Fix shelter problem starting Monday
The lack of emergency cold weather shelter in Ashland can be solved. The City's Homeless Steering Committee has facilitated dialogue in the faith-based communities to address this need.
The Presbyterians and Trinity Episcopal have stepped up to provide one night each of cold weather shelter. This leaves five nights to go. The Rogue Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship and Temple Emek Shalom want to help. They propose partnering with the City of Ashland to improve this situation.
If the City of Ashland provides either The Community Center, Pioneer Hall, or The Grove, RVUUF and Temple Emek Shalom will provide trained volunteers and resources. In the spirit of this season, the time of year when gifts are exchanged and we celebrate peace and warmth of community, I ask the Ashland City Council Members to consider partnering with the Interfaith Community by providing a facility where our most vulnerable citizens can find protection from the cold at least one more night a week.
Please place this on Monday evening's study session, and move it to the full council on Tuesday. Those who need shelter should not have to wait in the cold until you meet in January.
John Wieczorek, Options for Homeless Residents of Ashland, Rogue Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship
Oppose the Plaza remodeling proposal
I was unable to attend the last meeting of the Ashland City Council during which it took public testimony about the proposed changes in the central island of the downtown Plaza. I am told, however, that the vast majority of those offering comments totally opposed the offered project.
I think the council has generally had a good record in not getting roped into boondoggles, and has had particularly exemplary behavior on environmental issues. I hope it can continue in this vein.
Those pushing for this proposed change belong to a minority element of the business community. We need to avoid a rehash of the conflict with the proposed ski expansion, where similar elements falsely claimed they represented the majority of Ashlanders, a claim I easily quantitatively refuted. To this end, I think it particularly important that the council document any public input according to verified residence information.
I also urge anyone concerned about this issue to contact the council by mail, phone or email, and particularly to stress the need for relevant authorities to spell out in all necessary detail the justification for the removal of any trees.