Letters to the Editor, March 7
Yes on recall
The recall vote is not about a citizenship test. It is about the right Ashlanders have to express their dissatisfaction of elected officials at any time during their term.
The issue at hand is one about the quality of life that Ashlanders want in their town. Do they want respect for seniors? Respect for female employees? Respect for what the citizens want and not what bureaucrats want to shove down their throats? Do Ashlanders want representation by a cadre of people who read a 160-page document (costing $49,000) assembled by out-of-state people who don't know their town or the community spirit or the progressive mindset of its citizens? And who don't have the cognitive wherewithal to determine its validity?
Conclusion — page 156: "APRC is pretty similar to other high-service-level jurisdictions surveyed around the country."
The report compares Ashland to Bend, Palm Springs and Santa Cruz. Is this Ashland's goal: to be like them?
It is nonsense to paint a recall as un-American. America was founded on rebellion. It is the American way to stand up to tyranny and to speak out against what is not right. This is the legacy of our founding fathers. If the citizens of the original 13 colonies decided to conform to unfair ways of thinking, all of us would be speaking to a royal (then parliamentary) power with a British accent. And those folks can't even call a cookie by its right name!
I received my ballot and voted against recalling the Ashland Parks and Recreation Committee members and here’s why.
Elections require integrity and the reasons for initiating the recall don’t pass the truth test. There has been no Senior Center mismanagement of funds by public officials, their financials are subject to annual audits and all meeting notices were properly announced in advance on the city website. The March election is costing Ashland $30,000 and a waste of taxpayers’ money. With two members up for re-election in 2018, what is the rush?
The Senior Center is not closing but there is a desire to expand capacity to improve community engagement. According to the Center for Non-Violent Communication, all conflict arises from unmet needs. What we need from everyone involved is more empathy, mutual respect and gratitude. This recall is not a healthy or reasonable path forward.
1. Commissioners are all men.
2. APRC's main mission is recreation. The Senior Center's is social connections. Younger, more affluent seniors do not need the center. The vulnerable, destitute older ones do need it, and have no other options.
3. APRC has an arrogant attitude towards the democratic process. They have violated our trust. They do not care what we think, and the ad hoc committee is under the thumb of the APRC. Let me remind the, gentlemen commissioners that they are our servants, not the reverse they seek to create.
4. Fiscal irresponsibility: a. There was very limited public input before APRC spent $230,000 to over-see operations in Lithia Park for the next 100 years. It is a huge waste of money for a job we have managed well to date. b. APRC spent $49,000 on a performance audit which supported Chris Dodson, and then failed to follow its recommendations. c. APRC lost $1.7 million on then Oak Knoll Golf Course. d. I question the cost and benefit of replacing a manager with a superintendent. The budget would be almost double. Projecting to 2023, APRC will be almost $6 million in debt. A study to verify this amount is unavailable until after the election.
Here's the bottom line: APRC is building a bureaucracy that will focus on paperwork rather than direct services to seniors in need. Incorporating some of Rick Landt's ideas, I hope they will choose to restore our former Senior Center.
Vote yes on the recall.