A new downtown City Hall
The Ad Hoc Committee which studied options for the location of City Hall realized that no matter what, the current City Hall building is not adequate. In other words it should be either reinforced or dismantled and rebuilt no matter what its future use might be.
Since it has been added on to and the facade reworked, the historic value of the building is compromised. Thus, the best decision is to dismantle it and start over and build a larger City Hall building in its place even if the project calls for building over the steps towards the park to gain additional space.
A project of that size will require a bond issue. The passage of a bond issue is never guaranteed, but there will be a guaranteed defeat unless the bond issue stipulates keeping City Hall in the downtown area.
Moving City Hall out of the downtown would be a further abandonment of our downtown to tourists, travelers, and the homeless. Downtown business owners won't benefit from that, and Ashland as a whole doesn't need that. We need our downtown to be relevant.
Vehicles get a pass
Recent Mail Tribune articles have addressed health issues and climate change. Despite the effect of transportation exhaust on human health, we still give vehicles a pass. Petroleum hogs-like motorbikes, cars, trucks, buses, and trains spew fine particulates that reach tiny hidden spaces in our lungs, nesting and causing heart and lung problems. Adding further complication, toxic ground level ozone forms when sunlight hits air containing nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds in automobile exhaust.
The results are lung cell damage, poor athletic performance, increased fatigue, wheezing, chest pain, dry throat, headache, reduced resistance to lung disease pneumonia, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD, emphysema, and perhaps cancer. All lead to a shortened life span and increased health care costs.
We need more studies on the effects of pollution on our lungs — especially their role in causing cancer. We seem unable to address a problem causing clear and immediate health hazards. No wonder addressing dangerous climate pollution is difficult.
For our health and all life on the planet, let’s encourage our representatives to embrace electric technology for public transit and incentives encouraging consumers to buy electric vehicles. Supporting the Clean Energy Jobs Bill would be a good start.
Louise D Shawkat