Mayor shows wisdom in State of the City

Mayor shows wisdom in State of the City

I think Mayor Stromberg did us a big favor by summarizing Ashland's efforts to be smart and sustainable. His State of the City address is on the mayor's Web page, www.ashland.or.us.

John is candid about the "unprecedented" external changes before us. Yet he's hopeful we'll muster the energy to adapt and capitalize on Ashland's "unique qualities and character." And there's already so much agreement to do just that!

First, there's the City Council's new baseline goal: develop and protect Ashland's resources to meet our current needs and those of future generations. Excellent start.

Next, John describes four top-priority projects now underway: collaborating on an innovative economic development strategy; crafting a citywide transportation plan to decrease reliance on private autos; devising better ways to conserve drinking water in the face of climate change; and starting the thinning projects in the National Forest lands above town. The mayor also proposes demonstration projects for creekside care, reducing pesticides and composting in the parks, plus more community gardens. Bravo!

He predicts all this is going to be "stretch" for us. I can relate. For example, I'm uncomfortable with the high-elevation thinning proposals on the roadless ridgelines five miles from town. But I'm willing to swallow that bittter pill, knowing there will be opportunities for ongoing monitoring and public input to modify the units. I also figure our spending priorities over time will focus on thinning closer to town. So let's be smart and adapt. Our grandchildren will notice the difference.

Julie Norman

Ashland

Civil Rights Act had big impact on voting

MLK Day is a perfect occasion to reflect on the history of the time and how that history helps to define us this day. In Dr. King's time, the South was solidly Democratic, but strongly opposed to a civil rights bill. Dr. King became the emotional fulcrum that helped move the country toward civil rights, but it was Democratic President Johnson who managed the heavy lifting by successfully lobbying Congress.

When he signed the Civil Rights Act of 1968 into law, LBJ acknowledged that the South, in backlash mode, would not vote Democratic for at least a generation. Nixon's infamous "southern strategy" was to implement those words by convincing the South that the Republicans would be the party most sympathetic to their anti-civil rights sentiments. Before the civil rights legislation, very few Southerners would have remotely considered joining "The Party of Lincoln," the prevailing sobriquet of the time for the Republican party. How things have changed.

Jerry Nutter

Ashland

Thanks for another TreeCycling success

Ashland Boy Scout Troop 112 wishes to thank Southern Oregon for its support of our annual Christmas tree sale and recycling drive. Started 24 years ago, Ashland's TreeCycle Program has become a model for similar projects around the country. Thousands of trees were collected on the Jan. 9 Recycling Day — trees that will not enter our landfills. Instead, they were chipped into mulch for use in our city parks.

We're always pleased at the generosity of the people of Ashland in their support of local organizations such as the Boy Scouts and the Lion's Club. Your donations to Troop 112 for recycling your trees go to the Scouts to help pay for part of their summer camp fees. In addition to providing funds for the Scouts, the TreeCycle program teaches the boys the value of and funds community service projects. If you haven't sent a donation for your tree recycling yet, we are still accepting checks made out to Troop 112, P.O. Box 839, Ashland.

The Troop is grateful to the Ashland Lions Club, Senior Center, Streets and Parks Department, Albertson's, Napa Auto Parts, Project A, The Elks Club, parents and scouts of Troop 112, Citizens of Ashland and Mike's RV.

John Wurfl

Committee Chairman

Boy Scouts Troop 112

Atheists deserve some attention too

We are spending so much time about the taboo of nudity lately. How about the subject of atheism?

Atheists like me are baring souls, not just boobies and such. Atheists are actually the deepest believers, but just want to make it happen this time around, not in some hereafter. Imagine that!

And just like the "Naked Lady," atheists are different, but between her cleavage and eternity to discuss, I say, "Why not God?"

Lawrence Dansky

Talent