commission.)

Facilitation is not management. Even if mission creep led the commissioners to develop the reorganization plan, managing instead of facilitating, program management’s first principle — like medicine’s Do No Harm — requires that managers never make decisions that could impede the program’s ability to reach its goals.

The commissioners, apparently ignoring all this, stepped outside their area of expertise and into that of social services. Absent authority, they mismanaged the Senior Center and after months of effort, taxpayer money, and turmoil, the impending result is an unwieldy administrative scheme involving an elaborate Senior Program that Ashland seniors never asked for nor can the budget-stressed city afford.

The commissioners’ actions have hurt people. My yes vote on the recall is based on my belief that elected officials must follow ethical and lawful rules and regulations. It is a vote hoping to restore Ashland’s reputation as a city concerned with the well-being of its citizens.

Alice Finley


Vote yes

Being truthful was instilled in me at an early age. I expected that same value to be expressed by leaders of our community. Unfortunately, that was an idealistic concept not displayed by some of those holding leadership positions in Ashland.

Therefore, a recall of the three Parks and Recreation Commissioners Gardiner, Lewis and Landt is certainly justified. They need to be truthful when making decisions that will affect the citizens of this city. To name just a few examples:

The budget. Not questioning an incorrect projection of a $5 million error was unconscionable.

Personnel management. Describing the Senior Center Director as one who "was performing below satisfactory levels and resistant to change." Is there proof of that statement in any documentation somewhere? If not, then this was totally false.

In fact, the interview dated April 24, 2013, between Mayor John Stromberg and Chris Dodson reflects strong support of her leadership skills.

Justification. Past accomplishments on cards distributed to the public aren't truthful reasons for decisions that have prompted the recall. And merely stating they voted this way because it was best for the community does not provide honest reasoning.

The truth can be found at www.ashlandrecall.com. Vote yes on the recall.

Mary Bertrand


Presidential bashing

So, for dignified Americans who respect our two-party political system and don’t want a one-party dictatorship, it’s apparently not appropriate to criticize this POTUS.

It was certainly fine for the anti-Obama brainiacs to promote phony birth certificates, the fear-mongering death panels, and also for Republican politicians, while "not being racist, to openly say they would block everything Obama would propose. And, of course let’s ignore the fact that it was the Obama administration that saved our economy after Bush’s trickle-down disaster and now, naturally, little boy Trump wants to take the credit. When he’s done will America also file Chapter 11?

It’s interesting to note the blind forgiveness those on the right give Republican personalities like Joseph McCarty, whose character policies were reminiscent of the Third Reich, the colorful George Wallace with his compassionate view of certain human beings, the stoic Oliver North who helped promote terrorism by trading guns for hostages and lied about it to Congress, and of course the moral spewings of the ever-popular Newt Gingrich, who was obsessed with Bill Clinton’s privates while cheating on his wife and leading us all from temptation.

Steve Sutfin


Help prevent horse slaughter

Sadly, while 80 percent of Americans oppose slaughtering horses for human consumption, Congress still has not passed the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act to ban the domestic and foreign slaughter of our beloved American horses.

The slaughter of horses is inherently inhumane. As former pets, show animals, ranch workers, and athletes, most American horses have been socialized to trust and depend on people, and because they endure terrible mistreatment at the hands of predatory kill buyers, the process of transporting and slaughtering them is unacceptably cruel. Just as we don’t slaughter our cats and dogs, we shouldn’t be sending our horses to be slaughtered to satisfy foreign appetites.

American horses are not safe for human consumption, because we give our horses a long list of substances and medications that are toxic when consumed by humans. Exporting this poisonous food product jeopardizes the reputation and integrity of all American food exports.

Rep. Greg Walden has yet to sponsor the SAFE Act, but it's not too late. Please join me in urging him to sponsor the SAFE Act, HR 113. Contact him at 541-776-4646 and ask him to be a leader in ending the slaughter of our American equine companions.

Lin Bernhardt


Leave yard signs

As a friendly reminder, it is illegal to remove or destroy political yards signs on personal property.

Among other things, you are trespassing when you do so. It reflects poorly on your character and undermines your own political message.

When you tamper with a yard sign on personal property you are attempting to silence peaceful political discourse, and that is never justifiable, regardless of the perceived merit of your cause.

Nikki Hart-Brinkley