City traffic solutions are simple if you think

City traffic solutions are simple if you think

Recently, Curtis Hayden wrote that the City Council spent $500,000 to have "experts" think for them about traffic in Ashland. Do the members of the council know how much a half of a million dollars is? Think about it!

And about traffic on North Main Street: I've used North Main for many, many, many years and find that auto congestion occurs with left turns, particularly during rush hour. Suggestion: Prohibit left turns between Maple and Laurel and install a three-way signal there as you have at Maple.

So a motorist might drive two blocks farther. Big deal! I once taught that government's purpose was to serve the common good, not pander to the whimperings of a certain few.

So, for the common good: About cyclists using North Main, if they find traffic unaccommodating, prohibit them as well. A right turn up Maple, a short, invigorating pump one short block to High Street, a left turn and they're on their way to Granite. So, two short blocks out of their way. Big deal!

About pedestrians: I've noticed that those who perambulate the present sidewalks do so unhindered. Those who gather are at a bus stop, awaiting transport into town and beyond. More power to them. So much for North Main.

I've read that kids find it hard to occupy their leisure time. We were told, "Go out and play," and we did, but that was another time.

A thought: How about contacting the thinkers and doers at Kids Unlimited in Medford to, possibly, initiate a like program here in Ashland? The Grove, that unoccipied monument to conspicuous consumption, might be available, and if today's parent might say, "Go out and play," there would be somewhere for the kid to go. Just a thought. Thoughts?

Al Scott

Ashland

Social Security fundcan be made solvent

The Dallas Morning News editorial that states that there is no way to rein in the national debt without taking on Social Security is devoid of any fact supporting this claim.

First, Social Security is an insurance program, not a welfare program. Workers and employers are obligated to pay in and the Social Security Administration is obligated to pay out. It is completely self-funding.

The fund is solvent until 2037 and could be made solvent well into the future by raising the tax cap on earnings from $106,000 to $200,000. Were this done, no cuts or raising of the retirement age would be needed.

Social Security is only connected to the budget because of the assets borrowed from the program in order to fund our government. And this borrowing would never have been required if we would tax and spend responsibly. The funds that have been borrowed can be paid back at a reasonable rate, and in a fiscal time frame that need not affect Social Security obligations or our nation's fiscal health. There is no need for drastic measures. We have more than 20 years to get this right.

Only 8 percent of Americans now have a guaranteed pension, down from 60 percent in 1980. In addition, 401(k)s are proving inadequate for providing for the boomers' retirement. To allow Social Security, which is sound for another 26 years, to be gutted when many working Americans can no longer afford a dignified retirement, is short-sighted and reckless. Increased senior poverty will be assured.

Our discussions about a program as important as Social Security should be grounded in facts and figures, not falsehoods and fearmongering.

Jacob Crabtree

Ashland

Take positive action for our children

I have been in education since 1989 in different parts of the country and I have witnessed over and over that it is not the sports programs that are the first to go, as Stephen Garrett reports in your article "Running on fumes" (March 16). The art and drama programs are usually cut first, followed by music.

In fact, sports programs are usually the last thing to be cut, which perhaps illustrates the dire budget situation we are facing here. Sports are very important, especially now with students spending so much time in front of TVs and computers, but the other so-called "extra enhancement" programs I mentioned are equally important to the students participating in them.

Our community may be required to come up with creative ways to solve these deficits in the schools. Can we form after-school programs run by volunteers? As a culture we seem to be cutting out all of the enriching things that make us fully rounded human beings. Let's take positive action for our kids! It will make our community stronger for everyone.

Diane Nichols

Ashland