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More Letters To The Editor

I'm running for city council, Position 4, because I believe my skills can enhance the way council works.

I'm a retired management and organizational consultant with 27 years of experience and a PhD in business administration. I've worked in banking, telecommunications and public power and with non-profits, local government and community-based organizations.

My wife, Jane, and I have been married for 36 years and have two grown daughters and one grandson. We've lived in Oregon for 20 years, 14 in Eugene and six in Ashland.

I became involved in politics through Jack Hardesty, was appointed to the planning commission in Spring of 2005 and worked on the downtown plan committee and as an advocate for Mike Bianca and community policing.

Here's where I stand on some important issues:

It is critical to bring city spending and borrowing under control. There are 25 fee and service charge increases planned over the next five years plus we need funding sources for $45 million in AFN and wastewater debt.

Sustainability's time has come, before we're forced into it by some crisis. I want to make city government a model of sustainability.

The proposed downtown plan provides significant economic development for Regon Shakespeare Festival and the businesses that depend on it. We also need to develop a complementary economic sector in order to diversify. I propose we make Ashland a center for sustainable and green research and business start ups, for example an 'incubator' and Southern Oregon University satellite campus on the Railroad Property, with integrated workforce housing and a light rail station.

Affordable housing requires a range of solutions: controlling city spending; seeking out State and Federal support using our own Housing Authority if necessary; entities that own land (school district, SOU, the city) may provide below-market housing; annexations can incorporate workforce housing; economic development brings higher paying jobs; new housing types can be accommodated in the comp plan and zoning; "intelligent" urban design creates better housing using less land; and Ashland can lobby the state to balance buildable lands inventory with carrying capacity.

I support the PERF Report recommendations for community policing and want a strong chain of command with a chief who elicits respect from all segments of the community.

I will use my skills and experience to foster collaboration on the council and promote fairness, competence and inclusiveness in city government.

John Stromberg

A word from Randy Dolinger

Could we, please, question the assumption that Oregon Shakespeare Festival is the economic engine of Ashland?

I believe that we are the true economic engine of Ashland, we, the wonderfully creative people who make this town what it is. There are more small business ventures driving this town, per capita, than anywhere else in America. This is the force that offers us our future.

This is the energy that holds this community together &

not OSF. Sure, Shakespeare brings lots of money to Ashland. But where, really, does this money go? To the downtown businesses whose rent continues to skyrocket? To the hotel and motel and bed-and-breakfast owners and their minimally compensated staff? Who, really, thrives under this assumption?

We are the hat makers, and shoemakers, clothes makers and bookmakers. We are the innovative high-tech computer specialists. We are the new-paradigm builders, the award winning straw-jet designers, the cob and straw-bale and recycled-material construction visionaries. We are the microbreweries, and small publishing houses. We are the plethora of artists, painters and sculptors and pot makers and dancers and acrobats and musicians and writers and small theatres. The bakers and cafe owners. We are Eco Teas, and Heartsong Chi. Chocolate makers and organic farmers.

We are already a beautiful example and model of America at its best. This is no small thing but a tremendous big thing that Ashland needs to consider, and consider well, before any of the decisions our future council will be called upon to make.

I am not in any way anti-Shakespeare or anti-tourist: Just the opposite. But I am virulently against the assumptions and limited understandings which seek to claim this wonderful town.

Do I leave out a few hundred local businesses when I make my list, and case? And the ones that continue to locate here? A guy can only say so much at one time.

Randy Dolinger

Support for school bond

It's the start of another school year and we're reminded how important it is that children in our community have quality schools, quality teachers, and the books and equipment needed to learn in the 21st century. We often take for granted that there will somehow always be safe and adequate school buildings to house our students and educators, but that may not be the case in the future. Except for Ashland Middle School, our campuses here are in great need of safety upgrades, electrical and plumbing replacement, and adequate learning spaces for future generations. As a community, we must support the upgrade of our school buildings so that our kids will have the learning environment they need and deserve. We urge you to support the upcoming school bond levy. This is one of the best investments we can all make.

Ben and Linda Bellinson

Support for Measures 46 and 47

I want to urge the citizens of Jackson County to vote "yes" on Measures 46 and 47 to set strict limits on political contributions. Only four other states lack these controls, and forward-looking Oregon should be ashamed to stand among them. Let's get serious.

Virginia C. Lemon

Support for Mike Jewett

Born in Ashland, Mike Jewett chose to return here after the Army and law school in the '70's. He has not sought recognition for his public and professional service, but that service deserves recognition by your vote for him for Ashland's judge.

For much of his 28-year legal career, Mike was court-appointed to defend poor people accused of crimes. He also was Ashland municipal prosecutor. Thus, more than either of his opponents, he really knows what it's like for ordinary people in court. He will judge compassionately and fairly.

As Jackson County's chief attorney for six years, Mike gained an understanding, unique among the three candidates, of the County's juvenile and mental health departments. Ashland's judge needs such knowledge.

Jewett's opponents clearly are not as qualified.

Dick Thierolf

Support for Tom Winmill

Tom Winmill recognizes the importance of land-use planning in Jackson County. He understands that cities like Ashland and others should not have their careful planning exploited by the County's re-zoning of land around their perimeters to suit the desires of developers seeking to maximize their profits to the detriment of citizens such as us.

He wants to strengthen and enrich our local economy with jobs that provide a good living for families, and to see that they have a good quality of life through healthcare protection, clean air and an adequate supply of water.

Tom is a successful businessman and a person long involved in many County activities. He is a leader who plays by the rules and who considers himself a true member of the community, not someone above it.

His election to the three-person Board of County Commissioners will change it character dramatically &

and for the better.

Dick Trout

Vote 'no' on unclear measures

The skinny on the State Measures is vote "no" on everything but Measure 44, the prescription drug petition, which, amazingly, has no written opposition.

These Measures, often smuggled in by interests outside of Oregon, are usually so obscure or technical or complicated that nobody can understand them.

A good rule is to look at who supports and opposes the measure and vote with the people who are on your side. If everything isn't clear, vote "no".

Sometimes it gets complicated, as is Measure 47, when good people are on both sides. But 47 is so ridiculously complicated that it is totally unenforceable, and anyway the rule is to vote "no" if you can't understand it, and nobody can understand Measure 47.

Harry L. Cook

Support for Carol Voisin

Do these words mean anything to you?

Abu Garaib, legal torture, illegal wire-taps, Terri Schiavo, "way to go, Brownie," Tom Delay, Duke Cunningham, Bob Ney, Jack Abramoff, Tom Foley, Katrina, WMD, "smoking gun-mushroom cloud," endless deficit, tax cuts for the rich, stalled minimum wage, "save" Social Security, doughnut-hole drug plan, Korean nukes, Terri Schiavo, fumbled go-it-alone foreign policy, no body-armor, "mission accomplished," "stay the course?"

Haven't we had enough of this tragic, inept foolishness? Is this the course we want to stay on? Then change course; vote for Carol Voisin for Congress. Now is the time for change!

Nancy Barnes

Support for Randy Dolinger

Because Randy Dolinger is a good man, because he supports property owners who live in Ashland, because he has lived here 10 years in this town, because he is not one of the "good ol' boys," because wealth and advantage hasn't spoiled him, I support Randy Dolinger for Ashland City Council.

Bernard Kaur

— Southern Oregon Media Group: