Letters to the editor

Open libraries at what expense?

The library issue is not as simple as some people think. Of course, everybody wants to open the libraries, but the idea of opening them by lowering costs of operation by lowering labor costs through denying workers health and retirement benefits is repugnant in terms of principles of fairness and justice. It is just another conservative idea that is leading society in the wrong direction.

Harry L. Cook

Vote yes on Measure 15-79

I have the honor of coordinating the letterpress printing of a book of poetry for a poet who wishes to give these letterpress books to public libraries. I find it painfully ironic that she will not be able to give this book to any public library in Jackson County for this noble purpose.

Countless young people and families count on our libraries as safe places for children to study and enrich their lives. People without the means to own computers depend on libraries to keep up with the technological world we live in. Shut-ins and our elderly population depend on our libraries for inspiration and comfort. Folks with limited incomes cannot afford to buy books from Bloomsbury or Amazon and they should not have to do with less enrichment than people who have the means to buy books.?Folks have been coming to Ashland for intellectual pursuits since 1853 when?Chautauqua held its first performance. One of my recent customers said she would never return to Ashland because even though she had been coming here for 17 years, she could not support a city that closed its libraries. We cannot be "the

2 best small art town in America" and not have a public library. Ashland will simply not be Ashland.?Free public libraries are the foundation of democracy and culture and should be open to everyone.?I implore the citizens of Ashland to vote yes on Measure 15-79.

Cathy DeForest, Ph.D

Gallery DeForest

Beware of Measure 15-79

If 15-79 is defeated, it will be because Ashlanders are committed to public libraries. Public libraries are publicly owned, managed, and staffed. Most citizens believe those staffs are entitled to unions. When introduced, 15-79 was headed in this democratic direction.

Then came the privatizing monkey wrench from the county commissioners. The commissioners' action has resulted in a basic change to 15-79. Instead of a levy to reopen a public library, it has become a tool for those who want to return to the pre-Roosevelt era. Teddy Roosevelt, that is.

If 15-79 passes, it will be because recognition of what the commissioners have unleashed hasn't reached enough voters in time. And, for many Ashlanders, because their love of the public library is blinding them to the changed reality.

Yes or no, the vote must be followed by citizen action to undo the regressive direction initiated by a county commission that needs needs new members &

forward-looking and creative.

Stan Druben

Measure 15-79 is a good gamble

Gerald Brooks' Sept. 6 letter concluded that Ashland's levy might send money to LSSI that wouldn't be returned to pay our local librarians decent wages and benefits, and he's wrestling with whether to vote no on Sept. 18. That is, indeed, the gamble Ashland is taking by opting to stay within the county system to help fund half its library services.

Why is it a good bet? Because a yes vote for Measure 15-79 allows us to re-establish the services/hours that Ashlanders enjoyed before the doors were closed in April. The City Council committed to levying about a third of the amount permitted by the ballot language. The City Administrator is negotiating hard that our librarians be paid a living wage, even though the city will not be a direct signatory to the contract with LSSI.

We'll come to the table with money in our pockets, if we pass the Library Levy!

Nan Trout

Waking up to a library community

I grew up in a town with a Carnegie Library. Sixty years later I hope I don't find myself living in a community that fails to value the inheritance we have been given by Andrew Carnegie who called libraries "the temples of democracy". On September 19th I want to wake up knowing that the Ashland community still cherishes and respects the generosity and the wisdom of Andrew Carnegie.

Please vote yes on Measure 15-79.

Barry Peckham

Vote 'yes' for librarians

Vote yes on interim funding for Ashland Public Library ballot Measure 15-79.

I am astonished that the Commissioners put the County library operation out to bid without a vote from the public. Our public libraries are a vital part of the public commons. South County libraries should in future be in a separate Public Library District as recommended by County Commissioner Dave Gilmour (Daily Tidings, Sept. 28) to stabilize their funding source separate from the general fund.

