Ashland's tourism put

Ashland's tourism put

at risk by homeless

I've been following the Ashland "homeless" issue for a while; reading pieces in the Tidings and making occasional field trips to the Plaza, Lithia Park, etc. Having moved here in 2009 from Sacramento, I've seen this problem on a large scale both there and in the Bay Area.

The main difference, and it's a critical one, is that Ashland is a small town that economically relies on tourism. A person might go to Sacramento for business or to San Francisco for fun and be willing to put up with some panhandling or harassment. In Ashland's case, the proportionate impact is much more noticeable and I think the town is far more vulnerable to lost tourism because of it.

San Francisco can afford to have a "homeless problem" reputation because it's large; Ashland could potentially be devastated. Many of the recent articles and letters in the Tidings corroborate these points.

It's this reality that should be foremost on the minds of Ashland's decision-makers. Does the city jeopardise its economic lifeblood to please a handful of individuals who regard the work ethic as "greed," or will tough, realistic decisions made in the interest of the city?

Andrew Kubik

Ashland