As a former board member of both the SOU Foundation and the JPR Listeners Guild, I am astounded at the actions taken by SOU to, in effect, disassemble JPR and the JPR Foundation.
The argument that fundraising dollars would somehow be diverted from SOU because of the Holly Theatre restoration and/or Jefferson Square shows a lack of understanding on the part of SOU as to the reason most JPR donors passionately support the station and its activities, and the value of the service to the community.
These listeners and donors are not, for the most part, donors to SOU, nor are they connected to SOU in any meaningful way. JPR has always been more of an asset to SOU than the other way around, and the question is, why should SOU be involved at all in the station or its activities?
JPR has always operated in the best interests of the community. It's time for SOU to do the same. Call off those high-rent attorneys from Portland, grant the station licenses to JPR and let them put up their tent somewhere else without SOU's logo anywhere in sight. Any other course of action is in no one's best interest. — Ellen Cholewa, Jacksonville
Great news about the breakup of Jefferson Public Radio and the JPR Foundation. Now JPR can get back to the business of radio, not real estate development, concert promotion, historic preservation, Internet service provision or anything else.
After nearly four incredibly frustrating years of service on the JPR Foundation board, I resigned in disgust. Executive Director Ron Kramer and "Board president for life" Steve Nelson ran that organization with iron fists, and accepted no examination of their misguided direction.
Do not believe their fear-mongering that JPR is threatened. It will thrive once it regains its footing and focuses on building a much-needed new studio, improving the quality of its signal, gathering and reporting local/regional news, adding more and better NPR and PRI programming and training the next generation of public radio journalists and staff. — Marilyn Hawkins, Ashland
I write to comment on "Playing Hardball," your editorial of Sunday, June 17, where you step firmly into the JPR/Oregon University System/SOU/Ron Kramer/Holly Theatre/downtown development matter. You blundered into equating the system's legal blast with SOU's position and equity.
You: "It is deplorable that an institution of higher learning..." etc. But you know, the lawyer's letter comes from upstate. All with an equity in JPR listening should deplore your paragraph that suggests SOU should — after 43 years of service — butt out of the sponsoring and monitoring of public radio in our vast region.
Your finale: SOU has made no threats and has intimidated nobody. You are way off base.
Finally, Ron Kramer, that genius of organization, whose brilliant career centers on Jefferson Public Radio matters, has enjoyed decades of praise and now endures crude words like "termination" despite being a community leader par excellence with a record.
Let's try again on the sad Holly beams that surprised all, ill-tempered invasive conduct from the far north of Oregon and the vast services SOU gave us all for the lifetimes of many in the valley. — Vaughn Davis Bornet, Ashland
We strive to support universities that produce graduates capable of competing nationally and internationally. Alumni know the value of their educational experience.
Fundraisers typically stay in touch with graduates, who provide substantial donations in gratitude for a good education. If SOU feels limited to fundraising locally, thus fearing competition from a successful regional/local enterprise such as JPR, it says to me the administration believes its own fundraising prospects are limited to our little valley.
No wonder SOU is worried about fundraising. All of SOU's ham-fisted bullying of the JPR Foundation can't disguise the implications of the administration's fears.
Prospective students and donors take note — choose a school that is confident it can raise money from graduates who are prepared to be successful anywhere in the world. — Nancy Ames, Ashland