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Letters to the Editor

Don't let ACH fade into nonexistence

As administrator of Ashland's hospital for 17 years, I feel compelled to publicly state my deep appreciation and commendation to our hospital's current board members and medical staff leadership as they work diligently to craft a course designed to maximize the opportunity to maintain a viable and strong community hospital here in Ashland.

I have followed the Tidings' reports on the hospital regarding the negotiations with Dignity over the past few weeks with great interest. As I read the articles, it appears the dominant concerns pertain to what services will not be provided in the hospital or by the hospital's employed physicians. As a practicing Catholic my entire adult life, I truly comprehend the sensitivity and the intense emotions raised when the issues of abortion and physician-assisted suicide are on the table for discussion.

The issue to me is that the choice is between the continued availability of hospital services and the continued employment of its 400-plus employees, the financial impact on their families and the impact on our physician community and its employees if there is no hospital in Ashland, versus the fact that some services will not be provided as noted above, yet are available for those seeking those services elsewhere in the Rogue Valley.

Although I am over eight years retired from working at our community hospital, I still have keen affection for the people who work there and the unique role our hospital plays in the fabric of our community. Remembering ACH's service area is far greater than the Ashand zip code, its services and those provided by its physician community are too valuable to let fade into non-existance if a fair and sound "marriage" can be arranged to buy the time to see what the next years bring to this ever-rapidly changing and challenging industry of health care.

Again to the board and medical staff leadership, well done and thank you!

Jim Watson


War with Iran is not the answer

Although I was relieved that both presidential candidates spoke of diplomacy with Iran, I'm concerned that some members of Congress are ready to rush to war.

It is of dire importance that whoever is the next president engages in sustained diplomatic efforts, and that Congress does serious work toward this goal.

War is clearly not the answer to the conflict between the U.S. and Iran. I hope Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley will speak out on the Senate floor strongly supporting diplomacy, and opposing any legislation that puts roadblocks in the path of diplomacy.

Eileen Chieco


Sometimes it pays city to be a leader

The so-called "road diet" is actually a road safety project, recommended by our transportation and planning commissions, which addresses dangerous conditions on North Main Street.

Fourteen side streets intersecting North Main caused potential rear-enders and sideswipes during heavy traffic when drivers made left turns.

Pedestrians on narrow sidewalks were threatened by traffic lanes next to the curb. Crossing on foot was extremely hazardous.

North Main was dangerous for our residents, dangerous for our visitors. Now we are doing something about it.

This project substitutes three lanes for four, with the center lane for left turns, allowing bike lanes on both sides to buffer the sidewalks.

In August 2011, after much input, the council decided to realign the Wimer-Hersey intersection first and then pilot test the road diet. The vote was 4-2. I didn't participate, but I support every council decision. After a year, the trial will be evaluated by measurable criteria. If major problems occur, the City Council, together with ODOT, will consider terminating it. I encourage citizens to suspend judgment, try the new system for a while and see what you think.

There is also this: ODOT paid for the necessary re-striping because it sees Ashland as a leader in Oregon and wants this to be a demonstration project for other communities. For similar reasons, DEQ encouraged us to try a new, environmentally superior method of cooling effluent from our wastewater plant. This saved Ashland $7 million!

Sometimes it pays, Ashland, to be a leader.

John Stromberg


Elect Judge Bloom to the Circuit Court

In July 2012, I was a member of a jury with Judge Benjamin Bloom as presiding judge. He quietly maintained a calm, respectful courtroom.

After the trial had ended, Judge Bloom entered the room where the jury sat and personally thanked us for our time and for upholding our civic duty — obviously a matter of great importance to him. Despite a very long day, I had a renewed faith in the principles our nation was founded on. I believe Judge Bloom has a deep commitment to the American justice system. I believe his integrity and belief in a fair trial is patently apparent. I believe he is an objective and impartial judge who isn't in a hurry to get the day over with, but one who wants to have the most thoughtful verdict for an individual. Judge Bloom is the epitome of the judge I would want presiding over a courtroom. I would urge you to elect Judge Benjamin Bloom to the Circuit Court of Jackson County.

Laure Trickel


Voisin works for everyone

Jackie Agee is running against Carol Voisin for the Ashland City Council. Aside from having no experience on a government committee, I find her campaign flier comments to be disconcerting.

First, Agee states that as development director for the Salvation Army, she is familiar with the needs of the impoverished in our community. Yet she is running against the one city councilor who is actively attempting to alleviate the homeless issue in Ashland properly.

The homeless issue encompasses the mentally ill, veterans, the unemployed, women and children, those with behavioral problems, etc. Carol works tirelessly with local churches, Community Works and the Maslow Project and advocates for veterans, just to name a few. It's delusional to believe an organization such as the Salvation Army will solve the problem. Second, Agee states she will not shy away from making tough decisions even if a "vocal minority" of residents disagrees.

What "vocal minority" would Agee disagree with:

1) Local organic farmers who want to protect their crops from GMOs?

2) Residents who are concerned about government contracting with religious organizations to provide services?

3) Citizens who are concerned about elections being "bought"?

Agee was asked to run for City Council by the Ashland Chamber of Commerce and is endorsed by the conservative PAC funded by construction companies, an engineering firm and others. It is clear whom Agee will be beholden to if she is elected to the City Council.

