Letters to the editor, June 8

Nudity laws need to be changed

It's been a long time since I have been as angry as when I read your article in the June 3 edition of the Mail Tribune (see June 2 Tidings article "Nudist in Ashland draws gripes"). A naked man at an elementary school crossing is totally unacceptable! I don't care if it is legal in Oregon; it is something that needs to be corrected. Our kids face schoolyard shooting threats; now they have something else to upset them. No wonder so many parents choose to homeschool their kids. It seems to me there are regulations against having an "adult store" close to a school. Same with sex offenders and probably taverns. So now it's OK for a naked man to be near a school area? Something needs to be changed. If not the state of Oregon law, then local laws. Already the genitals must be covered in downtown area, so why not an ordinance around schools?

Lori Prestwood


Two Oregon bills would help fix aging school buildings

Across Oregon, students are learning in aging, substandard facilities that lack basic safety equipment (38 percent of Oregon school buildings have neither working fire alarms nor automatic sprinklers) and are not built to withstand the sizable earthquake seismologists warn us is coming. The state of Oregon is in the bottom 25 percent nationally when judged on support for school facilities, both for funding and technical assistance.

There are two bills this legislative session that would start the process of fixing our school buildings. HB 2013 establishes a task force to complete a statewide, building-by-building assessment of schools. HB 3476 authorizes the Oregon Economic and Community Development Department to establish a revolving loan fund for the predevelopment costs of schools and planning. These two bills will establish the depth of the problem and give school districts the assistance they need to plan for 21st century buildings.

Justin Hurley

Central Point

Co-chair, Center for Innovative School Facilities

Article about Auchincloss was gutter journalism

It is both unfair and poor journalism for a newspaper to use a pirated search warrant — surely a felonious source — to drag a citizen's name through public mud. We refer to your story on James Auchincloss (see June 4 Tidings article "Prominent Ashlander investigated for child porn"). So far as you or anyone of us knows, he has not yet been indicted, much less convicted, for any crime. Clearly, your editorial decision was based upon the prurient rumors hovering about the alleged infractions and on the "celebrity" angle concerning the offspring of a famous American family. We deplore such gutter journalism.

Ragan and Gerald Cavanaugh


Blackberries may provide habitat for migratory birds

This is with regard to the threatened destruction of blackberry bushes near Almeda Drive in Ashland, as described in the June 6 Daily Tidings article "Neighborhood blackberry bushes slated for removal."

City officials are claiming that these bushes, though not near any forested land or particularly close to housing, constitute a fire danger. It has been declared that they shall be removed by means of mowing and herbicide poisoning. There is no mention of restoration of this habitat post-eradication.

There is an important issue to consider: Are any migratory songbirds currently sheltering, nesting and/or feeding in this stand of berries? If so, they are protected against interference by the International Migratory Songbird Treaty. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act is a federal law enforced by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

It would behoove the city of Ashland to investigate further before incurring federal sanctions. It is therefore very strongly urged that city officials/attorneys/fire and rescue personnel and park administrators consult with local bird experts to determine the legality of their proposed actions. For example, members of the local Audubon Society would no doubt be happy to cooperate in this investigation.

Kate Fuller


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