If there is one thing Ashlanders want from their local government, it's communication, and a chance to participate and be heard before major decisions are made.
That opportunity — or the perceived lack of it, whether accurate or not — has driven much of the dissatisfaction with recent decisions. From the color of the bricks used in the remodel of the Plaza, to the proposed removal of an old cottonwood tree, to the selection of a work of public art and, most recently, to the reorganization of the Senior Center, residents made it clear they do not appreciate decisions they think were made in a vacuum.
To be fair, the public had the opportunity to be involved in all of those decisions, either directly or indirectly. And much of the anger over the decisions seemed to stem not so much from a lack of public participation as from disagreement with the result. Even the most open process won't guarantee that everyone will like the final outcome. Still, openness and inclusion are vital to a healthy local government.
The Ashland School District understands that, and scheduled three public forums to gather input on a bond measure for the November ballot. The first was Tuesday night; the second and third will be at noon Saturday, March 3 and 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 7 in the Ashland High School Library.
If schools are important to you and you want a say in how the district spends money, now is your chance to be heard.