Letters to the Editor

  • Don't let ACH fade into nonexistence
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  • Don't let ACH fade into nonexistence
    As administrator of Ashland's hospital for 17 years, I feel compelled to publicly state my deep appreciation and commendation to our hospital's current board members and medical staff leadership as they work diligently to craft a course designed to maximize the opportunity to maintain a viable and strong community hospital here in Ashland.
    I have followed the Tidings' reports on the hospital regarding the negotiations with Dignity over the past few weeks with great interest. As I read the articles, it appears the dominant concerns pertain to what services will not be provided in the hospital or by the hospital's employed physicians. As a practicing Catholic my entire adult life, I truly comprehend the sensitivity and the intense emotions raised when the issues of abortion and physician-assisted suicide are on the table for discussion.
    The issue to me is that the choice is between the continued availability of hospital services and the continued employment of its 400-plus employees, the financial impact on their families and the impact on our physician community and its employees if there is no hospital in Ashland, versus the fact that some services will not be provided as noted above, yet are available for those seeking those services elsewhere in the Rogue Valley.
    Although I am over eight years retired from working at our community hospital, I still have keen affection for the people who work there and the unique role our hospital plays in the fabric of our community. Remembering ACH's service area is far greater than the Ashand zip code, its services and those provided by its physician community are too valuable to let fade into non-existance if a fair and sound "marriage" can be arranged to buy the time to see what the next years bring to this ever-rapidly changing and challenging industry of health care.
    Again to the board and medical staff leadership, well done and thank you!
    Jim Watson
    War with Iran is not the answer
    Although I was relieved that both presidential candidates spoke of diplomacy with Iran, I'm concerned that some members of Congress are ready to rush to war.
    It is of dire importance that whoever is the next president engages in sustained diplomatic efforts, and that Congress does serious work toward this goal.
    War is clearly not the answer to the conflict between the U.S. and Iran. I hope Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley will speak out on the Senate floor strongly supporting diplomacy, and opposing any legislation that puts roadblocks in the path of diplomacy.
    Eileen Chieco
    Sometimes it pays city to be a leader
    The so-called "road diet" is actually a road safety project, recommended by our transportation and planning commissions, which addresses dangerous conditions on North Main Street.
    Fourteen side streets intersecting North Main caused potential rear-enders and sideswipes during heavy traffic when drivers made left turns.
    Pedestrians on narrow sidewalks were threatened by traffic lanes next to the curb. Crossing on foot was extremely hazardous.
    North Main was dangerous for our residents, dangerous for our visitors. Now we are doing something about it.
    This project substitutes three lanes for four, with the center lane for left turns, allowing bike lanes on both sides to buffer the sidewalks.
    In August 2011, after much input, the council decided to realign the Wimer-Hersey intersection first and then pilot test the road diet. The vote was 4-2. I didn't participate, but I support every council decision. After a year, the trial will be evaluated by measurable criteria. If major problems occur, the City Council, together with ODOT, will consider terminating it. I encourage citizens to suspend judgment, try the new system for a while and see what you think.
    There is also this: ODOT paid for the necessary re-striping because it sees Ashland as a leader in Oregon and wants this to be a demonstration project for other communities. For similar reasons, DEQ encouraged us to try a new, environmentally superior method of cooling effluent from our wastewater plant. This saved Ashland $7 million!
    Sometimes it pays, Ashland, to be a leader.
    John Stromberg
    Elect Judge Bloom to the Circuit Court
    In July 2012, I was a member of a jury with Judge Benjamin Bloom as presiding judge. He quietly maintained a calm, respectful courtroom.
    After the trial had ended, Judge Bloom entered the room where the jury sat and personally thanked us for our time and for upholding our civic duty — obviously a matter of great importance to him. Despite a very long day, I had a renewed faith in the principles our nation was founded on. I believe Judge Bloom has a deep commitment to the American justice system. I believe his integrity and belief in a fair trial is patently apparent. I believe he is an objective and impartial judge who isn't in a hurry to get the day over with, but one who wants to have the most thoughtful verdict for an individual. Judge Bloom is the epitome of the judge I would want presiding over a courtroom. I would urge you to elect Judge Benjamin Bloom to the Circuit Court of Jackson County.
    Laure Trickel
    Voisin works for everyone
    Jackie Agee is running against Carol Voisin for the Ashland City Council. Aside from having no experience on a government committee, I find her campaign flier comments to be disconcerting.
    First, Agee states that as development director for the Salvation Army, she is familiar with the needs of the impoverished in our community. Yet she is running against the one city councilor who is actively attempting to alleviate the homeless issue in Ashland properly.
    The homeless issue encompasses the mentally ill, veterans, the unemployed, women and children, those with behavioral problems, etc. Carol works tirelessly with local churches, Community Works and the Maslow Project and advocates for veterans, just to name a few. It's delusional to believe an organization such as the Salvation Army will solve the problem. Second, Agee states she will not shy away from making tough decisions even if a "vocal minority" of residents disagrees.
    What "vocal minority" would Agee disagree with:
    1) Local organic farmers who want to protect their crops from GMOs?
    2) Residents who are concerned about government contracting with religious organizations to provide services?
    3) Citizens who are concerned about elections being "bought"?
    Agee was asked to run for City Council by the Ashland Chamber of Commerce and is endorsed by the conservative PAC funded by construction companies, an engineering firm and others. It is clear whom Agee will be beholden to if she is elected to the City Council.
    I support Carol Voisin, who works for the entire community, including businesses.
    M. Cody
    Rosenthal will make a good councilor
    I have served with Rich Rosenthal on the Ashland Parks Commission and I've grown to respect Rich's honesty, leadership, work ethic and ability to represent the citizens of Ashland in protecting our park system while voting for environmentally sound park management practices. A long-time resident, Rich has an in-depth understanding of the needs of all the citizens in Ashland and understands the relationship between having a vibrant economic base and Ashland's ability to provide the best quality of life for its residents.
    Rich is dedicated to creating a vigorous economy, affordable housing, a safe and "green" environment, and living-wage job opportunities. As a parks commissioner, Rich has always considered the recreational needs of all our citizens while protecting the integrity of the parks. Rich will bring this same perspective to the City Council. Rich supports protecting The Grove as a recreation center for our citizens. And the importance the park system plays in public safety, particularly relating to watershed protection and fire suppression issues.
    Rich has conducted his campaign, respecting spending limits, by going door to door to talk with residents about their concerns. He truly wants to make Ashland a better place for all residents. He is thoughtful in making decisions and will consider all sides of an issue. Rich's experience in and knowledge of Ashland's city government makes him an outstanding candidate for City Council, Position 5.
    Stefani Seffinger
    Fire district levy foes use misinformation
    As a Jackson County Fire District 5 patron and firefighter, I am shocked and bewildered by the magnitude of the inaccuracies and claims the opposition has made against the proposed bond levy, Measure 15-112.
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