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Letters to the Editor, March 8

Proactive vs. reactive

What does a supportive senior program look like?

It provides a comprehensive strategy for preventing or delaying the need for assistance by offering opportunities for physical activity, social connections and information. It involves advocacy — with municipalities, particularly with housing and transportation; with health care providers to ensure followup care can be implemented; with legislators who allocate funding for senior supports.

It creates a welcoming center that fosters connections to help avoid social isolation and, since space limitations may exist, seeks other avenues for providing these connections. It trains “gatekeepers” — police, paramedics, bank tellers, etc. — to identify signs of financial stress, abuse or neglect and to know when and how to report them. It works collaboratively with agencies serving seniors and encourages community volunteerism.

This is a proactive approach to addressing the trends that threaten quality of life for aging adults. It is an approach that assists both seniors and their loved ones seeking knowledge about the maze of aging services. It is an approach supported by all Ashland Parks and Recreation commissioners. 

What does the Support Our Seniors group offer in contrast? A reactive solution — restoring the former Ashland Senior Center staff. Whatever their individual merits, they served a relatively small portion of the 11,750 Ashland residents aged 50-plus. The program has functioned continuously in their absence, and it is now time to move ahead with a broader vision. Vote no on the recall of three of the five commissioners who supported restructuring the Ashland Senior Program.

Anne Bellegia, volunteer member of the Ad Hoc Senior Program Advisory Committee


No on recall

Jim Lewis has volunteered on city of Ashland committees for 30 years, giving up over 400 evenings or afternoons to serve our community. I know that he studies the issues, listens to everybody’s concerns, and only then makes the sometimes difficult decisions that need to be made. He is guided not by his personal agenda, but what is best for our parks and its programs.

I was approached by recall signature collectors who told me untruths and made misleading statements. I took the time to read what they wanted me to sign, and then questioned them about the five claims on their petition. They clearly did not know the facts and were befuddled when I challenged them on their open meetings law and budget mismanagement claims.

It’s outrageous that this whole thing is costing Ashland taxpayers about $30,000.

Please join me in voting no, no and no.

Marc Valens