OnTrack, city should provide answers
After 25 years with the Los Angeles Police Department and 15 of those years in drug enforcement, I may have a little more insight than the average person regarding addicts and rehabilitation.
I do wish OnTrack success with everyone who goes through their program. I think that most of the response to their location and drug rehab project have missed the point.
First, On Track should address the concerns of their future neighbors at a community meeting. That includes everyone in the area that feels affected. If OnTrack fails to do this, then one can only assume even they know it is a negative for the neighborhood.
The Mail Tribune article describes the drug rehab residents (addicts?) as being through treatment and having some level of responsibility. Who determines this? What is the recidivism rate?
Are these people convicted felons who have served time in prison? For other than drug crimes? Are some on probation? Parole? Are there provisions for security? Are they working and paying for the housing?
Second, OnTrack needs to address the concerns of taxpayers.
The MT article stated public financing (tax dollars?) was involved along with grants to cover the $28 million cost. How much tax money? Construction loan guarantees? Housing subsidies? Counselors salaries? Child care?
This comes at a time when city and private workers are being laid off, libraries closed, schools considering shorter semesters all due to lack of money. If senior mentors cannot be found — and that is a whole separate issue — then is the majority of the housing to remain vacant? At taxpayers' expense?
Third is something that OnTrack and our Medford city officials need to address: the probable loss of property value to near by residents. Anyone who has worked and saved to make a down payment, purchased a house and then struggled to make payments, taxes, maintenance, etc., does not want to see equity in their house lost.
Is anyone anywhere in Medford happy with the value of their home dropping for any reason? Of course not. To most of us, our home is our most valued possession and a savings account.
I live in southeast Medford but not very close to the OnTrack Generations project. Before I bought two years ago, I looked at more expensive houses all around Medford but chose this area for my own reasons.
I have seen some reference to the area residents as elitists, bigots and the like. I guess if one's argument has no logic, common sense or facts, then name-calling is all one has left.
Lastly, where should this project be built? I don't think any homeowner, regardless of house value, wants this in their area and close to their family. I see much vacant land around Medford that doesn't have a residential area close by.
I have heard that our city officials have no say in such a controversal project. Then who does? I think city officials and OnTrack have a responsibility to concerned citizens, taxpayers and voters to provide answers.
Gene Cannady lives in Medford.