Letters to the editor, June 25

Federal protection of corporations is wrong

Of the 100 most powerful entities in the world, 49 are nations and 51 are corporations. That fact hit home tonight in Ashland as our planning commissioners bowed to the threat and wishes of AT&T.

Though the cell tower applicant, AT&T, originally stated that the Holiday Inn by the freeway was acceptable but the top of the Ashland Cinemas was preferable. Their story changed (come opposition) and declared the Ashland Cinemas location the only way to serve Southern Oregon University. Apparently, there wasn't a single thing that the Planning Commission could do about it but say, "Oh, OK."

The fact that hundreds of people flooded the chambers at the Civic Center and more than 500 wrote e-mails and letters opposing this location, especially neighboring Hidden Springs, and other businesses in the Ashland Shopping Center, meant nothing. Why? Because concern for the economic ruin of a health and well being center is illegal. Yes, under law it is illegal to raise concern about environmental or possible health impacts due to cell towers. Wow! I wonder what well-paid lobbyists helped get that law passed?

Our Ashland Planning Commission cannot plan for us, protect us or even question this. As the city attorney advised, to do so could bring about a federal lawsuit.So rather than siding with the people they sided with the corporation. I guess they kind of had to. With the exception of two commissioners, Melanie Mindlin and Michael Dawkins, they were morally forced to recuse themselves, apparently because they had done in-depth research on the cell phone issue and couldn't in their hearts tell the truth of what they knew due to the law prohibiting legal discussion about cell towers and possible health hazards.

This does not feel like freedom of speech. Something is wrong here, folks.

Zoe Alowan


Planners should vote according to citizens

I want to live in a town where our commissioners vote with the spirit of the law rather than the letter of the law. Don't you want to live in a town where our commissioners take into account the desires and feelings of the people they represent?

I want to live in a town when an applicant doesn't prove their case for a conditional use permit that they don't approve it. Don't you?

Unfortunately after viewing the Planning Commission meeting of June 22 it was obvious to me that we don't live in that kind of town.

So my question is: Who is it they represent?

Paul Moss


Explore facts about cell phone safety

The basic design principle of the cellular telephone service is that as more phones are added to a system more cell sites are added closer to where the users are and, most importantly, the radio transmitter power of both the subscribers' phones and the cell sites are dynamically reduced as allowed by the shorter distances. Thus for users in or near a spot like the Hidden Springs, the transmitter in their phone will radiate much less power into their head when linking to a nearby cell site than when linking to one a couple of miles away. I suspect that as long as a phone user is more than 20 feet or so from a cell site, talking on his own phone subjects him to more radiation then from the site itself.

It is convenient to co-locate base stations of different systems at common sites, but co-locating cellular base transmitters for a particular system at common sites would defeat the power-reducing principle described above, and subject everyone to relatively higher levels of radio frequency energy, besides severely limiting the potential number of subscribers.

A review of FCC regulations will reveal a minimum allowable distance from a cell site to the general public. Any increase in this distance will provide an additional safety factor by the square of the ratio of distances.

As for aesthetics, cellular base antennas can be screened or camouflaged so that they are not noticeable, but this must be done to suit each environment.

John Ames


Woman deserves leniency from court

Being a friend of Corina Silva, I am distraught over the news of her alleged involvement in the embezzlement of nearly $13,000 from the Ashland Food Cooperative.

Ms. Silva, a new, first-time mother, was an outstanding employee who made my almost daily visits as a Co-op member a joy. I can absolutely speak for my many friends who had the good fortune of interacting with her, and having the same sentiments about her.

Ms. Silva is also a remarkable woman and wife, and except for this obviously desperate decision (assuming she is guilty as charged) has shown consistent integrity and admirable principles, and is hardly a criminal. We were all surprised, but alas, human behavior is sometimes at the mercy of many underlying, long-time, unprocessed issues. I still consider her a good friend and person.

As someone who is very familiar with Social Services, correctional facilities, and behavioral health, I am hoping and praying for her to be shown leniency and professional counseling rather than be incarcerated in a prison for as many as 10 years, as this is a felony. I do not know of Ms. Silva ever being arrested prior to this.

I have seen close up what time in prison and a felony record does to mothers and their relationship with their children, friends, families and future employment opportunities. It's commonly devastating, greatly hindering hope and good esteem for the rest of their lives.

As cliché as it may sound, if there were ever a person who is deserving of a second chance for her wrong actions, it is Ms. Silva. I do understand the severity of this unlawful deed, and I am not justifying the actions of Ms. Silva.

Our hopes and prayers are that the Ashland Food Co-op Board, its membership, law enforcement and the Jackson County Prosecuting Attorney's Office all look at this case with compassion and understanding, offering a chance for her to pay the Co-op back and receive professional help, as a prison sentence will not serve Corina or her child well. As a matter of fact, it could result in doing emotional and psychological damage down the road in Ms. Silva and her children's lives that may be irreparable, and that would be a great loss to our community and to the family.

Joseph Talboom


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