More to Haxton than negative ad
The mean-spirited negative ad campaign launched by the Ashland Residents for a Great City Council compels me to vote against any candidate supported by this PAC. Their negative character attack on candidate Keith Haxton fails to represent any of the positive attributes he embodies.
Serving on the board of directors of Options for Homeless Residents of Ashland, and working with him on three other committees, I know Keith to be a creative problem-solver, a respectful listener, a believer in process and someone who puts his beliefs into action in order to better his community.
Those who have met Keith Haxton know of his ability to work well with others. This PAC's attack campaign involves numerous candidates for City Council. I select this example in the limited space provided.
The bully mentality of negative advertising does not belong in Ashland. What happened to the days of candidates stating what they will do for the community? Restore Ashland's long history of respectful campaigning. Vote for quality candidates that do not engage in negative character attacks. Vote for Keith Haxton, Ashland City Council, and get a dedicated public servant.
Stromberg uses balanced approach
As a citizen member of the Ashland Budget Committee, I have worked with John Stromberg for more than six years. John spearheaded an important change in how the city's budget was constructed. This impacts the property tax rate set by the committee at the end of the budget process.
Rather than starting from the assumption that property taxes will increase to fund growth in city expenditures, John advocated a revenue-driven approach. He required staff members to first attempt to "live within their means" without fee, rate or tax increases. When that didn't appear to be possible without significant trade-offs, staff members were required to identify alternatives to tax increases, particularly those that increased efficiency or did not result in reduced access to services by citizens.
Since that time, when the Budget Committee has considered tax increases, they have been driven by specific needs and coupled with ongoing cost-containment measures. I believe the process John set in motion years ago has appropriately balanced the needs of the city and citizens' checkbooks. It has contributed to the fiscal health of the city despite the "Great Recession," in contrast to many other cities across the country.
I believe the greatest strength John brings is his genuine interest in listening to all voices within our diverse community. I don't always agree with John on particular issues, but I respect that he offers a collaborative approach we rarely find in political leadership these days. For these reasons I am supporting John's bid for a second term.
Stromberg's vision goes beyond basics
Having worked with John Stromberg on the Economic Development Strategy Committee for Ashland 2011-12, I support his re-election. The committee recognized we need a new direction from past policies that had led to stagnant growth, quality of life and sustainability. Alan DeBoer supported many of those past policies when he was mayor, and now he suggests the same with what he calls putting "basics in place."
But what are those basics? For DeBoer they are the old political slogans of "a clean downtown," "adequate parking" and "great schools." Nothing wrong with these objectives, but we need a new vision that goes beyond basics.
John Stromberg has supported such a vision that recognizes that economic development and quality of life are too often pursued separately rather than in tandem. This is an inefficient strategy for communities to follow — both in terms of dollars spent and results achieved.
Finally, Stromberg recognizes high-paying jobs in Ashland means fostering creativity and the pursuit of knowledge that encourages entrepreneurship and innovation. These economic goals go beyond "adequate parking."
Ashland PAC mailer was malicious
I am writing to voice my concern that the Ashland PAC representing Lemhouse, Rosenthal and Agee for City Council positions has determined it appropriate to mail out a flier slandering opposing candidates. This kind of malicious tactic is not representative of Ashland, and this action of the PAC is working against them, as I will not give my vote to any candidate who lowers themselves to such sloppy and fearmongering activities.
My vote in this election will not be issue-based, but instead will be given to those who through their community activities and through their on- and off-camera behaviors, have a proven mature respect for others, an open mind and the willingness and ability to represent and serve the community and not their own personal opinion and gain.
I believe voting in this way will enable the widest degreee of possibilities for more meaningful and diverse conversations to be had and perspectives to be heard. It is my experience that this kind of synergy of openness and diversity results in a more broad-based community representation in the decisions that are made by our City Council in our name.
The Democrats are on your side
Vote for the candidates who will work for all of us, not just the rich, but everyone. Vote Democrat! You may not be familiar with all the candidates, but know that the Democrats from President Obama all the way down the ballot will be working to create job opportunities, expand education, improve health care, stabilize and grow the economy, bring the troops home from Afghanistan, urge peace in the Middle East, and help build safer roads and communities.
Remember Obama, Joyce Segers (U.S. House), Kate Brown (Oregon secretary of state), Ted Wheeler (treasurer), Ellen Rosenblum (attorney general), Brad Avakian (labor commissioner) and our Jackson County candidates: Jim Diefenderfer (state senator District 2), Peter Buckley (state representative District 5), John Huddle (state representative District 55) and Jeff Scroggin (county commissioner.)
Lemhouse is right person for the job
Over the past seven years, I've volunteer coached for the Ashland Little League. It's a rewarding experience working with kids and families on the baseball field. Kids get to experience the joy of victory and the pain of defeat in a safe, encouraging environment. You learn a lot about adults, too.
It has been my pleasure to coach against, and later with, Greg Lemhouse. He is a stand-up guy who communicates well and asks his kids to do their best, teaches them the skills to excel and remembers not to take the game of baseball too seriously.
He's also a city leader who looks at both sides of an issue, thinks things through and then acts with a responsible, adult response. He also tends to make incredibly good decisions (common sense being one of his strengths) that help keep Ashland one of the best small cities in the country. He's up for re-election and has my vote. Please go to the Greg Lemhouse for Ashland City Council Facebook page. Read his information and I think you too will find out that Greg Lemhouse is the right person for the City Council position.
Keith Haxton for City Council
Keith Haxton has my vote for Ashland City Council. I'm impressed with Keith's efforts to represent all Ashland residents. You may well meet him at your door asking about your ideas and concerns.
Keith is committed to representing the grassroots of Ashland. I appreciate his outreach and sensitivity to our struggling wage earners and fixed-income residents. Our basic cost of living expenses are rising swiftly. The City Council will continue to make difficult budget decisions and it is my belief that Keith will thoughtfully represent widespread concerns and thoughtfully advance fair solutions.
Please take a look at his website at haxton2012.com and get to know him. Keith will help bring balance and appropriate diversity to our City Council.