April 13, 2020

At this week’s City Council meeting, as our leadership reiterated its support for the $8.2 million Deferred Maintenance Bond to upgrade City Hall and deal with two shuttered city-owned buildings on Winburn Way, a new justification for the timing of the bond was offered.

“This is the perfect time to upgrade City Hall, because the business community is already depressed so the construction won’t be as disruptive” or words to that effect.

That sort of sounds logical, doesn’t it? But let’s talk what that really means when Ashland, so dependent upon tourism, is seeing its economy crumble, and people losing their livelihoods. When the City is doing virtually nothing to address that crisis. What that statement really means is “Hey, the economy around the plaza is already in the toilet so let’s jump in quick and build our city hall, even if it means taxing people who are struggling and have lost their businesses!

This is what passes for leadership in Ashland. This blithe justification builds on the absolutely tone-deaf statement that Ashlanders will somehow be heartened to see their city hall under construction, even as we figuratively rifle thought the trash looking for scraps. We peasants should be proud to support Versailles. Take pride in how our betters can thrive.

I truly don’t know what these people are thinking. They are good people. It sure looks like they are thinking the City comes first and that the role of Ashland’s citizens, businesses, and ratepayers is to keep it that way.

This is not how Ashland used to be. It isn’t the way the city should act. Ashland is the PEOPLE, not the city. It has always been that way until now.

Any fool can see that Ashland has more pressing issues than the condition of city hall. I don’t care whether or not the windows in city hall are double-paned or that staff has to walk to the Comm Dev building for a meeting. I don’t care if staff is “at risk” if an earthquake hits when my neighbors are worried about having a roof over their heads or food on their table. I don’t think you should care either. And I surely think neither one of us should be asked to pay for it now.

And so I don’t want to just defeat the tone-deaf Deferred Maintenance Bond. I want to demolish it. I want it to lose by 20 percentage points. The day after the election I want Mayor Stromberg and the members of Council to be embarrassed and chastened for their poor judgement. I want them to think twice about running for re-election.

VOTE NO of the Deferred Maintenance Bond. Tell your friends to vote NO. Tell your enemies. Tell people, like me, that generally support government. Tell people that never do. Send a message to this Mayor and this Council that Ashland CITIZENS come first, before the city, not the other way around.

We deserve better. Especially now, with a health crisis and an economic crisis roiling our world.

November is coming.

George Kramer – Ashland