Letters: At length

Chapman should be recalled

David Chapman is not fit for his job on City Council and should be recalled. He is narcissistic, surly, petty and imperious. He sows dissension and has proved incapable of working with others constructively toward solving Ashland's problems. I have been present at a meeting where he accused others of "trying to polarize the council" simply because they disagreed with him. It is Chapman doing the polarizing.

Chapman stormed out of a March 23 meeting, seven minutes after the issue of ethics was initiated.

During the public-information meetings prior to the last election, Chapman showed clear contempt for the process and eventually stopped attending.

Chapman seconded putting the charter amendment on the May ballot. The amendment would have allowed developers to purchase part or all of Lithia Park, as well as buy our water for commercial purposes. The amendment was defeated by a 77 percent margin.

At the July 17 City Council meeting, Chapman attempted to shoot down a proposal by Cate Hartzell to fund bus passes for Ashland High School students, apparently because Hartzell had not conferred first with him. After discussion, her proposal was passed unanimously.

At a meeting the next day, Hartzell had to leave early. Chapman waited until she was gone and then sprang on the City Council an unscheduled proposal to approach the Mt. Ashland Association about giving it the special-use permit it has been seeking.

It has repeatedly been made clear that the majority of Ashlanders oppose the ski-area expansion. MAA has repeatedly made clear that it couldn't care less. The special-use permit is Ashland's last legal bond on MAA before the appeal on the expansion is decided in circuit court; which decision looks increasingly bad for MAA. Certainly if put to the public, Chapman's proposal would be rejected. But in a City Council lacking Hartzell, it passed 3-2. It would otherwise have been a tie.

It is unlikely that Mayor Morrison would have broken the tie in Chapman's favor, given the debacle of his last tie-breaking vote on the charter amendment.

In short, Chapman has shown himself to be underhanded and contemptuous of the democratic process. He has been publicly quoted as asserting "democracy doesn't work."

Aaron Corbet

Congress refuses rational solutions

After almost seven years of uncharacteristic activism, I find myself sitting silently on the sidelines just shaking my head. I marched, I protested, and I took very public stands that cost me clients and friends. Now the sheer absurdity of our national malaise has overwhelmed me. I have lost my capacity for outrage and the will to challenge what seemingly cannot be changed. It wasn't the two stolen elections or the insane war we could not stop. It wasn't the parade of shocking revelations of our criminal conduct of that war. It wasn't the perversion of an inexplicable national tragedy that left me numb and speechless. It wasn't even the parade of fallen heroes that now scrolls by at a blurring pace. What has finally beaten me down is the realization that Congress, who we thought would save us, refuses to consider the only rational and legal solution to a problem that threatens our future as a nation.

Many of our current representatives and senators once thought impeachment was a fitting way to chastise a president who wasn't forthcoming about the lurid details of his sexual transgressions. These same hypocrites now have no stomach for using the Constitution as it was intended. These fools do not even offer a credible argument against impeachment other than to say that it just won't happen. It is truly a dysfunctional democracy that denies itself the one available antidote to its systemic poisoning by a corrupt ideology and unchecked executive power.

I have heard compelling reasons from legal and historical scholars why we cannot be content to just let the clock run out on the most destructive presidency in our history. Unfortunately these are not the people we tasked last November with salvaging our republic. The duty of exercising the defense mechanism that our Founding Fathers built into our democracy falls to a group who simply cannot put country ahead of party or political ambition. All the feeble excuses our elected representatives offer for letting our decline continue are arrogantly telling the majority of the American people that somehow they know better or couldn't care less.

As we approach the brink of another insane war under Dick Cheney's puppet strings, I wonder if I have the will to get up and fight again. Until I see a Congress who acts on principle and the will of the American people, I'm afraid I may just watch.

Doug Snider


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