Letters to the Editor November 10

New building fees are astounding

Now that there is an inkling of sign of building recovery, let's tax it! Just for the heck of it, you should look into the development fees for a new home. Start out with a bare half-acre lot and follow the process through until completion. Twenty-five years ago, you could build a home on the fees we charge today for worthless reviews and permits. Not to say permits aren't needed to enforce complinace with safety codes, but the administrative fees are astounding.

Mike Merusi

Gold Hill

City Council does the right thing - finally

It took a threat from someone on the outside who wanted to come here and stand naked in front of an elementary school to change the minds of our council members? That leaves me with a lot of questions. Couldn't the council see that banning full nudity in front of downtown moneychangers and allowing it in front of schoolchildren is a huge contradiction in the first place?

Why didn't the educated councilmembers understand that Homo sapiens decided to wear loincloths about the time they invented fire in order to preserve the family structure? Wearing a loincloth began about the time early hominids went from being in a troop to a family, yet they did not understand this? Genitals are used for one purpose only; ergo exposing them is an overt sexual act on the face of it.

Who says a nude man has to have an erection before full nudity is considered a crime? By that definition, a nude woman would be free to expose herself, no erection there, but an aroused man would be arrested. What the heck is that? Why would a picture of a nude man or woman be grounds for dismissal in the workplace under sexual harassment rules, but real nudity would be allowed anywhere. And last but not least, who out there is ready to run against the councilmembers who didn't have the guts to do the right thing from the get go?

Joe Russo


Ashland, you take yourself so seriously

As recent (one year) residents in Ashland, we moved here for what we thought was an amazing, unique way of life. We voted for the meals tax. We eat out here often. The Nov. 5 letter from Mr. Gardenswartz felt like a great satori. Certainly the city could start charging residents who need green grass more than water May through September and dedicate those additional funds for the water treatment debt. Maybe the City Council would come back to us in a few years and say, "Hey, all paid-up, let's get ride of the meals tax early!"

In addition, it seems truly odd that musicians in Portland can play for tips, sell CDs, busk to their heart's content, yet in "progressive Ashland," which claims to be an enthusiastic art/music town, the folks who enliven our lives with their songs are forbidden from earning a fair living in our parks, in our plazas and on our street corners.

Ashland, you take yourself so seriously with all your rules, regulations and censorship. Who, after all, brings life to us all in these dark and uncertain times? Listen to the music!

Rick Ukena and Jan Christenson


Mr. Buff's right to jog in the buff

A girlfriend and I spent a week in Ashland recently for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. On our last evening into town from the campgrounds, we spotted Mr. Buff, tall, in great shape, strolling up the street in his fanny pack. We both did double takes as he approached, expecting to see what apparently were not buff-colored running shorts. Not a prude, I admit to a few minutes of shock, as this is so unusual, but then after a laugh at our slowness of comprehension, we had a good discussion about nudity.

The issue to be addressed is the separation of nudity from sexuality, and especially sexual predatorship. Mr. Buff looked in his late 40s and I envied his good tone and sheer quiet courage. Today, children and teenagers see 3,000 ads a day from all media sources, most of which have tacit gender and sexual content as well as partial nudity toward a message of sexual aggression, separating sexual activity from love, trust-building and friendship, of only being acceptable if one is sexually inviting in dress and manner, and of being inadequate if we do not look like X actor or model.

I would love to hear about a successful series of town meetings addressing the fears, desires and needs citizens have with regard to nudity and sexuality. I wonder what responsibility Kaaren Anderson, mother of two sons, believes we have to our children, and why it should supersede Mr. Buff's right to jog without clothing?

I'm sorry I don't live in Ashland to find out more about this. Sexuality, and separating it from nudity, is as basic and important, if not urgent, an issue as money and budgets, having to do with how we "recreate."

Lanna Seuret

Sacramento, Calif.

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