We did it to ourselves, so please don't complain when we can't get the services in Ashland that we would like.

By voting down the charter amendment to change our city administrator system of government to a city manager system we continue to allow our City Council members to micromanage our departments. This prevents our department heads from doing their jobs. They are forced to spend time every day pleasing the whims of the council instead of spending the time managing the operations of the city.

We are about to lose two more good department heads who can no longer stand to waste their talents. The council should be setting policy and focusing on the big picture instead of telling staff how to do their daily functions.

It's too bad that our sophisticated small city with a super-large budget is run like an ignorant, backwater little burg. — Jerry Kenefick, Ashland

Jonah Goldberg, in his latest rant in the MT May 16, offers his response to a poll showing some Democrats believe George W. Bush and his administration knew or could have known about the 9/11 attacks in advance.

He neglects to mention that the 9/11 Commission clearly demonstrated that the Bush administration was amply warned that something major was not just possible but probable and that these warnings were either ignored or given short shrift. Which leads to some questions:

Which administration, already foundering, showing its inclination towards divisiveness, driven by ideology, would most benefit from such an event as 9/11? Also, which administration needed a "valid" excuse/reason to attack a country that was no threat to the USA but which was viewed by Bush administration ideologues as the key country in a plan to "change" the Middle East and protect its oil suppliers? And, finally, what administration, intent on resurrecting the "imperial presidency," needed the aura of a "war presidency" to burnish and present its agenda to a frightened public?

Blame the U.S. government as Goldberg states? No. Blame an administration that would most benefit. — Harry Freiberg, Brookings

Somewhere in the Willamette Valley, Goofy says, "Hey, it's a beautiful spring day! Let's make some smoke." So they start a big field a-burnin'.

Meanwhile, downwind, Zippy says, "Hey, Goofy's makin' smoke (cough). Must be a burn day." So they play pyro and pretty soon there are 200,000 acres ablaze.

Pinhead says, "Pretty smoky around here. We better go on vacation." So they head for the Olympics to go fishin'. As they arrive there Pinhead says, "We're going to make a lot of money selling grass to those stupid golfers!"

Meanwhile, downwind, a hospital administrator puffs some steroids and says, "I love this time of year. All the beds are full." He swings at the little ball on the tee. "Those stupid farmers only make 10 cents a pound for grass seed, but look at us, We're making millions!" The golf ball lands in the sand. "Damn, someday I'll get it right." — Alden Moffatt, Ashland

I wonder if any other Shady Cove residents are as concerned as I am about the Shady Cove City Council's ability to impose a $15 surcharge per household, per month for a total of $180 per year? This was accomplished with probably minimal public input. This surcharge is called a "public safety fee" which is intended to partially fund the Shady Cove Police Department.

Seems to me the council has found a way to circumvent what would have normally been a levy placed on the ballot for people to vote on. If the council can create a surcharge to help fund the police department, what other city functions could they fund the same way without a vote of the people? And how long will it be before the $15 per month will not be enough and they will raise it without a vote of the people?

The only way to repeal this surcharge is for someone to initiate a referendum and gather enough signatures to place this on a ballot so people can vote. If the council wants people to put out their hard-earned money to fund city functions, then they should be allowed to vote on it. — Sid Peterson, Shady Cove

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