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Letters, May 16

Vote yes on 15-189

I am one of the many people listed as an endorser of Measure 15-189, which will amend the Ashland City Charter to create council/manager government in Ashland.

This measure was referred to the ballot unanimously by the Ashland City Council and has been endorsed by former Mayor Alan DeBoer, former Councilor Pam Marsh and seven other former councilors, five current and former members of the Citizens Budget Committee, three members of the Ashland Planning Commission and members of the Public Art and Housing & Human Services commissions. I am a member of the Ashland Transportation Commission.

That so many across the political and intellectual spectrum, with such a vast range of understanding and experience covering virtually every aspect of city government, have endorsed Measure 15-189 sends a strong signal that this is a wise and needed change. It’s time to modernize our city government. Vote yes on Measure 15-189.

Katharine Danner

Ashland

Pandemics and earthquakes

In a letter in 1789, Benjamin Franklin wrote: “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” That was true for the context of his message. But today, if we believe in science, we can truly paraphrase Ben’s quote to say: “Death and taxes are certainties in this world, but so are pandemics and earthquakes.” We can anticipate pandemics by recognizing their early signs, and take appropriate actions. But we can’t anticipate earthquakes.

My wife and I raised our children in the lower San Francisco Peninsula and, after they were grown and gone, we loved to spend a day in the Santa Cruz area. It offered ocean-side beaches, redwood parks for hiking and running, music, Shakespeare plays, delightful dining and a charming downtown. In 1989, 200 years after Ben’s famous missive, the Loma Prieta earthquake hit, causing death and destruction in parts of San Francisco and Oakland. But it also destroyed historic (pre-1900) buildings in downtown Santa Cruz with accompanying tragic deaths. The buildings were replaced, but the charm was gone!

We now have a unique opportunity, after stops and starts and dithering, to save our City Hall from the certainty of a massive Cascadia earthquake. The timing is great since the bonds for this project will start as the bonds for existing projects expire — we won’t feel the pain. As for saving our downtown economy from the ravages of this coronavirus pandemic, I’m sure that our community — with federal and other funding — will rally to do this. I’m thankfully voting yes on city Measure 15-193 so I’ll know I was on the right side when the certain earthquake hits us.

Roy Sutton

Ashland

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