Thursday, February 19, 2009

What happened to the Feb. 10 posting?

To tell the truth, I’ve been trying to write a response to Jeff Golden’s recent ADT column in which he challenged me to find a way for the City to provide $25,000 for small sustainability grants. I may have
something on that next week. In the meantime, here’s a comment/question from Jo French, Sr., whom I doubt would favor Jeff’s proposal...

Mr. French writes: “I'm interested in your view as to the purposes of local government; e.g., I believe "’The fundamental purpose of government is the maintenance of basic security and public order — without which individuals cannot attempt to find happiness’" (Wikipedia) which is derived from our national and state constitutions. At the local level this translates into Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and involves budgets, staffing and such issues as water availability beyond our current sources...

I think any discussion on "sustainability" or opinions on how external economic forces may affect Ashland are secondary to the issues, above. Suffice to say that I believe that "cost effectiveness" should be more of a criteria for more of our local endeavors than is currently the case.”

Dear Mr. French,

I believe some sustainability issues fall clearly within your Wikipedia prescription - for example ensuring the future security of our water supply, preparing for wildfires in the watershed, providing electrical power that doesn’t depend on fossil fuels, etc. Other issues, such as localization of agriculture may fall both within and without the ‘fundamental purpose’ statement you quoted.

I’m not yet clear about whether or not sustainable economic development is something in which the City should become directly involved but bringing the community, including its public institutions,
together in planning for it is as essential for the public’s basic security as police and fire services. And every city I know of has it's wastewater system provided by a government entity. But we shouldn't get involved in activities that can be carried on better by private entities, such as garbage collection.

So on what specifics do you and I differ?