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Letters, Dec. 22

Great leadership from Mayor-elect Akins

Mayor-elect Julie Akins will not officially take office until the first of the year, however is showing great leadership for our city!

As a result of her raising questions, the unusual plan to hire a temporary fire chief through the Central Point fire district, at a cost of $450,000 over two years, fell apart! She was right that Ashland needs to look beyond white men in filling top city positions. The search process needs to include, as Mayor-elect Akins has insisted, an array of candidates in keeping with our city’s policies and values.

Our fire department has an outstanding reputation, and will continue to provide top quality fire protection and ambulance service, while a search is under way for a new fire chief.

We did not need this rushed hiring process, with only one candidate, in the waning days of Mayor Stromberg’s term!

Nancy K. Boyer

Ashland

A lesson from the wildfire

“Since my house burned down, I now have a better view of the rising moon” Mizuta Masahide.

I don’t pretend having the equanimity of this Japanese poet. The destructive toll of the Almeda fire, however, has gifted me — has gifted us — with an awareness that was hidden before our eyes. An overhead picture of a mobile home park, sans trees, on the cover of a recent Tidings, exposed in stark relief the limits of “housing opportunities” in our valley. That these parks have provided housing that is one step away from living in the streets is testament to incredible wealth disparity in our country. The parks, nakedly exposed, without the camouflage of bordering trees, are in our faces. I struggle, in my white, privileged brain, with what it means to be poor or to be houseless. Something is terribly wrong with our system that so obscenely rewards the few at the expense of the many.

To accept the reality that a houseless person could easily be ourselves, for most of us, is a bridge too far to sleep under. To accept that our extractive, boom and bust, winner-take-all economy has stacked the cards against most of us might mean actively advocating for a new system that doesn’t lazily, mindlessly support a “self-regulating” market. To reject the fantasy of an “invisible hand” (that flips us the bird while the unashamed affluent laugh all the way to their banks) is to get real.

Andy Seles

Ashland

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