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Letters, April 16

Bench is a problem

I just read the excellent opinion piece by Christopher Johnson regarding the situation at the corner of High and Granite streets April 10). I pass by there every day and agree with everything he said.

The bench in question lies just outside of the downtown exclusion and no-smoking zones. It used to be a beautiful, peaceful spot until those ordinances were passed.

This suits the city and Shakespeare just fine because the fellas that used to harass the tourists on the Plaza are now getting high and running amuck at the bench.

Despite having a large garbage can next to the bench, cigarette butts, trash and used syringes are strewn about. Charming!

This spot is next to a residential neighborhood. The families that walk by and the downtown employees who park there have to deal daily with harrassment from the lawless element that occupies that spot.

Christopher, I’m so sorry you were subjected to that attack. I’m afraid you’re correct when you say this could happen to someone else.

Peter Toogood

Ashland

Didn’t go far enough

Christopher Johnson’s guest opinion on April 10 did not go far enough.

Even after being physically attacked by man and beast, he seems to give the so-called travelers the benefit of the doubt, saying the troubles with these travelers could be “mental illness and addiction issues.” Even though that may be the case with some, the biggest problem is that they do not want to work, pay rent or pay for their own food. They want the people of Ashland to support them and in fact smile and be nice while we are doing that.

In fact, as I read older articles on this problem, it appears that these travelers like making us uncomfortable and threatened in our own town where we pay taxes and strive to build a wonderful community. I’m tired of listening to the sound of horrible singing, stepping around people flopped on the sidewalk and not being able to go where I want, like the Rio Amistad mosaic and bench as described by Johnson.

Johnson has some good ideas to consider. I just hope it does not come down to us needing to “start carrying our own protection.”

Christine Ducey

Ashland

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