Letters at Length

Carshare option was not mentioned

I was somewhat surprised when I read the article "City studying how to serve carless residents" in the Daily Tidings on Nov. 9.

There is a service in Ashland that was created for this very reason, to serve carless residents, and yet receives no mention in the article as an alterative form of transportation or useful service. It was created because while Ashland is a great walking and biking town, some services are simply not available in a town of this size, and owning a car can be expensive and burdensome.

Additionally, inclement winter weather becomes a significant factor at times and is an obvious deterrent. Also, many seniors who are very capable of driving are not able to cover the distances across town by foot or bike.

Ashland Carshare has struggled to stay afloat, partly because it didn't receive nonprofit status until May of this year, making it ineligible for the city's economic and community development grants in early 2010. The service is currently operating at break-even, which is not sufficient without grants, subsidies or other funding to keep it in existence.

But a major question that has existed all along is, does Ashland have the population density necessary to make this service viable over the long run? And, are there enough carless residents or one-car households occasionally needing an extra set of wheels to allow for high enough usage?

The city of Ashland itself has been reluctant to sign on to the service because it is not a cost savings over using Enterprise Car Rental and their own fleet, though adding their usage would be a huge boost in making the service more viable. Having a carshare service available could potentially save the city from needing to make other investments down the road to fill these gaps.

Ashland Carshare feels that to better serve its membership and be more appealing to potential members, we need to add one to two more vehicles located close to underserved neighborhoods, such as near the hospital, which was identified as a neighborhood with a high rate of carless residents.

Another goal is to add a pick-up truck for residents to have access to a vehicle they can use for yard clean-up or moving, for example. But our current usage doesn't make this a viable option at this time.

Though we need to find ways to secure the funding that would keep the service alive, we feel a first step is getting the service recognized as a viable alternative to car ownership in Ashland and the greater Rogue Valley.

Our long-term vision includes expanding the service to other areas of the region, but we first have to make it fly here! All ideas are welcome and we would welcome the city's participation in this discussion.

Darren Campbell


Ripe apples versus rotten tomatoes

I am writing in response to last Friday's Tidings publication of Tim Rutten's Los Angeles Times article, "Olbermann's partisan? We're shocked, shocked!"

Yes, MSNBC has become primarily the voice of the left, in order to counteract the voice of the right — FOX News. In spite of its general political position, MSNBC provides information that is researched and truthful. If they find that they got it wrong, they immediately give a correction and an apology.

On the other hand, FOX News lies daily and with impunity. They run with stories they know are not true or that they took no time to investigate for accuracy or honesty. Many of their truthless stories are made up by the idiocy that is the mind of Glenn Beck.

One example of their dishonesty would be the recent story of President Obama's "$200 million-a-day trip to India," where he would stay in the Taj Mahal (a mausoleum, of all things!), with 3,000 friends, extravagant meals and 34 warships, all paid for by the American taxpayers at a grand total of $2 billion. For anyone who was dumb enough to believe it, it was in minutes proven to be a lie and yet FOX continued to run with it for a couple of days, without any concern that it made them look like complete idiots.

To the best of my knowledge there has been neither a retraction nor an apology, and the FOX listeners probably still believe it. This is the way FOX News has been conducting business every day of the year for the last 14 years.

I would like to go back to the days when the news was the news — without bias, fabrication or total dishonesty. Unfortunately, those days were long ago, before the general public was so gullible, fearful, hateful, uninformed and crazy. Tim Rutten's article is accurate on several levels, but it is missing the point that not only is MSNBC not the equivalent of FOX News, it is the only constant voice that is exposing FOX News for the charlatan that it is.

Ed Dillon


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