Letters to the Editor, March 13
Asleep at the switch
As a citizen of Ashland, I admit I’ve been asleep at the switch. I was rudely awakened, However, by the recently reported budget “error” of $13 million for the 2021-2023 budget and the hiring of four police officers with no idea as to where the funds will come from to pay for them.
In looking further into Ashland finances, I discovered the following:
Budget increases of almost 20 percent since the 2015 budget and over 70 percent since 2010, while the population of Ashland has only increased by 7 percent since 2010.A 2017-2019 budget that is only 11 percent less than Medford’s yet they have almost four times our population. It equates to over $6600 per person in Ashland.Water and sewer fees have more than doubled since 2008, up a staggering 130 percent, our electric bills up over 42 percent. Base fees, usage fees and surcharges on utility bills applied to justify increased spending are now a minimum of $86 per month. This means if you live in a mansion or studio apartment, you pay at least $86 before you use a drop of water or kilowatt of electricity. The number of Ashland employees (excluding Parks) is at an all-time high, at least 55 percent of whom earn total compensation over $100,000 per year
Fellow Ashlanders, these trends are unsustainable. Please join me in demanding a return to budget integrity, economic sustainability and in electing more fiscally responsible city leaders, councilors and officials in upcoming elections. Let’s wake up Ashland! Our city’s viability is at stake.
A state senator for all
I agree with the column, “Fool us twice, shame on us,” on Alan DeBoer and his hand-picked successor for State Senate.
We have to get away from this assumption that wealthy business people chosen by the Medford Chamber of Commerce make good representatives for the rest of us in the Legislature.
The biggest corporations and richest individuals have a special interest. They want special subsidies and tax loopholes. They don’t want requirements about how they treat workers, women, tenants or the environment.
That’s why national lobbies like the drug, insurance and fossil fuel industries helped pour $670,000 into DeBoer’s campaign, and no doubt will do the same or more for Jessica Gomez, his legislative assistant he has chosen to replace him.
Gomez may be a nice person. But the only way to end up with a state senator representing working households, seniors, veterans, and students is to elect one.