A textbook example
The Tidings editorial Thursday (Nov. 16) is a reflection of the paper's unwillingness to pay attention to the facts. It states that the recall process should "be reserved for actual malfeasance or wrongdoing," and then reduces the outrageous behavior of the Ashland Parks and Recreation Commission to differences of opinion and to upsetting some constituents.
The actions of the APRC are a textbook example of malfeasance and wrongdoing. Without any documented problem or case for urgent action, the commission has pulled the rug out on our most vulnerable citizens, cutting them off from the help they need to access to the medical, rehab, legal, financial and social services they are entitled to by law. They have arbitrarily laid off the staff that was the link to these services and have done nothing to replace these highly qualified people.
As winter approaches the challenges these seniors face become more daunting. Will it take an avoidable death for the city to decide that this action constitutes malfeasance and wrongdoing ?
A leadership vacuum
With reference to the opinion by Rich Rosenthal (Nov. 17), wherein he seems to confuse a citizen’s right to recall elected representatives with “threatening actions,” may we respectfully point out a few things:
A recall is not only a right, it is our civic duty when the officials steamroll the public as has been done in the case of the APRC commissioners’ actions toward the Ashland Senior Program. He further states, “This is the wrong type of referendum at the wrong time.” Really? Who appointed him to be the judge of the paths to take, and what are his qualifications to do so?
He criticizes a recall as “divisive,” “needlessly pitting neighbors against neighbors.” Isn’t that unnecessarily incendiary? Since this is a right given to citizens, why should it divide anyone? Can’t neighbors disagree without becoming enemies? Perhaps when neighbors hear the truth, they will come together — not divide.
He says that the “problem-solving process ... needs civil, constructive discourse ...” If Ashland Parks and Recreation would consider reversing their actions, there might be an opportunity for problem-solving. Positive discourse requires both sides to agree to change, and, so far, APRC has refused to own the full impact of their errors in judgment. It has been clear since the APRC unanimous vote of Aug. 9 that the APRC will not listen to the public before they act. They need to recognize that they work for the public, and should listen before acting instead of having to apologize after.
He states, “We all agree that a vibrant senior program is important” ... Well, Mr. Rosenthal, we had one until Michael Black and the APRC commissioners began to dismantle it. To suggest the public sit back submissively and accept the conclusions of the newly-formed ad hoc committee is ludicrous. The public needs to be heard before it reaches a conclusion. This ad hoc committee is an impotent body seated by APRC, run by APRC, monopolized by APRC and given only the information APRC wants it to have.
The only reason an elected official should be concerned about a recall is if they are not upholding the public trust. We don’t pay taxes to sit back and let power mongers run amuck.
Ed Green and Claudia Ballard
Thanks for fundraiser
On behalf of the board of directors of Rogue River Watershed Council, I would like to thank everyone who participated in this year’s “Celebrate the Rogue!” fundraiser held Oct. 23.
This — our organization’s very first fundraising event — turned out to be more fun, more entertaining and more successful than our organizing committee envisioned! Much of this was due to the bravura performance of operatic tenor and fisheries biologist Gino Lucchetti, and the generous support of our event sponsors — Blue Ridge Timber Cutting, Cascade Stream Solution, M&M Services, Medford Water Commission, Plant Oregon and River Design Group.
The enthusiastic support we received from our sponsors, donors and auction participants is a tribute to the important work Rogue River Watershed Council is doing to restore stream habitat, improve water quality, and engage local citizens and businesses on watershed health issues in Josephine and Jackson counties!
Bob C. Jones, board chairman, and Brian R. Barr, executive director
Rogue River Watershed Council Board of Directors
Suppression is not the answer
The remedy for an alcoholic is not more alcohol. It was surprising, therefore, that the gathering to consider forest issues in Medford ("Discussion on wildfire smoke draws small crowd," Nov. 10) was informed that fire suppression has caused an over-dense forest susceptible to further wildfire and then focused on suppressing wildfire as the solution.
Here we had self-proclaimed forest experts telling us that the solution to fire suppression is more fire suppression. This is worse than simplistic, it’s insane!
There is ample reason to control fire around human dwellings, but our forests are fire adapted; it’s an essential component to maintaining their health.
We can, however, address the primary reason for the fires, namely the warming and drying that results from our emissions of climate pollution. Anyone who is concerned about the smoke would have to support the Clean Energy Jobs Bill, since this is the best vehicle for Oregon to step up to the plate and control its climate pollution.
It would be pure anti-science hypocrisy to pretend concern about forest fires and oppose that legislation. Let’s all get on board — now!
The Ashland Forest Resiliency Project, protecting the watershed from catastrophic fires through management, is an example of a sane response. Simple-minded fire suppression is not! Those promoting such an approach need education.
I support the tax cuts
Our GOP friends in Congress tell us that giving a large tax cut to wealthy corporations and individuals will result in the money being re-invested in job-creating businesses. They predict this will make the economy grow at 3 percent or more, and will give the average American family a raise of $4,000!
I’ll be happy to support this plan if the GOP will also pass a companion law requiring that all tax break money must be invested in job-creating ventures — it can’t be used for CEO bonuses, stock buyback, increased dividends or any other purpose except job creation. Violation would be punishable by jail sentences and very large personal fines. Without such a companion law, their plan is just wishful thinking.