I support Carol Voisin, who works for the entire community, including businesses.

M. Cody


Rosenthal will make a good councilor

I have served with Rich Rosenthal on the Ashland Parks Commission and I've grown to respect Rich's honesty, leadership, work ethic and ability to represent the citizens of Ashland in protecting our park system while voting for environmentally sound park management practices. A long-time resident, Rich has an in-depth understanding of the needs of all the citizens in Ashland and understands the relationship between having a vibrant economic base and Ashland's ability to provide the best quality of life for its residents.

Rich is dedicated to creating a vigorous economy, affordable housing, a safe and "green" environment, and living-wage job opportunities. As a parks commissioner, Rich has always considered the recreational needs of all our citizens while protecting the integrity of the parks. Rich will bring this same perspective to the City Council. Rich supports protecting The Grove as a recreation center for our citizens. And the importance the park system plays in public safety, particularly relating to watershed protection and fire suppression issues.

Rich has conducted his campaign, respecting spending limits, by going door to door to talk with residents about their concerns. He truly wants to make Ashland a better place for all residents. He is thoughtful in making decisions and will consider all sides of an issue. Rich's experience in and knowledge of Ashland's city government makes him an outstanding candidate for City Council, Position 5.

Stefani Seffinger


Fire district levy foes use misinformation

As a Jackson County Fire District 5 patron and firefighter, I am shocked and bewildered by the magnitude of the inaccuracies and claims the opposition has made against the proposed bond levy, Measure 15-112.

It both saddens and distresses me to bear witness to these manipulations of the truth. I fear the public is in danger of falling victim to such unwarranted and inflammatory claims. The sole argument against Measure 15-112 in the Voters' Pamphlet offers few verifiable facts; instead it forces a hefty dose of misinformation.

To get the most accurate information, I invite you to attend District 5's monthly public board meetings, held the third Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. at our headquarters station, 5811 S. Pacific Highway, Phoenix. Your comments and concerns are always welcome.

Fire District 5 has proven resourceful and skilled in our fiscal planning and budgeting for decades. I believe our district patrons' lives are worth more than one can ever express in financial terms. I am confident that our district will vote yes on Measure 15-112.

Help us help you.

Steve Maziarsk


Road diet is causing problems

As a 34-year resident of Ashland, my knowledge of alternate routes in and through town is coming into play as I dodge (or try to) the inevitable delays of the "road diet."

I am very thankful to the gentleman who stopped his auto on the first day of this fiasco to allow me to escape from my side street into a steady flow of traffic on day one. Bless courtesy as we try to practice it in this town.

Contrary to the dreams of road engineers, there are few to no bike riders despite the new generous lane, and pedestrians are also sparse in number. Bike riders have used parallel streets for years and now face ever more motorized vehicles on their alternative streets, not to mention angry residents who decry the excessive traffic in once-peaceful areas. Where and when will it end?

Maxine Scott


DeBoer will bring back common sense

I am enthusiastically supporting Alan DeBoer for mayor.

Alan served as mayor from 2001 to 2005, presiding over several large projects. He has proven that he is mature, responsible and will bring back common sense to Ashland government.

Alan is progressive and advocates public transportation, but recognizes that the utopian view of a tiny minority to restrict automobiles, reduce traffic lanes and expect most of us to walk or ride bicycles is not practical nor possible in Ashland, a city built on hills.

He has opposed the "road diet" and characterizes the plan as "an absolute disaster." Alan is a fiscal conservative who believes that many local problems and projects can be better solved by local talent and city staff rather than hiring expensive, out-of-town consultants. DeBoer has called for an intertie with the Medford water system for protection in case of disaster and disruption of the Ashland system.

Alan DeBoer will bring a proven vision to Ashland. He has been responsive to Ashland's needs in the past and has responded to some major needs of the homeless out of his own pocket. In my view, Alan DeBoer is a man who says, "if it isn't broke, don't fix it." Please join me in voting for Alan DeBoer and bring common sense back to Ashland.

Don Stone


Voisin does her homework

Carol Voisin takes the job of council member extremely seriously. She does her homework, listens to all sides and votes, sometimes courageously, for what she has determined would be best for Ashland citizens.

Carol has excellent collaborative skills and I could cite many cases where she has demonstrated how well she can work with others. She goes the extra mile to receive citizen input and weighs that input before making a decision. She was the only council member to attend both public sessions regarding Ashland Community Hospital. Carol's long, full career includes an unblemished record of teamwork and team leadership. We are lucky to have her on the council.

The person represented in the PAC ads and flyer and in John Javna's letter of Oct. 22 is not the Carol Voisin I know. The fact that Carol sometimes was on the losing side of split council votes is not evidence of "difficulty getting along with other councilors." In fact, many Ashland voters would agree with her stand on the issues on which she stood alone (Ashland citizens certainly do not side with the PAC 6-0 on them).

Carol also was on the winning side of many split votes that are not mentioned. Who is not getting along with whom? Our ability to work together as a community may well be more threatened by negative ads from the PAC and by the commitment from her opponent to stand against so-called "vocal minorities." I enthusiastically support Carol's re-election.

Joseph Graf