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Letters, May 14

The right time to fix our buildings

I am a newcomer to Ashland, so I don’t have any historical perspective on why City Hall’s structural issues haven’t been addressed before now despite the fact that everyone seems to agree that our City Hall and two other community buildings must be fixed.

I hear with some sympathy those who fear proceeding when our city’s future seems so uncertain. But as a fiscal conservative, and having spent many years working internationally with national and municipal governments that grappled with difficult decisions about capital projects, I don’t think the timing is likely to get any better.

Construction costs will continue to rise, while borrowing costs are now quite low. Last year’s audited financial statements report that the city’s bonded debt has fallen by 75 percent over the last 10 years — from $38 million outstanding in 2010 to $10 million today. Authorizing the city to borrow long-term for these three necessary projects will allow our elected leaders and capable city staff to get on with the detailed design process. And we will have ample opportunity to provide input and react to specific proposals long before construction begins.

I am going to vote yes on 15-193.

Robert Kaplan

Ashland

COVID-19 and democracy

In 2007 Naomi Klein wrote the seminal book, “The Shock Doctrine.” It explained how disasters, be they natural (floods and pandemics) or intentional (wars and sanctions), are used to garner wealth at the expense of people and nations. The COVID-19 pandemic seems to prove this point as the wealthiest are sure making out like bandits during this disaster.

Corruption smells just as bad no matter what you call it. And elected officials on both sides of the aisle accept bribes, which influence their votes. It might explain why they keep voting to transfer more wealth to their donors. And now in the midst of the greatest unemployment crisis in modern history our legislators are prioritizing a bailout of 501(c)6 corporate lobbyists. It boggles the mind.

We live on a finite planet that is showing definite signs of extremis, yet the growth and profit robber barons blithely continue to pollute with impunity. And it is way past time to trade endless wars for Medicare for All.

COVID-19 might be the impetus we need to rise from our isolation couches and stand up for democracy and people. Maybe we could call it disaster democracy? New Zealand would be a good role model.

Lee Lull

Talent

Possible reason for low cases

According to the May 8 story Vickie Aldous, Oregon has the fourth lowest number of virus cases in the nation. That may be, but the AP story below might add some light on why. While I agree with moving forward, I can’t agree with incomplete information if it’s so easy to get.

“SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The White House told governors their leadership is critical in testing for the coronavirus, providing a map showing that Oregon is among four states with the lowest testing capacity in the United States.

Oregon, Montana, Oklahoma and Maine are able to test fewer than 30 in

1,000 people a month, according to an email sent Monday by the White House coronavirus task force.

The states with the highest monthly

testing capacity — more than 90 in

1,000 people — are Wyoming, Utah and Vermont, the email said.”

Art Van Kraft

Ashland

The only climate champion running

I’m asking you to join me in voting for Jamie Mcleod-Skinner for Secretary of State because she’s the only truly environmentally progressive candidate.

She understands that now is a crucial time to take care of our climate, and when elected, she’ll use her position on the State Land Board to make beneficial decisions for our state lands and waterways. She is the only candidate to publicly oppose the Jordan Cove pipeline, which would be Oregon’s biggest polluter. She will use her experience as an environmental planner and natural resource attorney and consultant to make decisions that benefit both the Oregonians of today and of the future.

Eliza Strong

Ashland

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