June 10, 2006 Concern for Warren’s message I noticed in Friday’s Mail Tribune that North and South Medford high school graduates attending Thursday’s baccalaureate service would be receiving a copy of “The Purp

Concern for

Warren’s message

I noticed in Friday’s Mail Tribune thatNorth and South Medford high school graduates attending Thursday’s baccalaureate service would be receiving a copy of “ThePurpose Driven Life.”

I want to offer a note of caution for these young graduates. Before they allow Rick Warren to be their life coach/guru, they should be aware of some of his subtle underlying presuppositions — since his message is completely framed by these.

From his book and web site we discover a few: 1)on women: women do not share equally in the privileges and responsibilities of ministry (no ordination). 2)On democracy: one should vote for candidates on the basis of their position on gay marriage, stem cell research, abortion rights, human cloning and euthanasia; and “you will give an account to God of how well you followed your leaders.”3)On babies: they “are completely selfish, think only of themselves and their own needs, are incapable of giving, and can only receive.” 4)On the Bible:using a literalist interpretation he calls the Bible “authoritative on all matters ... regardless of ... reason ... whether or not it makes sense.” 5)On God: clearly, exclusively male.

I am not recommending this reading for my children. I hope instead they will, 1) stand for equality and seek mutuality in issues of sex and gender, 2) think for themselves and vote for (or be) candidates who take thoughtful and responsible positions on a broad range of complex issues, 3) welcome and listen to the wisdom of children as Jesus taught, 4) research and read the Bible and the history of its development carefully and seriously, and 5) come to experience God’s nature and nurture as richly feminine as well as masculine.

Passing on a sense of love and purpose to our children requires more than the gift of a book. It calls for a lifetime commitment of respect and support from a community that truly values young peopleand, in fact, is counting on them to skillfully manage the crises they are inheriting from us.

Einstein said, “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” It’s certainly time for new thinking rather than the same old agenda reworked.

Paula Sohl

Fixing downtown one bench at a time

Finally, city-sanctioned benches have been bolted down in a few places. Not on the sidewalk in front of the Black Swan and only one near the fountains on the Plaza, perhaps those are unacceptable convergence locations.

I disagree with Mayor Morrison and the — city councilors that feel the downtown is not a priority at this time. Ashland is losing its charm.Our public space is affecting us. The Plaza is rundown, it is occupied by the deservedly disgruntled and a broken police force and cranky merchants are monitoring it. The only way we are all going to look and feel better is with some work and understanding. The Downtown Plan Committee demonstrated that our community has the will to examine our towns remaining assets and use them to rebuild and restore our public places (with the needed help of Crandall- Arambula). Because the city has delayed this call from the public, we’ll have to do what we can on our own to bring more opportunities for local people to create a vision of what’s best for the downtown.It’s about much more than benches. More people have talked to me about the downtown and the benches in the last few months than about anything else I have been involved with in this community.The cliché that ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’, does not in apply to our downtown.

Contributions to the Jack Hardesty Memorial Fund for the Ashland Downtown Plan can be sent c/o Phyllis Norris CPA, 850 Siskiyou Boulevard, Suite

2, Ashland, OR 97520.

Tracy Harding

Time for Crafts Guild to pay

Is this a popularity contest with the prize being a claim to who is the nicest to the Crafts Fair? Before you jump to conclusions and follow the Crafts Fair explanation of their problem being “one individual who is mean and malicious,” would you please take time to read their lease?

Of the 19 violations identified over a period of time, they have admitted to and addressed four and denied the rest. No big surprise! Their attempts to assassinate the messenger, which is the tactic the Crafts Guild is using to avoid following their lease or paying a fair share of the cost to do business on the Plaza, is typical.

The Crafts Guild costs are a measly 2.5 percent of their self-stated sales. Something must be wrong if after 23 years they still can not purchase individual business licenses and contribute to their real cost of doing business on the Plaza. I am against the position of a group claiming to be artists and businesses with persistent claims of entitlement subsidized by you and I. If you live in Ashland you do pay for their costs. This crafts fair pays for no property tax, no individual business licenses, no parking tax, no user fees, no utilities, no electricity, no water, no garbage, plus their leadership is rudely aggressive, they’ve illegally park downtown, set up on public sidewalks against city ordinances, and have admittedly violated the city trust and their lease for over 20 years on public property.

All of this according to the Crafts Guild is supported and approved by the Mayor, Parks and Planning Departments.

I find it hard to believe that any of us would bow to this kind of a neighbor. Now, this Crafts Fair wants to take over the entire alley, including the restaurant space, four or more days a week while disregarding practical concerns about deliveries, parking, traffic, real costs, and schedules and disruptions on permanent businesses.

Matt Frey

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