Panhandling not prohibited
In his letter to the editor of Oct. 28, Jeffrey Gillespie states, “it has long been a policy that street people are not allowed to ask directly for money.” This is not correct. Neither Ashland nor any other U.S. city has or can adopt an outright prohibition on panhandling. It would be an unconstitutional restriction on the First Amendment right to freedom of speech.
Even rude and obnoxious panhandling is constitutionally protected speech. Some cities in other states have attempted to create time, place and manner restrictions on panhandling, but those would not be legal in Oregon.
Ashland continues to search for and is open to ideas for how to deal with the vexing problem of downtown behavior issues, but a ban on what people can say would simply not pass legal muster.
Dave Kanner, City Administrator
City of Ashland
Jews under attack
I read Jeffrey Gillespie's column of Oct. 23. He's obviously intelligent and a good writer, but I don't agree with everything he said. I, too, was an admirer of Yitzak Rabin and mourned his tragic death.
I disagree with Mr. Gillespie about the prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu. I believe there are two strong leaders in the world today. One is Putin, who is a tyrant. The other is Netanyahu, who is a statesman.
Netanyahu, in my opinion, has shown remarkable restraint in attempting to calm the current tragic situation in Israel. Palestinian leadership is calling on Arabs to stab Jews wherever they find them. Three-year-old children are being taught to stab Jews. Jew hatred has been a constant teaching in Arab schools. The emphasis in Arab schools is on murdering Jews and destroying Israel.
In my opinion, since Obama's agreement with Iran, Arabs feel free to attack Israel because they know there'll be no American red line.
Arabs have consistently rejected offers to create two states, one Jewish and one Arab. Instead, the Arabs want the Jews dead. If there were a separate Arab state, within two months it would be controlled by ISIS.
Of course there are some Arabs who would prefer to live at peace with Israel. But they don't dare express themselves. They prefer keeping their heads.
Question eminent domain
Deb Evans recently wrote a guest opinion about the proposed Pacific Connector Pipeline. She voiced her disappointment in Senators Wyden's and Merkley's "approval" of the project. She asked our governor, Kate Brown, to take a stand against the proposal. The Mail Tribune editorial staff has said they feel the governor's intervention in the regulatory process would not only be inappropriate, but also most likely get Oregon into an indefensible court battle with the Canadian company proposing the pipeline.
I am not an expert on the legal aspects of this proposal; but I am frightened by the implications in this use of eminent domain. My understanding of eminent domain is that the state can take private property, if in so doing a public good would be achieved. In this situation a foreign company has been granted the power of eminent domain for the sole purpose of making a profit by shipping natural gas to Asia. I am frightened because this is a corporate takeover of our nation's sovereignty.
If we still have representative government, where are our representatives saying "no" to this abuse of power affecting their constituents?
Normal double standard
Proposed building projects and developments must conform to standards and criteria set forth by the city of Ashland. The project must demonstrate the impact it will have on the surrounding community. These include: light, dust, noise, water and sewer, infrastructure such as roads and sidewalks.
The Normal Street project fails in all categories. And as I understand it, the developers will not be required to pay the system development fees, which are quite substantial.
The Normal Street project would result in greatly increased traffic and congestion. Why this double standard? Follow the money.
The people responsible for this project, the ones making the decisions to allow it, typically, most of them will be gone in 10 years and we will be left with the result.