Environmental scorecard: stamped invalid

On August 14, the Daily Tidings printed a story evaluating the voting record of our city council over time on environmental issues. I think that most people would agree that we do a pretty good job in this area.

A list would include: the Valdez Principles, Cities for Climate Change, Green Fleet Policy, open burning and woodstove restrictions, green building and business programs, solar programs, conservation programs and the forest resiliency programs and watershed protection.

The only real area of contention is how we resolve our relationship with the Mt. Ashland Association.

If one disagrees with the opinion put forth by a few local activists then you are demonized as anti-environmental. They believe that there cannot exist another pragmatic solution to preserve our water source.

In Ashland, a community where environmental conscientiousness is a given common value, it is disappointing when a local organization feels they must attack others for not following the "one true path." As with religious zealotry, this myopic intolerance has produced a biased "voters guide" for the election of the faithful. The Oregon League of Conservation Voters' "Ashland City Council Environmental Scorecard" is such a document and damages their credibility.

I must say that the scorecard exceeded my expectations. As I studied the document, the recollection of Mat Marr's description of an "objective process" brought a smile to my face. The survey was fundamentally and intentionally flawed. This selection &

manipulation and over simplification of complex issues &

demeans the decision process and those of us participating. Cherry-picked issues often stated the effect of the votes incorrectly.

This is the type of hype that we endure and ignore at the national level, but locally it is unnecessary and harmful. We should respect each other.

The Council recently voted to renew a lease with the gun club. A vote yes (the pro-environmental vote), while extending the lease, initiates an environmental study, specifies periodic and final lead removal, protects the riparian area, adds a trail provision and recognizes the city's responsibility in its own use of the land over the past decades.

Councilor Hartzell alone voted NO (the vote urged by Mat Marr representing OLCV), clearly an anti-environmental vote. Well no, of course not.

In any case, the council majority chose to consider and reject the uninformed OLCV recommendation. I suggest that you may choose to do the same.

Mr. Marr's quote from the article is surprisingly on point: "All it takes is a few more councilors acting on the values they talk about, and we'll suddenly have a much higher score." Yes indeed, without the endless talk, we could act and achieve something positive for the community.

Thank you all for your support.

Ashland City Council

Share This Story