Letters to the editor, May 28

Drivers, slow down or move over for bicycles

As a daily bicycle commuter in Ashland, I arrived home today shaken, though thankfully safe. In the course of my seven-minute ride home, I had one driver impatiently cut me off as I waited to turn left at a light and one driver literally force me off of Siskiyou Boulevard and onto the sidewalk as he pushed by me less than six inches from my handle bars.

My message is simple: Slow down. Move over. Wait or pass safely in the other lane.

The extra 30 seconds you may gain by pushing past a bicyclist could cost them their life.

Instead of getting frustrated with a bicyclist on the road, I challenge you to try getting out of your car and commuting in a two-wheeled fashion. You'll get exercise, help the planet, and perhaps appreciate a bit more what it is like to be pedaling along, inches away from a one-ton hunk of steel barreling along Siskiyou Boulevard — oh, and it's beautiful, great fun, and much easier to find parking!

As a final thought: City of Ashland, please install bike lanes on Siskiyou Boulevard north of downtown. You'll not only make bicyclists happy, you'll make pedestrians (who kindly share the sidewalks with us) happy too. It might even encourage more people to bike and reduce the "congestion" downtown — one can dream, right?

Megan Miller


Thanks for helping fight hunger

It's almost summer and time to thank those who generously participated in supporting those who are selflessly giving their time and energy to keeping Ashland a great place to live. On behalf of the Bellview Grange, Eagle Mill Farm Education Project and Red Earth Descendants, I want to thank Village Baker, Shop'n Kart, Key of C, Three Rivers Cuisine of India, Sue Powell's Soup and Supper and Ashland Community Food Cooperative for their help in feeding volunteers working on community agricultural and economic sustainability.

We are also very are fortunate to have the crews headed by Pamala Joy (Food Angels) and Josh Shupack (Neighborhood Harvest) who organize the collection and distribution of foods that feed thousands of individuals each week in the Rogue Valley. So far they have been able to keep hunger from becoming a glare issue to the mainstream. The continuing economic downturn is impacting all charitable organizations and systems. If you have time on your hands or care in your heart, I hope you will consider volunteering your time to support these efforts. Also please consider whether you would like to learn more agricultural skills by joining a planting or gleaning volunteers group or a neighborhood garden project.

Please contact me if you would like to help and I will connect you to the place where you wish to lend a hand.

Thanks again to our generous grocery and restaurant owners for supporting the work force that feeds the impoverished!

Catie Faryl


Ashland students shouldn't be denied benefits of education

The economic crisis is affecting all of us. As a member of both the Ashland High School Speech and Debate Team and the AHS Band, I've strongly felt its impact. Concerts have been canceled, tournaments skipped. Each of these missed events was a lost opportunity to improve my educational experience as a whole.

Debate has changed my life in many ways. It has made me friends, shown me new places, and started preparing me for my (hopefully) future career as a lawyer. And what debate has done for me, other programs have done for other students. Whether it's sports, music, or another extracurricular activity, almost everyone at the high school has benefitted in some way. Nobody should be denied these benefits.

Now, more than ever, the Ashland Schools Foundation is extremely important for continuing the high standard of education that Ashland's students have so long enjoyed. Everyone has the right to a good education, and what I am coming to understand more and more is that "education" is not just the sum of the academic classes we have, it's also the opportunities we take outside of classes, our effort to enrich our own educations on our own initiative.

So please, when you're deciding where to send your charitable donations this year, consider helping to ensure the security of Ashland's extracurricular activities by donating to the Ashland Schools Foundation. Their website is www.ashlandschoolsfoundation.org.

Nick Moen


HB 2005 is a waste of time and money

Having read HB 2005 and being familiar with present petitioning law, it appears to me that the purpose of this bill is not to increase regulation on paid circulators, but to allow them into the 1,000-signature sponsorship stage of the petition process, at the expense of volunteer petition campaigns.

I have been doing an unpaid petition campaign for the last year, working through the sponsorship stage. Along the way, I have changed the petition several times, fixing problems with the wording as they became apparent, and starting over three times, first at about 400 signatures, then around 700, and again around 350, adding a single word the last time. At this time, I plan to continue the sponsorship campaign until May 2010, going well past 1,000 signatures, to build an organization that will have two years to get it on the 2012 ballot.

From the first error that was found, I have been glad of the 1,000 signature hurdle, and the fact that I need not involve the state until all those signatures are gathered. Had the old 25-signature limit been in place, I would have gone for a ballot title three times with flawed measures.

HB 2005 would make one file immediately, passing the prospective petition through the Secretary of State's office each time it is changed. This is a needless expense to the state and a waste of time and money for petitioners.

HB 2005 would eliminate the time that fat cats would otherwise have to vet the flaws in their measures while laboriously gathering those signatures or talking others into doing so for free. Nobody should be allowed to buy their way through the sponsorship process and into a ballot title, at the expense of the state and petitioners without deep pockets. Talk to the Senate; please stop HB 2005.

Rycke Brown

Grants Pass

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