Yes on Fire Bond; The flaming new journalism

Yes on fire bond

Please support Ashland Fire & Rescue, and the community by voting yes on Bond Measure 15-109 to replace Fire Station No. 2 in Ashland. A new station is desperately needed. The current station is 45 years old, constructed of hollow, non-reinforced concrete blocks. Diesel exhaust seeps into sleeping and eating areas. Areas of the ceiling have asbestos-based covering. It was designed for two firefighters and has no separate sleeping or restroom facilities for men and women. The cost for the station will be just under $3 million, or $28 per year in property taxes for the owner of an average-priced home assessed at $228,710. That's little more than 12 cents per $1,000, just more than half of what the voters approved for the enhanced library services. Without Fire Station No. 2 you cannot have a five-minute response time to all of Ashland. In emergencies, seconds count. Vote yes.

Russ Silbiger

Ashland city councilman

The flaming new journalism

Dare we hope that the death of newspapers and media will not mean the end of the free press? Julian Assange's WikiLeaks gives us hope. He is the St. Joan of journalism, offering truth before someone burns him at the stake. Only whistleblowers can redeem our insanely commercialized and militarized world now.

Though small local papers are invaluable in keeping communities thriving, the big dailies, such as The New York Times, are in high seas. Conservative big-money monopolies have created scream opinion news, hate radio and cable junk TV. Truth is hidden because "we the people" can't handle it.

The story is that those who blow whistles are heroes who risk everything for justice. Yet we condemn them as we have condemned all martyrs for evolution. In this we are a civilization still caught somewhere in the Middle Ages, hardly out of the cave.

Others say that WikiLeaks is not "transparent" about who funds and works for them. It is supported by the public that has every right to remain anonymous in a dangerous world. Assange and his employees are on all kinds of "hit" lists, from financial to emotional harassment to death threats.

WikiLeaks and such publishers are the enemies of the Orwellian world where there are no straight stories, only sell. It was once thought that ordinary people could not take the truth in the Bible. Those who first translated the Bible into English from Latin were burned at the stake, too.

Assange is accused of becoming rich and famous by publishing secrets. What a great way to enjoy fame — facing inquisitions. Then there is the extradition ploy of a rape trial in Sweden. Consider the hundreds of thousands of young women in love with him, and the old ladies who can spot a Prince Hamlet when they see one.

They call Assange weird because he had an activist mother. Weirdos design cathedrals, invent electricity and blow godlike life into art. They are born, not made by normality. And who gets to decide if "normality" is the American way anyway?

To stay alive, Assange has built up a file of truth on illegal bank practices. The bank monster has bitten us all. If he is assassinated, the big bank truths are revealed. More criticism: "He should reveal it anyway." Give Assange a break, we all deserve life insurance.

The good news is that we finally have a means for the little guy (that's us) to fight financial ruin, no access to higher education and going to war as the only job available. How can we criticize a new way of information when the old way has created all the wealth for 1 percent of the population?

The pen is still mightier than the stealth bomber. WikiLeaks is the next evolution of the printing press and free speech. This is our last and best chance for freedom and justice for all. Some choose ignorance and fear over truth. The planet is burning; this is a luxury no one can afford.

Leah EV Ireland is a local writer