Letters, Oct. 7
Thanks to public employees
As a person who had to travel from one end of the Rogue Valley to the other on that tragic Tuesday, I would like to publicly thank the Oregon Department of Transportation and city transportation crews and other workers (for all I know) who directed traffic, managed roadblocks and otherwise expedited safe vehicular flow during that chaotic, stressful day.
I have a renewed appreciation for our collective dependence on competent, well-trained and committed public workers.
Public radio worked
I have been reading about how the radio and television stations in the Rogue Valley failed us during this wildfire disaster. I don’t have cable so I can’t comment on the local television media. I’m a radio listener so that is where I turned for help.
I tuned into KSKQ public radio station at 89.5 FM Ashland and 94.1 FM in Medford. I am familiar with the producers and enjoy listening to people who I personally know.
Tuesday, Sept. 8, the day of fire, I tuned into KSKQ around noon. Jason Houk was on air and broadcasting real-time information on the fire as it was burning up the Greenway from Quiet Village in Ashland. Suddenly, Jason announced that the fire is on Valley View Road where he lives or lived. He abruptly went off the air and another producer took over. He was going to his family home, which he lost. KSKQ was doing what we expect of our local community radio until the power went out.
I then went to JPR at 1230 AM. My go-to is The Jefferson Exchange with Geoffrey Riley hosting a two-hour local talk show Monday-Friday from 8-10 a.m. It was now already noon, so nothing on Tuesday , but it began streaming online Wednesday with those two hours filled with local information and live reporting from April Ehrlich on the fire emergency. That coverage continued through the week and into the next.
I want to thank KSKQ, our only community radio station in the Rogue Valley, which is totally run and operated by volunteers using grants and donor contributions. I also want to thank JPR, Jefferson Public Radio, our local noncommercial public radio station, which we all know runs periodic fund drives so it can continue to operate.
The purpose of noncommercial public media is to provide programs and services that inform, educate, enlighten and enrich the public and help inform civil discourse essential to American society. And to provide life -saving information during an emergency.
Thank you KSKQ and Jefferson Exchange at JPR for doing your job.
Bring the National Guard home
Oregon has been hit with serious challenges between COVID and large loss wildfires. Right when we need our Oregon National Guard’s response with “all hands on deck,” we don’t have available the full force.
Oregon National Guard are deployed overseas in Afghanistan and other war zones. This includes CH47 Chinook helicopters which should be here with soldiers fighting wildfires. With all the fires in the West, we find resources are thin. Emergency officials are saying there are not enough firefighters and equipment to properly fight these wildfires.
The National Guard in each state is 95% funded by the federal government. The president can choose to federalize National Guard troops at any time. When that happens, the troops are no longer National Guard: the soldiers become regular Army or regular Air Force when they are deployed.
Things are dramatically upside down and out of whack. It is time to return Oregon’s National Guard now. We need them home as tragedy continues to unfold!
The Rogue Valley FCNL Advocacy Team (FCNL is the Friends Committee on National Legislation, www.fcnl.org), is Daniel Guy, Ivend Holen, Wes Brain, Brenda Gould, Allen Hallmark, Susan Doherty, Steven Vermie
PAC control is a bad idea
Ashland ACES would like to control the City Council of Ashland. Turning one’s city council over to a local PAC (political action committee) is a really bad idea. Voting blocks do not always work for “the greater good.” They usually are more interested in the “goods” as perceived by their members. In a small town it would amount to giving control of local government to a nongovernmental organization.
I believe everyone’s interests are better represented by supporting a city council composed of members with multiple points of view and who know how to work for consensus. Fiscal responsibility means voting to spend money wisely, not simply refusing to spend. Please look at all the candidates, evaluate what they are saying and make your own choices. Vote for the candidates you think will govern for all the citizens, businesses and organizations of Ashland.