Voters have two choices in each of three races for seats on the Ashland Parks and Recreation Commission. We recommend incumbents Mike Gardiner and Rick Landt for positions 3 and 5, and Jim Bachman for position 4.
Gardiner has a lengthy record of service, and exhibits a thorough grasp of the issues facing the city’s park system. Challenger Tim Kelly makes an issue of the commission’s decision to hire a consultant to “study” Lithia Park, but Gardiner correctly points out that the “study” is a master plan for the park for the next century, and not an unreasonable expense.
For Seat 4, Jim Bachman is a newcomer to elected office, but has clearly done his homework, attending Parks Commission meetings and observing the work of the Senior Program Advisory Committee, chaired by his wife, Jackie, now a City Council member. His opponent, Julian Bell, a physician, is sincere and thoughtful, but lacks Bachman’s knowledge of the work that needs to be done.
In the Seat 5 race, incumbent Rick Landt faces a challenge from Howard McEwan, a retired attorney. Again, both are capable candidtes, but McEwan cannot match Landt’s knowledge and experience. Among other accomplishments, Landt has been an environmental planner and a landscape contractor who has helped design parks.
Gardiner and Landt were the targets of a recall campaign after the APRC dismissed the Senior Center manager and restructured the program. Voters overwhelmingly chose to retain both.
We recommend voters choose Gardiner, Bachman and Landt for the Parks and Recreation Commission.