Letters, May 23
Where we rank in deaths
Taking Western countries, here is how we are doing in deaths-per-million-population. Source of death stats: Johns Hopkins as of May 16.
Germany — 0.010%
Canada — 0.015%
Switzerland — 0.022%
USA — 0.027%
Netherlands — 0.033%
Sweden — 0.036%
France — 0.041%
UK — 0.051%
Italy — 0.052%
Spain — 0.059%
Belgium — 0.078%
USA without New York City area — 0.017%
New York/New Jersey — 0.118%
So we are fourth fewest in deaths per million and would be near second place without the New York/New Jersey region. Death rates in the NYC area exceed all countries by a wide margin. The virus came to NYC from Europe and to there from China mainly through Italy, which had 100,000 Chinese migrant workers and daily flights from Wuhan.
Loss of trust in the FBI, rule of law
Coronavirus is a consequential assault on our country, but an even more serious attack is occurring against an even more important institution of our country — the rule of law. As a retired FBI agent, I clearly recall in basic training the importance placed upon the support of the public as a key to our success. This support, in turn, is equally dependent upon the trust that citizens have in law enforcement.
Over many decades, the FBI had acquired this level of trust. I recall how the display of my credentials produced willing cooperation from people from all walks of life. Those “creds” unlocked doors from bank vaults to board rooms. I also recall taking incoming phone calls from people seeking advice on nearly every aspect of life, from legal matters to anything that was confounding or troubling them. Such was the trust in our bureau in those days!
However, I, and fellow retirees with whom I speak, are angry and depressed about recent criminal actions of top FBI officials that have reduced, even destroyed the faith and trust of the American people in our great organization, and in the rule of law itself.
Support AG Barr in prosecuting these criminals!
City Hall alternatives
Now that the proposed bond measure for City Hall renovations has lost decisively, we hope there’s an open and honest community discussion about the next steps that might be taken.
We reluctantly voted no on the bond issue. Though renovations to City Hall may well be necessary, our sense is that this measure failed in part because a wider range of alternatives was not publicly offered. We appreciate the work that city employees do for Ashland and certainly don’t wish for their work environment to be hazardous.
That said, what options are there for relocating City Hall functions to another location? We are aware that other locations were explored, such as renovating the old Briscoe School, but were other lands owned by the city explored? For example, there is a large tract of land on the former Hardesty property. A building outside the town center also would free up much-needed downtown parking and make City Hall much more accessible.
We believe a new building could be constructed for far less than the amount that was requested through the $8 million bond. The existing City Hall, something of a “dead spot” on the Plaza, could be freed up for other purposes, even sold to defray some of the cost of a new structure.
We look forward to our municipal government offering new, creative and responsibly financed approaches to this situation, and to a civil and open discussion of the alternatives involving the whole community.
Barry Vitcov and Tony Davis