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July 26, 2006 Save Ashland’s clean water I am writing regarding the destruction of the headwaters of Ashland Creek which is slated to commence this Fall on Mt. Ashland. Ashland has one of the cleanest water sources, which many global

Save Ashland’s clean water

I am writing regarding the destruction of the headwaters of Ashland Creek which is slated to commence this Fall on Mt. Ashland.

Ashland has one of the cleanest water sources, which many global resource experts agree, is a natural resource that will become more precious than gold in the decades to come.

When I learned that plans were underway to log the Middle Branch area of Mt. Ashland to make way for more skiing, I was alarmed. The roots, trunks and leaf mulch of these old-growth trees act as a natural filtration and channeling system for the water flowing into Ashland Creek — Ashland’s clean water source.

Several local environmental organizations are currently battling the U.S. Forest Service on this issue and a court decision is expected on August 7, which may pave the way for logging to begin.

I strongly urge the people of Ashland to take pause. Do we really want to destroy an ecosystem that sustains us to merely provide a few more ski runs? There were apparently several other ski expansion alternatives presented that didn’t destroy the Middle Branch.

Lets think about our future and our children. It is very late in the game, but if enough people spoke up and the City Council and Mayor act quickly in the best interest of the community as a whole, we could still end up with a solution that will please skiers while preserving our clean water source — a source of life.

Jeni L. Ambrose

Call for change

in streets

From reading Robert Plain’s article on our streets vis-a-vis firesafety I get the impression that the ball was dropped and has not been recovered. Streets way too narrow seems to be the most egregious shortcoming mentioned. The fire-equipment-turnarounds problem could be addressed fairly easily, seems to me. New water mains are another matter altogether expensive, intrusive, disruptive. But the means to fight fire with water must exist.

I wonder if the situation could at least be made better by replacingthe fire equipment itself. I’m thinking there must be equipmentavailable that would serve well on narrow streets. I’m thinking Japan, Europe: old, small streets, densely built up. Seems there must be equipment made to meet needs that are nowise unique to Ashland. Could Chief Woodley brainstorm with, or advise, the Council on these matters?

Maybe the city would need to buy a couple more pieces of equipment to compensate for the trucks being of a smaller size, but maybe not. Maybe developers who built streets narrower than the approved plans called for could be required to pay for part of the bills.

I say that we all need to think seriously about a big fire happening, and how terrible it would be to suffer that damage because the fire trucks couldn’t operate well, or at all, because the streets were too narrow, the turnarounds were used for parking, there wasn’t enough water available, etc. I have a video tape that includes many, many long minutes of footage shot from a fixed news camera showing house after house after house explode into flames and go up in smoke: Oakland Fire, early 90s. That kind of thing does happen.

I vote that we, as a group, make it a priority to rectify a situation that seems completely untenable. We could lose a neighborhood in one afternoon.

Jim Chadwick

Response

to attempted ban on handguns

Regarding the letter written by James A. Farmer about the San Francisco ordinance to ban handguns, which was overturned by a Superior Court judge, I question his choice of words. He stated that had this socialist ordinance become law, “all San Francisco residents would have been politically targeted, jailed without due process for a minimum of 90 days and up to six months in the local Gulag, if caught in possession of a handgun.” He goes on to say that owning a handgun is morally sound.

I happen to be a socialist or progressive (a more politically correct word for some people) who knows a number of people in the bay area, family and friends, none of whom carry or own a handgun. It is a matter of morals for me, and I would guess most of those who deem it unwise and unnecessary, to carry a handgun.

Two years ago, I visited Slovenia, a small eastern European country which bans handguns: homicide rate, 0. Last year, I was in Thailand and Vietnam. Both countries ban handguns for everyone, law enforcement included. Crime in both countries is negligible. We live in a country with the highest crime rate of any in the world.

I wonder what would happen if we opened our arms, our hearts, our minds to listening to, trying to understand, and perhaps, learning to respect and love others. Imagine!

Mary Ellen Hallard

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