Be careful what you wish for
While some members of the community may be rejoicing about Dignity backing out of the agreement with ACH and believe they have "won," be careful of what you wish for.
I feel that those vocal few have chosen to throw out the baby with the bath water. Dignity was willing to pay off ACH's debt where other potential affiliates might not. This means the debt of ACH could end up being the city of Ashland's debt, and would affect the community.
You wanted a guarantee of jobs being retained. In any business or even the government, there are no guarantees. I feel that it is unrealistic to expect any company to make such a guarantee. Now we do face potential job losses if either Asante or Providence join forces with ACH as there would be potential duplication of jobs and services. With job losses, those who live in the community will be unable to shop, pay taxes or might even lose housing through foreclosure. Again, a financial hit to the city of Ashland.
To those who said that they would rather see ACH close, this could still happen. This would be financially devastating to all in this community.
Please stop using 'vocal minority'
Once again, I hear the term "vocal minority" being bandied about in numerous ways in our local Ashland election. This specific term is used ad infinitum as a means of marginalizing anyone who chooses to speak their views in public.
If one does not agree with said views, they accuse the speaker of speaking for a "vocal minority." However, there is no way to document whether the view in question is held by a minority of people or a majority of people until the entire population votes. This type of comment serves only to marginalize and does nothing to move us to an informed, collaborative decision.
I encourage those individuals who feel the need to use this term to think again, listen respectfully, do their own homework, speak for themselves only, and stop using terms that accuse others. I, for one, would be most appreciative.
Vote Helfrich for Phoenix council
Following a meet-the-candidates event for residents of Phoenix, I came away with a certainty that I would vote for Terry Helfrich for City Council.
He is professional and intelligent and organized in his thinking, appearance and comments, with clear and extremely well-informed answers to very difficult questions. He addressed the meeting with a brief written statement giving his credentials as a lifelong Oregonian, a career orchardist and grower, and 16 years of combined service on the Phoenix Planning Commission, City Council and numerous regional committees involving planning, roads, finance and more.
What I most appreciated about Terry was his depth of knowledge and his experience as a "shoulder-to-the-wheel" person who did a great deal to mitigate the impact of ODOT's original plan for the Fern Valley Interchange, his dedication to the vision and existence of our Urban Renewal District (finally about to be unveiled in Phoenix) and his ability to create consensus between disparaging and sometimes entrenched or polarized forces.
His election to the City Council now is, in my opinion, imperative to progress in Phoenix. If you live in Phoenix and haven't voted yet, please make sure that one box for Terry Helfrich gets checked.
Follow the money; yes on 15-116
I was disappointed last Sunday evening as Amy Goodman addressed a crowd at Ashland High School.
Goodman's talk promoting her book "Silenced Majority" included the activist movements she's covered for years, everything from protests against the World Trade Organization to the Occupy Wall Street and tea party movements, to protests against global warming and GMOs. She drew attention to increasing militarization of our police forces, including drone surveillance, and even discussed the crackdown on public media and whistleblowers like Bradley Manning and Julian Assange.
Goodman encouraged everyone to get involved as activists; however, she failed to do something the third party candidates on her special "Democracy Now!" "Expanding the Debate" series recently did do — connect the dots. We should ask ourselves, why the promulgation of drone warfare? Why global warming? Why continued wild speculation on Wall Street? Why the crackdown on media, et cetera?
Any good detective will tell you: "Follow the money." Wouldn't it make more sense to get our political leaders to actually represent the will of "we the people" instead of the interests of big oil, agribusiness, the big banks, the military-industrial complex and the rest of the 1 percent interests that essentially own this country through their campaign contributions and lobbying?
That's what three of the four third-party candidates on Goodman's "Democracy Now!" show concluded. Overturning the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United decision was their job No. 1.
If you haven't voted yet in Ashland, please vote yes on Ballot Measure 15-116.