Walden is outstanding
Congressman Greg Walden has been a remarkably outstanding representative for the people of the 2nd District of Oregon.
I especially appreciate his modernization legislation of the Food and Drug Administration. Not only will new medicines and medical devices be brought to market more rapidly but also the hearing aid business will be open to competition for the first time ever.
He helped write the Resilient Federal Forests Act which passed the House and is awaiting Senate approval and should spare us from so many wildfires and smoke-filled days that we had last summer. As always, Congressman Walden has continued to ensure that our troops have the tools and training needed to do their jobs and that our veterans have improved health care and benefits. We are so fortunate to have a man representing our interests who loves America and holds the same values that we admire.
Don't log the Chetco
The Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest’s massive 13,626-acre post-fire, clearcut logging proposal along the beautiful Chetco River is a huge mistake. The world-class fisheries of the Chetco River are at risk, as is the ecological function of the entire watershed.
Matrix lands are not sacrifice zones. The long-term and irreparable impacts of logging off whole watersheds to local fisheries, water quality, natural forest regeneration, scenic values and the local tourism economy outweigh the small, short-term economic benefit from selling low-priced, fire-affected timber. The Forest Service should either cancel or scale back the project and focus on reducing fuels near homes and communities where it matters most, rather than creating more highly flammable tree plantations.
Private forestland in the fire area is being clearcut at a record pace. An additional 13,626 acres of public land clearcuts will create huge cumulative impacts, and the fire-adapted forests of the Chetco River may never be the same. A recent literature review of 21 separate scientific papers found a link between post-fire logging and replanting treatments and increased fire and fuel risks; in fact, science has shown that ecologically important post-fire habitat composed of dead snags is actually less likely to burn at high severity than areas subjected to post-fire logging.
Ashland is changing
For months Ashlanders have been signing petitions to vote on recalling three Parks and Recreation commissioners. Most express concerns about the direction of both the City Council and Ashland Parks and Recreation Commission. This is what they say.
Ashlanders do not like the way Ashland is changing. People feel tourists' interests are put far above residents' interests by both elected officials and staff, and that neither the council nor the APRC is responsive to residents' concerns. Many struggle to live with increasing taxes, fees and housing costs. They especially object to the changes at the Senior Center. Some believe the council should be recalled as well.
People say elected officials erroneously believe they know best. Overwhelmingly, the public wants much more input before decisions and changes are made. They believe that the council and the APRC are overspending as if they have a magic checkbook of unlimited funds. Of particular concern is that citizens on the citizens' budget committee are not allowed to have much impact. They are alarmed for the financial health and future of Ashland.
We want to be a town that cares about each other and embodies democracy, transparency and accountability.