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Letters, Sept. 17

Cheap is not the answer

David Runkel’s guest opinion on Tuesday seemed to extol the virtues of being cheap. He praises ACES for not wanting to spend more money than Ashland is spending now. He makes raising taxes sound sinful.

He is dead wrong.

This is not a time in our collective history when “cheap” is the answer. We as a city have immense issues to tackle. We have citizens who have been traumatized by fires, some who have lost everything. We have businesses — great businesses — that have closed their doors, or soon will. We have every single citizen suffering from the effects of climate change. We have citizens who suffer immeasurably from constant prejudice. And we have people dying from an uncontrolled pandemic.

Changing the curve of history right now will take money. None of these issues will fix itself. Now, more than any time in our history, we need targeted funding to push us over the societal — ecological — political hump. We need a solid plan that will help us ensure a strong tomorrow.

I don’t want leaders who parrot yeses to influential PACs. I want leaders with the guts and compassion to see the real issues, to know the cost of solving those issues, to be willing to put their own political future on the line to help those citizens who need it the most, and to cut frivolity out of the budget.

So I ask our politicians: If you are so invested in being cheap, how can you possibly run my city? How can you help my people?

MaryAnn Shank


Demand a Green New Deal now

I have lived on the West Coast for nearly 50 years. I have lived in Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, and now in Oregon.

Never in my life have I experienced fire seasons the way I have in the past five years. There have always been fires during the hot, dry months of summer, but nothing like what we’re experiencing now with entire cities and counties devastated by the destruction from fires.

This is the new normal. Climate change will continue to intensify the danger and power of the fire season. And the clock is ticking on our ability to unwind the inevitable slide into worse and worse outcomes every year. If we fail to act soon, the actions we do take will be too little too late.

The only answer is a massive and sweeping program to convert to a green energy economy that will not pit the environment against jobs, that will lift communities out of poverty, and will create a promising future for our kids and our grandkids.

Please, if you’re living through this fire hellscape, call your members of Congress and demand a Green New Deal.

Sharon Dohrmann


Graham for mayor

Kudos to Stephen Sloan of Ashland Works (ashlandor.works) for the mayoral candidate interviews of Tonya Graham and Julie Akins (ashlandor.works/2020/09/02/ashland-works-mayor-candidate-interviews-2020/).

Both women are exemplary leaders. However, Tonya is clearly the better choice for mayor. As executive director of Geos Institute for 18 years, she and her team have a proven record of environmental resiliency, problem-solving and assisting community leaders in understanding future challenges, determine vulnerabilities, and develop long-term strategies to address them.

Tonya emphasizes resilience in her campaign — economic, social and environmental resilience. Tonya knows we need to not only address short-term problems, but also consider potential future challenges and create strategic plans/partnerships to meet those challenges.

Having known Tonya for over 15 years, I know she has the gravitas, knowledge and experience to guide Ashland through our current challenges and towards a viable and sustainable future. Watch these interviews and vote Tonya Graham for mayor!

Libby Edson


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