Letters to the editor

Disaster coming and going

Two disaster story lines: One concerns the rapidly increasing number of elderly Americans who simply cannot afford to retire, consequently they must continue to work well into their so-called "golden years."

This is one of the themes of Teresa Ghilarducci's study, "When I'm Sixty-four: The Plot Against Pensions and the Plan to Save Them" (2008). She writes, "The elderly are working more now ... than they did in the 1980s. There was a time when Americans worked less and had more retirement time."

America has the most inadequately-funded public retirement system of any industrialized country and at the same time company employee pension plans have been declining drastically over the past two decades. Thus it makes so much sense for Republicans to get rid of Social Security and Medicare. Anticipating that destruction, the Fidelity investment firm suggests that a couple save $250,000 for their health care in retirement and another $85,000 for nursing care.

The second story concerns the plight of our young adults (20 to 35) who cannot, despite best efforts, get on track for a life's work that will take them securely through to their retirement. This latter saga is documented in a book by Tamara Daraut, "Strapped: Why America's 20-and 30- Somethings Can't Get Ahead" (2005). Having found herself, and her husband, in that "strapped" situation, Daraut began to look more closely into why even well-educated young persons so find themselves.

She discovered that her youthful demographic has been smothered by the zooming costs of education; by stagnant wages ("Payroll Paralysis," as she puts it); by "Generation Debt" (student loans plus unregulated and usurious credit card interest rates); by higher and higher housing and health care costs; and by "Baby makes Broke," that is, the ever-increasing costs of raising a family.

Adding to this sad tale, is the growing difficulty of teenagers to find a summer job, and the even worse situation of young Black Americans 16 to 24 years old whose unemployment rate is a national disgrace &

and no hope in sight.

All American workers are under the gun as denoted by the recent surge of working class studies whose titles include terms such as "Squeezed", "Betrayed,'" "Crunched." "Disposable," and, as you know, "Strapped."

These social pathologies are the result of the "free market" dumped on most Americans over the past thirty years. As our "Empire" dissolves, workers need a newer, fairer, permanent "Square Deal."

Gerry Cavanaugh


Addressing false claims by gun club critics

In reading letters about the Ashland Gun Club [AGC], it is wise to remember Senator Moynihan's admonition that everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts. Opponents of AGC make seven false claims:

1. Rush to judgment.

In fact, the renewal has been under consideration since at least 2004, and is on the agenda because study of the relevant issues is complete. There is no reason to delay further.

Claim 2: Police pay rent.

In fact, the police are not charged, but most years voluntarily contribute $1,000 that helps pay maintenance costs.

Claim 3: City will bear costs of lead contamination.

In fact, the city will be responsible only if the lease is not renewed. The inclusion of a reasonable deadline in the lease to complete testing and any necessary cleanup to reach some pre-determined standard seems reasonable and sufficient.

Claim 4: There may be other uses of the land.

In fact, there is no actual group with a legitimate purpose, numbers, money and organization to put the land to alternate use. The site does not meet the legal criteria for listing (/history/NR/listing.htm.). This is probably why the issue is kept alive but we never have seen an actual application for alternative use.

Claim 5: The lead is toxic to the 100 species of birds and animals on AGC land.

In fact, it seems unlikely the lead is doing them damage, given that they remain present after forty years of use by the gun club.

Claim 6. Many members do not live in Ashland.

In fact, the people making this complaint are encouraging people who do not live in the city to oppose the gun club. This is contradictory and hypocritical.

Claim 7: The City should not be making land available to a special interest group at no charge.

In fact, the city tax revenue supports many "special interest" groups, including users of the Lithia Park tennis courts, Greenway, dog park, airport, AFN, golf course and Meyer's Pool.

The AGC is willing to accommodate every reasonable request. Ashland is best-off insuring that the AGC &

and not the taxpayers &

be responsible for any environmental cleanup necessary, that shooting and archery enthusiasts have a safe place to practice a time-honored American sport and that the police and National Guard have a place to practice.

If the lease is not renewed, the property will lose a responsible long-term steward.

David Churchman

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