This is written in response to Jorge Yant’s guest opinion in the Jan. 23 issue. His letter is an attempt to indicate that he has heard the unanimous objections of the Ashland community. I beg to differ. The revised proposal to temporarily give up the urban industrial cannabis farm addresses only some of the objections, and the letter is silent on the other issues. One thing the letter did do was give some greater clarity to the proposed cannabis dispensary, which sounds an awful lot like a proposal for a cannabis “super store.”
Ashland has previously indicated that cannabis dispensaries should be on major thoroughfares and not on smaller streets. While the address may be on Oak, the focus of the proposal is on A Street, a narrow street with a significant curve at the site of the proposed dispensary.
The revised proposal avoids discussions of the other community concerns, such as (but not limited to):
The proposal does not comply with the previous decision on the location of cannabis stores.
Increased traffic throughout the day, in an area used by large numbers of pedestrians and bicyclists.
The fact or potential that the super dispensary will provide a “attractive nuisance” leading to increased loitering by patrons as well as transients and travelers, with the concomitant issues of blockage of sidewalks, smoking and littering not in keeping with Ashland’s desire to attract tourists
According to his letter, the petitioner has (temporarily?) withdrawn his application for the cannabis farm only to “study the issue further,” which would allow for a new application once the character of the neighborhood is significantly changed by the enlarged cannabis store.
The Planning Commission should reject the proposal.
Recall is misplaced
While it is within the rights of anyone to initiate a recall campaign, there are good reasons for doing so and bad reasons.
In the case of recalling the three Ashland senior citizens who have served with competence and dedication on the Ashland Parks and Recreation Commission, the recall campaign is a misplaced negative effort. The effort and energy should be spent on the upcoming election in November 2018, not now.
If there had been theft, violence, negligence or incompetence involved, there would likely be grounds for supporting the recall campaign. But we don't have that in this case.
It may be lamentable to have lost a dedicated staff member, but that issue is to be dealt with outside of the election process, not in it..
The Parks and Recreation Department and the Parks Commission deal with many more issues in serving Ashland's 22,000 residents than the Senior Center. And some of our facilities, classes and activities serve people from all over Jackson County.
Because of the open space program pushed though during Mayor Cathy Shaw's tenure, our parks system is a complicated gem involving many locations and activities.
The three senior citizens subject to the recall campaign deserve our support for their vision, knowledge and experience in managing our 17 parks, our 760 acres of park land, our 48 miles of trails, and the multitude of activities sponsored by the department.
It is not warranted that they be "drop-kicked" out of their positions.
Vote no on recall
A recall? A recall is for fraud or other major abuses. It makes me very sad to see our community torn apart. We all want a place that is safe and supportive and reaches out to our seniors. The good news: We can see how our broader community stands on this issue, by voting.
The Parks Commission members are volunteers. They put in an enormous amount of time and effort. They have worked to improve our parks and recreation opportunities in our community. Would you run for any office if you knew your motives were going to be attacked, if you were going to be made a pariah? If the recall succeeds, it will destroy the Parks and Recreation Department, trash the morale of parks and rec employees, and stop any new projects moving forward.
Only one side of this story has gotten out. City employees cannot talk about personnel matters. The commission members can’t tell their full story in the face of a lawsuit.
Dear reader: Maybe you believed the appeal from the Save Our Seniors group. Can you turn around and look at this differently? Can you see the dilemma of those who are trying to run Parks? They felt their only option was to reorganize the senior center and start over. Please vote and vote no on the recall.
Brand is critical
When we buy a washing machine, the brand tells us about quality, reliability and repair record. Sleazy Harry would like to market his cheap, unreliable, knock-off washing machines as Maytags, but fortunately patent and trademark laws prevent him from doing so.
So now we have Republicans who will be running for elective office rightly wondering about their brand. Unfortunately for conservatives, there no longer exists a sane conservative, traditionalist Republican brand. There’s only Trump! From top to bottom, anyone running under the Republican banner should know they have identified themselves as Trumpists and carry that baggage. This means they are campaigning as white supremacists, racists, misogynists, xenophobes, anti-science apologists and defenders of fake news, ignorance and incompetence. This is where they stand unless they loudly and clearly repudiate everything Trump.
As Paul Krugman recently wrote: “... the cynical bargain that has been the basis of Republican strategy since Reagan has now turned into a moral trap. And as far as we can tell, no elected Republican — not one — has the strength of character to even attempt an escape.” Not a great candidate banner.
Republicans be warned! Your brand is no longer what you would like it to be.
The Trumpist GOP is way out of step with Ashland, a city where, like Talent before it, the council passed a resolution urging the state to reduce substantially statewide greenhouse gas emissions. Potential Republican candidates should know that the Trumpist agenda simply does not represent Southern Oregon.