Letters, March 7


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    My vaccine testimony

    My testimony last week against HB 3063, which would dramatically increase mandates for a list of childhood vaccinations, drew a flood of thank-yous and angry criticism. Some people were clearer than others on what I said. If you’d like a copy of my actual comments, email the address below with SEND TESTIMONY in the subject line. We can also send you a video link of the entire hearing.

    Two back-to-back, critical emails caught my eye. One said I was obviously pandering to voters just to get re-elected, and the other said I’d never be re-elected because my opinion offends most voters.

    I don’t know which is closer to the truth, and I don’t know how the hundreds of decisions I’ll be called on to make in the next three and a half years will affect political support. That’s actually a good thing. Those calculations distract from the central responsibility here: carefully considering all aspects of tough issues, finding out what your constituents think, and bringing your best judgment and strength to doing the right thing as you see it.

    I’ll keep striving for that. If I decide to run again in 2022 and a majority of people mostly like my judgment, I’ll likely win. If they don’t, someone else will replace me, and should. It’s a good system that way.

    Thanks to those who weighed in on this issue. Contact me any time at

    sen.jeffgolden@oregonlegislature.gov.

    Sen. Jeff Golden, District 3

    Ashland

    Time for Uber, Lyft

    It is time that we bring ridesharing options, like Uber and Lyft, to the entire state of Oregon.

    Currently only six areas have ridesharing, and a bill in the state Legislature would change that. Rep. Susan McLain introduced legislation, HB 3023, that would bring the benefits of ridesharing to all of Oregon, including flexible earning opportunities for drivers, reduced impaired driving and increased business to local restaurants, bars and entertainment venues.

    Statewide rules for ridesharing would create consistent safety standards for driver background checks, vehicle and insurance standards as well as safety inspections. This would allow more options for residents and visitors alike across our great state when it comes to transportation. Local control leads to roadblocks, unreasonable demands, delays, incessant regulations, fees and restrictions. The has been especially evident here in Ashland where after 14 months, we still do not have an operational agreement with Uber or Lyft!

    I ask that Rep. Pam Marsh and Sen. Jeff Golden consider supporting this state-wide ride-sharing regulation. The people of Oregon deserve equal opportunities regardless of where they live to have reasonable on-demand transportation options available.

    Bill Langton

    Ashland

    Keep the canal

    How many Ashlanders would support waking up one day to find that our city had decided to put a new road through their property? Before you answer let me assure you that yes, it’s possible. Just ask the 87 Ashland property owners along the Ashland TID Canal.

    Such is the crazy saga around Ashland Public Works’ push to pipe two miles of the Ashland TID Canal. To mitigate initial concerns over the piping, Ashland Public Works told affected land owners early on at on-site meetings that once the project began, not much along the TID Canal would change.

    They failed, however, to outline some critical details: The unique asthetic of the TID canal would be completely changed; 300 otherwise healthy trees would need to be destroyed; driveways, waterlines, electric and sewer lines would be halted and moved, impacting many families lives; property values would be negatively impacted; plant and wildlife would disappear and, oh yes, the present pathway on the TID would be replaced, not by a new path but, after a 20-foot swath of ground was reclaimed, with a new road.

    It’s unfortunate that only after many of the people who walk the TID Canal every day and property owners impacted by this disruptive project started asking questions themselves, that the real details started seeping out. It’s understandable that some facts were unknown, yet considering what is at stake it would have been much more useful for the community to have been presented with all the possible assumptions prior to the Public Works meeting at SOU on Jan. 31. That way impacted stakeholders could have attended to voice their views.

    Our City Council must look at a better alternative to the chaos, environmental impact and cost of tearing up two miles of the TID Canal. We already know that the E. coli problem won’t be fixed by piping the TID water as most of the E. coli is already in the water before it reaches our city. As for the water loss, the council should require that Public Works repair the 23 percent of the canal said to be in “poor” condition and then actively maintain the canal. This is the most cost-efficient approach, costing far less than the $4 million to $5 million now projected for the project. TAP is our emergency water source already in place to provide Ashland with water during summer months, so lets use it when we must. Any alternatives other than “fixing and maintaining the TID Canal” outlined by Ashland Public Works just don’t make sense.

    For more details and information why people want to keep the canal, visit the website at http://ashlandtrails.com/keep-the-canal/

    Tracie Stubbs

    Ashland

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