15-77 a rewrite of the city charter

Ballot measure 15-77, proposes to adopt a "revised" charter, which replaces the City of Ashland's current charter.

Written by our forefathers and approved by the citizens of Ashland in 1898, and updated in 1970, our current charter protects the values, rights and powers of our citizens and community. Not only does the proposed "revised" charter remove many of these precious rights and protections, it not a "revision" at all &

it is a complete rewrite.

Our current charter, in Article — Section — states, "Any change in the amount of the present compensation received by elective officers ... shall be submitted to the vote of the people."

The revised charter states in Section 37, "The Council may authorize by ordinance compensation for the Mayor and Councilors."

Under the revised charter, the council will be authorized to determine their own salaries and perks rather than by a vote of the people. We have already witnessed the effects of making a governing body more powerful than the people.

Our current charter in Article 19, Park Commission, Section 1, states, "All those lands specified by the Charter Amendment of and May 13, 1912, are hereby reserved and forever dedicated to the people of the City for park purposes and shall never be sold, leased, encumbered or used for any purpose inconsistent therewith"&


The revised charter states in section 48 (b), "The Park Recreation Commission has authority over the management of all City lands dedicated for park purposes and all other lands acquired by the City for such purposes "&


The explanation states that Oregon state law protects our parks. This is not true. Oregon law states that real property "may be exchanged for property, which is of equal or superior useful value for public use," again shifting power to the council and mayor.

These are two examples, among others, where our rights would be compromised.

Finally, the Council used a "model" charter, written in Portland, as the basis for starting from scratch to write a new charter. Our current charter is essentially our city constitution. We'd never consider a complete rewrite of the U.S. Constitution or Bill of Rights. Why would we completely rewrite our own city constitution?

Our current charter preserves the intent of our forefathers, protecting the values and rights of our citizens and is the foundation upon which our beautiful city is based. Vote 'no' on ballot measure 15-77.

Alan Galka

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