Letters to the editor

Contrasting tragedies: Jimenez and Tanner

In the last month, two Ashland citizens have been discovered to have died tragically, I think largely because of their own mistakes. I'm struck at how differently the city is reacting to each of these deaths.

Bennett Tanner unwisely camped alone for years in the watershed, perhaps using faulty cooking equipment that would end up causing his death.

Gladys Jimenez unwisely talked on her cell phone as she crossed Siskiyou, apparently not waiting to see whether a car slowed down for her before she stepped in front of it. (I've crossed Siskiyou in front of SOU regularly for at least seven years; I don't get hit because I always wait for cars to slow down or stop for me. It would be foolish for me to assume that every driver is alert or considerate enough to stop.)

Gladys' death has, and rightly so, prompted long discussions in government about what to do to prevent similar deaths. Ashland will probably spend many thousands of dollars to make Siskiyou safer.

But, what is the city doing to prevent more people like Bennett from dying in the watershed?&

Other than Councilor Navickas' public statement that we need to make sure homeless citizens have a safe place to sleep, I haven't read of the government even discussing this, let alone making plans to remedy the problem. Eric's pleas seem to have fallen largely on deaf ears.

Two lives &

both equally precious before God &

but one stirs up action and the other is largely ignored. It's especially sad because I think homeless people tend more often to be mentally ill, and more in need of protection that the rest of us.

There are differences between the two deaths which might partly account for the city's different reactions. Gladys was acting legally (though unwisely); Bennett was acting illegally by sleeping in the watershed.

Also, Gladys isn't the only one who was recently hit on Siskyou in front of SOU, and Bennett is the only recent homeless death.

But I still wonder: Is it classism &

at least in part &

that's making Ashland react so differently to these tragedies?

Is it because homeless people are near, or at, the bottom of the social totem pole?

Ambuja Rosen

City funds may make Ashland's streets safer

Like Patti Busse, I am moved to tears by the loss of lives due to council inaction.&

Inaction that can be characterized by Cate Hartzell's comment that she doesn't think the city should be, "throwing away money at ideas that might not make a difference".

Has she considered that the ideas might make a difference?&

That alone and the possibility of saving a life is reason enough to spend some dollars.

The council is complicit in each life that has been lost and may be lost while they sit on their hands.&

Oak Hill Bed and Breakfast

Pat and Tom Howard Innkeepers

Thank you to the Ashland Family YMCA

We just wanted to take a moment to write a letter to publicly thank the Ashland Family YMCA and all of its donors. Thank you for providing quality programs and safe care for the children of our community.

Also thank you for the numerous scholarships you have given to the students in our schools for both summer camp and swim programs and for the after school care program.

We have seen students from our school grow in confidence and in their social skills.

You truly have touched the lives of many children and their families and continue to do so. We don't know what we would do without you.

We know that without the generosity of many this would not be possible.

Jennifer Egan and the Helman School Staff

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