Q & A with Kelly
Why are you running for City Council?
I’m running for City Council because I want to improve the quality of life for everyone living here. At present, our economics, environment, community, and our physical vitality are at risk. The pandemic, and now the glaring truth of our vulnerability to fires, are a call for real change. I believe Ashland’s leadership is stagnant and lacks the ability to creatively and critically think outside the box. We need forward thinking, as well as solution motivated leadership. I believe I can provide both, while focusing on greater transparency and a concerted collaboration with community members. This is exactly what I achieved in 2017 when I co-created Oregon for Safer Technology. Our group helped to educate, activate and finally defeat a 10-story mono-pine cell tower slated for installation next to a Head Start pre-school, Walker Elementary, Walker Middle School, and SOU dorms. This was my first foray into community outreach and engagement, and I know the skills I developed in that process will serve me (and ultimately the Council) well.
What kind of leadership can you bring to the City and the City Council?
My leadership style is based on a process of first understanding issues in detail and then looking for the best means to address the issue. When I research a topic, I like to compare and contrast with what other similar cities are doing on the particular topic. At the same time, I will seek out community members’ concerns and ideas for solutions, confer with all the stake holders and will then come to a decision based on all the information I’ve gathered. I will provide transparency and honesty as Ashland’s City Councilor.
How would you address the needs of the homeless in our community?
Prior to the fires, the Ashland homeless population were mostly transients or victims of domestic or economic disruption. While some are drug and alcohol abusers and/or mentally unstable, many have simply fallen on hard times and should not be demonized. Now, with the numerous displaced fire victims, that homeless population will increase and the challenges of helping them will become even greater. In our city, there are many properties that are condemned, or vacant and those properties should be evaluated as possible temporary housing. Increasing land use opportunities through ordinance changes is another possibility (allowing open spaces for tiny homes). Especially at this time of great distress, we need to augment our current social services and offer them to anyone in need. To do that efficiently, a centralized and comprehensive plan is paramount. Helping people get back on their feet is the ultimate goal and resources should be available to anyone who needs it.
What are your other priorities?
This election is extremely important, not only for our country’s future but for Ashland’s future as well. If we are truly to face and stop climate change, proactive measures must be taken now. We must conserve energy, not increase our use of it. The 5G infrastructure, (5th generation cell phone technology), requires thousands of installations of small cell antennas on our publicly owned telephone poles. Those transmitters demand electricity, which is in direct opposition to the CEAP goals of reducing our carbon footprint. The harmful radiation from current cellular devices is well documented and I plan to educate and protect the public from this dangerous form of pollution. Another pressing issue is the need to keep our fire department and ambulance services under the auspices of Ashland and not Jackson County. As well, we need to balance the city budget by cutting services that run a serious deficit like the golf course and certain parks programs. To increase our revenue stream, we could create a complete registry of rentals in Ashland and add a small fee for those rentals. That money could then be dedicated to the Housing Trust Fund. Finally, the Comprehensive Plan for the city must be brought up to date with extensive citizen input and scrutiny. I know that Ashland has the will and the ability to solve the current challenges we are facing. It requires thoughtful consideration and dedication, and I am ready to get to work as your next Council member.