Letters to the Editor

'Now you tell us this?'

I want to take issue with Mayor Morrison's prefatory personal remarks cum peevish lecture at the last week's council meeting. Specifically his contention that ""&

166;you [the audience and Ashland voters] made this council and this mix of people, and you didn't get them here to hold hands and dance in a circle." Indeed, I think those are the very qualities majorities of Ashland voters value in their local politicians.

Since the '80s, the planks in the platform of any Ashland office-seeker must include being a good listener and communicator, inclusive to a fault and a consensus-builder. There's also more chat now about seeking communally-reached visions of whatever is under discussion.

When I sought the council seat vacated by Chris Hearn, the hopefuls were given some pre-interview essays to fill out. At the top was a very clear preface stating that the council saw itself as a collegial, consensus-building body and that such skills were sought in its candidates. "Team player" was a standard skill offered by most hopefuls during their subsequent council interview sessions. I don't doubt that Councilors David Chapman, and later, Alice Hardesty were chosen by then-sitting council members to fill vacancies for possessing those values and skills.

Last election, some high elbows were thrown during the Navickas/Lemhouse contest, but throughout, neither candidate said of himself, "Screw that consensus stuff. I'm a lone wolf." Building consensus and playing well with others were still the recognized sine qua non for having a council seat.

So, yes, Mayor Morrison is right on the one hand: Ashland voters have gotten the council they voted for. But Morrison is dead wrong if he doubts that most Ashland voters choose hand holders and circle dancers.

And, that's why there's shock over the $37K training sessions. The councilors told us they were the real deal going in. Now they admit they can't walk their talk. That's an expensive, "Now you tell us this?"

John Gaffey

Measure 49 is a question of freedom

I'd like to bring out a point about all this Measure 37 and Measure 49 hype that is the current buzz for media frenzy: This isn't about big-bad developers cluttering up the landscape, Wal-Mart moving in next-door or losing all of the farm ground to housing and then we'll all starve to death.

This entire issue is much deeper than land use policy. This is about losing our rights to government or fighting to get them back. This loss is presented in every election in some form or another. This time land use is the diversion. It's a sucker punch to get us to look over here while we get hit and lose rights over there.

When Senate Bill100 passed legislature, our State government took rights away from a sector of our society. When Measure 37 passed, we the people got some of our freedom and private rights back. Scare tactics are now being used to get the people to run back under the "protection" government regulations. This is like allowing our government to censor freedom of the press to get rid of pornography or having prohibition of alcohol because of a few drunk drivers.

The issue is simple, and is the same whether you own a million acres or nothing, are rich or poor, fat or skinny. This same wolf will wear a different colored sheep's clothing and come predating on the voters every election through fear and media hype.

If we the people want freedom and control vote no on 49. If you want a more oppressive and regulatory government vote yes, but don't think that an oppressive government will stop with just landowners. Next time they'll come after your rights.

Benjamin Franklin said, "Those who will sacrifice freedom for security will have neither one."

Jon Hemstreet


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