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Letters, May 6

If virus doesn’t kill city, council will

Astonishingly, during his time of painful business losses and skyrocketing unemployment, Ashland’s City Council is poised to impose a new tax on its citizens in the form of the City Hall Bond. The city plans to tax you not to help our local businesses or citizens struggling to pay for rent, food and health care in a crisis, but rather to redesign an over-the-top, non-historic City Hall — for itself — during a crisis! The final insult is that an extensive construction project in the center of the business district will limit access to shops and restaurants already fighting for survival.

Don’t be fooled by the city’s assertion that this bond doesn’t raise taxes. Yes, investors buy bonds, but the city must pay them back. You’ll be taxed to pay those investors

$8.2 million plus interest.

Make no mistake, Ashlanders, the City Hall Bond isn’t financed by some mysterious investors “out there.” You pay. Government wins. Ashland loses. Vote no.

Laurel Miller

Ashland

Vote no on charter change

Ashland is a vibrant community with an active citizenry. One could argue citizen participation is at the heart of our success. Changing our charter (measure 15-189) would limit our involvement and should be turned away.

At a time when democracy is under siege at the national level, let’s insure its viability here at home.

Join me in voting no on the charter change.

Peter Buckley, former state reprentative

Ashland

Vote no on City Hall measure

As a citizen of Ashland I am thoroughly bewildered by the city’s ability to ask for money at a time such as this. Asking citizens to pitch out $8.2 to demolish and rebuild City Hall is an innately self-centered action.

This bond is poorly timed. Ashland is already under extreme economic stress; there is a global recession and Ashland is not immune. if this bond is truly for the benefit of the citizens of Ashland then why do it at a time where many are struggling to keep a roof over their head, food in their house, and a clean bill of health. It is hard to find a worse time to ask for money from taxpayers.

It would seem to me that the City Council and the mayor should figure out how to work within their budget. I urge everyone to vote no!

Lastly, continually taxing and taking from the citizens/property owners of Ashland will not yield any long-term results when our tax dollars are spent on things that only benefit the few. Families are continually being forced out of Ashland due to its rising cost. If you are looking for a town full of retires, please remember that their money will eventually run out too. Families are what keeps a city going and growing; Ashland is not The Villages, Florida.

Sheri Cellini

Ashland

Déjà vu all over again

Undermining a society is an insidious process and after continual periods of manufactured turmoil it becomes desensitized; gets acclimated to the malicious behavior of indecent leaders and resigns itself to the new abnormal.

Similar results from the man with “total authority”’ in the Third Reich was achieved by using his country’s liberal democratic freedoms to sow distrust in their judicial system, systematically dismantle it and impose a dictatorship.

That unstable genius and his loyal supporters vilified their free press if it probed to hard into their tactics and printed information that criticized their agenda. They were extremely successful at fear-mongering; dividing the country along racial and ethnical lines, with retribution toward anyone who was opposed.

The hate-filled crowds that welcomed white nationalism and eagerly spread the call to arms cheered the party’s openly seditious rhetoric without question. And currently the ubiquitous master-race sympathizers still profess that those useless Nuremberg Trials were “rigged” and really just a “witch hunt.”

We naturally focus these days on the world pandemic, but let’s not lose track of another major crisis, the threat to democracy, here, and around the world.

Steve Sutfin

Talent

Vote yes to preserve City Hall

As chair of the Ashland Historic Commission, I was asked to go before the City Council to have them reconsider the planned demolition/rebuild for City Hall, and instead, commit to rehabilitation and renovation. The City Council listened, and later voted unanimously for the historic preservation of City Hall.

After more than 25 years of discussing City Hall and thoroughly exploring four alternative locations, the council decided in favor of the lowest cost option that is sustainable with greater energy and space efficiencies, and remains on the Plaza. The City Council has done its due diligence and it’s time to finally move forward.

As a designer/builder, I am satisfied and confident with the architectural team and the recently confirmed budgeted costs.

Please vote yes on Measure 15-193, to preserve our historic City Hall and to repair and reopen the now shuttered Pioneer Hall and Community Center.

Dale Shostrom

Ashland

Acting like spoiled teenagers

The Ashland City Council approved placing the $8.2 million City Hall retrofit project on the ballot on the same day as it declared a financial emergency due to COVID-19. My daughter’s response: “Why does your generation always want what they want when they want it without regard to us future generations?”

My daughter made me realize that our city is acting just like spoiled teenagers: the very thing I am trying to teach my daughter to not be.

The people of Ashland have been devastated by a “health and economic earthquake” with hardly any help from the city. Instead, it is obsessed with protecting its City Hall from a physical earthquake, the statistical likelihood of occurrence in the next 50 years is approximately 10 percent. The seismic renovation is “nice to have but not urgent”; it can wait a few years until the mess from the real “earthquake” has been addressed. Priorities, please! Make no mistake, service and repayment of this bond would be a tax, the proceeds of which could greatly help those struggling through this crisis now.

How can I explain the concept of good judgment, community sacrifice and long-term sustainability to my children in light of the City Council’s conduct?

Paul Clark

Ashland

Don’t punish the past

I urge Ashlanders to consider two items when determining your Facilities Bond vote. First, resist using your vote to “punish” our elected officials and city staff for the perceived past sins of spending intemperance.

Please don’t let your personal ire metastasize into an unwise vote. Or aphoristically, “Don’t cut off our infrastructure nose to spite our municipal face.” Our community building-scapes will be significantly wounded if we do not support the ongoing investment in our civic infrastructure.

Secondly, understand that the bond issue is not a zero-sum game. A yes vote does not take funds from some city pot of money that might be used for something more worthy. You are simply authorizing the city to borrow money (like a mortgage) at a very low interest rate. It will not raise your taxes.

Please don’t punish the past. Embrace the future as our forebears did and vote yes.

Stephen Jensen

Ashland City Council

Citizens alert

In an anonymous mailer sent to all Ashland residences, an incredible claim is made: that the $8.2 million bond on the May ballot is essentially free and won’t cost the taxpayers anything!

Please be advised that if the bond passes, each household will be assessed its portion of the $8.2 million and it will be on your property tax statement for the next 20 years. The measure clearly states this. You can’t get something for nothing.

Please don’t let an unsourced political claim put out by an anonymous writer impact your vote. ACES is proud to stand by the facts we have put forth during this campaign.

Vote no on Measure 15-193.

Kenneth Wilson, Ashland Citizens for Economic Sustainability

Ashland

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