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Letters To The Editor

Of all the candidates running for City Council, it is true that Kate Jackson has the most experience at the job. Indeed, only Cate Hartzell has more experience on council than her. And, if voters weighed on-the-job experience above all else, few incumbents would ever be defeated.

Personally, I find that most people who are familiar with Jackson and also take the time to get to know John Stromberg, discover that John has the potential to be the superlative councilor, drawing on his 27 years of experience as a management consultant, his work as an economist, and his proven effectiveness at engaging groups and communities to come up with creative solutions to complex problems. The distinctions between Jackson and Stromberg have little to do with advocacy versus policy-making, liberal versus conservative, representing the business community or developers versus environmentalists. They have more to do with how each seems to view the role of government versus the community in decision-making.

John views government not as a gatekeeper to selectively share communication and information, nor as a paternal mediator finding compromise among warring community factions, but as a devoted gardener who carefully prepares and tills the soil, then works to nourish and encourage all the wonderful things that spring up. Stromberg will do more than solicit community input to support a pre-determined outcome; he will actively inform and engage all citizens (advocates and policy-makers, liberals and conservatives, developers and environmentalists alike) in a cooperative not competitive manner that this community so desperately needs.

Pam Vavra

Deforestation leads to climate crisis

"Half of the manmade carbon emissions released into the atmosphere come from deforestation," according to Dr. Nigel Sizer of the World Resources Institute.

In case you didn't catch that, let me repeat: "Half of the manmade carbon emissions come from deforestation."

Any serious attempt to limit the severity of the climate crisis involves not only restricting CO2 emissions (essential!), but also protecting and preserving the forests that store and absorb carbon &

effectively cleaning up our mess free of charge.

In the United States, our first major step toward combating climate change should be placing our 643 million acres of public lands off limits to the corporate extraction industries, corrupt government agencies, and bought-and-sold politicians colluding to ravage our living life-support system: our forests.

Josh Schlossberg

Eugene

Musicale in the Park a success

Public schools throughout America are in a situation where they are short of funds for extracurricular activities and even accredited programs like fine arts and music. This is the case with the music department at Ashland High School, where they are using 40-year-old instruments that are in desperate need of repair and have gone without new band uniforms for nearly 20 years. It spite of this situation, Ashland High has continued to produce many very accomplished musicians and maintained a level of talent which is second to none for a public school. They have achieved this through dedicated and overworked instructors and a community that believes that the world would be a pretty dismal place without music.

This last September, Real Estate Depot decided to hold a fundraiser for the Ashland High School Music Department and we teamed up with Passport 2 Ashland to sponsor the first annual "Musicale in the Park." We called upon members of the business community to make contributions in the form of cash, service, products or discounts. We sold coupon books and raffle tickets at the entrance to cooperating local businesses. The response from the community was incredible. In about three weeks we were able to raise $6,420.19, which was presented to the Ashland High School Music Department through the Ashland Schools Foundation.

On the last Saturday of September we held a free concert, "Musicale in the Park," at the band shell in beautiful Lithia Park. The beginning and advanced jazz bands, marching band, chorales and orchestra provided two hours of wonderful entertainment. The entire process was one of the many things that make us so proud to be a part of this remarkable community.

We and Passport 2 Ashland plan to make this an annual event and feel that with an earlier start it will be even bigger next year and will continue to grow through the coming years. We know that without the participation of the various businesses and the entire community, this would not have been possible and we are so grateful that Ashland, Ore. will never let the world become a place without music.

Ed Dillon

Support for Greg Lemhouse

As a municipal attorney (and elected or appointed member of various boards and commissions over the years), I have had many opportunities to consider what makes a good councilor, commissioner or other public office-holder. I have concluded that, primarily, it is one's ability to act civilly toward, and work with, people with which you don't agree. These are the individuals who actually accomplish things and advance their political agendas, however defined.

Unfortunately, Eric Navickas does not yet possess this trait. Far from it. Instead, he audibly mutters obscenities while others are conducting or speaking at public meetings. He and his like-minded colleagues sit in the back of the council chambers and whisper, mutter and laugh while those on the "wrong" side attempt to present their views. He has yelled at, and thoroughly intimidated, female volunteer board members following meetings.

One may attribute such behavior to his self-described "passion" for his positions, but this divisive and dismissive style of politics is the last thing Ashland needs. The City Council already teeters on the edge of dysfunction, with a growing number of Ashlanders reluctant to go anywhere near the council chambers. Adding to the "us versus them" mentality on the council will do nothing but increase viewer ratings for its televised meetings.

Greg Lemhouse, on the other hand, stands for respecting the rights of all those who wish to speak on relevant issues facing the city. He recognizes, too, the need for some rationality in how these decisions are made. In short, and perhaps ironically insofar as Mr. Navickas is concerned, elements of even a well-presented "progressive" agenda are much more likely to be implemented with Greg Lemhouse on the council. Please vote for Greg Lemhouse for Ashland City Council Position No. 2.

Dan Thorndike

— Southern Oregon Media Group: