Re-elect Stromberg, Voisin and Lemhouse
Over the past two years I have had the opportunity to meet with city council members and the mayor on issues with public health implications. I was able to see firsthand how they serve on the council. I was impressed with all three of the incumbents who are running for re-election — John Stromberg for mayor, and Carol Voisin, and Greg Lemhouse for city council. All three of them listened, asked probing questions, and came up with ideas toward solutions for complex issues.
All three of them were committed to everyone being heard, and worked together to find the best solutions for Ashland. We need councilors and a mayor like these dedicated people to ensure a healthy Ashland for all of us.
We shouldn't lose Lemhouse
I'd really like a thoughtful younger citizen with first-hand homelessness experience like Keith Haxton on our city council, but the price of getting him there this year — losing the services of Greg Lemhouse — is too high to pay.
I differ with some of Greg's views and votes since he's been in office, but I can't think of many councilors in Ashland or anywhere else who come to the work better prepared, or with a more open mind. He gets to the nub of complex issues and processes them with critical thinking instead of knee-jerk dogma.
I hope you stick around, Keith, and occupy a chair next to Greg two years from now. I'd love to see what the two of you together could do for Ashland.
Ad was not mean-spirited
I went to look at the Sneak Preview ad from Ashland Residents for a Great City Council because I read in many letters to the Tidings how terrible it was. I was totally surprised. The ad was just Councilor Voisin's voting record and why we should vote for Jackie Agee. I saw nothing "mean spirited," "bullying," "malicious" or "slanderous" in it. I suggest that if you're reading the letters to the editor and haven't seen the ad, you should be sure to take a look at it.
Perhaps I'm missing something, but it was completely different from what I expected based on all the letters.
Supporting Stromberg for mayor
I am writing in support of John Stromberg for a second term as mayor of Ashland. John is a bright, thoughtful and inclusive leader. During his term of office, John has brought a professionalism to city management that is focused and goal-oriented while also being receptive and respectful to all the various views of Ashlanders. I am impressed with his ability to balance the needs of local businesses, the arts and the environment. We are fortunate as a community to have John as mayor of Ashland. Please give John Stromberg your vote of support for a second term.
Loudest doesn't equal best
For those of you who were aghast at the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United, and the resulting greater influence that big money will have in elections — you might be interested to know that we have our own version of what's wrong with that decision right here in Ashland.
The so called "Ashland Residents for a Great City Council" and the "League of Ashland Voters" PACs receive donations from the wealthier one percent of Rogue Valley residents. They create a slate to run against any "grassroots" candidate who does not swear allegiance to the true power in town — the Chamber of Commerce. These PACs can legally avoid the city's campaign contribution limits and the use this money to denegrate those who have not sworn the oath.
Because of the large amount of money that these PACs receive in donations, they are able to speak louder than other candidates. However, louder does not equate to better. I urge you to look carefully at who's running for Ashland positions and vote based on who is best, not on who is loudest. For me, if they are endorsed by the ARGCC or LAV, I know to vote for someone else.
Choice of mayor makes a difference
The next four years will present tough challenges and unprecedented opportunities for Ashland. We can descend into rancor and cynicism or check our ideological rigidities at the door and work together to turn these challenges into breakthroughs.
Our choice of mayor will make a difference. We need someone with a deep, working knowledge of both current and long-range challenges, a mind open to fresh ideas from all quarters, and the ability to inspire the brilliant, passionate and, at times, cantankerous citizens of Ashland to collaborate for the common good.
We'd be fools, my friends, to turn out our sitting mayor, John Stromberg. He fits all the above criteria. He's one of the least ideological people I know and can work well with whomever ends up on the council and commissions.
Re-electing Stromberg can increase enormously the chances that the progress on important fronts that he, the council and the commissions have made will bear fruit.
Imagine Ashland four years from now with a diverse economy that generates and circulates more money locally; a downtown that's the attractive heart and soul of the community; homelessness that's manageable thanks to the preventive measures and pathways out created in partnership with the homeless; healthier woodlands and the danger of wildfires greatly reduced; a steady supply of clean water available and under our control; and our food security increased through ordinances that support micro-farming and gardening — and, yes, chicken-raising — within city limits using highly productive, restorative approaches.
Take climate change seriously
Droughts, wildfire and severe storms are not partisan; they affect Republicans, Independents, and Democrats alike. Similarly, our recognition that these events are increasing as a result of climate change is scientific, not partisan.
It is difficult to judge whether Mitt Romney takes climate change seriously. In his convention speech he treated it as a joke — maybe a sop to his party's anti-science platform. Previously, however, Romney argued it is a serious concern needing to be addressed, though through volunteer measures, not regulations. We know that we only have clean air and clean water because regulations level the playing field for those who want to do the right thing. Regulations make greedy individuals accept their community responsibilities. Volunteer environmental protection has never worked — it leads to disaster.
Confronted by congressional opposition, Barack Obama might not offer perfect responses to climate change, but he takes it seriously and offers positive proposals.