PAC is diverse, wants only a functional city

PAC is diverse, wants only a functional city

My name is Susan Wilson and I'm the treasurer for Ashland Residents for a Great City Council. I've followed the letters to the editor since our mailer/flier arrived at your homes and want to share some thoughts.

I joined ARGCC (formerly LAV) in 2006 when the Ashland City Council was so dysfunctional that it subsequently made national news and became an object of ridicule on the David Letterman show. This year, the city of Ashland received an Award for Service Excellence from the International City/County Management Association. Only 12 communities in the U.S. were so honored.

So, what's changed? In 2006, there was a faction serving on the council whose goal was to disrupt city business and promote their specific agenda. That faction had a vocal, aggressive following that didn't represent the vast majority of Ashlanders. It was easy for them to disrupt our city because, let's face it, few of us participate, take an interest in or know much about our city government.

However, some of us in town committed ourselves to educating Ashlanders by presenting voting records and statements made by the candidates who were and are members of this faction. In 2008, 2010 and now in 2012, we devoted hundreds of hours of research to provide you with substantiated, verifiable facts. The source(s) for every point is documented in the mailer. And, in fact, none of the letters in the Tidings criticizing us has had any substantive disputes, just general attacks, name-calling and innuendo.

Those who oppose ARGCC accuse us of wanting everyone on the council to be like us. In one respect — that we're an incredibly diverse group — that's true. Consider, for example, the road diet. Our director, Bill Heimann, is an outspoken proponent; I'm an agnostic, waiting to see the results; and a third member opposes it.

We are Ashland. We represent the full spectrum of views on this subject and many others. We also represent a full range of backgrounds, professions, political affiliations and income groups. So the accusation by Aaron Corbet that we are "all essentially part of the same group of wealthy, privileged and very aggressive citizens who want to impose their vision on all of us" simply isn't true.

Only the faction we oppose in this election is guilty of wanting to impose its views on everyone. Members of this faction constantly lobby for their cause while ARGCC is only active during the election season. Otherwise, we take no stand on any issue, we don't lobby the council or ask for anything from our city officials. We expect nothing in return.

Our mission is to educate and provide you, the voter, with the facts about who is running so you can make an informed decision. Our sole vision is to get capable people on the council who will represent the broadest possible range of Ashlanders and trust them subsequently to run the government.

My dear friend recently said it's a shame we have a PAC in our lovely little community. I agree it's a shame and wish it weren't necessary. But, I refuse to go back to a time when we had to pay $37,000 for a therapist to get our council working together. I want the award-winning city we have now! Don't you?

Susan Wilson