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Council reaffirms values list

Defending its status as a “sanctuary city,” the Ashland City Council last week offered a statement of the city’s values to the community.

Pam Marsh read the statement aloud as one of her last acts as a councilor. She will be moving on to the state House of Representatives the second week of January.

The statement affirmed the city’s:

"Commitment to defend the civil and human rights of every person regardless of race, country of origin, religion, gender or sexuality;

“Our condemnation of hate speech and or crimes targeted at individuals or a class of people;

“Our commitment to maintain and defend the city’s status as a sanctuary city;

“Our determination to pursue a policy agenda that ensures that individuals can turn to government for protection without fear of recrimination;

“Our belief in the founding principle of religious freedom and every individual’s inalienable right to practice his/her own faith; and

“Our commitment to foster a community predicated on inclusion rather than division.” 

The council voted to accept the statement as its intention going forward. 

Also during Tuesday's meeting, the council agreed to grant Options for Homeless Residents of Ashland $3,850 to ensure that emergency shelters are staffed five nights per week. OHRA has been using volunteers at shelters, which are required by state law to have at least two people who have passed a background check on site. Volunteers have been difficult to come by this winter season.

The council also approved another night of shelter in winter at Pioneer Hall, making the city’s commitment to host a shelter three nights per week. Churches provide shelter on two nights. Saturday and Sunday nights remain shelterless within the city during winter, except those nights declared so cold (20 or below) an emergency shelter is opened. 

Mayor John Stromberg said approval of the two measures represents progress. “This is a small step,” he said, “but it is the community coming together to help the homeless.”

—Email Ashland freelance writer Julie Akins at julieanneakins@gmail.com and follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/@julieakins.