We are the government

I am writing in response to Dave Kanner's guest opinion of April 12, "Tax mansions for basic housing." I do not know if his idea is a good one or not. I do believe that Ashland planning staff have looked at an excise tax and may well present it as a funding option at a future study session on the affordable housing trust and that Portland's tax begins well below $900,000 to fund affordable housing in Portland.

I am puzzled, though, by Kanner's suggestion that citizens should take more responsibility for solving the city's problem of affordable housing and not demand someone else like city government solve the problem. I hear this reference to government all the time, as if government is something separate from the people.

City government is the people of Ashland. it is the one place where our collective money resides to be used for the common good. That is not to say the smart governments don't partner with the many organizations that can help in solutions. We have citizen commissions that also work tirelessly in the solution of many problems. I think Ashlanders are working hard on the affordable housing crisis and are asking to partner with the city in solutions.

I was also puzzled that Kanner would suggest that housing code needs to be changed before people can build tiny houses in their backyards. I do think to build two would be difficult but one is already allowed. We do need to have a way that they become affordable housing and not just another expensive tiny rental.

I have had the privilege to work with many dedicated Ashland citizens who volunteer their time to care for the most vulnerable and work to solve many of their beloved city's pressing problems. They are in the Interfaith Social justice Coalition, Southern Oregon Housing for All, Uncle Foods diner, the Peace meal, Community Jobs with justice and the tenant rights group, to name just a few. I could go on for many more paragraphs as the list is long.

Our government is all of us together doing the messy business of the commons.

Diane Werich


What's in a name?

What could be more purely American than a Chevy? Remember those '70s TV commercials? “Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet.” Hey, no foreign stuff here!

Except that name is suspicious…

Hmm. Maybe most Chevy cars and trucks are made in the USA, but company co-founder Louis Chevrolet was made elsewhere. He was born in the French-speaking part of Switzerland, and did not become a U.S. citizen until he was 37.

In this case, true believers in the “America exclusively for the American-born” movement might as well drive a Toyota.

Bruce Borgerson


Wall Street’s crony capitalist

Rep. Greg Walden voted to repeal Glass-Steagall in 1999, then voted to bail out Wall Street with TARP in 2008. In 2010, according to shadowproof.com, Greg Walden received $180,700 in Wall Street cash. Up to 2010 he had received $732,400 in Wall Street cash.

I was at the Medford town hall meeting. Don’t expect Walden to support Rep. John Conyers’ HR 676 Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act. It slashes unnecessary administrative overhead by over 30 percent.

You might be fool enough to think Walden is a fiscal conservative; he is when it comes to social programs, but when it comes to corporate welfare they can count on Walden.

Lastly, Walden and the rest of the bobbleheads seem eager for a thermonuclear war with Russia.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is skeptical that President Assad is behind chemical attacks. So am I. The terrorists possessed those weapons, not Assad!

John Mitchell


The fuss about climate

There’s a lot of controversy today about climate change — how our planet’s rising temperature may be on course to disrupt the climate’s delicate balance. Scientists agree that it is problem that we need to address.

But warring camps of climate warriors and deniers have taken what should be a risk management problem and made it a referendum on capitalism. It’s another divisive political issue. Is there a way forward?

Join us at 3 p.m. Saturday, April 22 in the Adams Room of the Medford Library to consider climate change, asking, “What’s the science really telling us?”

We’ll look at what empirical science is telling us — the facts. Then we’ll examine how people are engaging those facts through the lens of social science — the other facts. Finally, I’ll lay out a “post-partisan plan” for solving the problem.

Coffee, tea  and yummy homemade “dirt” will be served. You’re welcome to bring your own refreshments. Why not bring a friend along?

Can’t make it out? Join FaceBook Live streaming to weigh in @FaceBook.com/TheWeeklyTALK.

Hope to see you, either way.

Rob Schlapfer


Wilson for Library Board

Hart Wilson has filed for the Jackson County Library Board. We county residents are fortunate.

Hart is an extremely capable person. She can represent rural interests as she is a farmer/ landowner experienced in dealing with rural issues. And, she is a sophisticated woman who understands the complicated evolution of libraries in the modern era and how they contribute to our intellectual and educational enrichment.

Even more important, Hart is a community-oriented person who will advocate for our libraries as a “commons” that serves all of us, no matter our politics. I urge you to join me in voting for Hart Wilson for the Library Board.

Kevin Talbert


Cannabis caucus

In 2016 Oregon collected over $54 million in tax revenue from legal sales of marijuana to adults over 21. In our state facing massive budget shortfalls, this new revenue stream is money which will be used for schools, various health-related programs and police. Unfortunately, our state, (one of eight with legal adult use and 28 with legal medical use) is facing potential conflicts with continued federal cannabis prohibition.

In February the bipartisan Congressional Cannabis Caucus was formed by Reps. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore.; Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif.; Don Young, R-Alaska; and Jared Polis, D-Colo., in an effort to harmonize state and federal laws.

With the Trump administration’s threats to state’s rights regarding marijuana, I’m calling on our representative, Greg Walden, to join his Republican counterparts in the Congressional Cannabis Caucus. Prohibiting federal money from prosecuting marijuana businesses in states where it’s legal should be a no-brainer. (link to press conference announcement of Congressional Cannabis Conference, https://blumenauer.house.gov/cannabis-caucus).

Claudia Little