A big, fat mess

This is in response to the editorial, “Bridging the Divide,” Oct. 10, which states, “Seniors who have been using the center on Homes Avenue are legitimately saddened by the dismissal of longtime Senior Center Director Chris Dodson, and the loss of volunteers who resigned in solidarity is being felt. While reasons for the staff change aren’t clear, it is clear a great deal of institutional memory went out the door.”

Yes, it is indeed true that decades of highly trained “institutional memory went out the door.” While several “volunteers” have resigned in protest of Michael Black’s recent actions (including some with Meals on Wheels, tutors and instructors), what is also true is that there has not just been a loss of “volunteers.”

The entire part-time staff of four of the Senior Program, resigned en masse as of Aug. 31, upon being informed that we would all be laid off by Oct. 1 by Michael Black. We resigned in support of our program director, Christine Dodson, and in opposition to Michael Black’s and the APRC commissioners’ taking apart of this successful program. We felt we had a clear choice: to resign based on our dedication to the Senior Program Mission Statement, or to allow ourselves to be essentially used while this “reorganization” took place, and then be canned anyway.

Michael Black and the APRC commissioners can backpedal all they want now, but the “recommendations” were clear in their intent at the time, and their actions and documented disdain for prior public input have resulted in a big, fat mess where there was none before.

Susanne Severeid

Ashland

Wildfire risk

I’m 71; born, raised, and married in Ashland. Jobs then took me all over the state. My favorite job was state risk manager.

My wife and I return each year. This month, we walked my old hillside paper routes. What I saw made me worry. Alleys were often packed with cars. Street parking was so tight small cars had to yield for one-way passage. The only access to some inbuilt houses is by a private drive curving tightly around the front house. These tight spots could block fire trucks and escape routes. Dry shrubs and trees crowd against houses. With dry brush piles, they also line alleys. All this is fuel for a wildfire.

California’s years of urban fires are our fire alarms. I urge the city to hear them. Take a fresh look at the risks of urban wildfire. Should the city keep accepting the risks it does? What does the city plan to do if a wildfire starts tonight?

No one can prevent all risk, but everyone should know the risks they face. In a city, all the public must know what the city will and won’t do. Five minutes after a fire starts is too late.

David White

Salem