Letters to the Editor October 12

Start fuels reduction in forest near town

I read with dismay the Oct. 5 front page article ("Roadless rule roadblock") indicating that the Forest Service is again delaying implementation of most of the Ashland Forest Resiliency Thinning Project while it continues to press for forest canopy removal in the McDonald Peak Roadless Area.

This delay is wholly unnecessary. More than 80 percent of the needed work is located close to town and homes outside of the roadless area. Start there. Start now.

Given that the Forest Service has already delayed this needed project twice — once to log roadless areas in the Biscuit fire, and once to propose ski runs in the McDonald Peak roadless area — it is high time that the agency put aside its roadless fixation and start the overdue fuels reduction work close to town that is of the utmost importance.

George Sexton


Be aware of the facts regarding meals tax

In response to George Kramer's Oct. 2 letter ("Vote yes on meals tax"), he made some misleading statements.

1) There are more than a few opponents. When contacted about the tax, 58 out of 59 restaurant owners were opposed. Also opposed are other local business owners, as well as many private citizens who worry about the lost revenue from people in the region who boycott Ashland, jobs, their employees, 20 more years of this tax, and how the city is spending their tax dollars. All very valid concerns that we must all take into consideration.

2) If the tax is renewed, every Ashlander will not pay $10 more a month in sewer fees. Each household could pay $9 a month more, and since there are 2.3 people per household, that comes to $3.90 per person. Each person would only have to spend $78 a month on restaurant food, deli food or coffee (a latte every day would be more than that!), not the ridiculous number of $200 that Mr. Kramer is suggesting.

3) Tourists and locals paid for the open space that needed to be purchased. Now the city wants to continue the tax for 20 years so they have control over the millions of dollars collected rather than just collecting a slight increase on our sewer bills for 12 years and being done with the debt. If there is more open space that needs to be purchased, we should look into something like the Jacksonville Woodlands Association, which collected $10 million dollars for purchasing open space without taxing its citizens, double the amount that Ashland collected with a tax.

Please be aware of the facts. This is a serious issue; it's not just about numbers. Vote no on the extension of the meals tax.

Denise Daehler


Spread the tax to all businesses in Ashland

Reading the press reports, it looks like the supporters agree that the tourists are able to pay the price for their vacation in Ashland through tickets, lodging, meals and shopping.

The locals can chose not to "eat out" and not pay that part of the water/sewer debt.

Why are we only taxing the meals and lodging? Let's add a tax for tickets and shopping and we might pay off the water treatment debt and end the tax sooner.

Why not spread the tax to all businesses, as we all use the water/sewer system and as some say, "They will pay."

Donald Politis


The meals tax is no hindrance to locals

We're local, not wealthy, pay property taxes, and we enjoy our meals out in Ashland restaurants, some of whose owners have weighed in on both sides of the issue of the meals tax. For us, the tax is no hindrance, and we support it in the upcoming vote. That some in this town have chosen to make this such a divisive issue in our wonderful and prosperous town is unfortunate. We urge our fellow citizens to join us in voting yes to the renewal of the meal tax.

David and Linda Young


The real survival rate among restaurants

In your Oct. 8 article on the meals tax forum ("Pros, cons of meals tax debated at forum"), you mention that "opponents have said that only 55 of 79 restaurants that were open in 1993 are still here today." Chuck Keil then noted that's actually a good survival rate, since the four-year survival rate for restaurants nationally is only 44 percent.

Since I helped compile that data, I thought you should know all the facts. Fifty-five restaurants did not survive. What we were measuring was whether there was still a restaurant in that physical location.

Of the 79 restaurants we counted in 1993, only 17 remain that have the same name and the same owner. An additional 11 have the same name with new owners. That's a total of 28 restaurants that have survived since 1993 for a success rate of 35 percent.

The remaining locations may have restaurants in them, but only because the building was taken over following a bankruptcy, or the lease and equipment were bought at a bargain price because the owners were desperate.

Penny Colvin


Thanks for 20,000 pounds of food

The ACCESS Food Share Pantry Network would like to thank Rotary First Harvest for the donation of more than 20,000 pounds of vegetables from their one-acre garden donated by the OSU Extension Center. The wonderful produce included corn, green beans, peas, onions, squash and tomatoes, and all went to benefit people facing hunger here in Jackson County. Food produced from the program was distributed through the ACCESS Food Share Pantry Network, comprised of 22 food pantries throughout the county.

Rotary First Harvest uses the power and network of Rotary to identify food sources, arrange transportation from source to recipient, and work with local food banks to get food that would otherwise be wasted to the distribution centers that can distribute it. ACCESS deeply appreciates the dedication of Garden Coordinator/Rotary First Harvest President Carol Wythe and her army of volunteers who labored in the hot summer days to produce this incredible harvest and feed the hungry in our community.

Philip Yates

nutrition programs director, ACCESS Inc.

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