Confront the lack of political will
I attended this week's City Council meeting for two reasons: 1) to hear the mayor's State of the City address, as I have for two years now, and 2) to speak on the nudity band, a topic we can now set aside and move on.
Although I have been far from very vocal about the need for economic diversity in Ashland, I have thought about it, spoken about it, and watched it be neglected for some 25 years now.
Why? The same reason we lack affordable housing. It's no the lack of resources, nor the intellect and skills to develop it — it's the lack of political will! I was amazed and quite gratified when some years ago, at a Housing Commission meeting to which Kate Jackson was the council rep, when I engaged the commission in a discussion of affordable housing — or rather its (continued) paucity in Ashland — she said, and I quote verbatim, "It's because we lack the political will." Such candor is indeed refreshing.
The fact is that when you start talking about economic diversity, the entrenched and powerful economic elites who are totally identified with tourism as our economic mainstay — the Chamber, B&Bs, restaurant associations and, of course, the biggest "powerhouse" of all, OSF — get agitated at the very thought. This, they fear, could lead to a diversion of economic and manpower resources to other "industries," which is anathema to their perceived interest.
If you want to really get behind economic diversity politically and with public economic resources (which heretofore have always been given over without tolerance for alternate ideas or suggestions to the tourist industry), you are going to have to confront the lack of political will and the reasons for this lack.
This will take guts, honesty and candor. But it is a political/structural/cultural problem in the "economic community" that will have to be faced head-on if we really want to make any progress toward economic diversity.
Fat cats against tax fairness in Oregon
Another election, and of course another campaign by the wealthy to frighten the poor into voting against their interests.
Oregon media are now clogged with dire warnings that if Measures 66 and 67 pass, businesses will fail, employers will move out of state, and countless jobs will be lost.
Anyone who has read the voter's pamphlet knows that these predictions are scare tactics, pulled out of thin air to frighten the ignorant.
And anyone who's followed the money trail cited in the voter's pamphlet knows that the top donor to Fat Cats Against Tax Fairness — the unacknowledged pseudonym of this bunch — is the Oregon Bankers Association, with several major timber corporations and out-of-state right-wing groups among the major funders.
Most of us know, of course, that the greedy rich are ready to see Oregon fold before ponying up. On Jan. 26, let's help them finally pay their fair share.
Support businesses; vote no on 66 and 67
I believe we should vote no on measures 66 and 67, because all across America corporations are failing, and we need it to be cost-effective for companies to operate in Oregon and give Oregonians jobs. Only Oregon's so-called "American" corporations that operate outside the United States should be taxed. We don't want to shoot ourselves in the foot in regards to economic recovery. We should be rewarding true-blue American companies that give Oregonians jobs, not penalizing them. Companies are already going out of business in droves without extra taxes. These measures would drive many struggling Oregon corporations out of business.
Gratifying to support OSF as a volunteer
Evalyn Hansen was overly kind to me in her article, making me sound more important to the festival than I am (see Jan. 6 "Backstage with OSF's Char Hersh").
I think it is important to remember that I am a volunteer and report to Lois Holdridge, who is responsible for all OSF volunteers. Lois has a mammoth responsibility, and it is gratifying to be able to support her effort and be a part of OSF.