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Letters, Oct. 16

3,000-yard black hole

Ashlanders have been subsidizing the city’s public golf course to the tune of $1.6 million since 2005. It hasn’t generated a profit since then, and with its present business model, greatly increased competition and skyrocketing losses it’s safe to assume it never will again.

According to Councilor Rich Rosenthal in his 2006 study of the course, maximum usage is 63,810 rounds annually. The report states that use of the course was already in decline in 2005 with “23,764 rounds reported, representing less than half the number played in 1991”. By 2016-’17, the rounds dropped further to 14,300. Yet, for that biennium, the golf course received $1.056 million in city funds. Budget losses for the biennium were projected at $544,100 and cost recovery dropped from 97 percent in 2005 to 48.

According to Rosenthal in 2006, “The course ... has not been managed in a manner conducive to maximizing revenues since the city takeover. Unless significant action is taken soon, Oak Knoll risks becoming an embarrassment in a variety of measures”. Well, that day has certainly arrived, and with fewer tourists and smoke-filled days, we can safely speculate that the numbers will look even worse for 2017-’18.

And yet, the Parks Department continues to make multiple capital improvements in a declining business that perpetually and increasingly operates in the red (April 23, 2018 Parks and Rec meeting minutes). Another example of poor fiscal stewardship from Ashland city officials who continue to waste hard-earned taxpayer money.

Oak Knoll golf course is a financial anchor around the neck of our city. It’s time for Ashland’s elected officials to start looking at alternatives. Either find ways to control costs, lease or divest it.

Susan Wilson


Bravo, Varsity Theatre

Ashland’s Varsity Theatre continues to offer venues that enhance our community. London Live in Ashland with performances including opera, ballet and theater is the most recent example.

Our theater has joined over 8 million people in 2,500 cinemas in 65 countries to view the performances straight from the stages of the Royal Ballet, the Royal Opera, the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal National Theater to our cinema. Their website, www.catheatres.com, lists the fall season’s schedule, times and dates.

The audience experiences traditional and cutting-edge works captured with modern, multidimensional on-stage technology to create these broadcasts. During the intermission at the cinema, main actors, choreographers, conductors, playwrights and directors are interviewed, adding even more breadth to the experience.

Thank you, Varsity Theatre, for connecting the Southern Oregon community to London.

Elin Babcock


Concern isn’t action

Forum: a meaningful way for persons to express themselves without censorship. Observe which candidate shows up; a sign of respect for citizens. All candidates were invited to the SOCAN legislative candidate forum. No Republican candidate from House Districts 5, 6 or 55 attended. Present: Golden, Marsh, Atkinson and the lone Republican, Jessica Gomez, whose response to confronting climate change is research, wait for a global response, and feels no urgency to confront climate chaos.

She favors research into clean energy. Hello! Clean energy is available right now! Electing a legislator who is concerned does not mean action; we have evidence of that with DeBoer’s lip service/non-action.

Gomez is not against the Canadian LNG pipeline and as vice chair of the Medford Chamber supported a letter to the Oregon Department of Energy asking the project be approved, plus she has received money from fracked gas corporations. (Follow the money.)

Louise D. Shawkat


Continuing to oppose

We were prompted by a glossy ad flier from the promoters of “Jordan Cove/Pembina” to send them our comments regarding their attempts to put in a “Jordan Cove LNG” pipeline across lands and rivers, disregarding all of the many scientific reasons they should not, and why they should abandon such an appallingly harmful idea.

We will leave aside the multitude of specifics that have been addressed and of which they have already been informed — specifics regarding the manifestly questionable economics and the clearly hazardous environmental degradation that have been carefully studied and documented. That a profit-driven company such as “Pembina” would arrogantly persist in the face of all that has been determined as to why this is such an egregiously ill-conceived notion flies in the face of all logic and established facts as to the highly detrimental effects it would have. We will vigorously continue opposing their attempts to find some way to force this self-serving, harmful idea on the populations, lands and waterways of our state.

Lawrence Nagel


Vote for life on Earth

We’ve known for years that we need to stop using fossil fuels (oil and gas and coal) if we are to continue living on this earth. And now the October IPCC informed us that we only have 10-20 years to do it. While this will dramatically change our way of life, it is our only chance for survival.

Fortunately our local candidates Jamie McLeod-Skinner, Pam Marsh and Jeff Golden have all exhibited a keen understanding of the science and are already thinking of innovative pathways we might take to save ourselves. But if we persist in voting for those who wallow in ignorance, greed and business as usual, we are voting to kill life on earth.

Our only choices are a brave new world where methane and CO2 are not used, or a dead world.

Please vote for life on Earth.

Lee Lull


Graham for council

We wholeheartedly endorse Tonya Graham for Ashland City Council.

She has demonstrated, for the two decades we have known her, a rare and effective combination of intelligence, dedication, compassion, and understanding in all of her endeavors, both public and private. Tonya understands the forces and issues that got us to this moment while, at the same time, having the vision and people skills to try to move us into the uncertain and challenging future. She will be a tremendous asset to our City Council, much as she has been to our community for so many years. Join us in voting for Tonya Graham for Ashland City Council.

David and Linda Young


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