Letters to the Editor

Save The Grove for the community

I was very surprised to learn of the City Council's plans and actions toward the transformation of The Grove into a police station.

I have nothing against the police station and I am in agreement with all three "keep-the-Grove-for-the-community" letters published in the Tidings on Wednesday. In fact, these letters and the Parks Department summer brochure educated me in the many activities currently taking place at the Grove: ballroom, Latin and swing dancing classes; French, Italian and Spanish classes; all manner of dog care and training classes; ZUMBA fitness classes, bicycle safety classes, an annual community bike swap and the starting point of the Mountain Lakes Challenge Bike Race on June 25.

There is also another activity — The Grove recording studio, overseen by professional musician Bob DiChiro. Since the studio was established soon after the passing of The Grove's founder, Steve Groveman, 10 years ago, Bob has offered instruction and inspiration to countless young people and aspiring student musicians in our community. The Rotary Club of Ashland has donated funds over the years to make this a first-class recording studio.

I cannot fathom why the city would want to do away with this location for these events! The community centers in the downtown would never be able to provide the space, scheduling or parking.

As one Tidings writer said, inside The Grove is a plaque with the names of hundreds of citizens who donated money toward a youth and community center. This was the vision of our wonderful friend and community leader, Steve Groveman. He was "The Grove" and his untimely death left the survival of The Grove in question ... then.

Today, I think you can see that we do have a viable and affordable community center for Ashland to enjoy. Please let the City Council know that you want to retain The Grove as a public resource for everyone.

I wish we had known about this plan sooner so that the citizens of this wonderful town could have given their valuable input. Perhaps it's not too late.

Kathy Hollis Cooper


Let Ashland cull overpopulated deer

A cougar was seen feeding on a deer by a hiker in Lithia Park recently. The cougar simply followed his nature by accepting Ashlanders' invitation to dine; we allow an overpopulation of deer to reside here.

This spring brought a bountiful new crop of unhealthy looking deer. Many Ashlanders adore the deer and many detest the deer because of their damage to vegetation and fences as well as the danger of lyme disease they can carry.

Last fall, I and about 30 other people attended a meeting to discuss the pros and cons of this population. A committee was formed, and so far our city has not acted.

I'd hoped our administration would create the special ordinance allowing us to cull the deer within the city limits. It has been done in other communities. We could employ the same agents who are legally mandated to kill rogue cougars, bears, wolves, etc., as has been done here in the past.

For a sustainable environment, proper culling the deer population is no different than thinning the woodlands surrounding our community. The meat could be utilized by animal shelters (within 24 hours). Please add your voice to balancing the deer ratio!

Marilyn Briggs


Encounter made me mistrust police

Today, I'd like to tell the public about how mistreatment by an Ashland police officer over seven years ago has affected my life.

I was being investigated for a minor crime of which I was absolutely innocent. I voluntarily came in for a polygraph (those falsely worshipped machine gods that measure only a person's level of anxiety,) and mostly passed it, though I believe one section was "undetermined," or similar jargon. After I confirmed that I was telling the complete truth regardless of what their machine god said, officer X told me: "You know, you don't come across as an honest person," not the first insulting comment he'd thrown my way in the course of the short investigation.

Though I'm not someone who comes into contact with police officers much, this wasn't the first time I'd seen barbaric behavior by an officer, not even an Ashland officer. But it sealed the deal. I, a mentally ill SOU student about to graduate after keeping a scholarship for four years, decided that police officers were not to be trusted to show professionalism or morality. Ever since, this deep confusion has played out in numerous ways.

For years afterward, I didn't report crimes I witnessed because I feared the police as much as the criminals. When I saw a police officer on the street or on TV, I felt such terror or more commonly moral repulsion that I couldn't hear what that individual was saying because people dressed like that had violated my human rights one too many times.

The calling of the police officer is a vital, even sacred one. But when those meant to protect human rights wantonly violate them, it corrodes both society and moral contract.

Sean Lawlor Nelson


It's the budget deficit, stupid!

Last week the overwhelming majority of the Republicans in the U.S. Senate blocked an attempt to end billions of tax subsidies for big oil, the world's most profitable industry. In stark contrast, all but three Democratic senators voted to move S 940 forward.

This bill also would have closed a loophole which enables oil companies to disguise foreign royalty payments as taxes and reduce their domestic tax bill. All savings under the bill would have been applied to reducing federal budget deficits.

In the House of Representatives, the Republicans had earlier voted to block efforts to repeal tax subsidies for big oil at the same time they voted en masse to take away tax credits for small business health insurance. Exxon Mobil profits are up big time this year and yet pump prices remain high.

It doesn't take rocket science to figure out who supports Main Street and who favors the big corporations. Oregon Democrats Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley voted to support S 940. These men as usual leave no doubt that they're on the people's side.

Don Morris


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