Webletters Graphic.jpg
Webletters Graphic.jpg

Letters, Dec. 19

Not so fast

In response to the editorial of Thursday, Dec. 6, regarding the wrongful arrest of a young African American man by the Ashland Police Department, I would agree that Chief O’Meara is doing the “right thing,” in getting ahead of this by initiating an investigation, apologizing to the family and publicly acknowledging that, indeed, this young man “should never have seen the inside of a police car.”

Now, it seems, all of us “good, progressive thinking white Ashlanders” can rest easy knowing that APD handles situations with people of color in the “right way.”

I say, not so fast back into our complacency.

We do have a hard-working police department, with more training and awareness in its future, probably forever. I am glad they are here, and willing to take the next steps.

And, the community is entitled to even more. I would offer that an outside perspective in the investigation would be “doing the right thing.” Internal investigations can be fraught with their own bias.

The editors go on to say that all that was lost was 10 hours of freedom from the young man’s life. For me, that is no small thing.

Ten hours in police custody does not happen without impact. I, for one, would not be the same after, no matter how civil the experience was, and I am an elder white woman, who might be treated with the benefits of the privilege of being white.

The community is entitled to know what happened during those 10 hours. Were all the proper police protocols followed? Hopefully, Chief O’Meara will again do the right thing, informing the community of the results of the investigation, including not only the details of the wrongful arrest itself, and include the details of what transpired during those 10 hours from beginning to end.

I acknowledge that the publishing of this information could affect the well-being and feeling of safety in the community for the young man and his family. I hope the publication of the report is done with compassion for all parties.

I apologize, as a white person, for this happening in our town, for the ways I, and people like me, have been complicit in bias toward people of color, and not spoken up. My heart is sick over this situation.

I await the results of Chief O’Meara and the APD doing “the right thing.”

Toni Lovaglia


Garden work exciting

The generous donation to upgrade the Japanese garden is the most exciting thing to happen in Lithia Park in the 20 years I’ve lived here. Thanks to staff and Parks commissioners for finding the right designer and for supporting his work to make this park gem even better.

While public input is, of course, necessary in any city project, a true Japanese garden design cannot be designed by public input, since very few people have the experience to make relevant input. This is a case where the public should let the process happen and trust that the result will be awe-inspiring!

The design calls for removing only two of 12 adjacent fir trees, which were planted after the original Japanese garden was installed. Rather than changing the new design footprint, these trees should be harvested and used within park for benches, fences, etc. Changing the design has a ripple affect that few people will understand due to the complicated nature of Japanese garden design. My hope is that the long-term vision for the Japanese garden can be fulfilled, and that the design prevails as originally presented.

Mark DiRienzo


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