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Letters, Dec. 15

Ashland falls short on shelter

Unhoused or homeless people in Ashland tell me that police wake them at night and tell them to move along, sometimes threatening them with citations. A year ago the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Martin v. Boise that Idaho and other Western states must allow unhoused people to sleep in public places unless they can offer adequate, alternative shelter. To prevent people from sleeping who have nowhere else to sleep is cruel and unusual punishment, according to that decision. Ashland is not offering that shelter, except to a limited number of people.

Tonight it is raining. The low will be about 31 degrees, but this does not trigger emergency shelter. It must be about 20 degrees before that happens. There is no adequate shelter for many unhoused people in Ashland tonight.

Ashland has a year-round dog park, but almost never emergency sleeping shelter, even in winter, for unhoused people. Yet the police continue to disrupt the sleep of the unhoused in public places. If we are only as strong as our weakest link, generally and also during a pandemic, and if we are really all in this together, it is time for Ashland to look in the mirror.

Jim Yarbrough


The madness of King George

We’ve been here before, though the king was across the ocean and the madness was less pervasive. Now some Texans seem to want to take us back to our beginnings.

If I recall, Texas as a state entity wasn’t even in existence in those times. Yet, they would like to have us return to being sovereign colonies squabbling about borders, tariffs, and who has the biggest militia. Or, perhaps, what is the best color for our uniforms? Should they be black or white or maybe brown?

This particular madness is infectious. It is its own pandemic, and so far there is no vaccine for it. We can’t even put on a mask.

All our institutions are being tested. All manner of civility is being challenged. All norms are being perverted and not for the general good.

The spider web of our king’s mind is being used as a net of sticky misdirection, with each circuit bringing each of us persons closer to the center where we become food for the spider king’s maw.

Bur madness is containable, if not curable. To use one of his own phrases: “Lock him up! Lock him up!”

Rochelle Newman


An apology is due Ashland citizens

In Allayanna Darrow’s article in the online Tidings edition Friday, it was reported that the Stromberg administration walked away from discussions on hiring a new city fire chief in coordination with the Talent-based Fire District 5 and then opened discussions with Fire District 3 of Central Point.

While the whole concept of joint management of the Ashland Fire and Rescue Department with an independent fire district may deserve consideration, it would make much more sense for Ashland to coordinate with the adjoining fire district than one based 20 miles away.

The history of the city discussions with districts 3 and 5 are murky, but acting City Administrator Adam Hanks apparently was incorrect in telling the council that District 5 shut down the discussions. “Director Vicki Purslow said she felt ‘blindsided’ by the apparent dropping of District 5 from consideration of joint fire chief services,” Darrow reported.

Who on the council was aware of what Stromberg and Hanks were up to and why? Why has the public been misled? What’s the rush?

Tuesday’s council agenda includes discussion of Councilor Stephen Jensen’s proposed letter of apology to the firefighters’ union and District 3 leaders over the decision of the Klamath County Emergency Services director to decline becoming Ashland fire chief under an inter-government agreement with District 3.

The apology should be to the citizens of Ashland who have been not been fully consulted, indeed misled, about the filling of the fire chief’s position. Kudos to the Tidings for covering this critical issue.

David Runkel


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