Park land trade deserves daylight




The Daily Tidings reported that the Ashland city council has been meeting in executive session to discuss exchanging some city-owned land for land on Clay Street that is suitable for affordable housing ("City mulls land swap," Sept. 24, 2007).




After some investigation, I have determined that the city property in question is the 9.58 acre parcel on the west side of Westwood Street near Strawberry Lane which the Ashland city council dedicated for park purposes in 1990 (Council resolution 90-02), and that there have already been several city council




executive sessions to discuss this land exchange.




I have repeatedly asked the mayor, city administrator and the council to bring this proposal up for public review since it involves disposing of public park land in favor of affordable housing. The city administrator has responded that since terms of the potential land swap are being discussed, the City is




within its rights to keep those discussions private and the City is not yet ready to bring any proposal to the public.




This response misses or ignores the point. Despite the convictions of some of Ashland's citizens and some of its city council members, I have been unable to find any legal imperative requiring the City of Ashland to spend taxpayer money to subsidize owner occupied affordable housing.




Furthermore, an abbreviated study of housing availability conducted recently for the city council when it was considering the condominium conversion ordinance indicated that there is no shortage of




affordable rental housing in Ashland.




In my view, Ashland's taxpayers should be consulted on any proposal to exchange city park land for affordable housing land before the city council conducts private discussions on the structure of a deal. The taxpayers have already paid for their park lands, but have never voted to trade that park land to subsidize affordable housing. Agreement to such a proposal should be gained up front, rather than having the city council negotiate in private a deal whose public review may consist only of an after-the-fact hearing about a fait accompli.




The City currently appears to be trying to limit public visibility and debate on what is likely a highly controversial proposal.




Keith Baldwin









"Blood" review is just one man's opinion




As a former film critic &

for the entertainment trade paper Variety &

I was, as are all film critics, subjected to views counter to mine with the statement, "It's only one person's opinion." It's now my turn to use those words, this time about Chris Honore's review of "There Will Be Blood" in the Feb. 2 Etcetera section of the Daily Tidings.




Honore spends considerable space extolling a number of virtues he sees in this film but dismisses them with an overriding expression of disappointment in not feeling anything as a result of seeing the film. Here's one person's opinion (mine): "There Will Be Blood" is a remarkable film that explores greed in unique ways that are, in the end, haunting. I felt something and still do.




Greatness in a film can derive from any one or more of several elements &

story, direction, acting, production values. My view is that the greatness of this film stems in strong measure from the performance of Daniel Day-Lewis. He is at once natural and overdrawn, an architect of his own collapse. His is an artful, skilled performance that I will not soon forget &

and no one should be surprised if he walks away with the Best Actor Oscar on Feb. 24. More importantly, I am hopeful that local filmgoers will not be dissuaded from seeing this extraordinary performance &

and this excellent film &

because of a local review which contains opinions to which the reviewer is surely entitled but is, after all, only one person's opinion.




Ron Silverman









Thanks for hot meal on cold day




Thanks to the courageous drivers of Meals-on-Wheels during the storm that dropped 9 to 10 inches of snow on Ashland, most recipients received their hot meals. The thanks go to Lions Bob Miller, Walter Schraub and Bill Griffiths. Meals are delivered at noon and to others at 4 o'clock in the afternoon. Marilyn Bailey and Jim LeNay delivered four hot meals to those in need Monday afternoon when other drivers were not able to get around to the recipients. Volunteers are welcome to drive for Meals-on-Wheels.




Paul Buck