Letters to the Editor

City's permit system needs to be changed

I'd like to express my appreciation for the excellent article by Vickie Aldous entitled "City fees limit newspaper boxes."

As distributor of the New York Times and USA Today in Ashland, I'd like to make two clarifications:

1) The current annual fee of $25 per box is cheap for free publications, who are provided with a weather-proof box, but for my newspapers (since I use my own boxes) it pays for no city service other than processing the fee. A $25 charge to process a $25 charge is nutty.

2) Councilor Voisin suggests that boxes that don't make enough to pay $25 a year should, perhaps, be removed anyway. I want my boxes available to residents and tourists because it makes our town a better place, but to pay for them to be stocked, deal with theft and vandalism, and share the meager profits with the city creates a clear incentive to have as few boxes as possible. This creates a chilling effect on free speech.

To conclude, I'd love to work with the city to create a reasonable fee structure that doesn't have a chilling effect on free speech and continues to provide the newspaper boxes that residents and tourists clearly enjoy. A single, reasonable permit fee for the entire downtown would be appropriate.

I hope the city decides to modify its position and for the newspapers that have their own weather-proof boxes (and First Amendment protection) offer us a single permit fee for access to all of downtown.

Peter Quince


Liberal bias plagues AP and newspapers

I've given up my cup of coffee while reading the newspaper — and millions of Americans have done the same. And newspapers are still flailing in the breeze, consolidating and eliminating paper editions — but still failing to see why so many people view them as irrelevant.

Years ago after UPI went out of business, The Associated Press had a lock on the syndicated news business — and still does. But it is as still one-sided, Democratic-administration and liberal-agenda oriented as it was then. Articles and editors still bow to the same, shrinking ideological market.

Take any day's edition, let's say Monday's, of our local newspapers. "Feds detail Christmas attack" (AP: Or why granting civil rights to terrorists is fine); "White House defends health care overhaul" (smaller service but same bias); "White House confident Senate will OK Bernanke" (AP); "Survey reports slow recovery continues" (AP). And more.

Give us an AP article (or others) and its lead, and we know the spin before reading further. Do we even have an Iraqi war now?

It's not the rise of the Internet or this economy's problems for why newspapers are in so much financial trouble. They were having the same continued loss of readership before then. Most newspapers pander to the same left-wing markets that they did before, missing two-thirds of this country's readers who are independents, Republicans, conservative Democrats and the like.

You've become irrelevant. People go elsewhere for unbiased news.

Dennis Powers


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