Letters to the editor

'Misplaced power' with city manager

Measure 15-76 provides for a city manager trained in public administration with the authority to select, hire, supervise, and, if necessary, discharge department heads. Opponents say this places too much power with the administrative head of the city. The current charter provides that power to a part-time mayor, elected with no consideration for his or her skills in personnel management or experience in public administration. That's misplaced power! Provide for a city manager with authority that is consistent with his or her responsibility. Vote 'yes' on measure 15-76.

Don Montgomery Charter Review Committee

Setting the record straight

My April 11 Daily Tidings guest commentary was based on personal research and documented facts relative to the proposed Ashland Charter on the ballot. Subsequent criticisms (DT, April 24) unfortunately miscast these facts and anyone stating them with unflattering descriptors. This seemingly then also applies to our former mayor, during whose term this process started. He has gone on record (DT, April 30) against this proposed charter.

Moreover, contrary to criticism, I don't subscribe to "paranoia." Careful reading of my commentary reveals facts that potentially open the door for unfortunate consequences, not a fait accompli.

Other criticisms (DT, April 28) attempt to sweep aside facts about losing safeguards protecting our city's assets and made undocumented statements indicating state law contained such safeguards. Facts indicated otherwise. For example, Oregon statutes covering "Transfer ... of Public Lands" (Or. 271.300+: /ors/271.html) are only procedural statutes regulating how "surplus" real property must be disposed of. The determination of "surplus" is delegated to the "governing body" (e.g. city councils) of a "political subdivision" (e.g. a city). Again, facts sustain removal of voter's rights and transfer of power from Citizens to City.

Limited space prohibits addressing each criticism. However, when facts, not rhetoric, are examined, my assertions are still valid. Specifically, the proposed charter constitutes a transfer of power from citizen to city and removal of safeguards for our valuable assets (e.g. real property and water).

At sometime in the future, let's not regretfully look back to May 15, 2007 and say, "I should have voted on fact, not rhetoric." The choice is still ours. Vote "no" on the proposed charter (measure 15-77).

Terry A. Nelsen

Charter revision not good approach

I just read yesterday's article on revisions to the city charter that might make it easier to sell all or part of Lithia Park based on a four-vote majority in council rather than by a majority of residents. Kate Jackson's comment that "while some may say that an ordinance is 'easy' to amend, the truth is it takes four votes" was quite interesting. It took four votes to put the charter amendment on the ballot in the first place.

Extending the council's power to sell currently untouchable city resources &

whether park land or utilities &

might be too much of a temptation as an "easy out" in a financial crunch, rather than taking the less politically palatable path of having to cut services or delay desirable improvement projects. Removing these restrictions to "streamline" the charter document was, perhaps, not the best approach.

Steve Christensen

Meeting the challenge takes guts

In the six years we have lived in Ashland, never have I wished any more than now for the capacity to write a convincing letter. With the threat of closed library doors, never has there been a more critical time in the preservation of the "right to know" and the "freedom of speech" than now.

Even as we quibble among ourselves, Rupert Murdock, the newspaper giant from Australia, is about to acquire an even larger chunk of the news media in this country. And, Al Qaeda, of the troubled east, has shown its capacity to create havoc via the Internet.

These are threatening words, but these are pivotal times in the life of a great democracy. Do we have the "guts" to meet the challenge?

C.B. "Tony" Cover

Don't 'fix' charter

Lithia Park and our water supply are currently forbidden by the city charter from being sold to commercial interests. Why on earth should that protection be removed by the proposed Charter Amendment?

Some elected officials have assured us that there is no plan to sell these irreplaceable assets that belong to all the people of Ashland. Then why should we give the current and all future city councils the power to do so?

We can all remember numerous examples of elected officials' promises being broken as soon as they were elected, or their minds changed because of "new circumstances." And now we hear that the state protections are full of holes.

Hey, if it ain't broke, don't "fix" it!

