Thursday, August 18, 2011

One Minute Minutes August 15 and 16

August 15, 2011 Study Session
Electronic Packets. City Recorder Barbara Christensen discussed the transition from paper packets to electronic packets. Issues related to the PC Notebooks and ipads were discussed.

Electric Rates. Council and staff discussed the current status of the Electric Fund. Council directed the staff to schedule a public hearing to consider a 4% across-the-board increase in Electric Rates for the second meeting in September.

August 16, 2011 Regular Meeting

Consent Agenda. Council approved:
· The minutes of various boards and commissions
· The 3rd year of a contract with the Ashland Police Association.
· A 3 year contract with the Laborer’s union.
· An increase in the contract for construction of the Laurel Street Sidewalk Project
· A resolution authorizing the Finance Director to sell the G.O. Bonds for Fire Station #2.
· A contract with Springbrook software to replace the City’s utility billing software.
· Continued work on a TGM grant from the State of Oregon on a master plan for the Normal Avenue neighborhood
· An engineering contract to conduct work required by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for Hosler Dam.
· Discontinuation of Route #15 starting on September 5, 2011.
· A $10,000n increase in a contract for powder coating the downtown light poles.
· A contract with James McNamara to act as project manager for construction of Fire Station #2.
· A contract with Batzer construction to remove and repair 142 feet of the multi-use path near the West Bellevue Phase II subdivision.
· A contract with Pacific Power Products to repair a fire engine.

VIII.1. Agreement on SUP with Mount Ashland Association. Council took public testimony on an agreement that would dissolve the existing lease agreement, replace the lease with new terms, convey the property currently owned by the City to MAA, and require the City to relinquish the Special Use Permit for the Ski Area so that MAA can directly obtain the SUP. The public hearing was not completed on August 16, so it was continued to a Special Meeting of the City Council on August 30, 2011.

XI.1. Regional Problem Solving. Council adopted a new resolution stating the City’s request to have Jackson County address several issues in their adoption of RPS.

XI.2. Report on the 4th Quarter of Fiscal Year 2010-2011. Council accepted the report for the 4th quarter of the previous fiscal year.

XIII. Other Business from the Council. Council did not discuss either item due to lack of time.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Thoughts on Senator Mark O. Hatfield

I worked for Senator Mark O. Hatfield for a little over a year back in 1993 and 1994. I was on a fellowship created by the Senator to honor another liberal Republican Senator’s family – Senator Jacob Javits from New York – to encourage students of public policy to bring their training to the U.S. Senate. I picked Senator Hatfield’s office because when I interviewed with the Senator and staff it felt immediately like “home.” Senator Hatfield filled his Washington D.C. offices with people from Oregon because he believed you had to know where Vale, Talent, Fossil, Cove, and Powers all are to represent the people of Oregon.

It was not a surprise this morning to learn that he has died. He had been ill for seven or so years, not much seen since he fell down in 2004.

His death is the end of an era. I grew up in a time when people could be “liberal Republicans” and “conservative Democrats,” and Senator Hatfield was definitely part of that era. I didn’t always agree with Mark Hatfield. He came from a very consistent set of political beliefs forged by his strong family, his faith, and his rapid rise in Oregon politics. He was the most “pro-life” person I know. So, he and I might not have agreed on abortion rights, but his views were consistent. He opposed abortion, but he also opposed the death penalty and was a proponent of peace. His Republican Party was the party of Abraham Lincoln and Herbert Hoover, which favored clear thought. His staff – both in Washington D.C. and in Oregon – reflected that same degree of independence. We were all over the political center – no one too radical, but liberals, conservatives, democrats, and republicans. MOH did not demand that we all thought alike.

Senator Hatfield did demand that we use him as an instrument to accomplish the things that we cared about. One day when the Senator hauled all of his legislative staff into the Lincoln conference room. I don’t remember what fired him up, but he was not happy with what he saw as our “reactive” work. He told us in no uncertain terms that he needed us to care deeply about something. He told us that his greatest accomplishments as an elected official came because of a partnership between him, Oregon, and his staff. He challenged us to care deeply enough about making the world, country, or state a better place and to use his elected office as a way to pursue that passion. He told us stories about his work with refugees, and about how that became his work because of the work of a compassionate member of his legislative staff.

That was a crystallizing moment for me. Not at that second, but over the coming weeks and years, I learned that I truly cared about a couple of things. First, I truly care about excellence in government. I do not believe in the idea of “good enough for government work.” Second, I truly care about helping people find and protect community. Whether that community is Ashland – a place with a strong sense of itself – or the landscape of the Columbia River Gorge, I know that working in communities with an exceptionally high quality of life is difficult but worth it. It is Mark Hatfield’s fault that I know my life’s work and that I view my work as a partnership among passionate elected officials, citizens, and staff.

Oregon is literally covered with evidence of Mark Hatfield’s partnerships with people of passion. The Oregon Trail Visitor’s Center in Baker City, the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, the U.S Fish and Wildlife Nation Forensics Lab in Ashland, OHSU, much of Willamette University, Portland State, etc, etc, etc. Likewise, Oregon is filled with the people who Senator Hatfield taught to be excellent and passionate public servants. Many of the staffers and interns who worked for Senator Hatfield are engaged every day in making the world, the country, and Oregon a better place. In this era where campaign committees and strong political parties seem to have not only polarized the political landscape but to have paralyzed it as well, his legacy of people who think for themselves and have passion for their work offers me hope. I will miss Mark Hatfield.

Martha Bennett

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

One Minute Minutes August 2, 2011

August 2, 2011 Regular Meeting
6:30 p.m. Annual Meeting with Ashland Community Hospital.
The Council met with the Hospital Board Chair Doug Diehl and Chief Executive Officer Mark Marchetti about the Hospital’s performance, their financial condition, and the projects they are currently tackling.

Mayor’s Announcements
Councilor Voisin read a proclamation declaring August 6, 2011 as Hiroshima Day and August 9, 2011 as Nagasaki Day.

Mayor Stromberg welcomed Jackson County Commissioner Don Skundrick to the meeting.

Consent Agenda.
Consent items were approved including:
1. Minutes of the Boards, Commissions and Committees
2. A Liquor License Application for Ruby’s Neighborhood Restaurant on Pioneer Street
3. A recommendation from the Public Art Commission to implement, The Wishing Tree mural at Helman Elementary School
4. An amendment to the Transportation and Growth Management grant of $40,000 for the RSP update
5. Reconvening the Public Safety Bond Committee to evaluate options for expanding or relocating the Police Station and to evaluate possible funding options for the expansions or relocation. Council approved asking the Mayor to appoint and additional member who served on the Facilities Master Plan Committee to the existing list of Public Safety Bond Committee members.
6. Repealing the resolution which created the AFN Advisory Board.

VIII.1. Pilot Project for Road Diet on North Main.
Council heard testimony from nearly 30 people on the proposed pilot project. Council voted to move forward with the Hersey/Wimer realignment project and once completed, move forward with the North Main pilot road diet. Council directed staff to move as quickly as possible in order to complete the road diet prior to the start of the school year in 2012.

Council approved use of overlay funds for the Hersey/Wimer project and approved the Cooperative Improvement Agreement with ODOT for $115,000 to partially fund the pilot project.

XI.1. Historic District Standards.
Council approved the revisions to Ashland’s Historic District Design Standards with the revision to remove “wood shingles” from Section IV-B-9 and directed staff to prepare the relevant code amendments for implementation into the City’s land use approval process.

XI.2. Comment to the Council listserv.
Councilor Chapman has requested time to discuss the Comment to the Council listserv. This item was postponed to a subsequent meeting due to time constraints.