DeBoer for mayor
I used to work for Alan DeBoer. I was an employee at Town & Country Chevy. I wasn't a good worker and I was dealing with some critical mental and physical problems. One day I decided to check myself into 2 North instead of calling in sick.
When I returned home, I found a note on my door from Alan, obviously concerned about my welfare. Until then, I didn't think he knew my name! How wrong I was.
I called his number, and an hour later he was sitting with me in my apartment, kindly chatting with me about philosophy, our religions, our beautiful town and our precious gift of life. Alan inspired me that day, and cared for me. I'll never forget his visit. He's the best boss I've ever had, and he's a truly good-hearted man.
He'd be the perfect mayor of Ashland.
The word not spoken: Inflation
How are we to deal with our multi-million dollar debts and deficits is touched upon, and should be the focus, of the current debates. After all, the interest payments can eat up larger and larger portions of our revenues, leaving less and less for social programs, the military, etc. To minimize the huge impact of interest payments, the Federal Reserve has dropped the interest rate to almost zero.
An unintended consequence of this has been the discouragement of savings, so people turn to investing in stocks which may provide better returns, and this has driven the stock market to near record highs. But how do we repay our debts?
We could raise taxes, but Grover Norquist and the Republicans have blocked this option.
We could cut expenditures, but the Democrats have pretty much limited this option.
So there is much sound and fury and lying and posturing, but no viable solution. So everyone says, "Let us pray for a burst of economic growth which will enlarge the tax base, blah blah" which gets us nowhere. We rearrange the deck chairs on the sinking ship of state.
But there is a solution — a horrific solution — which is proceeding without the approval of Republicans or Democrats. It's masterminded by Fed Chairman Bernancke, who is printing massive amounts of new dollars to pay our debts. Clever, eh? But this results in the devaluation of existing dollars (aka inflation). Apparently, if given the choice of increasing the inflation rate, of say 10 percent, or raising taxes an equal amount, the public and our leaders will opt for inflation. Inflation will rob us of part of all the dollars we have earned and saved; taxation will rob us of the dollars we are earning or will earn.
This sounds like a great debate. Why has the issue been completely ignored?
Vote yes for library levy
Ashlanders are readers — our library is a vital part of our literary, intellectual, and social lives. It is a vibrant place filled people enjoying books, magazines, and Internet access for research, resume writing and more. Ashlanders like to come together to discuss issues important to our lives. Our library provides meeting rooms, programs, and lectures. Our children enjoy storytelling, craft, and summer reading programs there. It really is the center of our civic lives.
I urge you to vote yes for Measure 15-113 to extend the levy passed four years ago for another four years. Its revenues will allow the library to keep its operating hours at 40 hours a week and to continue enhanced programs for children, teens and the homebound. Without them, it will be open a paltry 24 hours a week and programs will be scaled back. Vote yes for Measure 15-113 for Ashland's excellent library.
Romney tries to reinvent image
Since winning the Republican primary self-identified as "severely conservative," Romney has been working to reinvent his image with women, immigrants and the undecided middle.
After his one term as a relatively moderate governor, he has become the candidate out of touch with the middle class. The question is, who is the real Romney? How will he govern?
It doesn't matter what he did as governor, what promises he makes during the campaign, or even what he believes. To determine how he will govern consider the following: His campaign is being bankrolled by wealthy billionaires, large corporations and secret PACs. His campaign advisors and inner circle are far-right ideologues. He picked Paul Ryan, an uncompromising budget slasher, to be his vice president.
Do you believe Romney will defy the people who are paying for and running his campaign — the Republican right wing — and suddenly govern as a moderate?
S.F. road diet was a success
Thirteen years ago, Valencia Street in San Francisco had Average Daily Traffic (ADT) of about 22,000 vehicles per day. It served a shared-use area of two- to three-story buildings with commercial ground floor space and residential units above. A trial basis study replaced about 1.8 miles of four traffic lanes with single traffic lanes plus a center turn lane and curb side bike lanes. This is exactly what we just completed on Ashland's North Main Street. The FHWA Report notes that signal timing was set for smooth progress at a speed limit of 25 mph — reduced from 30 mph — to enhance neighborhood livability.
The FHWA Report said the Valencia Street study found that total collisions declined by 20 percent. The report also noted that: "Although bicycle collisions increased by approximately 50 percent, the increase was outpaced by the 140 percent increase in (bicycle) ridership along the street. This brought about a net decrease in collision rate for cyclists and at the same time mirrored an increased comfort level cyclists reported feeling along the street."
The FHWA Report concluded that: "Although the project was initially controversial within the department of transportation and some members of the community, the general consensus is that the project was/is a success. Bicycling along the street has increased dramatically ... collision rates for cyclists on Valencia have dropped. The merchants association has shown support for the "road diet" as it made the street seem like more of a destination than a through arterial."
Mailer attracts deserved backlash
I'm glad that the vicious, distorted mailer attacking City Council candidates Voisin, Ayars, and Haxton is attracting the backlash it so richly deserves.
Sent by an anonymous PAC (bizarrely called "Ashland Residents for a Great City Council"), the attack on Carol Voisin is especially abhorrent, as she is now the only progressive and the only woman on the council, and bullied in both capacities.
Voisin has proven her worth as a council member by her hard work, common sense, ability to work well with others, and integrity. While the rest of the Council mostly serves the special interests of Ashland's Chamber of Commerce and conservatives, Carol serves the entire community.
The city council, and the city commissions it appoints, have veered sharply rightward over the past few years. If you want a city council that represents and works for all the people, please vote for Voisin, Ayars, and Haxton. Let us not be hijacked by Ashland's version of the Tea Party.
Pleased with Main Street design
This week I experienced the new North Main Street design, and I am very pleased with the changes. I am a business owner on North Main, and left turns are now made safely and legally into the business. My bike rides along the street have been pleasant and safe due to wide bike lanes in both directions, and with that, the sidewalks now feel a safe distance from flowing traffic. I have also driven along the street and observed that traffic flows freely and efficiently.
Thank you to all of the people who had a part in making the "Road Diet" a reality; your vision has made North Main Street safe and welcoming.