Susan A. Hunt

Vote 'yes' on 15-75

After several years of travel, I have recently returned to live again in Ashland. Ashland has always felt to be a marvelous town to me, a blossom within a sun filled valley, rich with the intimacy and warmth of a small, cozy town and too, with many of the amenities, arts, and expressions of the city. And of the places I love here, very high up on my list, would have to be the town's library, always a haven to me.

As, someone who has moved a lot, spending time in many corners of the states, one of the first things I have always done upon taking up a new residency is apply for a library card. For me, the public library is an amazing place to acclimate to a new town, an incomparable resource and tool for reference, entertainment and the participation in and building of community and wealth.

When I learned yesterday, that not only has Ashland's new, gorgeous library been closed due to funding issues, but that the same can be said for all of the 15 libraries across Jackson County, I was completely shocked, it seemed beyond belief.

Oddly enough, the day I arrived in Ashland from my travels, a special election voter ballot was waiting for me. Having now read the proposed local option 15-75, a temporary tax measure intended to keep the libraries open long enough to give the county time to developed a permanent solution, the importance of a 'yes' vote is clear to me.

Certainly, I will use my voice at this time to participate in local government and the positive shaping of my community, as I cast my ballot with a strong 'yes' vote.

There must be a 50 percent voter turnout on this issue. I would like to urge all of you who are registered, to do the same.

Enza Putignano

Save our libraries

Why should we pay more taxes? Because an average of $9 is not going to kill you &

and libraries are important to the society, children, poor, and homeless people. If you expect educated children to come out of this community without a library &

you are wrong. And why don't we have enough money? Because of the Iraq War. We do not need to be there. Greedy people got us there by lying and ruined the civilization. It affected us and closed our libraries. So does $9 a month seem so much to pay for all that we get from the libraries? I don't think so! You decide. Please vote 'yes' on 15-75.

Ariana Johnson

Communities need their libraries

"Dear, let's buy a home in Ashland. They have so many nice banks."

Do you think anyone says that? What kinds of things do you think add value to real estate? I think realtors, above all others, should be endorsing 15-75 for our public libraries. And, they should also be pushing for more funding for Southern Oregon University.

There seems to be a direct relationship between financial deprivation of schools, libraries and colleges with the rise of Alzheimer's disease in this country. We can see this as a literal loss of our higher faculties. Like a dying body, the higher faculties are the first to go.

In any case, concerning Don Rist's recent letter, the good realtor surely comprehends that citizens on a fixed income and working people living from month to month definitely need public libraries. Moreover, people looking to buy homes undoubtedly expect public libraries, just as they expect a kitchen or a living room.

Patti Morey

Support Massie for school board

Keith Massie is the ideal choice for Ashland School District Director, Position 5 at this critical time for our schools. Keith, a devoted parent and long-term resident of Ashland, has earned the respect of colleagues and fellow citizens through his professional achievements and highly productive volunteer work. His intelligence and integrity, coupled with his outstanding ability to work with people from all walks of life, will enable him to make important contributions to our schools.

Don and Dawn Morris

Support for Massie

In a professional capacity, we have seen Keith's pioneering work become the award &

winning standard for information gathering, sharing and distribution within the Rogue Valley. His fresh ideas, work ethic and ability to bring disparate groups together to solve problems have become examples by which others judge their own work in regions across the state.

Keith has also been a tireless volunteer, not only at a state and regional level but most often, and with great effect, right here in Ashland. He cares deeply about this community and the resources it affords its citizens. And as a parent and an educator he knows the responsibilities, requirements and rewards of personal commitment.

We can think of no better person to serve on Ashland's school board than Keith Massie.

James and Jennifer Newton

Vote for my dad

My dad is running for the Ashland School Board, and I want to encourage you to vote for him. He works really hard to help our schools, making maps for Ashland School District, being on their budget committee, pushing for sidewalks by all schools, and giving helmets free to kids. He really wants to do this. Please vote for him. He's a good guy and dad!

Parker Massie

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