Mayor Tries to Stop “political speech” during public forum at council meeting – here is the speech!!

As you know, there is petitioning underway to get recalls of three Parks commissioners on a ballot. The reasons are many … budget and personnel mis-management, shredding the seniors’ safety net, over-use and mis-use of expensive outside consultants, failing to follow public meeting rules, ignoring public input are some of them.
By meeting and talking to Ashland residents for the last couple of months we have heard many people concerned with the direction Parks and the City are going.  I am here today to share comments and concerns from Ashland residents we have met. 
By far, people, including many long time residents, do not like the way Ashland is changing. Ashland has been a small enlightened community that looks after one another, their town and environment. That is what has attracted people to Ashland for decades.   Below is revised:

For months Ashlanders have been signing petitions to vote on recalling three Commissioners. Most express concerns about the direction of both the Council and APRC. This is what they say.

Ashlanders do not like the way Ashland is changing. People feel tourist interests are put far above residents’ interests by both elected officials and staff, and that neither Council nor 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 Council and APRC are overspending as if they have a magic check book 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.

We encourage each of you to be at public places, such as Safeway or Shop N Kart, to listen for yourself Ashlanders’ concerns. We also encourage you to hold many public town halls for open two-way discussions of Ashland’s issues and prospective plans. 
Gwen Davies

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//inserted by Sharon