This outsourcing by County Administrator Danny Jordan amounts to union busting. Apart from the reduced hours, most of the cost savings and profits to be made on the deal will come directly out of the hide of our friends and neighbors in Jackson County, the library workers, by their loss of PERS (Public Employees Retirement System) not to mention cuts in pay rates or cuts in other job benefits.

Though I strongly disapprove of outsourcing our library, in my opinion a 'no' vote on Ashland Measure 15-79 will not affect the outsourcing issue one way or another. A 'yes' vote, however, will put Ashland's devoted library workers back to work in the interim on more of a fulltime basis putting money back into our local economy.

The Ashland City Council at their last meeting Sept. 4 voted to slash the cap in the ballot language of "up to $.58 per $1,000 assessed value for two years beginning July 1, 2007 for library operations" to: up to 20 cents the first year, and 25 cents thereafter.

Please join me in voting yes for the Ashland Library Levy 15-79, supplementing library hours in Ashland from 24 to 40 per week. Mail your ballot today.

John Fisher-Smith

Levy is confusing and incomplete

I would like to make some observations about the library levy as proposed in the upcoming election.

I am a strong proponent of getting our library back to serving the public. However I cannot support the proposed plan as defined in the ballot, which is totally confused and incomplete. Indeed, it has already been changed in the few short weeks since it was first approved.

Passage of this levy would quickly result in soaking up a great amount of council time in trying to figure out what we had and how to implement it. There is little chance of coming up with something rational without having to constantly revise and modify it as the expense of Council time and other business. The council does not have a track record of being able to administer and manage outside agreements. Indeed it is not their job. They are charged with setting policy, not nit-picking contracts.

We know from the chaos surrounding the AFN and the Mount Ashland Ski Area &

not to mention the attendant loss of funds &

that the City Council just can't do it. The proposed library plan is incomplete, full of flaws and makes no provision for ongoing funding beyond 2008. It should not be approved. A plan providing on going funding independent of government tinkering and bickering is sorely needed. That's the only plan I could support.

C.M. Auble

Expressing clarity on Measure 15-79

I hope to clear up some lingering questions about the Ashland Library levy.

Last July a tax measure was filed for $.58 per $1,000 assessed value. Ashland was trying to reopen its library while the rest of the system was closed. Election law requires such advanced filing.

In mid-August, County Commissioners reversed their earlier statements and decided to use the federal funding extension to open all 15 branches at half-level.

Therefore, in late August the City Council voted to reduce the initial levy to $.20 per $1,000 (and $.25 per $1,000 the second year) of assessed value, not real market value. See your tax bill. Ballots were already printed.

The City will use the levy to augment the county's minimal funding. (The County encourages communities to find local solutions for better service.)

The City cannot use these levy funds for anything but the library.

The County is contracting with LSSI, a private library management firm to run our libraries, not set our library policies. This contract is independent of Ashland's funding levy. More details are at .8.

The election box behind the library is open until 8 p.m. Tuesday, Sept.18.

I'm voting yes for the Ashland Library.

Amy Kinard

15-79 needs at least 50 percent

In a recent Medford Mail Tribune editorial, some information unfortunately gave the wrong message to the voting public. The importance of a full-service library to students and children as well as to adult readers is generally agreed upon. The upcoming levy gives the means to expand hours for the Ashland Library. A 50 percent voter turnout and a majority vote in favor of measure 15-79 is needed. The ballot drop box behind the Ashland Library opens Sept. 10. Add your vote to mine to help reach the 50 percent turnout.

Mitzi Loftus

No insurance with Measure 15-79

I too would like a library for everyone, but no definite price keeps me from voting yes on the new levy. We voted on the prepared food tax and it was to start at one percent and in two years would slowly raise to five percent. At the next city council meeting they voted to make it five percent. So much for their gradual increase!

Now they tell us they only need 20 cents and will raise it to 25 cents per $1,000 next year. This was in the paper on Monday the 10. The voters ballot has 58 cents per $1,000 printed on it. If the voters say yes, what insures us that they will not take the 58 cents per $1,000 and what will they do with the extra money? I do not know anyone that has a $1,000 house. So do the math people and times that by 400.

Lois Shafer

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